Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday morning was Mother's Day. For some reason, I had it in my mind that I would have a magical morning... awakened by my precious daughter with a kiss and a smile... that she would fully cooperate with our morning routine as we got ready for church. I mean, after all... I coach parents! My own child will cooperate and give me the Mother's Day of my dreams!
Dang Hallmark commercials. They lie.
I had to tell Abi to wake up at least 20 times. The night before, she and I had decided that since it was Mother's Day, she would wear a dress that I love (that she's never worn because she thinks it looks too babyish). She looked at me with love and said, "Mom, I will wear it for you because it's Mother's Day." (Why I believed her belongs with other mysteries, such as where is Jimmy Hoffa, what's the Bermuda Triangle really about, and what happens to those missing socks). So, after she drug her tiny hiney out of bed, she shuffled to the bathroom, then to the library, where she gets dressed.
Then, I heard it. The noise that shattered my hope of a seamless morning. The sound of fingernails down a chalkboard to my Folger's coffee fantasy Mother's Day morning.
"NOOOOOOOO! This dress is SCRATCHY! I feel like I'm being scratched by CATS! I cannot wear this hideous dress!!!!"
I walked into the room.
ME- Are you not wearing this dress?
ME- That it totally fine. But you broke your word and you broke our deal, so that's going to cost you a dollar of your allowance.
ABI- Then I want to go get another dress to wear!
ME- You can't. We have guests in the guest room, so you can't wake them up to get more clothes out. (Her clothes are in the guest room closet.)
ABI- Then I'm going to the laundry room to get something out of the basket! (She STORMS off.)
ME- You lose another dollar for leaving this room with such a bad attitude.
ABI- (from the other room) FIIIIIINE! UGGGGGH!
ME- Another dollar gone.
ABI- (Crying in laundry room. Finds her Easter dress... second Sunday in a row, btw.)
ME- You look cute in that dress!
ABI- (Collapses on the ground in hysterics.) All I want is to get in that room and get my clothes out!!!
ME- Abi, get your shoes. It's time to go.
ABI- (Sobbing) Where... (sob) are they? (sob). (Snot dripping off chin).
ME- They're not my shoes, so I don't know. Find them, put them on, and meet me in the van.
ABI- MOOOOOOOM! Don't leave me in this house!!!! WHERE ARE MY SHOES?
ME- (I snap.) LISTEN HERE, LITTLE GIRL. THIS IS MY DAY. MYYYYY DAY. YOUR ATTITUDE WILL NOT RUIN MY MORNING. THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOUR FASHION CRISIS. GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW!
ABI- (Look of shock) Yes Ma'am.
ME- AND YOU LOST ANOTHER DOLLAR. YOU HAVE ONE DOLLAR LEFT! ONE DOLLAR LEFFFFFFT!
ABI- When is kids' day? (WHAT????)
ME- EVERY DAY. (I get in the van)
She gets in the van.
ME- Abi, please don't talk to me for a while. I need to calm down.
**We ride in silence for a while.**
ME- I am sorry I raised my voice at you.
ABI- (silence) I forgive you. (silence for a while) Mom, I'm sorry.
ME- For what?
ABI- (Chin quivering) For ruining your morning! And for breaking my promise! (Sobbing again)
ME- Abi, I forgive you. (suddenly change gears) Can you imagine what would happen if Scruffy tried to wear a dress to church? (her other imaginary friend who is the Snuffalupagus off of Sesame Street)
ABI- (Sobbing stops quickly) Mom, that would be CRAZY!
She spends the next ten minutes talking my ear off about Scruffy's escapades, kids from school, and popsicles.
We get to church, and as we are getting out of the van, she says, "Mom, are we going to talk about this after church?"
ME- It's over. We've started over. That's what forgive means.
ABI- Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Parents, three tips on handling the aftermath of a conflict....
1. Apologize first, if you were in error.
2. When they say, "I'm sorry" ALWAYS ask what for. I'm sorry is a blanket statement. They need to be aware of their offense and able to articulate where they went wrong. This is as good for you to hear as it is for them to say.
3. Let it go. DO NOT REHASH THE SITUATION OVER AND OVER. To forgive means to release from the payment of. When it's over, it's over. Period.
And my Mother's Day? It was fantastic from there on out. You'd never know it started the way it did.
In the words of the great philosopher Jimmy Buffett, "According to my watch the time is now...Past is dead and gone. Don't try to shake it, just nod your head. Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On."
Thank God for grace. *sigh*.