There’s a Japanese saying you may have heard in some form or another, “fall seven times, stand up eight,” and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.

I didn’t know I had a temper before having Momo. If you’d asked, I would have said that I’m usually a pretty calm person; if anything, I was quick to react in anger, but that it passed quickly. Strong emotions didn’t really stick to me, a lot of the time.

Faced with regular violence to my ego at the tiny hands of a baby, now a child,  it feels like I’m angry all the time. And I’m not good at being angry; I’m sharp-tongued, I get short with people, I want to be alone, I don’t accept apologies easily.

None of that is terribly conducive to being a good parent. I try so hard to teach Momo the very very basics of how to act like a responsible person, and literally like thirty seconds later, she’s rubbing food into the couch or pouring her water on the floor or picking divots in the drywall. Five minutes later, it’s something else. It’s infuriating. If she were any other age, I’d call it disrespect. That flash of anger, it doesn’t know the difference between ignorance and disrespect.

But the thing is, she understands when I’m angry now, and it hurts her. You can see it in her eyes that she’s upset that she’s made me upset, and it’s like being kicked in the chest. She shouldn’t have to worry about that; I should be the rock, the person she knows she can always come to and never be judged or made to feel unsafe. I don’t want to be a source of anxiety. And yet.

You know me; a lot of these comics are me staring down the things I hate about myself.  I am the person I am, and that person is changing, but slowly.  Until then, I’m trying my best? Like, all I can do is recognize when I screw up and try to fix it, and with any luck, she’ll take away that it’s okay to make mistakes, even big ones, that anger is an emotion that can be overcome, and that we support each other in our journeys to be better.

Fall seven times, get up eight.


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