Under The Light

In the big lead up to Thanksgiving, my son had Hand Foot and Mouth (HFaM). We didn’t have to make an extra trip to the doctor to confirm this. We were already headed in for one of the regular checkups and the doctor confirmed our fears.

HFaM is one of those awesome things like chicken pocks. Everyone warns you about how very contagious it is. They put the fear of death and suffering in you about how much worse it is for adults to live with than small children.

So we kept the kid home for a couple days and he had some extra one on one time with mommy and daddy and he was happy as could be. I am pretty sure I was more fearful of him having HFaM than I actually needed to be. The only signifier that he even had HFaM were some bumps here and there.

The hardest part of the whole thing was the day I had the pleasure of staying home with him. Part of my day was running a few errands in the car and he was strapped into his car seat. And as toddlers often do, he fell asleep in his car seat. he fell asleep early. So when we got home, I navigated him up to his room and put him to be for an early nap.

Then, I slipped out of his room to have my few minutes of peace and quiet while he napped.

And to guess I had a few minutes would be an overstatement. The kid woke up and started crying. So, I brought him to be with me and hang out while I worked on some odds and ends. And after a bit, it seemed like he was ready for a nap. A little lethargic and emotional.

Again, I whisked him off to his room. I rocked him till he was out cold. Then I rocked him some extra because I never feel like I get enough moments to cuddle my kid. Finally, I deftly transferred him to his crib. Like a ninja lowering the most fragile of eggs into the most dangerous of traps. I deposited him in his crib, slipped out of his room without a sound, and returned to the living room for a nap time reprieve.

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Not more than a few minutes later was my son crying.

I almost felt myself snap inside.

Then I thought to myself, “It will be fine, he will fall asleep, he needs to get some emotions out. Then he'll give in. It is nap time.

I thought wrong.

Very wrong.

And so, when my patience had run out and my last nerve was ground to dust underneath the grinding of his crying. (Which is one of the saddest things in the whole world to me.) I retrieved him again.

Now we are both tired. Emotional. Frustrated. And stuck with each other.

Me: Trying to breath through my anxiety and feelings of failure and absolute frustration because my son missed his nap.

Him: Not having the words, or mental abilities to express his toddler state.

The saving grace of the day was my wife, who was working a short day. Because most of corporate America works a short day the day before Thanksgiving. She came riding in on her white horse and helped manage him, so I could have thirty minutes to myself.

Not the sort of thirty minutes where I unplug and forget the world exists. But the sort of thirty minutes where I load the car, take out the trash, and prepare for holiday travel. (Which is akin to doomsday prepping.) I returned to my wife who has our son enraptured in his ten millionth reading of the riveting literary work of “Go Dogs, Go” by the esteemed PhD. Seuss.

We then load ourselves into the car and travel to the Thanksgiving festivities.

How do you process stress? How do you process unexpected pressure and anxiety? How do you work with other people who are not in the best emotional/mental/physical state? How can you plan to better work with stress and anxiety?

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Moment of Offense

When someone offends you, there is a moment.

There is a decision in the moment to be offended. To react and to engage.

In all these parts and pieces. The moment of offense is lost. You take action and are moving on and making assumptions or decisions. Acting or overacting and being hurt and engaging accordingly.

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The moment of offense is the match.

Your processing of the offense is the fuse.

And your actions post processing is the dynamite.

The entirety of it all started in the moment of offense. But you are only in control of the fuse and the dynamite.

What if the next time you are offended, you decide to remove the fuse from the flame? Take it away from the burning unhealthy flame that is going to set fire. Instead, you investigate.

What caused your friend to make this decision? Why did they strike the match?

These are questions only they can answer, your assumptions cannot answer these questions.

How do you do when someone offends you? What is a healthy reaction? What is an unhealthy reaction? How would you want someone to respond to you when you offend them? How can you do this for people, even when they might not deserve it?

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Overreacting

Recently I spoke with my counselor about how I overreact and get angry. We had a good conversation about my and getting angry and overreacting. I do not act this way often. Truly, maybe once a month or less at the least and every couple of weeks at most. Usually I am overreacting to my wife about something rather small and inconsequential. We talked about this for a little while and it mostly boils down to being aware of where I am at. I lose touch with reality for a few minutes and literally just explode from inside myself. The issue comes up, some thing that irritates me happens for, what seems like, the one trillionth time and I explode. Or maybe someone simply does something that I think is well outside the bounds of ordinary human actions and I way overreact. The simple solution is, I need to pay attention to myself. 

Did someone just do something that bugged me? 

Was my reaction to shove it down into some sort of perceivable “bottomless pit?”

Will this pit actually fill up with false beliefs about the other person I’m talking to?

Should I just say something right now while I am healthy and we can have a grown–up conversation about the whole thing and move on?

The answer to the fourth question, if you didn’t guess it, is, ‘yes.’ The answer to all the questions is, ‘yes.’ However, the fourth question is the right course of action for me. 

How aware are you of where you are at in the moment? Are you paying attention enough to notice things that needed to be talked about before you end up in an unhealthy place? Are you saying something?

Peacefully,

–JT