September 25, 2012 |  Category:   life parenting

Is that a word? Undramatizing.


I’ve been thinking a lot about that over the weekend. We seem to be chasing after it with Claudine who’s at an age where everything is full on drama, magnified by the fact that she’s very sensitive about a lot of things. It’s a phase I’m sure, and one that I know we’ll have some respite from, at least until the teenage years hit.
But I’ve also been learning how to do this myself. Had a bad day Friday and I went into a panic and straight into triage mode. But all the while I kept thinking to myself, I know how to do this, it’s scary, but we know how to do this, so it wasn’t a complete freakout. By the weekend I had devised a plan and I even examined the chain of events as some sort of sign. I even announced to Mark on Sunday that I had decided that I wasn’t going to work anymore, that I was retiring early. Of course it was a joke, but at that moment when the words were coming out of my mouth, I kind of believed it. Maybe what I actually believed was the unspoken implication by that statement that I was ready for a career change. It was certainly worth probing into a little more deeply. By Monday, things had mellowed out considerably and things didn’t feel so dire.
Today, I feel grateful for what we have. I’m grateful that we have the skills to jump into action and be resourceful when we need to. A lot of this comes from experience I think, of hitting rock bottom and knowing that you can climb out of it because you’ve done it before. I’m grateful to have friends who I can meet, email or text when I need to vent (no phone calls, ha! Who am I kidding). I never take this for granted because I didn’t have these kinds of friendships for years. They can be hard to find, so if you have them, hold on to them. I’ve made a point to meet with a friend almost every other day since the girls have been back at school and things tend to percolate and happen when you’re out in the world.
I also appreciate my mom’s completely unemotional advice when it comes to business and work matters. Being a business woman herself, she’s dealt with it all and works through issues in a very methodical manner. I called her Sunday when the wave of panic had largely subsided just to catch up. I was fairly unemotional about things myself at that point, but her response was a dry, “something else will come up.” I think our entire phone call lasted all of 7 minutes. Sometimes you just want some comfort and sympathy from your mom even though you’re an adult, you know? But when we hung up I just had to laugh at our phone call. Such an undramatic, practical response.
But I put the phone down and just nodded, yup.

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  • Jen September 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Sometimes I call my mom for comfort and there’s no doubt she loves me more than anything else in the world, but then she’ll give a sort of matter of fact response to something that in my mind is huge. I used to get bothered by it before at the lack of desired dramatic emotion, but now it’s kind of funny and I understand that when she grew up in Korea her parents never said things to her like “I love you” or took her feelings into account. Everything was about survival and practical things. Today I just appreciate that I can call her anytime and she’s just there on the other line.

  • Jenna September 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    @Jen OMG, the cultural thing is SO true!

  • Atsuko September 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Even at this age I call my mom when I need some comfort. I love my husband who is always there for me, but words given by my mom seem to have a magical power.
    Hope you are feeling much better. I love the first photo!

  • maja September 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Ha- my mom is a total drama queen, and an epic worrier. I would welcome pragmatic, unemotional advice for a change!

  • Sam September 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Sometimes I need a dose of this too, even when I’d prefer tender warm sympathy. (It will, she is right. Looking forward to seeing what comes up next for you!)

  • Tian September 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Sounds like u know a prescription of chillax pills!

  • Jhope September 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi Jenna. I’m such a fan of your blog, but I just realized that over the years, I’ve never commented on your actual writing. I’m always interested in what you say, and the gorgeous images that you present, but what I’ve noticed recently is how well you write. Well, thank-you. I love this space.

  • Lena September 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    ha- sounds like my mom too.
    i’ve had some ideas swirling in my head of a new project. i’d love to get your thoughts…. maybe we can meet at the playground sometime soon?

  • Jenna September 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    @Lena I’d love that!

  • Sarah September 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    “Undramatizing” Love it. I’m going to use this. As a chronic worrier and catastrophizer, I often need to remind myself – ‘It’s not a big deal unless you make it a big deal’. And that first photo made my heart sigh, in a good way.

  • watarase October 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    My husband has the same issue. His folks are Japanese and live in Japan and sometimes he calls them (we live in the US) to “vent” or just to call because he wants some sympathy. But the responses are always the same– bascially that this the path in life he took and he must deal with it. I always feel so badly for him when he gets these responses. He is very able to “buck up” and get through things, but sometimes one just wants their mom or dad to be a little more compassionate in their response….