The Countdown to Meltdown

What a rough morning. No one wants to see their child lose it. Especially from too far away to step in and diffuse the problem. 

Mommies always want to make things better, but this morning there was no way for me to reach my child on time and the fact that I could hear him screaming, “NOooo” as my daughter and others encouraged him to get on the bus, he was not budging, and I was left watching from my window across the street in my pajamas crying for what I was witnessing. Well it was between that, and this. 

OH-NO-YOU-DITTENT

He needed a tissue. A simple fact. He felt something icky and needed a tissue, which my daughter didn’t have on her. When he refused to get on the bus, even though they were holding it for him, and there was only one seat left, he wouldn’t go. My daughter was embarrassed by his behavior and then hers, for publicly admonishing him, for trying to push him too hard to do something he didn’t want to, for feeling like a failure in our eyes if he didn’t make it on time. I could see other kid’s fathers on the ground trying to encourage him to get on the bus, friends of ours who I am so thankful to for even trying. I even sent another daughter running to the rescue but she too failed and when they returned home, there was a heaviness. I was so sad. I was pretty angry. I was in a quandary…what to do, how to handle this delicate situation.

Little brother sat on the naughty step for creating a scene and missing the bus, but there will be a discussion and probably therapy about learning how to deal with difficult situations when feeling pressure. One daughter returned pretty disappointed that little brother used her sweatshirt as his tissue and had to change. The other daughter came home in utter tears and was an absolute emotional wreck. She was mortified but worse than that was suffering a shoe crisis. 

So one would think that little brother is the reason for this title, however he was just the beginning my personal mental meltdown, or so I thought. After trying to calm my daughter down, we managed to find suitable shoes for her outfit regardless of the fact that a friend made her feel bad about them the day before. She was self-conscious, I knew that, I understood that, but the fact was, the bus was coming and she still had no prepared food for lunch. The morning was so hectic there was little-to-no-time left to prepare a ‘normal’ lunch. So when I grabbed last night’s leftovers (which btw – were AWESOME) and threw something together she left with a hug only to walk back in 10 minutes later shoulders hunched and shaking, face sodden with tears. The energy it takes to calm down a hysterical teenager over wardrobe issues and a missed bus is like trying to grab the egg before it hits the ground – missing it, and then trying to scoop the goo off the tiles with a tissue. It’s almost impossible in one go. There was back rubbing, and tear wiping, hugging, deep breathing, and then finally there was a final sigh.  

I was like a ticking time bomb – waiting for the next thing to happen – not necessarily a BAD thing, just another ‘fire” I’d have to put out…another issue to deal with and honestly…I’m usually calm and deal with each thing as it hits me. Today, however it felt like I was in a batting cage with the automatic ball pitcher … without a bat. Ducking and dodging and every once in a while making a catch but really? I was just picking the balls up one at a time trying not to get it hit by the next one.  

QuotationBut the meltdown never came and I even got to work on time after dropping off my daughter at school and it was a rather pleasant day. I kept a lighthearted attitude, laughed things off and smiled at every one who walked in. I know I have work to do when I get home and there are going to be a lot of difficult conversations that we need to have, I just pray no one ends up crying. I aim to have an open discussion about how our actions create reactions and perhaps ways of coping when things don’t seem to go our way. Heck, I am just as guilty half the time of not having the best knee-jerk response, nevertheless we can all learn from listening to others. “Listening is key to all effective communication” and one of my goals is to teach my children to listen to each other, listen to us as parents and perhaps we can avoid more frustrating scenarios like this morning. I always try to learn from each incident and this was a huge lesson. The older I get, the more I can see why the people who were old when I was young were so cranky. Patience is a gift, one that I have been blessed with and never take for granted. My hope is that I never reach that ornary place and that I can always greet each person pleasantly, “b’sever panim yafot” as the Mishna in Avos states.

Wishing all a year of peace, good health, happiness and prosperity in the new year.  

  

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