I will admit it. I have been a yeller. I bottle up my anger without even realizing it and when I reach the boiling point, it all topples over and out, like a volcano. I have yelled when I feel like I am not being heard, as if increasing the volume will make the words more clear somehow, better understood. I have yelled when the words were instructions, given, accepted, understood and then ignored. I have yelled when I felt taken advantage of or neglected or less than or or or… I have been a yeller.
It is one of my least favorite traits about myself. It is also one of the ones I have worked hardest to understand and change.
And I have. For the most part. And I didn’t even really notice …. until one morning earlier this year.
Quick debrief of that morning, not because I need to share, but because in hindsight, it is actually pretty funny:
The day after a long holiday weekend, the Kid decided to sleep in a little. Due to the holiday, we had also neglected our practice of preparing for the week ahead: aka – set out the clothes the night before.
The Kid comes down, late remember? And proceeds to tell me that he has no clean pants in his drawer. Which is really interesting because I finished what I thought was all of the laundry just the night before. So where were all the jeans? In a heap in the corner of the room. NOT (wait for it) in the laundry basket. And of course, I didn’t ask him to bring down the heap for washing, only the basket (duh, mom!)
I did what any ‘Mother of the Year” award front runner would do… I sent him to pick through the pile, find the cleanest pair, and wear them. Oh, and of course, bring down the heap for washing.
The Kid retrieves the cleanest pair of jeans from heap and brings the heap down. I have the washing machine all ready to receive said heap of dirty clothes
Th Kid sits for french toast breakfast (oh, there…. your wheels started turning, you just realized where this is going)
Yep, we’re going there, Kid flips syrup. All over table. chair. floor, shirt, and jeans. Maybe a little on one of the white dogs, but I can’t deal with that much reality.
Me? I’m standing at the counter working on something on the computer. Look down as I open my mouth to yell at the kid, I see the title of the article that just pulled up … an article about yelling … at kids. (That is what I call The Big Universe or TBU.)
Pause. Breath (deep, lung filling)
Calmly, quietly, I dig another pair of jeans out of the heap (which fortunately had not yet made it into the washer), kiss The Kid on forehead, send him for a new shirt and begin the arduous process of cleaning syrup from the kitchen…. and dogs….
Yelling? No yelling. A year earlier my day would have been trashed. So would his. There would have been tears (more mine than his) and hurt feelings. Worse.
But that morning there was a smile. A kiss. And a confirmation that I know it was an accident. Accidents happen.
I didn’t tell him that had the bus not been coming up the street at that precise moment, he would indeed be the one cleaning this up. But that’s okay, he will get his turn someday in less years than I like to realize and when he tells me about it, I will smile and tell him I still love him.
And we get the lesson learned, one of many that I’m sure will come to me … by golly, the clothes get laid out the night before.
And I, am one step closer to overcoming a nasty and unnecessary habit. Before I can teach him to have the same habit with his children.