Getting a Grip After Losing My Grip

Monday, September 27, 2010

I found my way yesterday. And I have a sippy cup to thank for it.

For about a day and a half I had been in a funky mood. There was something pinching my nerves. I couldn’t figure out what was buzzing around inside and causing me to swat wildly at random, insignificant things like messy drawers, wet bathroom floors and … sippy cups. Whatever was annoying me hadn’t exposed itself enough for to me to clearly see it.

Then Sunday morning happened.

My husband was taking our son to the park. I was getting things ready for his little diaper bag: milk, snacks, water.

“What can I do to help you,” my husband asked. He’s good that way. Plus, he saw me making like I had seven hands that could do seven different things at once.

“Please put the towels in the dryer,” I said, quickly. “And then fix up the green sippy.” The same green sippy cup that was mouth-deep in sudsy water. I washed the cup and set it on the counter for my husband to fill.

Maybe he didn’t see the wet cup on the counter or maybe he thought I meant another sippy—one that wasn’t soaped up and about to be washed. Either way, our wires got crossed and the cup sat there empty.

Next thing we knew, we were bickering—though quietly since we don’t like to alarm the kiddie with loud, angry talk—about a cup. A sippy cup. Can things get more ridiculous?

They went to the park while I sat in my office brooding. What is happening with you, woman? What’s got you so angry?

I decided to put aside my work and go for a run. Before I left, though, I wrote out an apology to my husband. At the very least, he deserved that.

Then I did something that was, in retrospect, pretty wise. I pulled out our wedding vows.

Our book of love.

My husband’s Aunt Carol married us four years ago. A lovely, lovely woman she is, Carol typed up everything that was said during our ceremony: her stirring sermon, our affirmations, the community responses, and the vows that we wrote. She put it all together (along with a miniature painting of hers) in a slim, white binder. We so treasure this sweet, special book.

I went back to my vows because, as I did when I  first wrote them, I really believe in those words. I made a promise to this man, and I intend to keep it. No matter what.

Midway through my run, things started to come together. The reason I was feeling agitated was because I thought my opinion wasn’t being weighed in our family decision to move (or not) to Connecticut next year. I was wrong. That is very clear. However,  how I got to that misaligned idea wasn’t completely baseless.

It came down to this: We all want to feel valued. We want to believe that what we have to add to the conversation is thought important. I knew this. I’ve known this for a good while.

What I didn’t realize is that, this time around, I was the one who was minimizing my input. I was the one subtracting my opinion and devaluing my worth. And until that stopped, I was going to continue feeling that irksome pinch and getting all huffy about featherweight things like sippy cups.

As I neared the end of the run and all of this starting to click into place, I wanted race home so I could talk to my husband about it.

We did. We’re back in good step. And I’m feeling settled.

Who knew one green sippy could work such magic.

  • 1
    40 going on 28 says:

    Fantastic post. I think a lot of people (probably mainly the women, but some men too) who go through moving for reasons not entirely their own, deal with these feelings. It’s been almost a year and I’m just getting over leaving Brooklyn for Montclair. Thank for typing this up and hitting publish.

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mack says:

      I really appreciate this comment, 40 going on 28. Thanks.
      (And hearing that you made the move from BK to Montclair is also good to know. It’s a tough switch. Even though I was ready for some “quiet,” I definitely miss much about Brooklyn. I don’t know if that goes away completely. I call it the Brooklyn Hangover.)

  • 2
    vette says:

    Well glad that you sorted things out, I guess there’s always a deeper meaning to the reasons we feel the way we do. It’s great that you were able to figure it out.

  • 3
    Nailah says:

    Great post! A lot of the time we project our own feelings into the actions of others. Re-looking at our vows and taking some time to cool off and sort things out were a great way to get everything back into focus. Kudos on not letting things fester!

    • 3.1
      Ms. Mack says:

      Oh, yes. Projecting is easy. Digging in and rooting around to figure out what’s really the matter, that’s where the work comes in. Thanks for the comment!

  • 4

    So funny….I am resentful about moving AWAY from Montclair (when I didn’t want to leave) to Atlanta. But, you are dealing with it in a healthy way and fought through your feelings. Stay positive.

  • 5

    whoo baby. those things just stir around in there don’t they. great that he went away and you ran it off. time, space and quiet i think are the most important things you can have in those moments.

    i’m glad you have those vows at the ready. what a wonderful reminder!