Monday, January 02, 2006

The Shrill of the Moment

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Call me placid, call me a peacekeeper, call me a true Libran who likes balance and harmony. As I've mentioned before, I do not like to make waves, I do not like to be argumentative or confrontational. I like to discuss, but sometimes discussions just go by the wayside and I REACT instead.

From the time our children are about two and a half, we continually tell them, "Use your words." That is another way of saying, "Don't hit/pinch/shove/pull/slap." or "Don't whine/stomp your feet/have a major meltdown."

Well, I haven't been two and a half for many many years, so you'd think that I'd have learned something by now. But ever so often, I just LOSE IT! Today was one of those days. I REACTED.

Frustration and fear were the key behind my unbelievable, award-winning performance. Unfortunately, my children were the other players in this scene. Why was I frustrated and fearful you might ask? My husband had left this a.m., forgetting his cell phone (I didn't realize this for at least 2 hours), people were trying to reach him at the place where he was supposed to be and he wasn't picking up his cell and he wasn't where he was supposed to be. Had he gotten in an accident? Had he made a stop somewhere and been held up at knifepoint? Had we just spent our last Chanukah together? My mind was running off countless horrible possibilities as to what might have happened to him, and I wondered how long do I wait until I have to report a missing person. I was extremely agitated, especially since I didn't understand why he wasn't at least answering his cell phone. I was the worrier, as was his mother, which is the place he was supposed to be.

At some point, my kids and a friend of theirs were just getting antsy and my youngest REACTED to my middle child, had hurt her and she was bawling. Unfortunately, I just thought it was my oldest who'd made my daughter cry and I just started shrieking and shrilling at him. I clearly lost it at that moment and I could hear myself, my tone, my volume of voice. I knew that my emotions of fear and worry for my husband had just spilled out onto this juvenile audience. I was deeply ashamed, and sat my children down and their friend and soulfully apologized and explained about REACTING, rather than simply verbalizing.

When my husband finally called two hours after he'd left the house, I tried to curb my REACTING mode and made sure to ask if he was okay and if anything had happened. No, he'd simply erred when he realized he didn't have his phone with him, he'd made a stop and didn't realize how long it would take and he admitted he should have stopped at a pay phone to call both his mother and me. Of course he apologized profusely for putting me through unnecessary worry and envisioning of worst-case scenarios.

It truly took me several hours to have relief and calm ebb through my body. I had been so wound up with that tension, and I was so upset with myself for having displayed such despicable behavior towards my children, and truthfully, I was a touch scared that I had the capacity to react in such a manner.

And let me tell you...the shrill of the moment was certainly not a thrill of the moment.