Last night my family and I watched the movie Frozen. My two year old son was tired and so boisterous that we couldn’t hear the dialogue, so we put him to bed only a little way into the movie; then my husband, daughter, and I watched the rest of it together in peace. We started it late, around 8pm, and factoring in pausing the movie to get my son to bed, and then stopping another time so that my daughter could run to the bathroom…it was nearly ten before it was over.
Once my daughter was in bed, I attended to my blog; I had already meditated that afternoon and was relieved that I wouldn’t have to fight fatigue for thirty minutes while I attempted to remember who I am beyond my body, mind, and the world around me.
My mind is slow by ten o’clock at night; it takes me longer to find the right words to express the thoughts in my head. I managed to write a little, and revise a little, and it was nearly midnight before I lay my head on the pillow.
For the last few weeks I’ve been able to awaken early enough to complete my meditation before anyone else is stirring…but this morning I felt so tired I decided to sleep in ’til 7 or beyond if I could. At precisely 7, my husband’s alarm went off, and despite my request to just reset his alarm for quarter of 8, he kept hitting the snooze. So I got up. I took a shower. I put some laundry in the washer. I was planning on meditating then, but I heard my son awaken, and my husband was just getting himself up.
I asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking care of the morning routine with the kids while I meditated for thirty minutes. I told him that if I went up to my meditation room right then, I’d be done by 8:15–thirty minutes before he would need to start getting ready for his day. At first he said, “Ok.” Then he started to say, “I would never do that to you. I…”
I felt a flare of temper, and behind it, the disappointment, resentment, and the deep-seated fiery rage that can explode at any moment with only a little fuel. The same rage that I’ve been trying to come to terms with for a while, the rage that I’m trying to manage with therapy and medicine. I managed to swallow my disappointment and keep my anger at bay, and I said to him, “Ok. I won’t go then.”
He wanted to engage with me. He wanted to tell me what he has told me before–that it isn’t right to go off by myself and leave him with the kids while I meditate, cloistering myself from everyone…
I told him that it was settled, and we won’t talk about it again. I wouldn’t go up, and that was that. But he still wanted to engage with me, and this was all I needed to feel even angrier.
Needless to say, it didn’t end so well, although I suppose it went better than it could’ve gone. Instead of making a complete scene, I reiterated how important my practice is to me, and how I can’t believe that after nearly three years he doesn’t get it. I reminded him that I haven’t inconvenienced him with my meditation practice for at least three weeks, because I’ve been getting up way earlier than everyone else and fitting it in while they were sleeping–so he hasn’t had to take care of the children all by himself during my meditations in all that time. I told him I was dumb to think that he would support me willingly in this morning’s practice, and that I won’t be asking again.
Instead of responding with his own thoughts and feelings, he pointed out what in my behavior wasn’t appropriate to him, from the volume of my voice, to my facial expressions and hand gestures. This only made me feel more defensive and annoyed. I wish that he would just tell me what was really on his mind, instead of fixating on how my delivery could’ve been better.
I ended up walking off the fetch my son, and he followed me up to his room. We greeted my son like nothing had happened. Back downstairs I got my daughter up, changed her sheets, helped her to get dressed. We sat around the breakfast table and ate scrambled eggs. I was seething inside.
My daughter asked to see Frozen again, so I turned the movie back on and sat there with my son and daughter while my husband showered and got ready for work, about 20 minutes earlier than he normally does. He came out and sat with us watching the movie for a while. When it was almost time for him to leave for work, I asked if he could put the boy up in his room with some toys as he was getting ready to walk out the door. I told him that the girl would be fine watching the movie on her own.
He said yes, then looked at me and said, “Isn’t now a better time?” He meant, wasn’t that moment a better moment for me to go meditate than the one I had originally chosen…I half shrugged and said, “Yes,” with plenty of bite in my tone and derision in my face. Inside I wanted to say, “Screw you buddy, and your ideas of better time.”
I’ve been feeling the ricochets of our conversation throughout the day, and sitting with some really painful disappointment, feeling discouraged.
Marriage is so hard. At some point we need to work this out. I need to acknowledge that I was unskillful in my response and I need to be honest about how disappointed I feel, observing how he was unwilling to watch the kids for thirty minutes to help me out with something that is deeply important to me.
Turning this over…hopefully relinquishing control will help.