Taking It In: Clashing By Design

It is starting to feel like all six of us blow up frequently enough that our days can feel full of clashes, emotions, frustrations, and hurt. Common triggers: a challenging math problem, a long uphill on the bike ride, time for school not legos, you’re doing it wrong, you ripped up my art work, too hard of a wrestle, I’m hungry, too long of a hike, I don’t want to re-do what I got wrong… and boom. We’ve lost our minds.

In our non-air life, and even digging back further to our non-covid life, time was always short. Arguments always happened at inconvenient times — while trying to get out the door, trying to get four mouths of teeth brushed, in the middle of answering someone’s question. Although inconvenient timing, at best we could piece together some repair in the moment, but as arguments go, in my quest to let emotions subside and readdress when we are calmer, life didn’t always seem to afford me those follow ups. Kids were hustled off to school, I to work, and it was all (seemingly) forgotten. I think I always felt the presence of that unfinished business — a twinge of brokenness and disconnection.

And here we are, still full of blow ups, and likely even more given our proximity to each other, the newness and unknownness of what we are doing, and what covid is demanding of everyone these days. Alongside being exhausted by it, I have moments of gratitude for this intense proximity and the way it makes us confront and work through rather than running away or getting distracted. I do now have the time and space to come back to the hurts, to the unfinished conversations. And frankly we won’t function unless we do. So we are very regularly repairing. We argued — we broke something — we hurt someone. Now here is how we fix it. Over and over and over, ten thousand times a day. There was always such a stop-and-go, inconsistency to these efforts of forgiveness and now it’s in our face, impossible to ignore or delay. Yet I am grateful for countless do-overs. Grateful that hurt feelings can lead to deeper intimacy… as long as we do the repair work, sloppily yet regularly. So damn regularly.

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