Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Not-So-Parable of the Stuck Van

It's way too soon to laugh about this (although the rest of the family already has, and Brandon has been laughing about it within an hour after it had happened), but I learned some hard lessons last night about my ridiculous reactions to things.

Yesterday was a half-day of school for the older boys. When they came home, they ate lunch, and then asked if they could play with some friends. I knew the friends they were going to play with, although I didn't know (by memory) the house they would be playing. I didn't tell them when to be home, but we have a family rule: when it gets dark, get your butt home.

The girls came home from school, I cleaned the kitchen, it was getting darker. No sign of the boys. I waited. I waited. I called the house where they were supposed to be --no answer. I called another friend who had gone with them --he was already home and said the boys had stayed at this other house.


I called that other house again. This time, the friend answered and said the boys had already left for home. So, I waited. And waited. And started looking out the windows and pacing. By now, it's pitch black outside, it's almost 6PM (sunset is around 4:45PM), and I'm really worried. Not only were they coming home in the dark, but our streets are not safe for pedestrians even in the light, let alone the dark! #3 had taken his bike, too...

Finally, exasperated, frustrated, I told the girls I'm going to look for them. I went in my stocking feet, got in the van (our Bison. Our 12 passenger van. Because Brandon wasn't quite home from work, although I knew he was on his way home), and pulled out of the driveway. I went down to the edge of our property and that's when my headlights saw the boys, so I pulled over to the left. Brandon, who happened to be driving down our street, had seen me pull out of the driveway and go down the street, and in his confusion as to what I was doing, had followed me. He also pulled over. I rolled down the window, told the boys they are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!!! (and I probably yelled other things, too. I don't remember...) and told them to go inside.

I was so angry. I had been so worried, I was frustrated that Brandon followed me, upset that I hadn't had more patience (seriously, 2 minutes and they would have been home), and I took it out on the van. I started a 5 gazillion point turn (our street is narrow), and in my flustered emotions, I backed one wheel over the edge of the road and onto the grass (we have no sidewalks). Well, dear reader, it was 68 degrees last night. And we have a lot of water in our ground, here. Wanna take a guess at what happened?

I was totally stuck.

I figured I could maneuver it out, but it kept getting worse. Then, in panic, I reversed again, and both back wheels went over the edge. Lovely. I was so stuck, and upset, and crying, and angry, and Brandon, watching me do all of this, just walked over to the van. I jumped out and went to his car and drove it into the garage, while he tried to grapple with the van.

It stayed on the front lawn all night long.

During dinner (making dinner, too), I was so upset. Upset with the boys, upset with the situation, but mostly upset with myself. I was snippy, and cried a bit, and yelled, and pouted (I could blame pregnant hormones, and my mental illness, but it's all of that combined with my weakness of a generally short fuse). FHE made things a bit less tense in the family, and we all felt the tension (i.e. MY tension) release. The boys had felt horrible. Just horrible. #4 had lost a football at their friend's house and they had been looking for it; #3 knew I was worried and he could sense my frustration from three blocks away! They knew they were going to be in trouble. And I made them feel worse.

This morning, Brandon tried to get the van out again (using boards under the wheels, etc.) and had no luck (it's only 55 degrees, now). Since I had to have the van today (I have three parent-teacher conferences and an eye appointment for #1), he called AAA. The tow truck had the van out in seconds.

How I wish last night had gone down:

*I waited for the boys.
*I calmly grounded the boys from playing with friends tomorrow for breaking the rule (I did, in fact, ground them, but the operative word of how I wish I had done it is "calmly.")
*The End.

But that's not what happened, so I just have to admit that I was wrong. I was justified in my worry and the punishment. But the anger? No justification there. My embarrassment, my pride, my impatience? It was so awesome to see all my weaknesses on display for the whole neighborhood and all of my family. And by awesome, I mean, "horrifyingly humiliating."

Thank goodness for repentance. And forgiveness.

And I'll laugh about it later.

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