Friday, May 31, 2013

Tornado TJ

I even surprised myself.

At the end of a very fun, very relaxing Memorial Day weekend at the lake, with all of the cars loaded and ready to head home, I burst into the full kitchen in a fit of anger and spewed out a couple of demands. Virtually incapable of controlling my actions, I jerked the silverware drawer open and then slammed it back shut. Corbin looked at me in utter shock, as did the other eight pairs of wide-eyes staring at me. About then I began to realize the absurdity of my anger.

Later, much later, that was the image that actually made me giggle. The view from my perspective - all of those bodies flinging themselves to the far corners of the kitchen, making as wide a circle around “Tornado TJ” as possible, shocked and awed that some angry demon had taken over my body and stormed into the kitchen unannounced. In mere seconds everyone went from laughing and crowding around a silver cylinder of homemade vanilla ice cream to cowering against the cabinets. Just moments before, I’d been right in there with them, setting big spoons into the leftover lemon ice box pie and hashbrown casserole and whatever else needed to be eaten by a room full of hungry kids before we left the lake.

I honestly don’t know what came over me. After a few days of introspection, and talking through it with Corbin, I am still more than a little surprised at my outburst. My explosion. Or as Corbin dubbed it, my “natural disaster.”

And I’m equally shocked that having my parents, my children, Bran’s two friends, and Shaun (our TCU friend living with us this summer) all right there in the kitchen didn’t stop me one bit.

That’s a little scary.

Our weekend as a whole went really, really well. Simply being in the middle of nowhere just does something to calm anxious, busy hearts. The view of the shimmering water through those big glass doors beckons a relaxed spirit. Also, there’s no wifi. And hardly any 4G. So phones and ipods and laptops go untouched (my fav part of the lake). And probably the best thing, other than Shaun and Bran’s friends coming out for a couple of days, was that we got to stay three days and two nights. So often our trips to the lake are rushed with deadlines on either side, but we made it a point to drop everything and just go - for the whole weekend. Which means we actually achieved a point of relaxation before it was time to come home.

So, with all this “lake goodness,” what in the world happened in those last couple of moments trying to clean up and get home?
Bottom line, I was already more emotionally torked than I realized (duh).

Corbin and I have been in survival mode the last few weeks especially, because it is, afterall, MAY. In the midst of all the activity that comes with ending the school year, Corbin’s work load ramped up exponentially. Not only deadlines and work, but some of the adversarial nature that comes with his position as well. With all of that, and Papa undergoing a tricky back surgery last week, Corbin didn’t really even want to go to the lake. Anything sounded like too much.
Corbin might be needed in Tyler by his parents.
I was on call here in Fort Worth to help a friend.
Lots and lots of things up in the air, but all I knew to do was forge ahead with the 3-day weekend and get our family away from the crazy to the lake.

So while I was aware that I felt out-of-sync with Corbin, I didn’t realize how high my insecurities had mounted. I think that these seasons of “ships passing in the night” actually accumulate, rather than come and go. Meaning, the more we experience these two or three weeks (or two or three months) that pass without significant communication and focused time together, the effect is cumulative. So instead of feeling fully secure in our 17-year marriage, insecurity rears its ugly head even stronger. And then like last weekend, I walk on eggshells for a few days and then POP at the last straw.

Monday night, spewing steam in the kitchen, I realized the blunder of my strong reaction immediately. But I also thought I had valid reasons to feel the way I did. Corbin could barely talk about it with me later that night. I had not only surprised him and hurt his feelings, but he was angry. And if you know Corbin, you know that’s something. It was probably an hour into our discussion late Monday before I began to realize that I might actually be just a smidge in the wrong - and that by not telling him a day, or week, earlier how I was feeling, all of my responses were totally out of left field. He had no idea I was feeling neglected and pushed away. In the name of “giving him space” and not wanting to add pressure when he was already taxed out at work, I actually made things worse. And over and over again, I believed the lies Satan formed in my mind - in my voice - that Corbin was annoyed with me, that I was a mediocre wife, and that I incapable of parenting my children well.

So what’s my take-away in all of this? (there better be a take-away):

I want to ultimately be filled and satisfied by God. But I do need things from my husband: affirmation, and encouraging words especially in regards to my roles as a wife and mom. But I’ve got to communicate that to him when start to run empty. When I’m confident in Corbin’s love, it does wonders.

The good news in all of this is that I have a forgiving God, forgiving parents, and a forgiving family. Branson is still talking to me. Fortunately or unfortunately, he didn’t seem too terribly fazed in the first place.

The other good news is that I have reason to praise God not just in spite of my flaws, but because of my flaws:
I choose to thank You for my weaknesses, my infirmities, my inadequacies (physical, mental, emotional, relational)... for the ways I fall short of what people view as ideal... for my feelings of helplessness and inferiority and even in my pain and distresses. What a comfort to know that You understand the feeling of my weaknesses. And that in Your infinite wisdom You have allowed these in my life so that they may contribute to Your high purposes for me.  (Heb 4:15; Rom 8:28-29)
- from Treasury of Praise, “My Weaknesses”
Thank goodness for His steady, faithful Word.

And my last take-away... When I take myself or situations too seriously, I can be reminded of what I just learned today - what Cappy and Daboo found hilarious - that in the moments after I stormed through the kitchen last Monday night, after the kids had scattered to the ends of the earth to get out of my tornadic path, they were back at the ice cream within mere seconds of my exit. Didn't give my outburst a second thought. All my wasted energy for nothing.

Now, with all that out of the way, back to the SWEET memories from the weekend -

They were in the canoe within about 5 minutes arriving to the lake
Something about this pic wants me to sing "Wonder Woman!"

Basden making pie crust
Mini-lemon ice box pies - Daboo's idea!
On their rock
...which really looks like this
Father / son moment
When the water's too low for swimming

Puppy-chow goodness
Playing jacks - special to me
Sweet girl
Yay!  The boys have arrived!

Serious about fishing

Very creative. Tied the canoe to Raleigh's fishing boat - the trolling motor got a workout!
Hanging out... Es doesn't miss a party

Shaun - trying to get him to loosen up a bit
Bruce & Rita - so sweet to let us use their dock... and their deck box for a chalupa buffet
Never know what to expect from Bruce

Sanders joined us WITH their ski boat - who hoo!

Thanks, Jeff, for the tubing and wakeboarding
Cappy in his zone
What fun!
Good to see them relax
The bookends - quite a pair

How much roughhousing is too much?
No one cooks breakfast like Daddy!

Until next time... clear skies ahead!