My Boarding School Fantasy … No, It’s Not What You Think
After spending a long, hard day working with adults, stretching myself with diplomacy and being polite in tough situations, communicating reasonably through stressful moments—and receiving polite and reasonable responses (for the most part) throughout said day—coming home to a hair-trigger temper, “I hate you! You’re ruining my life!” when I’ve only asked her to stop chatting with her friend Nicole on the computer long enough to take out the garbage (one of her OH so few chores) —I feel completely ambushed. I stand in stunned silence trying not to “engage” as I have been advised. I fail at the not-engaging thing more often than I’d like to admit, because she’s really, really good at button-pushing.
And that’s another thing—the button-pushing. It seems that I push her buttons just by opening my mouth—before I’ve even had a chance to utter a sound. She cuts me off at the pass, not knowing whether what I’m going to say is good or bad. She just assumes it’ll be bad (I don’t know… seems like a guilty conscience to me…), so even if what I was going to say was, “Your hair looks really pretty today,” by the time she’s done chewing me up one side and down the other, I’m ready to tell her that she needs to walk the dog, clean her room, do her homework, take out the garbage, AND there will be no computer time!
That’s when I fail at the “not-engaging” thing.
Then there are those rare magical moments, when she comes back to me after slamming the door to her room, (I keep waiting for the door knob to fall off—it’s going to happen, I have no doubt about it) and acts as if the violence of her raging soul never happened. She talks to me like a reasonable adult, does her chores and pretends not to notice my stunned silence or cautious replies. I keep telling myself that my life would be so boring if she did that all the time, to counter the thought of how wonderful life would be if she did that all the time.
But because those moments are so magically rare, I still fantasize about boarding school.
Image via Flickr.com/ell brown