Monday, August 26, 2013

The Secret of Getting What You Want: From a 4 year old

It was not how a Sunday morning is supposed to go. I woke up itching from the unsettled brewings of an argument the night before with my husband. Something about "not listening to me" was festering into a full blown rage.
I orginally intended just to talk. I really did.
I asked my husband if we could talk. But in hindsite I see now I really didn't mean that.
I meant "If you go downstairs and write now like you normally do I will feel ignored and angry again. You better listen to me rant right now or there will be hell to pay."
If I had said that at least I would have been being honest.
But I didn't.
I explained to him that I needed his support more, his listening and most importantly his affection. In hindsight I imagine it might have sounded like a plea from a mom for her teenager to pick up his socks.
But I didn't think so at the time. I was just justified. I knew what I wanted.

See, most nights he goes to bed earlier than I do and wakes up at 5:30 to write before going to work. I stay up late because it's the only time of the day I have to myself, when the house is settled in silence and the demands, bickering or distant squeals are not crying out for my attention. I can breathe. I choose to stay up late.
But then when I go to bed I want to connect with my husband. I want him magically sense from his oblivious slumber to roll over and reach for me, hold me and listen to me talk about the day. I want his affection and snuggles to envelope me, protect me and yearn for me.
Instead, he sleeps. Sometimes, he snores. It's like a Mac truck gargling.

So I stew in resentment. Then my brain, at midnight, kicks into second gear, my heart beats in a near panic and I start thinking of all the things he and I need to discuss...after school activities, are we parenting the way we could, can we budget better to make more room for college, what does he think of my plans for Moms Across America, does he really get the gravity of the GMO situation and can he just tell me what to do that will fix everything? Can't he just hold me and make it all alright?
Instead, he sleeps.

So today I woke up stewing, and my request of him, it boiled down to after 20 minutes of spitfire accusations and complaints, was really not a request. It was a demand. And who would want to be affection to a demanding person? No one. They would rather roll over and go to sleep. They certainly wouldn't want to wake up and listen to them demand more.

I got it. It wasn't pretty but I got it. With my game face on I sucked it up and went downstairs to join my family instead of eating the breakfast he made me in bed. I did my best to set the resentment aside and just be with my family. I was still feeling a undercurrent of shame however, because I realized that what I was asking for from him was really what I needed to be attention.

After lunch, as I was washing the dishes, my 4 year old sidled up to me with his cute chubby face and said "Snuggle wuggles?"
"Do you want to snuggle sweetie?" and he nodded.
"I am doing the dishes now-"
"After you are done..." he said with a hopeful smile, "Snuggles wuggles time?"
I was struck that he wanted affection and just asked for it in the cutest way.
I am not sure he knows he is irresistable but he sure knows how to ask for what he wants.
"Okay I said, I would love to."

I finished the dishes and found my son in the hands of my husband, (who was lying flat on his back on the couch), flying through the air.I saw that my son was just being cute and loving..anyone would love to snuggle him. I saw also that how he asked made all the difference in the world. Cute, agreeable, patient.

I didn't blame my husband anymore. I stepped over my husband legs and wedged myself in the fold of the couch, laying along side him, full body snuggle. I hugged Bronson who came in for a landing and it was "snuggle wuggle time". My husband smiled at me with tenderness and forgiveness. I saw deep in his eyes that all he ever wanted was to connect too. We just need to make it "time", and when he was awake worked. We hugged our son and rubbed noses and wallowed in loving affection.

At the beach later that afternoon my husband surprised me with a lovely back rub while we watching dolphins show us a glimpses of their dorsel fins while curling between the waves. I sighed in bliss.I went to bed as I usually do and this time he back was not a barrier, but just my man, a good man, to snuggle up to.

Sometimes, I realize even bigger than giving up one's pride to ask for something, is to just give it.
My sons continue to inspire me with their love, joy and play.
My husband inspires me with his commitment to providing for our family so I can do everything I am doing....which is exactly everything I want to be doing. I think he deserves some affection!

Zen Honeycutt