Let me tell you about the night I just had.
The local college hosts an outdoor movie screening for four weeks in July. Before the movie there are bounce houses, special entertainment, vendors and food trucks. I thought it would be fun to take the kids to go see the newest live action version of Cinderella. Since my two youngest had taken short naps, and it hasn’t rained in three days, I thought it would be perfect.
The evening started off great. We got there about 30 minutes after the events started. We brought food and after we ate part of it (the kids were too excited to eat much), we went and played. It was about 85° and 90% humidity; all three kids were dripping sweat within 10 minutes. Fortunately, the time went quickly. Some friends came and sat with us, we watched a ballet company perform, played on the playground and bounced in the blowups.
Did I mention that my husband is out-of-town and so I was doing this by myself? No? Well. How forgetful of me.
They decided to start the movie about 20 minutes early because it was cloudy and getting dark. Just as the movie started, the rain began. At first, it was just big drops, but a few minutes later a lot of people were packing up to leave. I had brought all of our umbrellas and the radar was showing that the rain was going to be over quick, so I decided to stay. It soon stopped. And then it started again. At one point, it rained pretty good and most everyone who didn’t have some protection left.
The kids didn’t mind at all. It was still in the 80’s and we had blankets and umbrellas to cover us. My LittleMan was tired, but he was happy laying on the ground, head on a pillow, shielded by the umbrella and covered by a blanket. Eldest wasn’t too thrilled with the “girly” movie and wanted to catch fireflies. CurlyGirl was enthralled with the movie and didn’t notice anything going on around her.
By the way, during the heaviest rain, I had been leaning forward in my chair so I could share the umbrella with LittleMan who was in his own chair at the time. I wasn’t thinking too clearly because the rain dripped down the back of the umbrella and soaked the seat of my chair, which I then scooted back onto. Honestly, I did not pee my pants, it was from the puddle on my chair!!
The rain finally stopped, but 20 minutes later the wind picked up. I haven’t lived in Kentucky long, but I do know this: a strong wind precedes a storm. When I felt the first sprinkle I decided to pack up. And just as Cinderella got to the ball, too.
Poor CurlyGirl was absolutely devastated. She bawled all the way to the van. I was a bit irritated by her carrying on, but I understood, so I tried to gentle my irritation. We got into the van and I looked around the parking lot – there weren’t a whole lot of cars left, and there was plenty of space to park where we could see the screen. So I moved the van and we settled in happily to watch the rest of the movie.
Well, just before the wicked stepmother locks Cinderella in the attic, the movie stopped and an announcement was made that severe thunderstorms were coming. Sigh. I was glad we were already in the van though, because before I pulled out of the parking lot, big drops were falling.
We made it home peacefully. CurlyGirl, surprisingly, wasn’t too upset at not getting to watch the entire movie. I told the kids that as soon as we got home they were to go upstairs and get ready for bed; it was 10:30, three hours past their normal bedtime.
As I was unloading all of the wet stuff from the back of the van, the two bigs were dawdling inside the house. I was starting to get irritated, but I knew they were tired, so I tried to gently encourage them to get moving. It was while I was brushing LittleMan’s teeth that I finally lost it, though. Eldest came into the bathroom with a letter from the mail that had been sitting on the kitchen counter. He told me that it wasn’t for us. I was so irritated with him at that moment that I couldn’t say anything for a second (it should have been a lot longer), the other two were almost ready for bed and he was reading mail that I couldn’t do anything about at that moment??? Grrrrrrr. When I finally did speak, it was pure poison coming out of my mouth. I could hear my ugliness and I was hating myself as it was coming out, but I couldn’t stop it.
I angrily sent him back downstairs and proceeded to finish brushing little teeth. When he came up and started playing in his room instead of getting ready for bed, I was so furious that again the verbal vomit spewed forth.
Somewhere in the back of my head I knew that all of the attitudes were due to everyone being extremely tired, disappointed, wet and cold. I finally managed to stop spewing and get myself under control. I read a quick book and kissed the kids goodnight.
They all were asleep within five minutes.
I on the other hand, couldn’t sleep. Not only was there a thunderstorm brewing, but my poor attitude made me regretful.
As I reflected on the evening, I saw numerous times when I could have lost my cool and didn’t. I chose to have fun on a hot, sweaty, rainy evening outdoors, and I did have fun. My kids all had fun. And we’ll probably do it again.
Next time I’ll be a little more prepared for my late night acerbic-ness and hopefully I can stop it before it happens.
Motherhood has a steep learning curve. I’ve been trying to be more mindful of how I am speaking to my kids. And the last few days I have actually done pretty good. Again, I always fail just as I’m patting myself on the back. But that’s part of the learning curve.
The best way to make amends is to apologize, to my kids and to God. And then tomorrow is always a new day.
The storm last night not only washed away our movie viewing, but it also cleaned our muddy blanket I had laid outside. See? There is always a silver lining.
Linking up at A Little R & R