It’s Monday and my teacher husband is home because of the snow. It’s tempting to take a break from everything and just veg, but the problem is, this isn’t the first, second, or even third snow day he’s had this winter. If we were to continue to take days off whenever he was out of school, the kids and I would be doing work well into the summer, and nobody–but nobody–wants that around here.
So we’ll carry on, albeit a little languidly, and perhaps in our pajama pants. I admit I secretly love when nature ruins our carefully laid plans, not on a grand scale where there’s devastation and permanent damage, but on a small one.
I look out in the yard and the dogs are bouncing high through cold powder, and everything is so white it hurts my eyes. And here we are inside, slow, our stomachs full of Cheerios. The snow will not allow us to hurry, and I’m grateful.
Our air conditioning has been broken for three days. We’re reminded of how we used to live with the weather much more closely when we lived abroad. Last night felt a little something like this.
It might be the weather. It may be our ages around here (puberty. the end). It could just be me (I can never rule this out). But whatever the cause, we’re in a communication swamp at our house these days. I find that I say the same things over and over to my kids, in the same, um, strident tone, and I get the same results–languid compliance with a dash of resentment. I see it in my kids’ eyes. They are tired of my reactions to their reactions. I’m sure that they can see it in my eyes, too. I’m tired of the push-back I receive when I ask them to do things they’ve always done.
The thing is, it feels like a full-on cycle at this point. I say, Get such-and-such done. Somebody whines and moves s-l-o-w-l-y to get the aforementioned thing done, all the while muttering about why the task is meaningless. I take a deep breath, feeling my heart begin to race, muttering to my own self that this kind of flak is for the birds and I don’t deserve it. Then I say, in a scarily-calm librarian voice, that I expect compliance because this is right, that it has always been this way in our home, that I will not put up with disrespect, that I don’t give them that much to do, that this is ridiculous, that I am going to tell their father about this, etc, etc. When I pause, feeling my heartbeat (now in my eyeballs), I see the withdrawal, the retreat, in my kids’ faces. I see their squinting, their down-turned mouths. I am sad suddenly, sad and tired. I feel tricked by my own emotions–again.
This communication quicksand has got to dry up. We love each other, and we’ve got to find a way to move through this new phase of life/parenting/growing. Right now we’re in a flare/remission cycle where every other conversation has the potential to cause an outbreak of hives. There’s got to be a better way to go through middle school. But I can’t think of exactly what to do at the moment.
What I do know is, as usual, we all need grace. Every moment of every day. And He gives it.