January 12, 2010

Dealing with real people in real time

There is so much I want to air here, but keeping it simple is best.

I handled three phone calls today that we less than satisfying: One, a sponsee who did not have time to share deeply with me when I called her; Two a friend that asked me if I could drive to the school where she is student teaching and tell the kids something about the life of a professional writer (ha! me?). I simply do not have time to do this this week or next and so I did not leave the decision to be made later. I felt bad about being a friend who had not managed her deadlines well enough to be generous. Three: I called to interview a man, only to find out that he plans to write a book, rather than be interviewed for an article. He told me he would call me when he needed me (sounded in the end like he wanted an editor for his book, and he had lofty dreams to have it published outside of his community)... I chuckled and said "you are turning the tables on me..." and he laughed back. But I was frankly disappointed.

At the end of this funny day..I suddenly found I felt pretty crappy when I went to go pick up my son from school. Tired, dissatisfied with my writing progress. Run down too. Son wanted to go to a bookstore. I said no to that, so he launched his next plan to get an ice cream. I did not say maybe and I did not say yes, I said we are going home now. ?So of course, he brought it back up 45 minutes later as if I had promised we would get ice cream! Kids. Finally I said it: No way! Then, I felt so conflicted about the things I had not completed for myself and the fact that I was doing dinner later in the day than I had planned, that I overreacted to his double-speed, mistake filled piano practice. I yelled and my throat hurt afterward. Not masterful over myself at all. Later, I had to tell my son that what had really been at the base of all this crud was fear of failure and not having enough energy. I told him that was not an excuse for my behavior. (and no, I did not make it up to him by taking him to get ice cream. Instead I made him promise he would keep his commitment to read spelling words to his dad!!!)

The worst part of my day was that piano, and the fact that I had dinner to prepare while feeling chaotic and a bit under the weather too. Once I had dinner well underway and most of the kitchen tidied... I could leave my husband to finish cooking dinner to go to a meeting at my son's school. But then, I could not find my purse! I was worried about everything in my purse would need to be replaced if I'd lost it while shopping yesterday. ARRRGH.

Went to the meeting , came home, put first things first .... and started eating dinner with family only to feel unsettled in the middle of dinner about my purse---and found out after a phone call or two that it was indeed left at a local eating establishment yesterday. My other sponsee called at her appointed time, in the midst of all this. I put first things first, again, and asked if I could call her back. I was talking to my husband about getting my purse.

He volunteered to get the purse, and leave me to finish our evening routine, and I was ready to accept his offer graciously. When dh found out where he needed to get the purse, he got quite bent out of shape. Took me by complete surprise, after his eagerness and willingness. There was not much time for me to focus on why he was angry at me. But it felt unjustified. I should be the one mad at me, not he, who insisted on getting my purse!

Back to putting first things first, I made the best of the time that I did have while dh was gone: I got the dinner dishes away, and asked for my son's help; I set an agreement with him about combining bath and spelling bee practice.

Knowing that when I am tired I get frustrated easily and so does my son, I had us make a verbal agreement about what I needed from him: a good working attitude (on his part, so that I would not again find myself raging at a flouting child).... I sat down, while he was in the tub and was present, developing good sentences for a list of words that I could hardly remember the meanings for myself! Sound-alikes like emigrate and immigrate. And biennial and biannual. How many folks know the meanings of those words enough not to confuse a spelling bee participant? I got to accept my imperfect knowledge and mark words for later look up1

Once the bee practice was done, I congratulated T on a healthy effort, and exited stage left to keep my commitment to my sponsee. She and I had a focused conversation, arranged by her, and we discovered some interesting things hiding in the emotional question she presented to me. It is always interesting when something is said aloud that is unexpected, or would otherwise be kept secret. Those secrets contain a lot of energy that can be put to more creative use.=!

Now I would say that time with my sponsee, listening and asking questions and getting clarification, was some of the best time in my day. It had to end though, because my son needed one last good night and my husband was feeling neglected. I did not respond from guilt, I don't do that too much anymore. (Frankly I was irritated at his steaming around sighing, but I guess that can happen from time to time. There was likely a reason for it, and it will come out. But I also like being able to notice a problem emotion, and save that as a discussion topic, after we've had good sleep.) In the meantime, we both like to enjoy time together, so we read aloud without letting irritation keep us from listening and talking about Tolle's work that we are studying.

Tomorrow is another day. Sharing this one, tired as I am, feels good.

I know there is program here, somewhere, if I reframe it. Perhaps it is me doing a step ten, looking at my day and seeing where the amends lie. Interesting that I refused to make amends for fear of getting lost in guilt or upset by justified anger in case my husband didn't say the right things. Let me say that I am very grateful he and I don't make a habit of letting problem emotions turn into resentments. I am also grateful that imperfect as my relationship with is with my son, I try not to make it worse! Tomorrow will be long enough, the emotions won't fester, all of us can learn from whatever mistakes were made this evening. I know I did my best, was as responsible as I could be and whatever negative emotions my dh or son are carrying they will pass.


  1. It sounds like a difficult day. I hope that tomorrow is a bit better. But the inventory is a good thing.

  2. The inventory helps me see that even on a difficult day, there is good.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~