Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Contrition

Brandon missed the bus this morning. It comes around 6:20. I know it's early, but I am ruthlessly unsympathetic when it comes to having to drive him to school. Probably because it happens every couple weeks. And because when I am awake at that time in the morning I observe him almost miss it daily. And because I have to make the decision whether to wake the Weekids to take them with us on our drive or risk trying to get back before they start crying and rattling their cages. Or - as was the case today - waking their father while wandering the house looking for me.

Mornings are not my finest hour. And many days I have driven Brandon to school while giving him an earful of lecture on the way. Lately, in an effort to rant less, I have been driving him to school in silence, trying to let his consequence of grounding that afternoon stand for itself.

This morning though, I wasn't awake already. I had suffered through fitful night of sleep and finally fallen into blessed oblivion somewhere around 4:00AM. So when Brandon woke me up at 6:30, I wasn't happy. I think I may have snarled at him. Throwing on a wool sweater, I started the lecturing before I had even slammed my mug into the coffee maker.

"Really?!" I snapped. "Again? How many times are you going to let this happen before you change your routine to reflect the time the bus actually comes? I can't count how many times I have watched you run out the door after it!."

And Brandon did the worst thing he could possibly have done at this point. He argued. About how it wasn't his fault. About how he only missed the bus by one minute. About how the bus had been early. If he had shown contrition, or even remained quiet, things may have went differently. But, as it was, I started yelling, my voice rising with every word until I was screeching like an enraged banshee. About how he never takes responsibility for his actions. About how nothing is Ever His Fault!

The ride to the school was thick with our anger. It took almost 40 minutes to get there and as I started worrying about Ben getting out of bed, I would make bitter, sarcastic quips about how much I was enjoying the traffic, or how Ben was probably reeking havoc at home. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I was overreacting, I was just being mean, but I couldn't seem to let go. And then, as he got out of the car, I begrudgingly wished him a good day and good luck on his test. It sounds ridiculous even now as I type it.

On the twenty minute ride home, my rage started to subside. And I looked back in a kind of detached horror, and wondered who this person was. How I, who never yell - not at my husband, not at strangers on the road - can occasionally become this angry, spewing person to my children. This unrecognizable parent, that I never wanted to be.

10 comments:

slouching mom said...

oh, joy.

you and he will make it up this afternoon.

who can blame you, who'd had only 2.5 hours of sleep?

kids forgive so easily -- it's one of their most endearing qualities, i think.

hugs.

painted maypole said...

i hate mornings, too. and yes, the boy needs to learn.

can you bear to make him deal with the consequences of being tardy - that if he misses the bus you don't take him until later when you leave the house for whatever other reasons, and then if he fails or whatever it's on his head? because right now you are taking the consequences on yourself. find a way to put them on him. (but you have to be willing to allow him to suffer them)

Spice Girl said...

I'm sorry, Joy. Just remember you're only human.

Love you!

Lori said...

Big, big hugs to you!!

I have been that mother too my friend. And yes, she is unrecognizable and horrifying to watch from the outside looking in. I know that my most vulnerable moments are when I am sleep deprived, which is one of the many reasons I will not be having any more babies. Pumpkin's first year I was so much more touchy and temperamental with my boys than I would ever want or meant to be.

I am proud of you for writing these words and sharing this story. I have not yet gathered the courage to really share the "ugly" that can happen in our household from time to time.

What will you do now? Do you and Brandon usually find a way to mend your broken fences?

Kyla said...

We are human, love. It happens to ALL of us. And kids have to see us mess up on occasion, because then they can watch us model how to repair things, too.

I can't fault you, though. It was his mistake that you have cleaned up many a time. There comes a point when we all get fed up with those things.

Grandmoo said...

6:20 is NOT MORNING! That's the middle of the night!

Christine said...

i do it too. really. and i do it far too much. kyla is right--we are only human. and brandon knows that this is the "real" you. he loves you, and you him--don't forget that.

Christine said...

am pm has a good point--next time let him be late and suffer the consequences of detention, missing a test, etc. it may be hard to do, but i bet he won't miss that bus again.

karen said...

6:20am? I'd have made him walk!

Missy said...

I lived the farthest from school and was the first stop on the bus. AND, not a morning person as a kid, or now for that matter. Anyway, my mom's rule -- miss the bus, you walk - tough sh-t. I recall times of my sister and I dragging home when we missed the bus, dreading mom's wrath. She made us find out own way (which was usually hitching a ride with the neighbors). When I was old enough to drive myself, I was late often, and dealt with the tardy-slip consequences. Might be that time.