Church is a great place for an epiphany, probably because our service has lots of room for reflection and quiet. In the quiet yesterday, I had a fantastic epiphany: I can still become a better mom.
My problem was that I was caught believing that I am just not the kind of mother I wanted to be, and because I'm not naturally patient under difficult circumstances, I never will be. Every time I lost my temper with Maeve, it seemed to be to be proof that I just wasn't ever going to be as good and patient as I wanted to be. And I had plenty of opportunities to prove that to myself.
But yesterday in church, I realized this: I'm not dead yet! Silly, I know, but what that meant to me is I still have time to change, it's not too late for me. My time of being a mother is not over, there's still time to become the mom I want to be.
It was the same epiphany I had when I made a sudden decision to learn the ukulele this year. I was sitting around, wishing I knew how to play, lamenting that it was too late for me to learn. But then I sat straight up as a bolt of realization hit me: I'm not dead! I totally have time to learn the Uke! That's what it felt like yesterday.
So what I did was, I thought through the things Maeve does that make me the most angry, where I really lose my temper, and then wrote down a script for myself, and a new way of thinking about each event.
For example, when Maeve hurts me on purpose, it often makes me really angry and I tend to yell. But I decided I want to change my reaction from angry to hurt. Because part of why she hurts me is that she's not where I'd like her to be in terms of empathy, but you can't have empathy for someone who's bellowing at you. You could, though, feel bad for someone who's crying or sad. So I'm going to try and react to her with sadness, maybe tears if they come naturally, instead of yelling, when she hurts me.
You guys, it's great news. We're not dead! We can learn new stuff, try new things, become the people we want to be!
One of my favorite Discworld characters is Granny Weatherwax, a witch who can leave her body at times and enter the minds of other animals; when she does that, she leaves her body holding a sign that says "I aten't dead" (she's not much of a speller). Somehow my epiphany seems to be summed up nicely by her sign, so I'm leaving this cross stitch right here for all to ponder.