This morning, Hope and I snapped.
Ok, that’s not true. I snapped.
The morning routine is driving me up the wall. Hope is always running late. She’s rarely ready on time. She misses the bus often. I pack breakfast to- go in order to make sure that she has a solid breakfast. She’s always frazzled before she gets out of the door.
This means that I’m quietly frazzled before she gets out of the door.
It also means that we have zero meaningful conversation in the mornings. Usually I see her for about 90 seconds while she’s shoving her lunch bag in her backpack, grabbing breakfast and a filled water bottle that I’ve prepped. I screech to remind her to take her meds because despite them being *right there* in front of her she manages not to see them. *RIGHT THERE*
My mornings don’t start off being so frazzled. I rise around 5am to exercise and walk Yappy. This morning we walked for 2 miles. I feed him and start prepping breakfasts, coffee, making lunches. I shower and dress, do hair and make-up and resume my work in the kitchen. My own anxiety doesn’t kick in until about 7am, when I start mentally wondering if Hope will make the bus or not for another day.
Over the course of 30 minutes I get more anxious and probably a bit irritable.
By the time Hope comes out, I’m in my own quiet, anxiety spiral.
And today it came out, but what I really wanted to say was left unsaid as we exchanged barbs that continued via text message after she left for the bus.
This morning routine is not what I want. It’s not what it used to be, which is what I grew up with and what I had tenderly fostered for the last couple of years with Hope.
I grew up having breakfast with my family. We watched the news together. We prayed together. We talked about our agendas for the day and what time we would be home. We talked about our after school activities and about upcoming games. We also gossiped about my classmates.
We spent time together.
Since I forced Hope to use her alarm clock and get herself together in the morning, she doesn’t sit down for breakfast with me.
I want her to sit down for breakfast with me. I actually kinda need it. But it’s still new to her, and it’s not something motivating enough for her to hustle to make time for in the busy morning routine.
For the last couple of months, my subconscious has read that as, “She does not find you important enough to spend 10 minutes having breakfast with you.”
That gets extrapolated to: “She does not appreciate how hard you work to make it all happen everyday.”
That gets blown up to: “She is selfish and lazy.”
That goes next level with: “She clearly doesn’t love me, and we might have attachment issues.”
Which climaxes with: “Fine!!!! I don’t like you either! You spoiled, ingrate!!”
And the anti-climax? “Why doesn’t she love me and want to have breakfast with me?”
Meanwhile Hope is like, “I can sleep until 6:30am and be ready 60-65% of the time, and I have a back up bus pass to catch the public bus. I’m good.”
I now see that. I see the difference in our thinking. I now see that not having breakfast and having those moments to check in with Hope is a trigger for me. It’s not a trigger for her because she gets to prove that she is independent—something I’ve been encouraging for a long time.
Could it actually be that I miss her in the morning? Sigh.
I’m not sure why it’s hard for me to say, “Hey, having breakfast together is important to me. I want to have this time to check in with you in the morning. I’m feeling a little attention starved without a few quality minutes in the morning. I’m willing to limit my expectations to 2-3 days a week. Do you think you could do that for me?” But I know that I haven’t been able to do that. That is a new stretch goal.
Asking someone who seems to have little capacity for themselves to expend some capacity for you is hard. It’s so hard. But I know if I’m not honest with her then I’ll keep feeling this resentment that isn’t fair to my daughter or to me.
I have my own triggers, and those triggers have to do with wanting to spend time with my daughter. Who knew, especially since she can be a special pill at the moment?
I just want us to have smooth, anxiety free mornings having breakfast with my daughter. Is that so hard to ask for?
March 8th, 2017 at 12:30 am
I have no words of wisdom, but here’s a hug… ((( 🙂 )))
March 9th, 2017 at 10:40 pm
First. I love your cartoon up top.
Second. I didn’t grow up with table dinners or breakfasts, but dreamed of having my family eat at the table and talking and bonding. When we finallly got a dining table, my kids couldn’t handle so much lovely family time. Someone was always falling into meltdown territory. The memories made at the table were crappy, so we nixed it. I’ve grieved that expectation (such a simple expectation!), but it still stings and stinks.
Third. You are so right. It’s hard to extend yourself to someone who may not be able to be receptive to you. I guess the consolation for this need not being met for you could be to think about how she has come far in many other areas, and you both worked for that and it’s a huge accomplishment! ❤
March 10th, 2017 at 8:21 pm
ABM, Hope may actually get a kick out of knowing how much you love and need her. She gets the opportunity to do something for you, something that would make you feel good. A message that even as your teen grows independent, you seek ways to stay connected.
I blew up the other day when my husband and 18-year-old sat at the dinner table without saying a word to me. My “losing it” opened up a pathway for my son to share how he wants to talk, but struggles to figure out what to say. So we talked through strategies and guess what? It’s worked!!! We now have some actual conversations.
I’m wishing you that your frustration will lead to a similarly good outcome for you and Hope.
March 19th, 2017 at 10:14 am
I love the cartoons. Have to say it! I think it’s great that you are introspective enough to see your triggers and realize your own emotional needs. Could you leave a note on her pillow? Send her a text? I think she would really like it that it’s important for you to have time with her. She still may not like mornings (I hated them as a teen!) but the heart of the matter is love. And that is beautiful
April 9th, 2018 at 7:35 pm
[…] So EVERYTHING is triggering me. EVERYTHING! It’s kind of like that time about a year ago. […]