Not what I expected

GRIN # 261

I’m one of those people who enters every situation with a set of expectations. It’s not a good trait, actually, because I have a vision in my mind of how I want things to go and if it doesn’t play out, I’m disappointed, upset etc. Jerry used to say I wanted everyone to follow the script in my head. Guilty.

I’ve tried to change and sometimes I’m successful. But not yesterday. Yesterday was gorgeous and I was elated because we were, all three of us, going to ride our bikes on the Tobacco Trail–as a family. I am constantly wanting us to do things “as a family.” And it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like because Jerry and I have friends and hobbies apart from family and our businesses often eat into personal time.

Tyler was underwhelmed by the Tobacco Trail to say the least. Maybe I built it up too much. I told him we were going to ride under the road–which you do; there’s a tunnel that goes under Hwy. 64.

“I thought we were going to be riding underwater,” he said on the trail.

“Not underwater; under a road.”

“When is that?”

“We already did it. Remember the tunnel, when we yelled ‘Echo, Echo.’ That was it.”

“That was IT? We rode all this way for that?!” he asked, incredulously.

“We saw the horse. That was cool.”

“And horse poop,” Jerry added helpfully.

“UGH! My legs are tired. This is terrible. It’s boring!”

Jerry said, “Maybe you could spend all day in your room and see how terrible that is.” Tyler looked at him darkly.

But Jerry decided to give it one more try and made an effort to stop with Tyler and look for turtles in the creek, offering to tow Tyler along when Tyler was tired.

But Tyler had a good bad mood going. Jerry offered the olive branch, and Tyler was basically saying he could stick it where the sun don’t shine. I warned Tyler about his attitude but he persisted, sucking the fun out of the ride for everyone.

When we got back to trailhead, I told him he would spend the next hour in his room–that he’d been warned about his attitude and he was acting like a brat. Jerry gave him a good lecture on how we both work hard and family time is hard to come by, so when we get it we all need to make an effort. I added he had no right to spoil our day.

“I’m sorry,” Tyler said, starting to cry.

“You should be,” I said.

None of this was in my original script.

Once we got home Tyler went to his room and I went out on the porch. After about 45 minutes, I heard him calling me. “I wrote you a note Mom!!’

On a slip of paper he’d written: “I am relly sorry! Mom and dad can you forget me? Yes or no.”

I wrote back that we did forgive him and I thanked him for the note. Then I added a PS: “You still have 15 minutes.”

I went back onto the porch and suddenly felt lighter. That note just wore a soft spot in my heart. It filled me with joy–that he could apologize and ask for forgiveness. I know adults who can’t do that.

And it occurred to me how Jerry came through too. His words and actions showed me family time was important to him, too.

So, no, the afternoon wasn’t what I expected. It went off-script, but I’d received unexpected gifts. I’m going to try to remember this: Sometimes its better to just wing it.


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