Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I am the Grinch

Yesterday on our way home after school we saw an awesome sight.

It was Santa! Driving around Ellensburg in his red Miata, with a load of presents in the back seat and his sleigh car all lit up.

I got all excited and said, "Lets get closer and wave!"

We followed him into the Goodwill parking lot, rolled down the windows and all yelled, "Hi Santa!"

At which point he gestured for my kids to come over to him. I wish I had the presence of mind to have my phone out and take a picture, but I didn't.

My littlest 3 got out, with Charlie as chaperone, and went to see him. And much to our wondering eyes he took 3 of the presents, (which I had assumed were just decorations) and handed them to my little kids.

Just as he did with the next little kids he saw.

It was so awesome to see someone so full of the Christmas spirit that he would dress up, travel around Ellensburg in the 14 degree weather, and deliver toys to children.

We were so excited, it was so wonderful. And then I heard the children talking about opening them when they got home.

To which I replied, "Oh, you have to wait for Christmas day. It's a Christmas present."

And then, all heck broke loose.

"What?!!! Why?!!!" and much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

To which, honestly, I probably should have just said fine.

But sometimes, as soon as I hear whining, and arguments, I dig in. I get stubborn and decide that it is more important for me to be right than for me to preserve what was a great moment.

But I didn't do that.

I argued that it was a Christmas present, so we should wait for Christmas. I told them they were being greedy and ungrateful. Yeah, it was a good solid parenting moment:(

They countered back that it wasn't given to them on Christmas, so they should be able to open  it.

Pretty soon I was hearing that I was the worst mom ever, that I was the meanest mom ever.(True at that moment) And my older son was in agreement with them, which meant he unleashed all of his argumentative powers,( which are not small), on me.

Needless to say, it was awful.

Once we got home, someone threw their wrapped present at my face.

I reacted by behaving just as badly.

They all went in crying. I locked myself in my closet to complain to Jeff who said, "I'm sorry. That's awful. I probably would have just let them open it. "


I came out of my closet just to be assailed again. So I got in my car, drove around and cried and cried.

I came home and told them I didn't care if they opened them. The moment was over and ruined whether they opened it at that moment or on Christmas.

The awesome, giving gesture of that man was completely lost on me, and because of my behavior, it was lost on my children.

I was sad the rest of the evening. My 10 year old daughter was sad the rest of the evening.

Henry and Nora were fine as soon as I told them they could open their gifts.

The lesson I learned was that there are a lot of times where things are just not a big deal.

I would have loved if my kids had responded with, "Of course mom. We will wait til Christmas."

But they didn't, and I was being unreasonable to expect them to always act the way I want them to or think they should.

They were happy and excited and I stole the moment.

Aren't you glad I share these things so that you can say to yourself, "At least I didn't do THAT."

Being a parent. *sigh*

But to quote my favorite literary heroine, Anne Shirley, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet?"

Yes that is nice. But I do think it would be nice if yesterday could be rewritten from time to time as well:)


  1. Are you sure we're not from the same gene pool? Because I am 100% positive I have done the exact same thing on a different day. Probably a birthday or their baptism day. Something nice and big like that. I'm not sure why, so I have no words of comfort. I guess hope they'll forget about it. I know I won't. This is Teresa, btw.

  2. I second Teresa's comment. I am absolutely certain that I've done this kind of thing on more than one important occasion. Worst feeling in the world. I'm just hoping that when my kids are all older and I admit to and apologize for all my short-comings as a parent that they will wrap their arms around me and say 'that's OK mom, I know you love me".

    You Are Not Alone, my friend! Hang in there... Have a diet coke or a big peppermint patty or something to make you feel better. :-) love you....and you are a GREAT mom in so many more ways that matter.


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