The Slow-Cooked Sentence

In which I drop the hot coal I’m holding

Rachael Conlin Levy
Photo courtesy of themillersweb

My children bicker and I smolder. The door slams and I grit my teeth. The baby wakes up a half-hour into his nap and I curse. I’m annoyed with the weeds growing among the flowers. I’m irritated with the cat for meowing. I’m frustrated with yesterday’s blog post. If I could yell “I’m angry!” right in your face, I would.

I’ve struggled with anger since I’ve become a mother. I’d cork up the feelings until I exploded and mean, sarcastic lava-filled words oozed out all over my husband and children. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned,” the Buddha said. So I try to direct it at the yard, knocking over splintered fences and moving thorny old rose bushes. I fill journals with pages of scrawled thoughts. I run.

The snarly codes of DNA that make me difficult to live with have been passed down to one of my sons. When he was small, his face would turn red and crumple up like a washcloth. At 7, his temper sends his siblings running for cover. Today, they were trying to hide from both of us, so I sent them on ahead to school so the angry son and angry mother could stomp down the street together. About half way there, he cooled off, his complaining stopped and he dropped the Buddha’s hot coal. When I returned home, I sat down at the computer and dropped mine.

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