Once upon a (not-so-recent) time, I used to spend hours arguing with my husband, Anthony, about the dishes.
Specifically, I thought he should be doing the dishes a whole lot more often, and I made it my mission to bring this utopia to life.
More recently, perhaps a month ago, I asked Anthony not to do the dishes. Since being stuck at home due to COVID-19, I’m finding doing the dishes keeps me grounded in the here and now.
For me, PTSD means I’m easily catapulted from today to 30 years ago. When I do the dishes, I’m right here, right now, and it’s amazing.
This morning, my six-year-old, Littler J, got right up next to me while I was doing dishes. I asked him to move away. He didn’t. So I told him something like, “You’re in my threat radius, sweetheart.”
This led, inevitably, to Littler J asking me to define “threat radius.”
Happily, Li’l D helped me demonstrate the concept.
I walked up to Li’l D and said, “See how close I am to him? And he’s still calm? He’s still not threatened. He has a very, very small threat radius. You have to get in really close for him to feel like you’re threatening him.”
I then walked five or six feet away, around a corner in our kitchen. “See how I’m pretty far away from Li’l D right now? If he has a big threat radius, I’m just about to get in it.”
I stepped toward Li’l D, following which he lunged from his seat, snarling.
“That,” I explained to Littler J, “is a big threat radius. When someone has a big threat radius, you don’t have to get too close for them to feel threatened. Right now, because I’m tired and overwhelmed, I have a big threat radius.”
I don’t know if Littler J’s gotten it, yet; Li’l D definitely has.
I do know that I’m glad, today, for the time I spent playing World of Warcraft while living in Japan and dating a man in Oregon. World of Warcraft was our mechanism for connecting. (This relates to my earlier reference to “fishing in Mulgore.”)
I’m glad that, thanks to an online game, I have words to express something in a few words that my kids might possibly both understand: “Sweethearts, it’s not you. My threat radius is just especially big today!”
This could help both me and my husband. As I captured here, my (Black) husband tends–due to total circumstances–to have a pretty big threat radius these days.