|Me and Sol.|
Take yesterday, for example. We had to travel to L.A for a family funeral. Tension was high--getting us all properly dressed and ready to go before the hour of seven am so we could beat mid-week traffic is a feat unto itself. No matter how much I prepare the night before, chaos always seems to happen. It's usually about electronics.
There are daily squabbles over phones, iPhones, iPods, video games, headphones and computers. Come on, I have six kids and both my husband and I freelance to pay the bills--the kids don't have their own, they have to share.
I know, foreign concept, right? This isn't because I have some lofty goal of teaching them about the evils of material items--let's face it, it would be less of a headache for me to just buy them their own. Then I wouldn't have to play referee 24/7. But we can't afford it so this is how it has to be.
As we were preparing to leave and I was in a black sock hell (ravaging through a massive pile of black socks and trying to find a pair), Sol came up to me and snitched on Diego.
"Mom, Diego has your iPod."
"I know. I let him use it. The only reason why you are snitching is because you want it for yourself. Go sit in the van, I'll be right outside." I thought I dismissed him but instead he went back to Diego to launch a verbal assault.
"Moooom! Sol just called me an asshole!" Diego cried out.
I mean, really guys? Right before we have to drive in morning traffic to L.A.? Under the threat of rain? This was the last thing I wanted to deal with but I knew I couldn't sweep it under the rug. Lately, my boys have gotten into the habit of cursing at each other amongst themselves. This stinks, because obviously my husband and I haven't raised them in an environment where they can speak to each other like that.
But I was pissed. Pissed that they would pull something like this. Pissed that Sol was being a snitch and having a foul mouth. Back in the day, my mom would've just popped me in the mouth and be done with it. I was tempted to do just that. But I obviously needed to have a little more finesse.
I launched into a tirade about how important our words are. The appropriateness of words. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. How it is just plain wrong to call someone names out of anger. And so on and so forth. Sol sat there red-faced.
"Do I speak to you this way, son? Do I talk to you and your siblings this way?" I demanded.
"No." He said quietly.
"Do your father and I speak to each other this way?" I demanded again, but two seconds passed before I realized this probably wasn't the best question to ask. At least, not if I wanted to hear the truth.
Here's the part where I get my butt handed to me.
"Yes! I've heard you call Dad an asshole before, Mom!" Solomon said. "In the garage, when you were arguing."
Jaw drop. Like, it literally dropped. I looked around the room and I had no words to say.
I took a deep breath and...apologized. I mean, what else could I do? I was genuinely sorry that I had spoken to my husband this way, the man I'm called to love and respect. I was even more sorry that I spoke to him and the chil'rens heard it. We hugged it out and I looked into Solomon's eyes and told him I wouldn't talk to his father that way again...and that he shouldn't talk like that to his brothers either.
To me, cursing at people you love when you're angry is a bad habit. One you don't want to start because the love and respect declines at a rapid pace. And Michael and I have really tried to maintain that respect over the years. But sometimes we slip and...well, it's usually me.
This is a glimpse of my real life. Real life is hard. But I think it's the real part that most people have challenges with.