I don’t get why my kids think they can barge into my room during a weekend retreat to complain about the others’ behavior when I’m standing dripping in a towel. Between 7 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, that literally happened 3 times. Our whole family was at Toah Nipi at a Cana marriage retreat on the topic “Trusting God in Changing Circumstances,” and these circumstances were just too much for me to do any actual trusting of God.
And the complaint the kids were leveling against one another? Barging into one anothers’ rooms without permission.
I was not happy, not just because my privacy had been invaded and my early morning peace was being destroyed by screeches, yells and whining, but also because the main “barger” lied about it. So I did some chewing out—so much for the criticism fast—but when you’re standing in a towel, and your kids barge in on you, AND lie to boot, it’s just several changing circumstances too many.
15 minutes later, when I was dressed but still not in my right mind, Caleb, a 4 year old on the retreat said to me, “You sounded just like my mommy when she’s grumpy.”
“Is that so?” I said.
He nodded. “Yes, when my mom’s grumpy she uses that voice you were using.”
Knowing his mom, who’s one of the most positive people I know, I said, “But I bet your mom isn’t grumpy very often, is she?”
“That’s where I’m different from your mom,” I said. “I’m grumpy a lot of the time, and I use that grumpy voice A LOT.”
If you ask my kids, I think they would say “grumpy” is my main emotional state. There’s just too much clashing between the wants and likes and personal agendas of everyone in the family, and all that noise makes me grumpy.
e.g. An equation:
(I need to shower and dress in peace) + (kids need to screech at me about the others) = Grumpiness
Before marriage, as I examined the male population, I kept noticing that all the cool guys were married. As a trained social scientist, I wondered whether this was a case of correlation (all the cool guys get snatched up, hence they’re the ones who get married), or whether it was a case of causation (the process of marriage “coolifies” the guys). The more I thought about it and the more I talked about it, the more I thought the primary factor was causation—and hence my theory “The Coolification of Marriage.”
Before marriage, I also often touted Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” for how we need one another to grow and improve. After marriage and kids, I’ve come to realize that metal on metal is painful. . .and it makes a screeching sound that makes everyone’s skin crawl. But there’s nothing like banging two iron rods together to hammer out unseemly bumps, and there’s nothing like a big metal rasp to file off rough edges.
So perhaps we’re just going to have to live with my grumpiness while the four other human beings in my house stomp and file all my bumps, jagged ends and rough spots--my own coolification process.
Too bad that despite it all, the last thing my kids will think is that I’m cool. . .