I had to take a lot of deep breaths today. I should have taken a few more. There were times I should have stopped to take at least one, but I didn’t. I yelled instead. I grabbed instead. I’m taking them now, while my boys are napping upstairs. Both sleeping soundly, something that doesn’t happen much these days.
Upon reflection, here’s what I should have said:
“Boys, we’re going into the Urban Ecology Center to pick up our veggies. I want you to come with me and let’s see what we’ve got this week from our farmers. Who wants to help me tear apart the box? Who can lift the cooler so we can get the eggs out? Shall we count them? Wow, look how long this bean is! Let’s see what’s inside. We’ll get our veggies together, and then you can have a few minutes to play before we need to get home. How does that sound?”
Instead it was an incessant stream of this:
“Get over here! Let me get my veggies first. Sit right here! Don’t move. OK, you can go down the slide three times, but then we have to go. Ackkkkk, be careful of the water. Don’t stand on the ledge! Two feet on the ground! Ohhhh look at your pants now, they’re all wet! Get over here! Stop running. I. SAID. STOP. Oh boy, are you in trouble now. If you don’t get over here…"
What? If you don’t get over here … what?
We’d be late for nap? I’d be late for some quiet time for myself? I wouldn’t get to eat my lunch? (I was seriously hungry at that point)
Why was I so rushed?
The funny thing is, in the car this morning, I asked my boys what they were going to do to make sure it was a good day. I started by saying that if I ever got angry, I was going to take three deep breaths.
I guess I forgot. Until now.
So here now are my deep breaths. And when my boys wake up, they’ll get an apology (always an apology!)
And yes, I’ll tell them. We can go back to the Urban Ecology Center next week and try again. I didn’t really mean it when I said I would never ever take you back there again. I was just upset. But I’m OK now. I feel better.
Even though really, I feel worse.
This essay, by Anna Quindlen reminded me today that I’m going to make mistakes. That I’m going to make some serious “remember-when-mom-did-THAT ‘hall of fame’” mistakes, as she calls them. But that with a little luck and a lot of grace, we’ll all survive them.