Sunday, April 11, 2010


My husband gave me a metaphor the other day that has me thinking.

See, I have a weird jaw problem, a kind of TMJ that has bothered me since childhood. When my jaw is "out," which is about half the time, it ranges from mildy irritating to intensely painful, and the longer it stays "out," the more the discomfort spreads to my shoulder, my head, my neck, my back. Then, my jaw pops; the ball and joint essentially line up properly again, my jaw goes back "in," and I feel immense relief, until the next time.

The other night after J tucked in the Rooster, I asked, "Does he still feel off to you? Still feel far away?" He said, "Yeah. It's like your jaw. Things haven't felt right for a few weeks. I keep waiting for him to suddenly snap back like he does, to look me in the eye and say, 'Daddy, Daddy, listen...' and have a real conversation with me again."

You know what a sucker I am for just about any cheap metaphor, and this one really made sense to me. I've been thinking about it ever since.

Yes, it does feel like our Rooster has two essential states -- one where he feels present and accesible, and one where we talk about him as being "off," meaning varying degress of unreachable. Sometimes I get angry or frustrated or depressed about the Rooster being off, and sometimes it feels like he'll never come back again. Having the jaw metaphor helps. First, the metaphor reminds me that the Rooster likely feels at least as much discomfort when he's off as we do, and so I need to be more understanding. Whatever causes him to veer off (illness? food? chemistry? fatigue? emotions? AUTISM?!) is something beyond his control, something happening to his body, not a choice he makes. The longer he suffers, the more likely the affect is to spread --- we see his language weaken, his very limited impulse control vanish entirely. It also helps me realize that neither state is likely to be permanent. My jaw has always popped eventually.

And you know what helps my jaw? Rest. Relaxing. Massage. Reduced stress. TLC.

We've had some bad weeks here. The Rooster has been off, my jaw has ached, we've all been gritting our teeth and butting heads.

We all need a little relief.


Niksmom said...

I hear you on the need for some relief. Here's hoping it comes soon.

redheadmomma said...

I think that's a great metaphor. And I hope for relief for you all very soon. XO

pixiemama said...

Sending loving, healing thoughts your way.


One Mom said...

Kudos to your hubby for making that comparison - at least you have something that helps.

Here's hoping you get a 'pop' very soon.

jess said...

it can be so hard to remember that it's cyclical mid-cycle .. but it ALWAYS is .. ALWAYS. holding you close.

jen said...

oh my - this fellow TMJ girl totally gets this metaphor...:) hang in there sweet lady!