WAKEY WAKEY, IT’S TIME TO SHAKY!
It’s been 3 years, 10 months and 2 days since Magnolia parted ways with Mr. X, dividing their children’s time, belongings, heartbeats and loyalties. It takes Magnolia four outings in the early morning before she gets to work these days. Their story fades in as Magnolia and Watson are already 12 minutes behind schedule.
Watson inches about in the bathroom, where he’s been securing his “Emo-genized” hairstyle again and again. “Watson hurry up Sir, before we’re late! Ladies, wakey wakey, it’s time to shaky!” Magnolia can wake the neighbors from her own kitchen, but Watson is immune to his mother’s rooster call from any distance. He sweeps his hazelnut strands from the right counter edge of his forehead to the left corner of his jawline, revealing one baby blue, the sharp end of his nose, and his budding chin of masculinity. From his black on black ensemble, entailing a thin hoodie sweater, skinny legged jeans, an oversized skull belt buckle, and his black and white Vans; his mother Magnolia endures each day waiting for her son’s man-boy rite of passage role to play out. Step by step, Magnolia fixates on each gritty plod Watson stamps, making his way downstairs in his own time.
Super sigh, while embedding a growl, “Please hurry, Watson, I’m tired of you blaming me for you being late!” Magnolia prods from where she is clashing lunch items into two brown lunch bags for the girls. Watson’s brood is naturally activated.
Gracie and Maia are Watson’s younger sisters and they can already be heard bouncing off of each other in the hallway upstairs leading to the double sink bathroom. “I’m taking a shower first!” Gracie claims, while Maia counter motions, “No, I’m brushing my teeth first!” There’s plenty of room and time, so Magnolia disengages, except to call out, “We’re leaving, be back soon, don’t answer the door for any reason!”
“Ok Watson, we’re off!” Magnolia locks the front door behind them, then passes Watson on the way to the car. Magnolia’s driving becomes preoccupied with making up lost time as hard music screams from Watson’s direction. Behind two inserted earbuds, Watson hides his existence away from his mother. Every car ride is the same because there’s always anything for Watson to be upset about regarding Magnolia. There’s a great disparity between the two households; food is minimal, frivolous spending is out, and all the video game systems were left at their father’s house. Magnolia chose wrong when she refused to take half of everything, but instead left their original home completely intact down to the photos on the wall. Watson brings clothes over to Magnolia’s home as if he’s visiting but not as if he lives there too. Magnolia makes note of all the small details, but doesn’t have the experience yet to understand her son has chosen sides all on his own. Magnolia does empathize with her son still, everything he ever knew is not as it was — his mother’s fault for sure, since she left their childhood home, their predictable lifestyle, their overachieving father. Magnolia understands her son’s perspective to some degree; she and Mr. X exchanged a maximum of 5-6 verbal altercations out loud. The children knew their parents as being parents only, not the individuals they are and certainly not fighters. Everything has changed and nothing makes sense for children without access to adult information.
FOREVER CHANGES EVERYONE
Watson and Magnolia’s disconnect is stimulated as easy as their morning time routine. Watson is 15 years old, Gracie is 12 years old, and Maia is 8 years old. Huffington Post Author, Robert Hughes (2010), reports statistics are all over the place, depending on how divorce is measured, but it is certain divorce is no longer abnormal. However, it is an abnormality for this family that was once a party of five “forever.” There’s no more forever; they are now a party of one, a party of four, or a party of three depending on the day, the hour, or the perspective we are learning this story from.
DEVASTATING CHANGE MAKES WAY FOR CHANGE
Through many of Magnolia’s short comings, wrong turns and dead ends, she is gathering an outline that can be utilized by others to rebuild their own families. In order to relate the most to The Convergence of Tribal Times series, one might already have personal experiences regarding the loss or disconnect of family members through domestic violence, abuse, neglect abandonment, divorce, death or mental illness. Many families experience a great range of unnamed challenges, while strives and thriving advancements forward are always possible, especially when someone else’s plan proves to be a success. This eight level process is extended with the upmost capability to work for others as well.
MAGNOLIA’S PROCESS, THE CONVERGENCE OF TRIBAL TIMES, ENTAILS EIGHT SHIFTS:
- Wake Up and Pay Attention
- Ask Questions Upside Down
- Clean House
- Activate Limitations to Build a Foundation
- Leave Room for Revelations
- Maintain New Coordinates
- Become the Happening
For Magnolia, the world has led her by the nose, she’s disregarded by most, an over-grown orphan, an over-thinker, and a slow decision maker. We begin with the underdog because that is where the greatest gains can be easily measured. As an analyst, my job is to highlight the disconnects within this family model. The children’s jobs are to teach Magnolia her deepest lifetime lessons. And your job, dear friends, is to learn faster than Magnolia has in the past 36 years. Let’s hone in to her status now…
HAVE THE GREATEST DAY
Magnolia’s black Nissan Rogue stops as close as possible to the front entrance of Wolfeboro High School. There’s no prompt from Watson for lunch money; so, she reaches… “Do you need lunch money?” Watson speaks to the backpack he is gathering from the floorboard, “No, Dad gave me money because he didn’t know if you had any.” “Ok…I love y–” sounds out Watson’s way, but love is cut short by the slamming of the passenger side door. “Don’t slam the door!” Magnolia rolls the window down to finish her original outgoing cheer, for which Watson pretends again not to hear. Dragging each step of his “had to have” shoes through the parking lot, Watson disappears without ever looking back.
Magnolia watches her first-born walk through a crowd of his peers. Her mind returning to all those times when insensitive elders said “Just wait until they become teenagers…Hahaha…” She discounted every one of those negative nay-sayers.
Phht! They’re all shitty shitty bang bangs! How dare common strangers just assume I haven’t put every effort into my sacred children!
Magnolia reasons with herself further: I nursed them all, worked my schedule around them entirely. I said “Yes” to most everything, “Yes,” to every cry for last minute help with school projects, “Yes,” to every sleepover with friends, for Watson, and “Yes,” to every request of extra time with their father. I was present in each of their classrooms; loved each of them through cooking at home and sewing costumes every year at Halloween. Back in the day, I lined all three children at the door to smash their father with hugs and kisses as he arrived from work. I gave my children everything I never had: two parents that loved their children, chose them, gave them a voice, and ensured their safety. I taught my children, how to create love on the spot by extending gratitude to others, not shut it out just because it’s their teenage rite of passage. There’s more to this story than some pessimistic saying that kids will one day wake up as a teenager with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator lazer eye to ask, “Where is she?” Then, follow up with, “I’ll be back.” I don’t believe this is Watson’s temperament and I don’t believe I have earned this… something else is going on here.
An hour after dropping Watson off, it takes another 6.5 minutes in each direction to get the middle-misunderstood, but seriously never “overlooked” down-trodden damsel to middle school. Another “Love You” transmits to Gracie… a garbled sound is heard without Gracie opening her mouth to return the gesture. The passenger door is faintly pressed closed as Gracie draws her long sandy colored hair in front of the outer edges of her face until a narrow angle of vision is accomplished. Magnolia opens the passenger side window to finish her cheer towards Gracie who has already camouflaged herself amongst the rest of the zombies. Magnolia has noticed Gracie has mastered this blending in act wherever she goes. It’s hard to watch, knowing Gracie is the sparkler in the family; pushing everyone’s buttons to accomplish her own giggles.
Another hour later, the third outing… it takes five minutes to and from to release the youngest Princess Warrior from her mother’s everlasting grip. Stamping a kiss on her littlest one’s rounded cheek, Magnolia releases Maia with “You are loved woman!” The door SLAMS as quickly as Maia can free herself without tripping on her bedazzled backpack. As Maia runs away, the sun catches her hair, kindling a vibrant rosewood color back into Magnolia’s paused gaze. That passenger side window rolls down again to finish a mother’s cheer. “Have the greatest day!” has bellowed three times; thrice times received in the highest regard by every passerby other than the exiting party. Each time, their mother fixating on a defining attribute of her child to tap into what else is going on between them. Maia’s smile maintains itself until reaching the double door entrance of the elementary school, her glossed over appeal noted as well by Magnolia. Back home she goes to get ready for work.
Magnolia’s children are advancing in age, carrying a negative tone and while Magnolia has defended herself few times in her life, the time has arrived to retire martyrdom to defend the children from some gripping undercurrent. She must find out what this is. Magnolia’s, nearly 4-year, mourning process has finished just in time for them all to choose to reset themselves. This non-fiction narrative demonstrates the aftermath of divorce and the process required for someone like Magnolia to step in as the head of the household. Acquiring this delayed position requires the establishment of a new foundation in order to thrive forward together.
We can see already a few characteristics of stress coping mechanisms taking place within the children. For instance, Watson drowns out his stressors with self-imposed distractions, Gracie hides from overstimulation, while Maia glosses herself over to smile through unstable times. Ellen Skinner et al. (2003) offers compelling insight regarding categories of stress coping mechanisms. These are not dysfunctions, but telling attributes leading to stressors (emphasis mine).
We have just completed Magnolia’s first level of transition, “Wakey-Wakey, It’s Time to Shaky!” and we’ll convene at Magnolia’s next level up, entitled, “Following the Squeaks and Squawks.” This heady challenge of Magnolia’s experience will peak to produce a lifetime of improvements to be replicated again and again for others.
Invest, invest, invest in all of your well-being dear friends because you are worth every bit of your own effort.
Hughes, R. (2010). What is the real divorce rate? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-hughes/what-is-the-real-divorce-_b_785045.html
Skinner, E.; Edge, K.; Altman, J.; Sherwood, H. (2003). Searching for the structure of coping: A review and critique of category systems for classifying ways of coping. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 129(2), 216-269. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.129.2.216