Bedtime

1 Jun

After a long day of nothingness, family bike riding, bedtime looming, and trip still needing to be made to the grocery store, I was exhausted.

Upon arriving home, my very tired over worked husband sat on the couch and picked up the computer.

The children munched on snacky things.

Grocery store.

I told the kids they had ten minutes to finish their snack, brush their teeth, and ready themselves for bed.  By that time, I assured them I would be home from the grocery store and I expected them to be snuggled up and in their beds waiting to be tucked in.  They assured me this would happen.

I left for the grocery store and what should have taken me ten minutes ended up taking me twenty, simply because I stood in aisle 7 staring at the peanut butter jars contemplating which one really would be best.  And then I got stuck on the jellies.  Sigh.  Sometimes, grocery shopping can be so intriguing.  Unfortunately, it’s weird quirks and nuances always seem to settle in at the most inopportune times.

Children.

Ah, yes.  Those.  I threw a few more things in my now too heavy basket and put my items through the self checkout.

As soon as I got to the car, I remembered that I had forgotten to purchase the milk.  I sat there contemplating whether I should go back in the store seeing how I was still in the parking lot or go home.  I opted for home, promising myself I would get milk the next day.  Of course, I still haven’t gotten the milk and it’s currently two days past.

Pulling in to the driveway, I saw a tiny 9 year old figure run from the living room.  My husband, still on the couch with his computer.  Opening the door, I called out an inquiry as to who it was I saw running from the living room.  Naturally there was silence.  And then, my husband chuckled and said it was our daughter.

I went in to our daughter’s room and asked if she had been in the living room.  She said yes, and then in the sweetest voice and face she could muster up said ‘I just wanted to spend time with Daddy.’  To which I replied that regardless of what her wishes were, my instructions had been for her to get in bed and that hadn’t happened and I didn’t appreciate the disobedience.  There was also a firm warning that this should not happen again.

I walked into our son’s room.

He is also 9 years old.  Yet, my son and my daughter are not twins, rather step-siblings, or rather, best friends.

He was under his covers, waiting to be tucked in.  And then, I noticed the jeans sticking out from the end of the bed sheet.  Along the way, he had missed the crucial step of getting ready for bed.  Sigh.  Frustrated, I told him this was ridiculous and that he needed to promptly get his rear in gear and get his night clothes on.  He was upset that he had forgot such an easy step and I was confused as to how someone could possibly forget that step.

I walked down the hallway ranting about how I obviously have to be home announcing every step of their get ready for bed process so as to ensure that they did as they were told and how ridiculous I thought it was that two 9 year old children couldn’t figure it out on their own.

Fuming about this still, I buckled in my frustrations at 9:50pm, gave them both kisses and hugs, tucked them in, turned off their lights and shut their separate doors.  With their bedtime normally set for 9pm and my dread of the imminent crabbiness I would have to endure in the morning, my brain was a bit fried.

Naturally, my frustrations turned towards my husband since he hadn’t stepped in while I was gone for that short period of time to make sure that the children had done as they were told.  I wasn’t impressed at all that our daughter was getting the mixed signal that when I’m away what I say is no longer valid or important if it is under the guise of ‘spending time with daddy.’  It would have meant so much to me if my husband had made it clear to the kids that obeying was more important than choosing when we do or don’t want to listen.  It ticked me off, to be quite frank, and my feelings were hurt.  Still are, in fact.

But, I chose this moment, as I sat glaring at his down turned computer illuminated face, to stay silent.  I just simply kept my mouth shut.  I didn’t want an argument.  What was the point of reprimanding my husband?  If he did not understand the simple importance of being a unified front, how can I change that with a few harshly tossed out bitter words of frustration?  I can’t.  At some point, I’m sure this topic will come up and I’ll be able to share my thoughts in an even keeled manner that will not be insulting or degrading to him as an individual, but for now, this was my moment to grow.  It was my moment to sink my roots down way deep into the soil of my soul and say No to the voice that screamed at me to let him have it.  I chose to not treat my husband like a child and appreciate the effort he had made taking care of the kids while I had been gone for a few hours before dinner.  I chose to appreciate the fact that he had made a delicious spaghetti dinner for everyone, and I chose to appreciate the effort he made loading all of our bikes in the car so we could spend time together as a family.

Naturally, something else came up, schedule related and due to my already tense state, we had a bit of a spat.  I was not happy about this spat as I had been trying so hard to keep my mouth shut.  He grabbed a Pabst and muttering, went downstairs settling in with Cinderella Man.  I followed him downstairs and announced that I thought this misunderstanding was stupid and I didn’t like it to which my comments were met with a brick wall of indifference.  Frustrated beyond belief, steam pouring out of my ears, and eyes bugging out from keeping my angry mouth shut, I chose to grow a bit more still.  Pulling out a handful of brightly colored index cards, I started writing down my thoughts.  On each card, there was a little blip about how silly I thought our day had become after we had spent such a marvelous time together as a family.  I told my husband I loved him and that I refused for us to give in to crabbiness this evening.

I went downstairs, somewhat begrudgingly as I still wanted to yell at him, with the cards behind my back, and sat down next to him on the couch.  He didn’t look at me.  I pulled the first card out and passed it to him.

Without even reading it, a big sheepish grin washed over his face, and my soul gave a huge sigh of relief.  He started reading each card, smiling with each one, laughing a little at some, trying to compose himself with others, until I finally passed him the card reading “I’m sorry.”  He put his hand on my knee, we shared a grin, and finished watching the end of Cinderella Man together.

It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.  I think that’s how it feels every time we grow.

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