Posted by: cmittermeier | February 5, 2014

Snow Day Frustrations

Today is a snow day.  When I went to bed last night they were forecasting 5-10cm of snow.  I woke up to an updated forecast, we ended up in the heavier bands and can expect a lot more.  My oldest son had started the day arguing to stay home, I’d let them once this year (which I’d forgotten), why not today?  There’s nothing to do at school, all his friends get to stay home… you know the rhetoric.  He got on my nerves quickly.

I’d have to drive my boys, nothing new there.  As we started out I realized that traffic is substantially heavier than even I anticipated, it would likely be an hour before I got them there.  I turned around and came back.  Yes, I had errands to do near their school, but I kept thinking about all the gas I’d waste going now as opposed to waiting till the snow finishes and they have a chance to clean it up.  This was so not worth it.

As we were leaving the car, my oldest son in his teenage voice exclaims, “yeah, Mom always says the snow is no big deal, that we’re going in, but then it gets like this and she fails.”

His generation’s slang is different from my own, we do not use the word “fail” and “epic fail”.  He tried to back peddle, but just kept digging himself in deeper.  I went through the roof on him, handed him his lunch and told him to stay out of my sight all day.  I explained in a loud voice that when a grown-up makes a calculated decision based on time, effort, pay-off, and danger to not do something it does not mean they are not up to the (insert explicative) task.  Then I warned him that if he wanted to bring the word fail into this house, he better be ready to have it used on him.

I am still not 100% over it, but I have calmed down enough to analyze why his words inflamed me.  He knew in advance that I was frustrated – my plans for the day had been rearranged and he’d already been pushing my buttons.  It didn’t take much to push me over the edge.  Any way he would have said what he did would have set me off, but I’ll be honest, there was something in the choice of the word fail that hit a much deeper chord.

Fail.  I’m at the half-way point of life, using statscan life expectancy numbers.  With my family history, I’m much further along and likely have less than a third of my life left.  I am well aware that if I don’t do things now, there will be fewer tomorrows to do them in.  I am getting closer and closer to the day when a full accounting will be made.  The word fail at this age, well, lets be honest, it means a heck of a lot more than it did 20 years ago.

Now, there is far less chance of getting back on the horse if I fall.  Broken bones heal slower, muscles don’t respond to training as they once did.  One of my frustrations with the snow is the fact that the banks on the side of our driveway are as tall as my shoulders.  On Sunday my husband was away and we had 6-8inches to shovel. I couldn’t hoist it over the bank.  I got out some crates and the loaded them for the boys who carried them down the side of the house and emptied them on the sides.  As I looked out this morning I knew I would have to wait till my husband was home to get a clean driveway.  Well before my son’s comment, I had had to face the fact that I am not as capable as I once was.  I do not ever see myself able to handle snow the way I did 5 years ago.

I know the reason his barb went so deep was the fact that there are times I still fear that if I were to die right now, my life would be classified as “fail”.  Too many half done works, too many driveways she just can’t do anymore.  It is far from realistic accounting of my life, but its a secret fear that I think many can relate to.  Especially when your brain is hard wired to chase the next exciting bunny instead of cleaning the litter boxes of the ones you have!

Like all traits, the desire to chase off after butterflies is a neutral trait, its what we do with it that tips the scales.  If I leave unfinished the things I am responsible for, then I am miss using it.  If I use it to springboard into a new endeavor after completing my tasks, its a great thing.  Life only progresses if we move out of the box once in a while. But this morning I did not focus on the benefits, or the neutrality.  I focused on the downside.

When you have a weakness, its easy to let those nasty little voices dig deeper than they should.  Knowing that they’re getting to me allows me to fortify my defenses.  Now I can smile as I look out at the snow still streaming down and admit to myself in my son’s vernacular, yeah, trying to drive to school today was a fail.  He still needs to learn his language isn’t ours though, and that his choice in words can really hurt.  But at least my hurt isn’t part of that anymore.

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