Saturday, April 17, 2010

not today


It's not as though no one told me that today was the day that I needed to write for Hopeful Parents. I can't call it a surprise that the seventeenth of the month appeared on the calendar's page this morning. It came the same way it does every month - right after the sixteenth. 

But today I just can't do it. I simply can't manage to write some pithy or moving little story or weave together an entertaining vignette from the loose threads of our lives. 

I certainly don't want for material. By God, there's been plenty of entertainment around here - and certainly no shortage of emotion. Three out of the four members of my family melted down in fairly dramatic fashion at some point yesterday. Wait, make that points - plural.

It might even be four of four for all I know - and if it is, I'd like to thank my husband for choosing to lose it privately. These days he knows how desperately I need his calm. We have rules around here, after all - bed time is nine o'clock; one game must be put away before another one comes out; no one goes outside without telling an adult; and only one parent is allowed to lose their sh-t a time. Seems reasonable, no?

So although I could choose from a million half-started stories - I won't. Because I can't. Because quite frankly, I feel like this can be - no this HAS to be - the one place that I don't have to. That I can say, 'I'm tired'. That I can admit that I'm overwhelmed. That you'll get it - really GET it - when I say that even one more thing - one more 'have to' - is just too much today.

One of my half-written posts is about giving ourselves permission to walk away. It's about giving ourselves a break. Knowing when to pull the rip-cord.

It's about how much better I think it is to stop talking than to say things that you can never take back. It's about how we get one chance at parenting our incredible children. It's about how they never forget our words - particularly the ones that we desperately wish they would.

Recently, I got up in the middle of a conversation with my older daughter and walked out of the room. I literally put my hands up and walked away without explanation. I did not trust myself to do anything else. I went into another room and I cried. I raged. I breathed. I got it together and I came back. I told her some of why I had walked away. The whole story was more than a nine year-old needed to hear. I apologized. She shrugged. 

We talked about how important it is to use the tools we have to avoid hurting the people we love with careless or angry words. We talked about the times when we're in a place where we don't feel like we can control ourselves, and that in that place two of the most powerful tools we have are our feet. 

I'll write that whole post sometime. But for today - in THIS place - I'm taking my own advice.

It's too much. So I'm walking away.


jess can be found at






  1. I love this. Powerful words for all of us. (And you thought you weren't writing something??)

  2. Walk on, girl...we'll all be here when you get back - and if you walk too that guy in the phone commercial who finds himself way out in the woods somewhere, just turn around...we'll be there. The best part of taking some space, being alone, walking away, is knowing that there are enough folks in your life who understand how far is too far. Walk on...we will throw you a line before you've gone too far. xoxo

  3. OF COURSE you can. You're tired. We understand. You take a nap and we'll chat later.

  4. I think this post is just as, maybe MORE, important than the actual story, Jess. It's a really good reminder that we ALL reach breaking points and we all may say or do things we will regret later. The best possible thing we can do is to walk away when it is safe to do so. There have been many, many moments when I have had to close the gates on Nik's playroom and simply walk away —despite my fear that he might hurt himself in his own aner/frustration— because it was the best choice in the moment.

  5. As Michelle just posted about the other day "it's okay to set somethings down" Set it down and walk away--our feet are powerful indeed!
    Great post for today.

  6. And don't we all have days like that! Sounds strange, but it gives me hope to see that other parents also have the bad days, and can write about them! Our life as parents of children with special needs is hard - sometimes harder than we can deal with.
    But tomorrow is another day. I hope it's better than today. And I hope that in the meantime, you manage a night of sleep. And we all know that sleep is certainly not something we take for granted!!

  7. Wow for not writing today you sure gave me a lot to think about. Your words are magical healing words that soothe me, make me laugh, and comfort me.

  8. Can I hold your hand as you walk out? Because this is exactly what I'd like to do, as well.

  9. I so get this. And Jess? Even when you're not writing a post, you still write one hell of a post. xoxo

  10. Yes, sister!
    I practiced this the other day at a work meeting.
    I love it.
    Thank you.