Thursday, Erin returned from a school soccer tournament completely exhausted and minus one custom ordered soccer warm up suit. I had started work at 7:00am, spent my lunch hour getting my eyebrows ripped off (voluntarily) by hot wax and had come home to a filthy kitchen with no plan for dinner.
I was so close to done the fork was on it's way in. Erin's little tidbit drove the fork right where it needed to go. I was done.
At the time, I thought I handled it very well and didn't overreact because I hadn't yelled at her or berated her. What I did was calmly tell her that if she didn't find the jacket and pants at school the next day she would be grounded. The suit was expensive and I expected her to be able to keep track of her belongings.
She stood, staring at me with those huge expressive hazel eyes of hers and cried. She was upset that she had misplaced her suit, but I could tell she was deeply disappointed in herself for disappointing me. At that point, my heart was cold to her tears. I really didn't care. I just wanted that suit back. Now.
I was ranting and raving around the kitchen about our children and how spoiled they are and how they just don't seem to get that they can't go leaving their stuff all over town! How childish! How decadent! How disrespectful!
John wrapped me in his arms and whispered in my ear.
"Do you want to know what I think?"
Yes! Of course I wanted to hear what the thought. My champion husband, marching to my side to further drive home my point. I wanted to know just how awesome he thought my idea to punish her was and I wanted to hear just how brilliant a job he thought I was doing as a mother.
"I think," he started very slowly, "That you just spent an hour on the phone trying to get Bell to hook up your old cell phone because you lost your new cell phone at the Bell Centre after Saturday night's concert. How can you be so mad at her, when her suit might very well be safe with her teacher and your cell phone is sitting on the floor in a hockey arena two and a half hours away?"
I was immediately defensive and angry with him. So what? Big deal? I'm an adult and if I want to lose my damn cell phone and then spend many embarrassing hours calling all over the country to find it, why not? Sure I had to describe my phone as the one with the chip out of the front panel and duct tape holding the battery into it, but whatever, I can do as I please. This wasn't about me it was about her. She should be doing as I say, not as I do. Right?
It was about thirty seconds later that my head crawled out of my own ass and I realized that John was right - and if you don't know how hard that was for me, you need to move on my friend. I suppose what made me so angry is that her declaring that she lost her suit was like seeing my own worst attributes sprayed out on a chalkboard for everyone to see. I cannot stand how careless I can be with my stuff. I lose it, break it, misplace it, replace it, get it dirty, sit on it, drive over it, leave it places, pick it up, leave it there again, drop it in the toilet, jump into a pool with it and some of the time, just plain don't take care of it. I really do not want my children to be like that.
Thing is, she's usually quite careful with her stuff. I was tired and stressed and I went completely off the hook. Instead of helping her come up with a plan to find it and worry about the consequences should she not later, I went nuts. That's classic parenting right there.
I'm thankful that I have a partner who can call bullshit on my parenting blips. If he hadn't pointed it out, it would have just gone pear shaped from there. At his suggestion, I climbed into bed with her that night and told her about my phone. I apologized to her and we came up with a plan for her to get the suit back and what we could do if it really was lost for good. She went to bed smiling and so did I - even if I did have a bit of egg on my face.
She found her suit the next day.
My cell phone is still nowhere to be found.