Yesterday was my fist stressful day of the year. My schedule was packed: In the morning I had to get all three girls dressed in Sunday best , hair brushed and styled and shoes on their feet so we could attend a baptism at 10am. Everything went well for that part of the morning.
Ash and I had tickets to attend a showing of The Nutcracker an hour away. Several mothers and daughters from Ash's Girl Scout Troop were also going. One of the moms contacted me at the baptism and said she had hurt her back and asked if I could take her daughter. I said yes, as long as they were at the house at 11am, as then was when we needed to leave. We rushed back from the baptism, dropped Alexa and Tabs off with Drek, changed clothes, and jumped back in the car. We were ready to go at 11. The girl didn't show up until 11:10. We hurriedly transferred her car seat over, buckled her up, and we were off!
Three minutes later I realized our car was completely out of gas. What a responsible adult I am. I pulled into a gas station and put my credit card into the machine. The machine beeped and the message "card expired" flashed on the screen. I had never seen that message before. What could it mean? I tried again and the same thing happend. I looked ta my card. The expiration date was dec of 2016. Ah, my card had expired. That is what the message means. I reached in the car and looked though my wallet. I had no debit card, no other credit card, and no cash. All of these were supposed to be in my wallet. Every single one was gone, I had taken them out at various points and hadn't returned them. Such a responsible adult.
I sighed in frustration and climbed into the car. Right before I closed the door, the gas station worker stood in front of my car and announced "Your card has expired."
I paused, confused at why he was telling me this, and why he had come out of the gas station to announce this to me. "Thanks, I know." I answered angrily. I shut the door and drove off, become more and more angry as I drove home.
When I yell at my children I immediately regret it. Sometimes it takes me a minute to calm down from my anger, but I'm always immediately sorry when I am mean to my children.
But to this stranger, whom I didn't yell at, but did speak to with anger, I only got more and more angry. The entire three minutes home I thought of all the mean things I should have said to him. We pulled into the driveway, I transferred the girls to Drek's car, I ran inside, grabbed the keys to Drek's car and off we went again. It was only then that I realized I had spoken with anger and broken my resolution. I also realized how strange it was that I was angry with him at all. I was frustrated, stressed and embarrassed, and reacted with anger.
In the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (if you have not read this book it needs to jump to the top of your to-read list immediately.) an American who survived a Japanese POW camp said that afterward he never got angry because he just didn't see anything that was worth getting angry over. I wish I could find the exact quote, but that was the idea. Anyway, I thought of that. Why in the world was I angry? Was that really worth breaking my goal over?
I changed my attitude, said something to make the girls laugh and felt my anger melt away.
Three minutes into our drive I realized I didn't have my phone. I had no way to navigate to the theater. I turned the car around again and drove home, frantically searching and feeling more and more stressed, upset, and like a failure.
I finally found my phone, and were finally able to leave at 11:30.
Yes, we were late, but again, was that really worth being angry over? Is being late really worth getting upset over?
There were a few other very stressful thing that happened yesterday, including a stressful dinner out in public with just me wrangling not 3 but 4 children who were bursting with energy and not wanting to listen, but I am happy to report that I stayed patient, calm, and respectful through it all. It is possible, If I could only keep that up.