Recently I saw the quote by Charles R. Swindoll, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,” and I’ve been trying to be aware of reaction.
I got a flu shot on Friday. I was going to get one at Target but I got one at Rite Aid instead, an option that felt very strange to me, like oh I’ll just take some deodorant, toothpaste, a bag of goldfish and a vaccine. Maybe by the time you guys are my age you will be able to get vaccinated at food trucks, I’ll have an iced coffee and the MMR, please. I remember when 2-and-1 shampoo-conditioners came out. It was the greatest thing. Now they just blur into the rest of the aisle, so common. Your future is strange to me. I guess this is what will make me old.
…I said to the woman giving my shot in the back corner of the store, “Oh I know I’m going to get sick from this!” She said, “don’t say that! You will some feel soreness in your arm.” I shook my head, envisioning the virus being injected into my body she pushed the medicine into my muscle. Sure enough, this morning I feel as if I’ve been run over by a dump truck (given your fascination with trucks, Baby Boy, you probably would think that was really cool). Is it the self-fulfilling prophecy, where you think something will happen, and then it comes true (*not in a Christmas list “I want an ATV and a pony” sort of way)? Or am I really sick? Am I really having a reaction?
…Dinner with Nanny and Grumpah on Saturday night was a disaster. You guys were so tired and cranky it was risky taking you out in the first place, and then, six o’clock on a Saturday, everywhere we went there was a wait for a table. I kept saying, “guys, we have a short window with them, I need to feed them soon,” but only to myself, only in bratty huffs under my breath, like when someone says “I told you so,” what good does that do? When we finally got a table at Ruby Tuesday, the service was terrible. Our waitress, who looked about 12, forgot to put your food order in. We tried to make do with loaded plates from the salad bar: Shredded cheese, tomatoes and croutons. You had one of your top ten meltdowns, Baby Girl. You were thrashing and throwing food. Somewhere in Commack a woman is still trying to pick shredded cheese out of her hair. Grumpah reacted saying something bad about the waitress. I said, it’s not her fault, they’re backed up. I don’t know what I felt the need to defend her. (She made a mistake.) In the bathroom trying to change you, Baby Girl, deciding the only thing to do was put pajamas on, hope you fell asleep in the car on the drive home, and run the hell out of Ruby Tuesday like it was on fire, you were really crying. You were pointing and screaming at something you wanted in my bag, but it was practically empty. I snapped at you, “what, WHAT?? WHAT DO YOU WANT? OH MY GOD!” Their was frustration and anger in my voice. The toilet flushed and a woman stepped out, giving me a look. I was not proud of my reaction.
…Later I said to Nanny, “I feel so bad about yelling at her. It wasn’t her fault. She was tired and hungry! I shouldn’t have pushed expecting her to sit at a restaurant. I should’ve just…” She stopped me, “Aim, you’re her mother. It’s one of many times you’ll lose it with her. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Stop. Stop. Stop.” Little things become big things depending how you react to them.
…You, Baby Boy, pointed to a picture of Nelly Furtado on TV yesterday and said, “Mama.” I still am not sure how to react to that one.
…I told your father that I took you guys to church and you were really good. You sat well and didn’t cry. You loved the music. His reaction was mixed, part “great!” and part, “great, now she’s going to want to start going to church…” I told him how a little girl in an adjacent pew tried taking the Karen Katz lift-the-flap book you were so intently studying, Baby Girl. “How did she react?” And I imitated you slowly hugging the book tighter to your chest, never taking your intense eyes off of the offender, so cautious…
…Nanny and Grumpah’s dog “Uncle Cody” accidentally got my cashmere wrap sweater I bought in Paris with his claw. He bit a big hole in the bottom, resulting in a prop you’d see in Shark Week. Keeping the Swindoll quote in mind, I patted his head and said, “it’s all right, Uncle Cody. It was an accident.”
See when you try, you can be the person you want to be. It’s just so hard not to have that knee-jerk reaction. To stop and think, “well, now what would she do?”