I Have A Voice

The voting has begun for the Trifextra weekend 33-word challenge and will remain open for 12 hours (til 8AM Monday, Eastern time).  There are some great entries, click here to cast your vote.  There will be no hanging chads, no electoral votes and no re-counts – the winners will be chosen by the blogging community and the most votes wins!  My two entries are submitted under JannaTWrites, with the following gravatar (my kitty, Cybil):

Now on to the regularly scheduled Sunday post:  I Have A Voice

A bird found its peace in the letter "e"

I am not the most patient person, but I am a peaceful one.  I don’t like conflict, or its cousins, tension or resentment.  I prefer relationships where each person can speak his or her mind, knowing that the foundation of the relationship won’t crack under such truth.  I like to be trusted to hear dreams, secrets, or fears, and I like the security of knowing that someone will do the same for me.

Unfortunately, not all relationships are created equal.

Some relationships are bound by tenuous ties.  These relationships require much more effort to keep stable; to keep peace.  These relationships aren’t conducive to open communication.  The thing is, the longer these relationships are forged, the more necessary it may be to speak my piece in order to achieve inner peace.

At least, this is what I’m discovering.

Last week, my older son burned his chest on a griddle because he decided to make pancakes for breakfast before my husband woke up (I’d already left for work).  The burn blistered and he didn’t want to tell my husband because he didn’t want to get in trouble.  (This tells me he knew he shouldn’t have been cooking alone.)  We had a talk with him and explained that cooking requires adult supervision.  We thought he understood so we left it at that.

This morning, our older son came in at 6:45AM and asked if he could make pancakes.  We said no, because we wanted to sleep a little longer.  Half an hour later, my younger son told us that our older son made cornbread.  Sure enough, the oven was going and he was spooning out batter for another 6 muffins.

“We told you not to cook without an adult.  We told you ‘no’ on pancakes today.  Why on earth do you think it’s okay to use the oven by yourself?” I asked, frustrated.

He had no answer, but I suspected he found it easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission (because our answer would have been ‘no.’)  It’s yet another event that makes me feel I’m speaking but am not heard.

I hold my tongue quite a bit where my MIL is concerned.  The things I have voiced an opinion about, she often disregards (if it conflicts with what she wants to do.)  I don’t want to put my husband in the middle, nor do I want to engage in a power struggle with her.  She’s held the power because of my desire for peace…but I’m done being undermined.  When she bought my older son the Betta fish for his birthday a couple years ago, I swallowed my anger and let the fish stay because I would only be seen as the ‘bad guy’ if I made him get rid of it.  Now, after a week-long stay at her house, he came back with a TV she bought at Goodwill for $1.  This is after we already told my son a TV wouldn’t happen because of his disrespectful behavior toward us.

This time, my anger is stuck in my throat and resists being swallowed.  All morning, I’ve been seething over the whining from my younger son because he didn’t get a TV.  I’ve been fighting with my older son about the way he talks to us.  That TV is one more “Why don’t you do it yourself?” away from going back to Goodwill.

I have a voice.  I want to be heard.  I want peace.  In the presence of potential conflicts in relationships, I can still find inner peace, if I look close enough.  How about you?

Cholla Cactus Bud
Agave in Bloom (taken in the parking lot of strip mall....hubby pretended he didn't know me and threatened to leave me there)
Ocotillo Cactus in Bloom
Morning Glory in our yard. The white blooms make me smile 🙂

Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always .  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

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16 thoughts on “I Have A Voice

  1. jeanne March 25, 2012 / 6:47 PM

    Have you read the book “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. It helped me through a tough situation with a co-worker.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2012 / 9:13 PM

      No, I haven’t read that book, Jeanne. I looked on Amazon, and it seems they have a whole series of Boundaries books. Maybe the library has a copy – looks like a worthwhile read. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. nrhatch March 25, 2012 / 8:04 PM

    Your voice got my vote . . . twice.

    As far as the TV goes, don’t hesitate to take it away UNTIL it’s clear that your son is hearing and HEEDING you. And if your MIL doesn’t like it . . . TOUGH! 😀

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2012 / 9:16 PM

      Aw, thanks for your votes, Nancy! The TV is unplugged and will remain so until I decide otherwise. Thankfully, he was a new boy after naptime (I know he didn’t sleep) but I didn’t have any problems with him the rest of the night. I guess this is all part of testing boundaries.

    • nrhatch March 26, 2012 / 11:47 AM

      Thought you might “enjoy” today’s Cryptoquote:

      When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window. ~ Ogden Nash

      • jannatwrites March 26, 2012 / 9:01 PM

        This is so true, Nancy. I’ve had to ask my parents to step up on discipline for certain behaviors and thankfully, they have cooperated. I don’t want to deny them all the grandparent benefits, so I turn my head and ignore a lot of things 🙂

  3. WordsFallFromMyEyes March 26, 2012 / 3:06 AM

    I love your photo of the two cats – just have to say.

    Re your son though – how old is he, this ‘older son’? I think it’s terrific he can cook so well – I do! True, there should be adult supervision, but I’m very impressed by his self sufficiency.

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2012 / 5:16 AM

      Thanks, WordsFallFromMyEyes. That picture is almost three years old, but I can’t bear to replace it 🙂

      My older son is nine, younger one is six. I do appreciate that he wants to do things on his own, but for his safety, I can’t let him go solo. Last night, he did help with dinner, including stove cooking. It’s a good exercise for me because I generally don’t want people in “my kitchen” – I’m relinquishing some of my conrol 😆

  4. Debbie March 26, 2012 / 7:45 AM

    Love your desert photos, Janna! I’m kind of on your “side” when it comes to parenting. In-laws and your own parents really have no place making decisions (showering gifts, etc.) that undermine the parental authority over their children. That TV is something I’d probably return to Goodwill ASAP, using the trip as an opportunity to explain to both sons why it’s leaving. Later, I’d ask dear hubby for some help reining in MIL! She had to know giving anything to one child would evoke feelings of resentment and jealousy in the other!

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2012 / 8:59 PM

      I’m glad you liked the photos, Debbie. I had fun taking them!

      Oh, I have had a chat with ‘dear hubby’ 🙂 The TV sits unplugged and I have not heard grumblings from either child today (it’s been a good day!) I’m still not thrilled about the situation, but am hopeful that a respectful discussion will yield reasonable results.

  5. Widdershins March 26, 2012 / 2:12 PM

    Speak up! The only one your silence is hurting is you. The world will not end for MIL (or sons, or anyone) if you do.

    There is no peace to be found in seething silently, only stress ulcers!

    • jannatwrites March 26, 2012 / 9:07 PM

      Will do, Widdershins. I’ve held back because there’s a strong possibility she will defy my wishes (I’ve seen her do it to hubby’s brother). If that’s what happens, we’ll have to allow visits only when we are present. Thanks for offering your advice…I like the advice, not ulcers 🙂

  6. Sandra March 27, 2012 / 6:18 AM

    Hi Janna, I’m popping over to say hi outside of Trifecta. I want to take a week off from it and take a look at great Trifectans’ blogs! I can relate to this piece. I have a personality much like yours. I don’t like conflict, and sometimes voicing my thoughts is harder than I like it to be. The issues with your son are probably just his independence testing your limits. But MIL’s issues are definitely more of a struggle because of the nature of the relationship itself. It’s tough! I won’t try to offer any advice other than trust your instincts and believe your own guts!!

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2012 / 8:33 PM

      Thanks for stopping by on a non-Trifecta day, Sandra…your comment was a nice surprise!

      It’s funny how being conflict-avoidant can actually lead to more conflict. I do appreciate your support as I find my way to speaking my mind. Thanks 🙂

  7. pattyabr March 27, 2012 / 9:07 AM

    Everyone wants to be respected and heard and it’s tough to be dependent on others and get your needs met as a child or even an elderly person. Maybe there could be a compromise on teaching safe kitchen skills? Good luck with getting your voice heard and respected.

    • jannatwrites March 27, 2012 / 8:35 PM

      I do have my son working with me in the kitchen and I am letting him do some stove cooking as I watch him. He’s not ready to go solo, but I’m giving him more freedom there. It will come in time. I know he wants (needs) to gain independence. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Patty!

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