My understanding of the word responsibility is the ability to respond. It means I choose the energy I am contributing to the situation, the words that come out of my mouth, and the legacy I am leaving in my interaction.
And sometimes, I completely react.
I recently had a glaring example of this with my son, Henry. Henry moves at his own pace. This means I know that he needs at least an hour to get ready for school or it will turn into panic, nagging, and practically shoving him out the door to the bus. This is not how I choose to have our mornings go.
I decided to let us sleep in the other day, knowing full well this would lead to a rushed morning. Long story short, he missed the bus. And I LOST MY MIND! I lectured him all the way to school about paying attention, doing what he is supposed to be doing, blah, blah, blah. I dropped him at the front door of school, with a quick goodbye and an “ok mom”.
Then I sobbed. I cried so hard I could almost not drive. This is NOT how I choose to parent or model communication for my son. And now I had spewed all of my anger all over his energy for the day. Crap.
I attempted to get in touch before school started, and ended up going to school during his recess period to ask for forgiveness. He was, of course, over it, and I wanted him to know it wasn’t ok. I wouldn’t want him to treat others like that and it wasn’t ok for me to treat him that way. He gave me a hug and begged me to stay for lunch. Easy as that.
What is so real to me, is that we are human and we have times when we react. We snap at the people we love, even when the voice inside is saying, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”.
The work is to know how to restore yourself and to do it quickly. I am discovering new things about how I am thrown into reaction and what it takes to get back into the place where I am able to respond.
I am always learning, and I love that I get to share this process with people. No need to be perfect here, simply to recognize when we need to bring ourselves back.