The more I think about my general optimistic, happy state of being and how I got this way the harder it is to pinpoint specific instances or lessons in my mind. It has become such a deep part of who I am it is hard to remember what I felt like before. Sure there are dips and bad days, but not as frequently or lasting as is expected with a serious condition like PMDD. And even in the deepest pits of it I am still hanging onto the sunshine just a bit better than I ever could before. The triggers for joy now outweigh the triggers for pain and depression. The tiniest speck of beauty or happiness can overturn the saddest mix of endocrine cocktails and 'reset' my perspective.
Yesterday was a tense evening with my son. He was out of sorts, grumpy and uncooperative from the moment I picked him up. After a long work week while still recovering from pneumonia I was looking forward to a nice relaxing night of cooking dinner together and watching movies until bed. He was acting like a porcupine with a rubber band around his balls. So not his usual self.
I went through the usual checklist, 'are you hungry?', 'does anything hurt?', 'is everything ok with your friends at school?', 'is there anything you need to tell me but don't want to?', blah, blah, blah, nothing. My mood was amping up to meet his as my attempts to sooth him were thwarted with more prickliness. We stood next to each other in the kitchen, him cooking bacon and me rolling out tortillas, not talking and not enjoying ourselves. My mood was definitely matching his funk. Then I set the dish soap bottle down kind of hard after washing my hands and these teeny-tiny bubbles just popped out of it and started floating silently around the kitchen. The light caught them and they looked brilliantly purple and blue.
Everything shifted. I forgot about my expectations of having a pleasant, peaceful night and how I was disappointed by the boy's bad mood. I watched the bubbles float around and forgot about everything else for just a split second. Then he noticed the bubbles and started giggling and trying to pop them. We laughed and went back to our cooking. Out of no where he said, 'I'm just really frustrated about our football game this afternoon. The ref was bad and we lost by 36 points.' Ah...the problem and a voluntary admission of feelings all in one without prodding and all it took was some dish soap distraction.
I told him that I am glad he cares about sports and his team and doing a good job but he can't let that affect the rest of his life. We discussed how to learn from the games and practice more to do better next time and the porcupine hasn't been seen since. We also talked about how to separate feelings about situations from our general outlook and treatment of others.
That is an important lesson for all of us really. Yes there will be things in life that are upsetting, frustrating and disappointing. There will be days at work or school that just beat us down, but we have to leave that there. Home and family are the sanctuary, the safe space to retreat from those outside stresses and frustrations. Because of that we all have to try to make that space free from our own negative attitudes. Work is important, school is important, sports are important, all of it is, but nothing is as important as the relationships we have with our loved ones. We have to cherish and respect each other enough to remember that even when having a bad day. It isn't easy. It is much easier to drop to the level of the unhappiest person in the house and roll with the suckiness of it all. Recognizing at the time that you need a reset is the hardest of all, but it can be done. Some times all it takes are some teeny tiny soap bubbles.