Warning: This is a very long post with no neat conclusion. If you have enough of your own angsty crap floating around in your brain, you may want to skip.
I have come to the conclusion that I am not very fun to be around. And not just lately, but for quite some time. And not to everyone – my immediate family of Sweet William and Viva seem to like to be around me, most of the time – but to members of my larger family. For example, my sister. And my mother.
And I don’t know how it is with you, but that doesn’t feel very nice to me.
So I have been thinking quite a bit lately about what makes me such a horrible person. I know we all have our moments, but it seems that I have far too many of them around my family of origin. They push my buttons.
I spent time with my sister and her kids yesterday, and as has become her habit these days, my sister seemingly out of nowhere threatened to leave, started yelling, and began herding her kids out the door. Nothing I could say could improve the situation, because my sister has a bottomless well of rage to draw upon, and once she gets going, forget it.
I was not yelling in response. I said, if I remember correctly, “Please don’t leave. Please don’t do this.” Of course, that did nothing except fan the flames of her wrath, and she began yelling at me.
Sweet William intervened and said, “Come on, don’t do this in front of the kids.”
“That’s the problem!” my sister yelled. “Nobody ever lets me talk!”*
“Nobody’s saying you shouldn’t talk about this, but let’s not talk about it in front of the kids,” Will said. My sister took off down the hallway ,and Viva started sobbing like her heart was breaking, which it was, because she’d only seen her cousins for about ten minutes before the shit hit the fan.
* This is because once she starts talking about stuff that bothers her, she starts screaming. And always in front of the children. I just can’t have that.
What started all this? My VIBE.
Apparently I give off such a strong VIBE that my sister can sense it and work herself into a rage within about 5 seconds. I am not even being sarcastic here, because I am pretty sure that yes, I do give off a VIBE, or bad ENERGY, or whatever the hell. Let’s backtrack, shall we?
I called my sister – who has been nameless in this blog for some time, because I can’t think up a pseudonym for her that someone somewhere wouldn’t construe badly in some way. Okay, today I officially christen her Lola. – Anyway, as I say, I called my sister a couple of weeks ago to suggest we get together since the kids hadn’t seen each other since our camping trip, and as it is October and closing in on Halloween, I suggested we visit a pumpkin patch together.
She was enthusiastic, so I looked up some pumpkin patches online and called a couple to get hours, locations, features and prices. I was looking for something where the kids could, in addition to picking out a pumpkin, go through a maze, or get their faces painted, or go on a hay ride, or pet some critters at a petting zoo or some added value of some kind. I gave Lola all the info and we agreed to meet at 10 AM on Sunday at the pumpkin patch.
Now, we arrived at the pumpkin patch at 10 AM only to find that it was nowhere near ready to open. According to the Website, they were supposed to have been open for several days already. Not so. Not opening until Wednesday.
Okay. So I called Lola, who was on her way but certainly not near the pumpkin patch. I suggested we meet back at my place to figure out where to go next.
At this point, yes, I was irritated, because I actually did call this place prior to driving out there, and the recording gave me misinformation. And the other pumpkin patches that I had looked at were not close. Not at all. But please note: I was not irritated with her.
We met back at our place, and the kids all converged on Viva’s room, and they all started playing, tra la la. I asked Lola if she would mind just bagging this trip and maybe we could all go out and play ball at the park, because to my mind the most important thing was that we all just spend time together and even if we couldn’t have an outing to a pumpkin patch, at least we could get out of the house. So we decided to go to the park, since my older nephew is crazy for kickball. In the meantime, the kids were all playing basketball with this.
Here is where I morphed into the horrible person no one wants to be around.
“Okay, so let’s go to the park, you guys,” I said. The boys continued playing basketball. Viva became very occupied with putting away some of the toys they had all taken out.
A few minutes later: “Hey, you guys, let’s put the balls away. We’re going to go play ball at the park, okay?” The boys continued playing basketball. Lola was playing with Viva and helping her pick up her toys, which I told her not to worry about.
“Hey, guys. Do you want to go to the park? We can play ball at the park,” I said.
“You know what? Let’s just do this some other time,” said my sister. “We’re going home.”
I think what happened here is that she thought I was pissed off at her kids for continuing to play basketball when we had decided to go to the park. I wasn’t; I just know that you often have to tell kids something five times before they get it together and do it. I wasn’t yelling at them, and I wasn’t being nasty to them, I swear.
I will admit that it irritated me that she did not say anything to them along the lines of, “Hey, let’s go,” or anything like that. But I wasn’t being pissy to them at all. It takes me forever to get Viva out of the house, and I knew that the longer we stayed in that room, the harder it would be to get her out of it. And I’ll admit, I wanted to get out of the house and get some air instead of playing with MegaBloks or Thomas the Train or whatever the hell, ad infinitum. I am sure Lola was perfectly happy, because she had already gotten her kids out of the house.
So, yes, I was a little edgy. I admit that. But I wasn’t rude. I didn’t sigh heavily, or roll my eyes, or anything (okay, maybe I did, but I was out in the living room, out of their line of sight, with a wall between us).
Lola started yelling at me about how I always have to keep to a schedule because of Viva’s nap and that I am so stressed all the time and so regimented and how all the evil that exists in the world is traceable straight to me. Which is odd, because this had nothing to do with being on a schedule, and I am fairly certain the all the evil that exists in the world can be traced back to eyebrow waxing.
At any rate, Sweet William ended up (at my pleading) following Lola down the hall with a wailing Viva and insisting that we both stop this foolishness this instant.
We ended up going to the park and then having pizza and going home hours later, having both apologized for being idiots.
But I am still left with the question of what to do about my horribleness, and what I can do to mitigate my impatience with Lola. I do get frustrated and impatient with her, because she is, if anything, even more indecisive than I am; because she is subject to fits of rage; because she makes poor decisions and then acts victimized by them; because she wants me to act the way she expects me to, and not the way I am. I love her, but she drives me mad.
I’m just thinking.