Today was a test. I failed part and I passed part. This is about the part I failed.
I am sick. Flu. Doped up on DayQuil, but it wore off around 1 pm and I took a nap. I had set my alarm for 2:15, telling the boys that when I got up, it was time to do homework.
Was I surprised when I woke up at 5 pm?! Yes and no. I know I set my alarm; I know I turned it on. I know one of my kids came into my room and turned it off “for me” without waking me up. Why? Homework, remember? They were enjoying their day off and didn’t want to do homework in the middle of their video game.
Plus, we went through a whole “thing” earlier when “someone” was turning off my alarm clock in the mornings before school. Come on, I couldn’t possibly set the thing wrong three days in a row! lalbohh (laugh a little but only half-heartedly) There’s a history. Ever since then, including when I set it this afternoon, I double-check myself. I remember checking the alarm.
So anyway, waking up at 5 pretty much threw off the schedule I had planned for the afternoon, and I was not happy about it.
Here’s where I screwed up.
I loudly said, “Who turned off my alarm clock?!”
“I know one of you turned off my alarm clock!”
Defiance from my 16-year-old: “Why the hell would we turn off your alarm clock?!”
Um, “hell” and yelling. I interpreted the question as hostile in part due to the cursing (at his mother!) and in part due to his tone of voice.
So I decide to answer the question pretty much the same way I described it to you earlier. Only in all caps.
My younger son takes off. He knows when things are going to escalate. Or at least when they’ve escalated in the past.
Somewhere around here I realize that although my son isn’t showing me any respect, I’m not showing him any either. This is going to go nowhere. But I’m pissed.
In my head, I’m telling myself to calm down, telling myself to get a grip on the anger and that he’s 16 and an obstinate teenager sometimes. I’m telling myself that it is POSSIBLE that I set the alarm incorrectly, while at the same time feeling hostile because I know he’s wanting me to believe something that is not true.
Like his father.
Marc must see the conflict on my face and decides to keep talking, yelling, about how ridiculous it is for me to think that one of them would turn off my alarm clock and how impossible it is for them to read my mind and know they were responsible for waking me up…
I think, “Not true. This is a confabulation. He is trying to deny what happened to save his butt.” I say, “Go to your room.”
“Why?!” he retorts. “I didn’t do anything!”
I ignore him and he stomps off to his room.
But I’m not done, oh no, not by a longshot. I walk heavily into the kitchen talking to myself (but knowing Eddie was right there) about … what was it again? I know it was angry words and I remember NOT saying the bad word that almost leapt from my lips. And I realized –
– That I was acting like an ass. I was acting like my husband. I was acting like an abuser. I was abusing Eddie.
Right then, I kicked a box on the floor. The tears were already coming because I knew I messed up, but I kicked the box anyway because my foot was already moving. It was too late to stop.
Now imagine this from my youngest son’s eyes. Oh, never mind. You don’t have to imagine it, you’ve been on the receiving end of this type of anger before. If Eddie experienced it like I do, then he was feeling like he was next. He was about to get yelled at (even though he’d tried to escape) or maybe he would be the box in the next second or two.
I knew the pain was already there.
I’d blown it.
Immediately, I apologized to Eddie. I told him I was sorry, that I shouldn’t have been talking so angrily to myself knowing he could hear and that I shouldn’t have kicked the box at all. I cupped his face in my hand, but then suddenly realized that this apology, heartfelt as it was, did nothing to calm his racing heart.
So I went into the other room for a bit. Cried to myself. Calmed down. Tried to stop blaming myself and to figure out what I could do next that would show him how sorry I was.
I couldn’t think of a damn thing.
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