I Am Really Just Sad.
With summer vacation drawing to a close, I spontaneously whisked away the children for one grand, final adventure.
Since we had season passes for an amusement park and we were running out of time to use them, we headed for Busch Gardens in our hastily packed car. The trip takes 3-4 hours, depending on traffic, and I wanted to get ahead of the traffic to have extra time for fun.
But with so much to do, we left too late to do a drive-thru breakfast. We left even later so that I could splatter peanut butter on toast, and toss some water bottles into the car. We had to stop at the post office, and my heart was already beating with anxiety.
We were 15 minutes from home when Dylan announced: “I forgot my shoes.”
“You forgot your shoes?!” I shrieked. “How could you have forgotten your shoes? Were you not planning to WALK at the amusement park?!”
“Should we go back?” he asked, sensing the shriek.
“NO,” I said, beginning to rage. “We are NOT going back for your SHOES! You can walk in the flip-flops that I packed FOR you!”
Then I really lost it. I threatened to turn the car around and go home. “Why am I even bothering trying to do something fun?” I spat. “No one is even acting excited!”
I raged on and on and on and on – all the while heading slowly toward our destination with a pit in my gut.
Dylan said, “I’m really fine with wearing flip-flops.”
And Shane added, “We really do want to go.”
Finally, I shut up.
I fumed silently for several minutes. I was so angry with the whole world, I didn’t want to do anything fun ever again. So I continued to fume silently.
And suddenly, ZAP!
I realized what was happening.
Summer was over. I wanted to destroy our final trip before it happened – because if it didn’t happen, then maybe summer wouldn’t be over. Or maybe if I ruined our last trip, it wouldn’t be so sad when the kids go back to school next week.
I didn’t say it was logical.
But I knew – quite suddenly – that all my raging and fuming was not anger. It came from a place of sadness – and love.
Many parents are happy when summer’s over. There’s a relief at not having to entertain their kids anymore. But I love having them home. I miss them dreadfully when they are at school. They are my favorite part of the entire world, and I sincerely and deeply grieve when the school year begins.
So in the car, I took a few deep breaths and explained to the kids what had happened.
“I am really just sad,” I said. “And I’m sorry I yelled at you. I really just want to be with you and have a really great time together, okay?”
“Okay,” they said in unison. It was quiet for several minutes.
Then Shane said, “You know what’s funny?”
“Right before you told us that you were just sad,” Shane told me, “I said a little prayer for you to change your attitude.”