Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blown Away

Do I blog about it or not? Mindy says yes, but I wonder. I mean why do I feel this need to expose my stuff? It’s been one of those days. I expected smooth sailing but hit rough water early on. I guess keeping it in is isolating and rightly or wrongly, as I keep falling out of this boat, those I allow in have become my flotation device.

“Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.” – Russell Baker

This morning I had a showdown with one of my children. If you’ve got kids you know this happens. Someone decides to cross that line in the sand and you know that if you let it slide you’ll be back 20 paces before it's over. Because you’ve lived it. So whether I’m up for it or not, it’s a showdown.

And today, of all days, I wasn’t up for it. My parents are here. It’s a short visit and I’d like it to be nice. A peaceful family is a gift I’d like to offer my parents because a) OBVIOUSLY and b) Duh. They’re good people. I’d like them to feel like they raised a reasonably competent daughter raising reasonably well-behaved children. I don’t want to give them cause to worry. What would be the point?

The Grandparent Visit is probably, by the child’s calculations, a particularly bueno time to push it. Do the math: Mom wants to keep the peace, doesn’t want them to see her lose her cool. Grandparents are pushovers and hate to see them unhappy. But this equation isn’t factoring in the fact that Mom will not be made to look like a punk in front of her parents. I found myself channeling Madea:

“Say one more thing. I don't hear you. You're quiet, can I buy a vowel?”

The showdown eventually ended with tears, apologies, and a weeded flower bed but not before I was called a string of truly awful things. With my parents standing there. Horrified. I was blown away. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Definitely not a moment I wanted etched in their minds for as long as they’ve got them. Definitely not a moment I want to represent me in any way. Once I dealt with it as best I could, I asked Josh if he’d like to walk to the park. I had to get out of there. He ran ahead, blissfully unaware of the tears streaming down my face.

It’s never hurt my feelings when my kids have said hurtful things to me. Their opinion, when clearly in the wrong, means little to nothing. What gets to me is failing in front of my parents. They just don’t see the kids often enough to get such a huge dose of whatever that was. I think I handled it okay. The fail is the fact that this child would dare pull any of this in the first place. It caught me off guard, like being pulled on stage to perform improv comedy. Only the pros can pull that off.

P.S. By the end of the day the flower beds were clear, I helped take a load of stuff to the dump, and watched my family get a whole lot of other things done around the place. That helped. Sinking my teeth into that Chocolate “O” from Rosie’s that David brought me helped too. What also helped was taking a metal pipe and beating the snot out of the remaining trampoline ring to get it apart, as well as flinging these metal pipes at old windows in the big trash bins at the dump with Michael and my Dad. I wish I could do that every day. And at the end of the day Tia and Dean showed up at the backdoor. My friends have the best timing.
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  1. I am glad that you day ended on a good note - I had a show down like that just yesterday. Like you, I never let it bug me - but for some reason (probably because David had been out of town all week) I really let it get to me and I actually kind of told the child off. It was definitely not what he expected and he was totally unsure of how to take - mom telling him to go away and I would do it myself! It ended with me stomping around for 1/2 an hour cleaning by myself while he tried to clean everything around me just to make me happy again - apologizes were given on both sides and all seems to be well again...that is until the teenage hormones strike at the same time that I ask someone to sweep the kitchen floor!

  2. Bless you, sweetie. Life is rarely neat and tidy, and kids' timing can be really, er, challenging, to say the least! Sometimes grandparent visits are stressful for kids, even though there's joy and love too. I have seen this happen when I go visit MY grands, so when there's an industrial-stength throwdown, I try to back out of the picture till everybody calms down. I hope today's more peaceful for you.


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