Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Attachment to a family meal.

I realized that I have an attachment to quiet meals with my family. When I take time to prepare a meal for Jenn and the kids I have an expectation that they will drop what they are doing and join me in a time of laughter and sharing and joy.
Often times however, my families agenda does not coincide with my desire to enjoy this time together. By reflecting on the needs of my family and respecting where they are in their lives I can attempt to reduce my need for a connected meal and simply enjoy the times when such an event occurs.
Hopefully this scene will not unfold again:
As I was finishing preparing a meal for Jenny and the kids, Mia began to lose her patience. She lied down on the kitchen floor next to me and began screaming at the top of her lungs. My 8 year old son Tommy began to stand just out of her reach as she tried to kick him from her back. I did not think it was possible, but her screams got louder.
"Mia, if you don't stop yelling, I am going to move you to your room."
More yelling and kicking.
"Mia, take a breath. You need to settle down and start using your words or there will be a consequence."
More yelling and kicking.
"Last chance." I began to lose my temper and put my hands on her shirt.
"No! I will stop!" she screamed.
I let her lay on the floor and tried to breathe. She grunted softly and was whining a bit.
Then Jenny decided to enter the argument. She was disappointed that I had not followed through on the consequence. (As many people who are reading this post are:)
"If you are not going to put her in a time out then I am." said Jenny.
I snapped.
"Don't even think about it! You don't like it when I interfere in your parenting choices, please don't interfere in mine."
Jenny turned and walked away and that outburst brought my 9 year old daughter into the argument.
"Daddy stop!" she yelled and she stormed out of the room.
I know she hates it when my wife and I argue. We snip at each other like that about once every 6 months. I have set the intention to reduce that amount.
She and Jenn came back to the kitchen, and still fuming I apologized for losing my temper. The scene was ugly, but as I regained my cool it was the only way that I could attempt to repair the damage.
"I am sorry for losing my patience and raising my voice." I said.
"No you are not!" screamed my 9 year old.
"I meditate each morning and do yoga in order to let those emotions go before I lose my temper. I do feel sorry. I am doing the best I can."
My 9 year old was still angry, but she seemed somewhat satisfied with this answer.

Needless to say, I did not enjoy the fish tacos as much as I anticipated. Since that incident I have reflected on my attachment to mealtimes and have tried to let it go with some success.

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