In the middle of this whole world COVID crisis I found a love of walking my dogs each morning. It was not easy in the beginning, as I do not exemplify healthy. However, on my walks I get to catch my breath, I hype myself up for the day. At times, my husband joins me, other times it’s the dogs and Marilyn Manson or Monster Magnet screeching in my ears. Yes, the blonde suburban housewife out walking her dogs has a secret, she loves and needs heavy metal music in her life. If you are a fan of “Dead to Me” from Netflix you can draw comparison.
This morning in particular, behind my dark sunglasses, I found myself crying for most of my walk. Most days I put on my smile and tell myself everything is great, we are one big happy blended family. Let’s be real though, does happy and blended go together 100% of the time? We all want it to, but the reality is that we have those amazing moments that I still cherish and then there are moments I wish I could strike from my memory. This week and probably the reason I find myself writing is I am at a crossroads with my family.
Two nights ago my husband and I decided we need to talk to the kids about some of the issues we were seeing around the house. Dishes everywhere, no one cleaning out the cat litter, laundry thrown in drawers, essentially our kids have gotten lazy. I have no issues admitting I am a control freak. I love a clean house, I love doing laundry, I am organized. We made a list of talking points and started with the cat. If no one wants to help take care of him, we would find him a new home (not really, but helps our cause). Now if the kids are not home, that cat is practically mine. When they are home, he belongs to my near 13 year old step-daughter Audrie. She was adamant that she did not want to help (even though she has to at her moms house). Deep breaths Kelli…deep breaths.
I tried to reroute the conversation. What if we offered an allowance every two weeks, where you start with a balance and you can earn above or drop below. Most were receptive, asking a million questions. However, the oldest, my redheaded stepdaughter Elsie (14 and in HS now) snidely strikes down the idea and tells us to “count her out” and that she did not need “money.” I know all my parents out there laughed really hard out-loud. A teenager that does not want money? Yeah-ok sweetheart.
This is where it gets hazy. She and I have a great relationship, I was the oldest, she is the oldest. We go out shopping, we get Starbucks together, when she needs something she seeks me out. I really don’t know if it was what she said, or how she said it, but I lost it. I am not proud of what I said, may have been an F-word or two in there, but I got up from the table went to put my plate at the sink and left. Only…I may have let the plate go too hard and it shattered against another. Embarrassed and upset, I went upstairs and started bawling. This was that like angry, bawling, crying into the pillow type stuff. Quickly, I thought to myself, what the heck was I doing?
I got up, brushed my hair and marched downstairs, and fumbled out to my husband that I needed out of my house. Got in the car (still crying) and called my Sister-in-Law Laura. Now all in all, she has become one of my best friends. She has been in this family 18 years and she just gets it. She let me cry and talk and then told be the best thing ever. A few weeks ago she was arguing with my niece (21 years old), and she slammed her favorite platter down, harder than she realized and it broke. I should’t have laughed, but holy hell did I need that. We are allowed to break plates.
Sometimes you need that outside perspective and to know that what you did was ok. I only left my house for 45 minutes, I went home after wondering aimlessly through Target. My husband told me that I didn’t overreact and that he knew precisely what set me off. My boys (13 and 10) immediately sought me out to apologize and to hug me (men, you know how easy it is to fix a crying woman). Here is where I come full circle back to this morning, the girls have yet to acknowledge nor apologize. They think because I made lunch the next day I am all forgiving.
I am stubborn, freely admitting. I also can hold a grudge and know how to play passive-aggressive warfare. Should I with two girls? Probably not. Will I? More than likely. I cannot cave and I cannot show weakness. They have never apologized for anything come to think of it. They are missing an apologetic chromosome that I know their mother is missing as well. I am just going to wait it out, see what happens. Instead I am going to cry and let it go on my walks.
This is only a snippet of my life, but already I feel slightly better having told the “world” out there. Like I said, there are great times and there are the not-so-great times, but I look forward to my new “therapy.”
Welcome to my bunch.