You know what happens at my house a lot, especially when I feel like I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with it? All hell breaks loose. Maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe it’s just a part of hell escaping. There’s usually not any fire or ice to go along with the wailing.
The end result on me after all these years of doing my best to put hell back in the box is that everyone thinks I’m really SUPER laid back and mellow and unruffleable. I guess I sort of am, but it’s just a survival tactic. If I flipped out every time someone poured a bag of sugar down the stove burners or barfed all over the couch or walked into the kitchen with a massively bleeding head wound in need of stitches while I was making a stir-fry for supper, then I’d be seriously and permanently fried.
Most of the time, being able to keep my cool pays off. Take this morning, for example. One of my girls had a major meltdown over her wardrobe and the other was having a tearful, shaking with terror, hardcore f r e a k o u t because someone saw a BUG crawling on her head (but it was too big to be lice, so really nobody cared except for the kid with the BUG ON HER HEAD). We needed to leave as we were just a couple of minutes behind schedule, but the kid who had the wardrobe issues was way too pissed to hang with us and took off out the front door announcing that she was walking today. In the rain. Screw the umbrella. (She didn’t really say it that way, but her tone more than implied it.) I didn’t argue with her but just got in the van and after a moment she appeared in the seat behind me. I left my iPod at Scuba’s house, so we didn’t have our usual going to school music to listen to. Very apprehensively I put on a Low CD and picked a song called Two-Step that I hoped would mellow everyone out. I always thought they sang unwind in this song. It’s really on white, but to me, it’ll always be unwind, which is the whole reason I put the song on – I wanted the girls to unwind.
It worked, amazingly enough, and by the time the girls were climbing out of the van after kissing me goodbye, all was almost well.
Sometimes, though, my mellow reaction to things isn’t so great. Like on Monday night when Scuba took the boys to Santa Cruz and came home with A SURFBOARD FOR ME. I should have been jumping up and down and having a good f r e a k o u t but all I could do was stand there and grin. Back when we first ran into each other at our neighborhood Trader Joe’s after not seeing each other for seven or eight years, we were catching up and I told him I wanted to learn how to surf. That year he bought me a gorgeous wetsuit for my birthday, and he’s been teaching me how to catch waves on the boogieboard. Now that he’s practically done with school, we’ll have time to get to the beach a lot this summer. I’m really hopeful that all the years of ballet and soccer and swim team and yoga will help me actually be able to do it. Look for videos this summer. Maybe.