This weekend was supposed to look a lot different than it does.
We were invited down to Calgary for my cousin’s birthday on Friday and since the kids were off school and I had class in Calgary on the day of the party, it all worked out well. But, add to that, my aunt and uncle’s offer to have the kids for an extra night and drive them home Saturday or Sunday because I had to leave on Friday to get back for work Saturday morning, and it was a recipe for an AWESOME weekend! Marc and I had plans to go to the city to have supper with our good friends as the wife just had a birthday, we were going to get a hotel room for the night, since I had to work for a few hours Saturday morning in Leduc anyway, then we were going to a matinee of the new Wes Anderson movie. Brilliant!
Can I just remind everyone of the incredible luxury of parents of children having a night out? Especially, parents of children who do not have any family members close to where they live to offer free childcare? On the rare occasions those opportunities arise, you take them! And we were going to!
And then it started snowing Thursday morning. And the snow wouldn’t have been a problem if the wind hadn’t been so nasty. And so I knew right from getting up Thursday morning that there was a chance our plans weren’t going to turn out. But I hoped. And then I was okay with not going because of the roads, and I decided to be cautious. Then came the time we would’ve left, and I wasn’t so okay with it anymore. And the disappointment set in. And, okay, eventually I was crying and possibly sulking on my bed in disappointment, but at some point I decided that maybe it was okay to have a quiet weekend at home. And it has been.
But then there was Friday morning when I had to skype into my class for three hours while being home alone with three children. And I got them all set up with a movie downstairs so that they would be still until my 10 minute break mid-class. Except, for some reason, the kids brought their movie upstairs into the little tv for when the kids are sick which is currently in Olivia’s room, rather than the large screen tv downstairs. And then Olivia needed a refill on the orange juice and the carton was too heavy. And then, “can we have some Reese’s Pieces?” And some other disruptions.
Disruptions when I am video and audio logged into my class so everyone can see what I’m doing and we are doing confidential case consulting so the kids cannot hear what I am saying. So I eventually went and hid in my room and had to sit on the floor by the door, lest the class see the piles of laundry or think I’m participating in class from the comfort of my queen-sized bed!
So I google-messaged Marc at the church to tell him what was going on and he called the kids on the phone and told them to stop bothering me, but every time they took a step out in the hall, I didn’t know if the next thing would be a knock on the door. And I was so distracted and tense, that I just needed Marc to come and take the kids for the last half of the class. Which he did. And class was good and stress-free after that.
But, as I was in the middle of that whole scene, I could feel my anxiety rising. And so many thoughts came into my head which were adding to the anxiety.
Like when I discovered that pausing the screen is not the same as muting, and so my whole class heard me ask the kids why they didn’t watch their movie and then heard the swishing of the cords and the pillows as I got set up on the bedroom floor. Apparently the other online student couldn’t hear a word of what was said because of all of my swooshing. And all of that reminded me of the total embarrassment I felt when earlier in the semester the mic picked up Marc yelling at the kids for all of my classmates to hear.
Then as I sat there asking Marc to please come home, I was reminded again of how I automatically think that his job trumps my job and that sometimes that makes me mad or frustrated or sad. And I’m not sure if that’s the way it is or not, but I felt both frustrated AND guilty that he was going to have to bring the kids to work for the rest of the morning.
And then I remembered that if it hadn’t snowed yesterday — the ONE day it’s snowed in March! — that I wouldn’t be having this problem at all. I’d have been happily sitting in class stress-free because there would be no crummy internet or children lurking in the hallways with questions and needs. Nope! I would’ve been in class and then Marc and I would’ve had a night out AND an afternoon out! And the kids would’ve got to do some fun things in Calgary. But, nope! Can’t catch a break! Oh yeah! Just like when Marc and I missed our nights away at Pastor/Spouse retreat this fall!
But then Marc said he would come and get the kids and the 10 minute break arrived so I could get up from the computer and get the kids ready. And I remember, clearly, walking into to Olivia’s room and I was on the verge of all of those thoughts and frustrating memories causing a cascade of negativity and self-pity and bitterness. It was right there, ready to wash over me and amp up my frustration to newer levels. But instead I chose to just stop the thoughts right there. And I decided to be glad that Marc was coming to grab the kids rather than being annoyed that he didn’t offer it in the first place. And I decided to ignore the temptation to go down the path of frustration over the days Marc and I get to ourselves often not happening.
And I chose gratitude. Or at the very least I chose to stop the frustration. And it was such a better choice to not feel that frustration.
And in the end, it’s been nice to have a quiet weekend at home — the first in many months.
And it’s good to be reminded that my bitter little heart can chose something better. Something better than bitter.