This week The Smay family had what I like to call a “Come to Jesus Meeting.” I have a high tolerance for nonsense and shenanigans. I consider myself to have a good sense of humor. I also consider myself to be a relatively patient person. However, there are moments when I “lose my shit.” This week, we had one of those moments. Was it my best? Absolutely not. Could I have done better? I can always do better. Did it effectively get my point across? You betcha…insert a wink here.
Let us begin with my darling daughter. She is in the throes of teenage angst. Everything I do annoys her. Everything I say turns into an argument. For example, I ask her not to annoy my canine BFF and get him all wound up. I am then accused of treating the dog better than I treat her. I love the dog more than I love her. I allow the dog to get away with EVERYTHING while treating her like a common criminal… sigh. All I asked was that she not tease the dog and make him bark and run around like a maniac. This arguing over every minute detail has become the new norm in our household. When asked to do a chore, The Bean rolls her eyes, has a strong tendency for dark looks, and loud sighs. I have no idea where she would see these behaviors on a regular basis…said with large innocent eyes and mock sincerity.
The final straw was asking her to unload the dishwasher, which is her daily chore. One would have thought I asked her to build me a granite monument with her bare hands, a pick, and a shovel. I bit my tongue but filed this bad attitude into my “Things I Will Address Later” folder in my head. Sigh. As if an angry, angst-ridden fourteen-year-old isn’t enough to deal with, my bib overall wearing wonder buns adds to the mix.
My husband is almost perfect. He’s a lot like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. However, my funny little bald man, who makes me laugh out loud almost daily, can easily slip down the rabbit hole of negativity. When this mood takes over, nothing makes him happy. Nothing. He storms around like a little black rain cloud, thundering over minor infractions. He was angry over goats, people, soap, the wind, the sun, the rain, the grass, the music…you get the picture.
We all have moods. Everyone gets into a funk once in a while. It happens; we’re human. I try to ride out these episodes with positively, putting things in perspective and mostly just listening. However, Sunday, I hit a wall. I could not take one more complaint, sigh, stomp, or a sarcastic comment from either The Bean or The Bibbed Wonder. I lost my shit on both of them.
I declared that I could not stand to be in the same room with either one of them and was taking my beloved dog for a long walk. The Bibbed Wonder escalated the situation and spoke to me through clenched teeth, asking me the invariably fatal question, “What is your problem?” I looked at him, exasperated, and growled. I literally growled at him and slammed the door.
My walk with my favored fur child (Seriously, can you blame me for loving my big red handsome best friend? He doesn’t argue with me. He wants nothing more than to be beside me and get belly scratches. He’s nice to me…always.) put things into perspective. I returned to the farm and first addressed my husband and his bad attitude. Rather than argue, we had a good conversation and apologized for our bad behavior. We cleared up some misunderstandings and miscommunications. I refrained from calling him an ass hat. He refrained from making “murder my wife” jokes.
Next, I went and talked with my bean. We did not argue. I talked, she listened, and then we discussed. We, too, came to an understanding, and some very clear boundaries were put in place along with well-understood consequences. Aside from small comments here and there, she has tightened up her behavior and her attitude. We talked, and it was good. Things around the farm have been mostly pleasant since Sunday.
In the past, I would have raged at both of them. I would have remained angry for hours. I would have added to the problem with my bad mood and snide comments. I could have/would have put my armor on and been ready for battle not so long ago. If I’m being transparent, sometimes I love a good fight. I’m sorry, I do. I also consider myself a worthy opponent. I have been known to go for blood over minor infractions to feel like I won. It’s a character flaw, I know.
However, I’m mellowing in my old age. Maybe not mellowing; perhaps it’s just becoming more rational or wise. Going for a walk with my dog was the best thing I could have done at that moment. I’ve finally realized I can communicate my point without raging and railing. I finally understand one does not have to add to the fray to get results. It’s almost foreign to me to remain calm when chaos ensues, but it feels like a win regardless. When my bean was a baby, I decided I didn’t want a household filled with turmoil and upheaval. Part of making that happen is that The Bibbed Wonder is not built that way. He does not like confrontation and avoids it at almost all costs. He is also a calm, rational individual by nature. Don’t get me wrong; he knows exactly what buttons to push to get a response. However, he rarely chooses to push those buttons. I am a better person because of him and my bean. They make me want to do better, be better.
Aside from growling at my child and my husband, our “Come to Jesus Meeting” was productive. We now all understand where the other is coming from and how the other is feeling. Most importantly, we all walked away feeling heard and respected. Sometimes, one has to growl, walk away, and then be open and ready to communicate like an adult. Being an adult is a struggle for me sometimes. If I’m honest, it felt good to growl. It makes me laugh now, but that pure, authentic guttural response was a release at that moment. It felt like loosening a pressure valve and letting off some steam. Ultimately, I pulled it together and didn’t completely lose my shit on the two most loved people in my world. Bonus, my guttural growl maybe frightened my scary, moody teenager into good behavior for the time being.
On this overcast summer day, stay safe and be smart; it’s okay to growl, but know when to act like an adult; listen, but make yourself heard; there’s something to be said for being a little scary, and keep washing your hands.