Friday, September 25, 2009


Forty-something. Not that I'm avoiding disclosing my exact age, but I honestly just don't remember. I always have to stop and do the math (and I'm not that quick at it most of the time). The numbers just aren't that important to me. I have trouble enough remembering how old my kids are... and somehow at this stage of my life that seems more important. :)

Anyway... 40-something... with three kids. And yet... in the past 24 hours I've come to realize that I'm not so sure I accept the word "no" any better than my children. Sure, on the outside I said "no problem." And I guess in a way maybe I'm handling it better than my kids... I'm not arguing, after all... or throwing a temper-tantrum... screaming that it's not fair. But inside... somewhere... there still, evidently, resides a teenager. I've unexpectedly found myself wanting to sulk... things didn't go my way... and I'm just not happy about it.

It kind of surprised me, really. I thought I was a little more "mature" than that. But I'm finding that evidently I've still not figured out how to express dissatisfaction in a healthy manner. Maybe part of it is... as a 40-some year old mother of three I don't often get told "no" (by someone other than myself, anyway). Most of the time when "no" comes up, it's my decision -- whether it's my answer to my children or my own decision to forego something myself (in favor of something else -- usually my children!). Ummm, yeah... "my answer..." and "my decision...." Yes, I'm seeing a pattern here. A good friend told me a few years ago that I can be... umm... well... a
little bit of a control freak. That's not exactly how he put it, but the truth was there. :)

So... I'm trying hard not to be the control freak. To accept the "no." And I think I'm doing a fairly good job on the outside. I'm maybe a little more subdued, but nothing that's all that noticeable (I don't think).... But... on the inside... on the inside I'm retreating... licking my wounds. "No" wasn't easy to hear. In part because I wanted what I wanted. But in part, too, because, whether it was true or not, it felt like "no" meant that I wasn't good enough. Or... actually... worse yet... that someone else didn't think I was good enough... that there was something about me that warranted the "no." That may not be the real reason for the "no." I'd say there's probably a good chance that it's not. But... like I said... somewhere deep inside this 40-some year old woman is a teenager. Yikes. I so did not want to see that... let alone admit it.

But... I am realizing... maybe I needed this "no." Maybe I needed to learn to grapple with it a little... to learn to accept not being in control... to grapple with humility and acceptance.... and maybe I needed a little bit of a reminder... to see just how my teenagers -- the ones living in my house, not buried inside me -- can see and feel "no."

Hmmph. Yeah... I can see it. But I still don't like it... sigh... I think I still have some work to do....