On Sunday, I had a BAD day. One of the things that played a role in the demise of my mood was a misplaced credit card. I was cleaning out my purse and handing over the week's receipts to my husband. It became clear that the card was nowhere to be found. I had to mention it to my husband (looking back, I'm thinking I should have waited until I had been searching for more than fifteen minutes).
I dread situations like this. He is extremely careful with his receipts and his money. Indeed, if I so much as leave the change from my pockets on my dresser top, it will disappear. I am not nearly so careful. Often I will drop the change I am given right into my purse, assuming that at the end of the week, I will clean it all out and put everything right again.
So, here I was with a cleaned out purse, and a missing credit card. Once he knew, the pressure was on. I couldn't even remember where I had used it last. He was immediately ready to call the company and cancel the card. I begged for time to search various coat pockets and dresser tops, etc. However, all those searches came to naught. He became more frantic. I became more upset - both upset with my mistake and upset with his reaction.
On the third or fourth scouring of my purse, I found the card. It had slipped into a zippered section of the purse that I rarely use and didn't realize was unzipped. The relief should have made the day better. Instead, I began to stew over the unfairness of his perfection and my irresponsibility.
He came to apologize. I would like to say that I graciously accepted the apology and everything was mended. Alas, my pride was too big for that and I chose to simmer in my own resentment.
Cue this morning.
We have been having some horrible nights lately. Trevor wakes in a panic about three or four times a night and wants ME to come lie with him. Up until last weekend, I was so focused on the problem that I ceased to see the sweet child behind it. It was literally ruining every night's sleep. Thankfully, a blogging friend helped redirect my focus.
Swistle recently posted about a similar nightly battle going on in her household with her five year old daughter. It was comforting to know that this falls in the spectrum of normal parental issues and helpful to read all the comments and suggestions. As a result, I put down an extra comforter and a sleeping bag for Trevor to crawl into on those nights when he needs to be near me.
The first night, it worked famously. He crept in, slid into his spot on the floor next to me and my sleep was uninterrupted. Last night, however, he would not be satisfied until Daddy left to sleep on the couch and gave up his side of our bed. Sean awoke and sensed that his brother had flown the coop, so he came in and slept on the bed roll on the floor. They both have serious colds and major nasal congestion, so I had two snoring, sniffling, grunting boys last night and VERY LITTLE SLEEP.
This morning, I gave up on sleep around 6:30 and (sensing my absence) both little boys rose around 6:45 a.m. Within minutes, Trevor was seated at a tray in front of the television with his breakfast. Alas, he must not have slept very well either. He sat staring at the television for more than half an hour and I became more frantic with each moment, spurring him to hurry with eating, to brush his teeth, to take some cold medicine and get on his shoes, coat, hat, gloves, and backpack.
In the end, the flashing lights of the bus were looming, I was screaming about how watching television causes him to dawdle and miss the bus, and he was in a heap on the floor crying and trying to quickly put on his shoes (which only made him move MORE SLOWLY). In the midst of all this stress, Sean let the dog out of the crate and he was communicating his need to be taken outside to do his duty. Trevor missed the bus!
I took the dog outside and breathed deeply. As the air cleared my head, I saw so very clearly that I had just reacted in the same way that had damaged me on Sunday. I had lost sight of Trevor in the problem of his missing the bus. In fact, I had magnified the problem so much that I couldn't see him behind it.
I came inside and resolved to eat my humble pie. Trevor was already waiting in the cold van. I climbed in the back seat with him and dried his tears.
"I owe you an apology, buddy," I said. "I'm sorry I yelled and got all upset. Missing the bus isn't the end of the world, but I made it look like that and that wasn't fair to you! I'm sorry that I lost my temper. I'm sorry that I hurt you in making the problem look way bigger than it really was."
I'm pretty sure this is a lesson I'll have to revisit a time or two. But for now, I'm really going to work on magnifying the person instead of the problem.
As for Sunday, Swistle had another good post to consider. She and another blogging friend exchanged "Crappy Day Gifts." These are a series of gifts, ranked according to level of difficulty. You save the gifts for an especially bad day, when such a gift can really smooth out the ruffled feathers of life. Swistle, like me, had a really, really bad day and opened one of her "Crappy Day Gifts," to discover a box of See's chocolates. I'm thinking THAT would have gone a long way to make up for the little credit card blunder (and everything else that soured that day). Then again, maybe I need to adjust my perception of what makes a crappy day. I noted that Swistle updated the story with a new post on the crappy day gifts and this crappy day, which she designated as medium made my crappy day look like a good day. Yikes.
Still, I'm wondering if there is anyone out there in cyber-land who might want to exchange crappy day gifts with me? If not, at least remember to magnify the person, not the problem.
P.S. In all fairness, (not, of course, to make myself feel better in any way -hee-hee) my husband is NOT PERFECT. He himself once left a credit card in the slot of an ATM and drove away, not even missing it for a day. That wasn't the end of our world, either!