Moms of teenagers do not like being in the passenger seat when our beloved Planet Teenage Boy (PTB) citizen is driving and decides that he “has” to cut someone off. If you are a mom with a PTB/PTG citizen and feel I am taking liberties with this statement, please feel free to express your willingness to get yourself killed by teenage offspring in the comments. I will update this post as necessary. I am still unsettled about my helpless position during my brush with death this morning on the way to school. Helpless beyond the screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs, that is, but I remain confident my input was somewhat effective if only to equally scare the bejeebers out of my Newly-Licensed Teenage Boy in the moment.
Of course, my PTB Citizen found the nastiest old guy (yeah, I know, who’s talkin) with the shortest temper on Earth to cut off. Thus we had war between the Old Guys and the Teenage Boys occur on our normally peaceful roads this morning, with me and all of my Mom-ness literally a captive audience. Let’s see, first OG flipped off TB, which TB found shocking, then OG chased us down, cut us off and tried the I’ll-teach-you-a-lesson-by-suddenly-slamming-on-my-brakes-in-front-of-you thing twice, allowing TB to show off his “skills” by swerving and testing the limits of our Minivan’s Antilock Braking System. Fittingly, OG’s license plate proudly states he is a “Dad,” and I must say the maturity level verified it. While I’m exceedingly grateful that OG’s wife didn’t let him pack the gun this morning, the whole flipping/chasing/lesson-teaching thing was not an effective example of mature conflict resolution skills for my citizen of Planet Teenage Boy. “Whoa, that guy has a temper!” was foremost in our debriefing.
I know, I’m a day off on the Post A Day thing, so sue me. “Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? by Pete Wilson (no, not that one, another one) changed my life because it challenged the idea that somehow we are “suppose” to have easy carefree lives without any troubles, mean people, tragedies or conflicts. While most of us will say we don’t expect life to be perfect, I don’t see a long line of people to sign up for the hard stuff. We don’t deserve exclusive blessings, nor do we deserve a certain quota of tragedies. Why do babies die? I Don’t Know. If I knew everything, I wouldn’t be sitting around blogging. We are simplistic beings, like 2 yr olds whining because they can’t have a cookie, or worse, because they have to eat vegetables. However, God is more like a Rubik’s Cube Kind of God– there’s a lot of complicated stuff that affects other people which affects other people, and so on. Did I want to be in a major car crash with a permanent injury so that my friend could mention the name of Jesus in a country hostile to Christians because he was only repeating what one of those “American people” had told him? Glad it blessed somebody in some other country where it’s way harder to survive than my struggle not to drive across the street to get a soda, but I still really hated physical therapy. This book taught me to stop fighting what’s actually happening and let Someone who actually has a clue about managing the universe handle it. Stuff is gonna happen. Usually it does. Be ready for the “Plan B” and recognize that just because you feel out of control doesn’t mean He is out of control.
Somehow, having a job with responsibilities changes the perspective of certain citizens of Planet Teenager. Major rant about how the people last night didn’t clean up when they closed the store and actually left *GASP* dishes in the sink!! Fire them all, they know better and they know that “everybody depends on everybody else to do their job correctly.” How inconsiderate those night people were, didn’t even bother to Wipe Off The Syrup Pumps! “Why do they even have a job if they are going to be irresponsible?”
Suddenly the camera changes focus from the PTG citizen and the mother to the bathroom where there is makeup all over the place, some dirty, some “status undetermined” clothes are on the counter, and there’s toothpaste globs in the sink….. And yet, of course, our very miffed PTG citizen Sees Not The Irony Here…..
That although my personality is very intense, I tend to try and not swing too far one way or another in philosophies, opinions, people… From the time I joined La Leche League 20 years ago, I found there were moms who were very extreme in their child-rearing practices, both unbelievably strict (we’re talkin about babies here, not Marine recruits) and extremely lax (“I support you in expressing your frustrations. Would you like to beat on this toy instead of pounding and kicking my very pregnant womb?”) But I learned it’s best to try and find what fits for you and leave the Adamantly Opinionated alone. They probably have been told before that their practices are overly-______, and if they feel so strongly about it they’re probably not gonna change much. I learned not to be defensive about my choices and explain away why I wasn’t/was doing something so awful from their point of view.
I also try really hard to put myself in other people’s shoes. Empathy is a great teacher, as I learned the “jerk”, or “radical” or whatever person has a family too, had horrible experiences in their lives, have been known to be kind and moderate to other people, and even that some people are just shallow. They are not asking me to make them deep. They are okay with who they are. One of my biggest empathy lessons learned was that there really were many other people in the world who did not need closure As Much As I Do. I tended to try and re-instate the conversation that got distracted by the dog running through the house soaking wet. Because the conversation was not yet “finished.” I also thought all reconciliations had to be “complete,” if I forgave somebody of something wretched they did, I had to be their best buddy now and trust them like nothing ever happened.
I don’t remember exactly the moment when the light bulb went on inside my head that there are many other viewpoints in the world, and nobody designated my way of seeing things as the correct one. Five people witness a car accident, five different stories of what happened. Extremely different many times to the extent that you think how could all of these people seen the same thing with so much conflicting information? Which people are lying? None of them, they all saw the accident in the context of their life, whatever they were doing at the moment, whatever reminded them of that thing they saw on tv one time, whether they were contently drinking their starbucks–or just had the hot liquid spill all over their lap. People are fallible and actually do make mistakes and behave in atrocious manners without it having anything to do with me personally. I’m pretty sure the CIA is tracking me though…. they want to know what causes a person to use so much sarcasm in a blog.