Momma’s got a big ol’ BUT…
And not the kind that looks good in skinny jeans…
Most 13-14 year old boys don’t really want to spend 24 hours a day with Mom. Even Max, who has remained surprisingly cuddly and tolerant into his teen years, has a breaking point. We have been together going on more than a week and he decided that I have a least one annoying habit. You see, he picked up on the fact that no matter what he says, I start my response with the word, “BUT.” He says,”I feel so tired after doing almost nothing.” I reply, “But, you just had major life altering surgery.” He says,”I am miserable and want to go home.” I respond, “But, you know, this is only temporary.” I think you get the point.
He said, “Do you know how many times you use the word, but? Why can’t you just let things be?” I really had no idea it was such a problem until he pointed it out and now I can’t think about anything else. I have tried to limit my use of “but’ in the last two days, BUT I am really having trouble. The thing is, I cannot, for the life of me, let things BE. Every time he complains or is unhappy I seem unable to accept it. I am afraid that if I just give in to the sorrow, he will sink. Logically, I know that he is entitled to feel whatever he feels. BUT, I am afraid that if we don’t remain positive and hopeful in the face of this huge obstacle, we will have a real problem. I have definitely been accused of this tendency before, the not-letting people just feel their feelings – BUT, never in such a specific way.
I now assume that I must have done this to everyone who might be reading… so, I’m sorry if I suck. I feel like if you tell me something isn’t right, it has to be fixed. I have to tell you how to fix it, or how not feel bad about it, or how to move on from it because it probably isn’t that important. I suppose I am either pathologically helpful or a total control freak.
I am going with control freak for the time being.
Hun is partially responsible for this problem. He is naturally optimistic and his glass is always half full. I am much more analytical. See our professions as exhibit A. Me/lawyer, Hun/toy buyer. I look for the exact ratio of full to empty so that I can be appropriately happy or unhappy depending on the situation. I don’t want to be excessive in either direction. However, after 35 years, I suppose he rubbed off on me. This optimism doesn’t come naturally for me – reality is more my speed. BUT, given some of our hurdles and the perpetual challenge of disability, without optimism, we would have drowned years ago.
Saying, “BUT” all the time feels parental, helpful and positive, BUT also phony, unrealistic and annoying. I suppose there needs to be some balance between encouragement and acceptance, BUT I have not yet found it.