Clapping On The Down Beat

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Ghosts of Christmas past December 4, 2013

Filed under: Parenthood,Sharing and Caring — clappingonthedownbeat @ 12:42 PM

This is probably one of the harder posts I’ve written.  It’s like the dream where you are naked in front of a large crowd you feel exposed, vulnerable and open for judgment.

A little context:

Flashback to Christmas of 1986
It’s Christmas morning, and for some reason my younger brother and I thought it would be a good idea to let my parents sleep in.  We were trying to be thoughtful, and let them sleep in, instead of waking them up early to open Christmas presents.   I am not sure whose idea that was.   We were amazed by the shiny, glittery wrapped boxes, the new bikes, quietly opening presents, showing each other the things that we had received.   And then, walk in my parents.  I can only imagine,  shocked, disappointed and  upset.  Christmas ruined.  We spent the rest of that Christmas, I believe, upstairs in our rooms.   It was the only Christmas that happened, and haunts me to this day.

Flash forward December 3, 2013     yesterday

Brian left on Monday for a business trip and as fate would have it,   I started to get sick.

I decided by Tuesday afternoon to head over to the minute clinic and get a strep test. Why it’s called a minute clinic, I’m not sure, because we were to  there for an hour and a half even though I was second on the waitlist.   I had a raging headache that Advil had not fixed, a sore throat that felt like I had been swallowing sandpaper and joint pains like I was used in a tug of war game.

The boys started playing tag in the store.  I decided to strap Josh into a cart where he proceeded to scream and cry that I was strangling him. Kate was staking Depends packages like building blocks.  Jack couldn’t  seem to keep his hands to himself  or sit in a chair.  Then the complaining started that it was boring and there was nothing to entertain them.   I was about to lose my mind.   Repeatedly asking them to sit down, draw on some paper I brought, play eye spy, ect.   I was so fed up with them, and unbelievably shocked at how  uncaring and uncompassionate they were that their mother was sick.   How come they couldn’t wait patiently?  I wasn’t expecting angels, but the behavior they were exhibiting  was embarrassing!  What kind of kids am I raising?  Disrespectful and disobedient.

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I know, you are thinking I am exaggerating and being extreme.

I’m sure my feelings were intensified due to feeling absolutely miserable and wanting to crawl back into bed under the covers and close my door to the world . I won’t continue with the rest of the details, let’s just say it got worse once we made it into the doctor’s office.

Inspired by a friend I know, on the  trip home, I explained to the kids that they will probably  be on the naughty list this year.  (They had already been warned prior to this)  I explained how embarrassed and how heartbroken I was over the behavior they exhibited.   I explained to them that when they act this disobediently and they don’t listen to me, two things happen.   First,  I feel like I am unloved and uncared for and that they don’t respect me.   Number two, that I don’t want to take them any other places because I’m afraid they won’t listen and follow directions.   So last night the kids went home, made sandwiches for themselves for dinner and went to bed early.

I was again haunted by Christmas of 1986, Christmas past.  I don’t want to raise kids were their only concern is with the commercial aspect of Christmas.  I do enjoy the spirit and magic of the season, so I hate threatening that Santa won’t come.  But I also want them to know why we celebrate, and the ultimate gift.  This time of year is about sharing, caring and giving.

Was I severe?  Drastic to send them a note today that they were on Santa’s naughty list?  I don’t know.  There is time to change attitudes and behaviors though.  So maybe this will be a Christmas  that my kids will remember.  Christmas 2013 that will hunt them when they almost didn’t have a Christmas.

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