Monday, June 27, 2011

"Tell Me How GREAT I Am"

It's 11:30 pm on a Sunday night and my husband and I are driving home from a tornado of stimuli from a weekend in New York City with all three boys, 8, 6 and 2. The word that comes to mind is BLEARY. I am achy, drained, and my brain feels like mush. We stare at the straight away of the dark Connecticut highway like a couple of drones. I feel defeated by the huge amount of activity we chose to take on this weekend. I am done.
My husband yawns. I take that to mean "Keep me awake or we all die." So I start talking. That's our thing. He drives, I talk to keep him awake. I ask him if I can tell him about the Alexander McQueen exhibit I went to and saw on my own while he stayed with the boys and played in Central Park. I tell him all about the fascinating juxtapositions he used in his high fashion...tiny gold beads that drip like honey over a horse hair skirt, shiny silver metal in the shape of a jawbone for jewelry, shredded chiffon, gilded gold duck feather, elm wood prosthetic legs, red jeweled encrusted bodice with hundreds of layers of tulle...
"Enough enough! Ok I can't stand it anymore." he finally groans.
I am stunned. But I was just getting started. This is Fascinating! How can he stop me???
"But I thought you wanted me to keep you awake? " I ask, trying to hide the hurt from squeaking out.
"Yeah, but I want you to talk about something that I want to hear about. Like how great I am. Tell me how great I am." He is not joking.
I burp up a "Ha" without thinking. Then I hold the rest of the full throttle laughter in because I get the vulnerability it takes to ask for acknowledgement. This is what he wants right now. My head is groaning..."Oh God, I have to think about HIM?? I just want to think about ME and what I think is interesting! I don't want to tell him how great he is! What a whiner! I thought women were the ones that were supposed to need attention??? Oh Man..."
And I get could listen to the feminist committee complaining in my head or I could fullfill on my husbands request. I take a deep breath.
Ok. Let's play the game " How GREAT You Are!!!"

"First of all", I begin from the beginning somewhat slowly, "You are SO Great because you carried a fifty pound backpack for hours Saturday so that the boys wouldn't have to carry a thing. And when you weren't carrying the back pack you were carrying Bronson so I wouldn't have to. You are SO GREAT. Secondly, you are so Great because you listened to my friend and I chatting away like a couple of hens for hours and you were totally ok with the whirlwind of a day we had planned at the museum. Thirdly.."
I walked through the weekend like I was reviewing a video. I looked for all the moments he was GREAT and saw everything he was committed to, to making the trip easy for us, to all of is having fun, to feeding and taking care of us, to taking our boys for bathrooms runs seventeen times a day... and it became more and more fun to revel in my husband's GREATNESS. Soon I felt nothing but love, lightness and joy for him and our triumphant weekend. I didn't want to stop. I kept going. I found ways he was great even when we had a breakdown on Sunday and I was spitting fire at him. He was so great for wanting the boys and I to be taken care of...his way. His commitment to us is never ending.
Soon I was at the end of our day, up to the very moment and I found myself acknowledging him for even asking to be acknowledged for being Great, because it really got me present to everything being so perfect. Instead of listening to the tape in my head that often points our what we coulda , shoulda, woulda done, I was present to the glory of the adventure we created in the face of lots of things not going the way we planned.

Then my husband played " How GREAT You Are" with me. And I teared up from his acknowledgments. He saw ways that I was great even when I thought he hated me. He saw all the planning, he turned my worries into my love, he even transformed my snapping at him and grumpiness into commitment to having our adventure go the way we said it would go for the boys. He saw my resistance to take care of myself as a commitment to our kids and then acknowledges how GREAT I was for seeing tat I needed to take care of myself and at one point in the trip, just going back to the room for a rest. He turned my breakdowns into breakthroughs and I love him to the marrow in his bones for that. I would die for him. I would do anything for him. Including talk about how GREAT he is ON DEMAND.
I also can't wait to play this game with my kids. We all just need to be acknowledged sometimes. Asking for it isn't wimpy or whiner-ish. It's GREAT.
It turns our day or event or trip into a adventure that we will never forget, and not because of what we coula, woulda, shoulda done but because of what we did do, that was GREAT exactly the way it was.

Zen Honeycutt


  1. Zen! simply amazing and thank you for the acknowledgement. It's about all the little things that we do - it really is and if we just take a moment to BE with each other - actually be with our spouses we really get present to the commitment we have for one another. To include your boyz in the "How Great They Are" game will only foster that deep love you all have for one another. thank you for sharing!

  2. Zen, really great post. I can sooo see Todd saying that. And a good reminder to appreciate the heros in our lives!!

  3. Really Inspiring. Thanks.