I prefer peace, over conflict. Most times, I will just overlook some of the day to day annoyances in the interest of keeping the peace. Exercising the whole “pick your battles” concept. It works, most of the time. But like anything else, those things you overlook in the interest of peace, build up and may ultimately start a battle.
It’s been a good day overall. I had a late breakfast with the kids while discussing what needed to be put on the shopping list. My son and I went to the store while my daughter stayed home to get some chores and homework done. We had a light snack around two o’clock and I started making dinner around 4/4:30. In between, we watched movies. Talked on the phone. Played games on our phones (I know, I know). And once dinner was ready, we all piled into the living room to watch our favorite television show while we ate. Not a completely un-typical Saturday for us.
Then, like a plane dropping on you from above, everything just blew up. We took a break from the television, and all at once, all those annoyances I chose to overlook, pilling up on top of each other, ignited. This wasn’t done. That wasn’t done. Something I had asked to get done, still wasn’t done. Leftovers were sitting on the stove. So much stuff that needed to be done, and the kids had their noses buried in their phones. Yeah, safe to say it wasn’t pretty.
To make things worse, I have teenagers. One of whom thinks she’s an adult and can just say what she thinks, regardless of how it comes out. So, as you can imagine, I got bombarded with excuses and opinions. Many of which came out rude and disrespectful. Which, of course, put me on the defensive making comments like “who do you think you are?” And “don’t you talk to me in that tone of voice!” I’ll stop there, but it was a steady spiral down a very well-known path. Which never leads to a fun destination.
At this moment, one of the kids is getting a shower. The other is hiding. And I’m here on the couch wondering how this great day ended up like this.
It’s nobody’s fault of course. And everybody’s fault, all at the same time. Yes, the kids could have gotten off their phones and helped out with the household chores. But I didn’t have to explode the way I did either. The kids could have spoken with a little more respect. But let’s be real. They’re teenagers and they’re testing their boundaries. Becoming young adults, and learning how to communicate. They’re going to say the wrong things or use the wrong tone as they navigate these tricky waters. Truth be told, I’m still learning as well.
We aren’t perfect. We fight and get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes more often, than not. We choose what we want to do over what we should do. We put things off that should get done sooner. We make bad choices and then make excuses for why we made them. Then go our separate ways in an effort to de-escalate our emotions. Sigh. I really don’t like it when this happens.
As I tucked them each into bed for the night, I paused before kissing their foreheads to apologize for my explosion. While my points were still valid, my approach could have been handled differently. We smile, each offering comments about our part in the argument and what we could have done differently. I tell them I love them as I kiss them goodnight and turn out the light. As I leave their rooms I hear “I love you daddy. See you in the morning.” I smile and say “I love you too, goodnight.”
We aren’t perfect. Nor do we try to be. I mean, lets be real. How fun would life be if we were? I look back on these times in my own childhood and usually laugh about them. So, my guess is, the kids and I will do the same thing. Many years from now. Hopefully by then, we’ll all have learned to communicate a little bit better.
Truth be told, we’re more imperfect than perfect. We have good days and we have bad days. We argue. We say things we shouldn’t. Do things we shouldn’t. And don’t do things we should. We are completely, imperfect.
“Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me – us, yet.”