Every couple of weeks I patiently untangle the knots of strawberry-blonde hair that sit at the base of my child’s neck. As I sat on the corner of the tub the other night gently loosening an especially stubborn clump while my daughter chattered about her day, I couldn’t stop the tears.
Those wet tangles I held in my hand were tangible signs of progress—tangible proof that letting go can happen even in the most problematic hearts. My wish is that by sharing where I once was and where I am now, others will feel hope they didn’t feel in awhile. Perhaps by reading about my messy, tangles of progress, others will see their own. This is my story …
There was a time in my life when I barked orders more often than I spoke words of love … when I reacted to small everyday inconveniences as if they were major catastrophes … when normal human habits and quirks raised my blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Rather than nurturing my family members, I took it upon myself to manage my family members until there was no room to bend or breathe.
My artistic, busybody, dream-chasing older daughter’s desire to create multiple projects at once, try new recipes, and keep towering stacks of books and magazines by her bedside received disapproving looks on a daily basis.
My stop-and-smell-the-roses younger daughter’s desire to buckle stuffed animals before we departed, accessorize every part of her body before walking out the door, and move at a snail’s pace drew exasperated breaths and annoyed frowns.
My fun-loving, laidback husband’s spontaneous approach to weekend plans and ability to totally chill out got the silent treatment more times that I could count.
The people I was supposed to love unconditionally possessed qualities that irritated, annoyed, and continually derailed my carefully planned agenda—an agenda that was all about efficiency, perfection, and control.
I was not acting as a mother or a wife or even a decent human being. I was acting as a surly manager who was intent on creating a toxic environment—a place where it was pretty hard to show up each and every day.
How do I know?
Because even I could barely stand myself. The impatient person I’d become woke up angry and irritated as I braced myself for another day of managing the unmanageable. Forget about living. Forget about smiling. Forget about counting the blessings. The Grumpy Manager didn’t do that. And everyone in the home began following suit.