I’m sitting down at the end of the day looking back over the past few hours and trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
Some people would call this “being reflective” but in this moment I’m calling it “being confused and trying to make sense of where I zigged when I should have zagged.” Maybe the folks who would insist on calling it “being reflective” simply aren’t being honest enough with themselves.
The day started out under the black cloud of yard work and sure, to some people yard work isn’t really a black cloud. But this particular yard work was being driven by a threat from our landlord. He’s been telling us for the last two years that he doesn’t like the height of the various grasses and other plants in the yard. And he has a point that sometimes it’s too high. But in general it’s reasonable I think.
So, a few hours in 90-degree heat later and the yard looked much better. And I thought the day was going well.
Later, the day moved in a normal direction and the afternoon was kids doing their normal chores and me catching up on some reading and some mindful de-clutter. And I thought the day was going well.
Proceed to my in-laws’ place for dinner and a family game. And after a great dinner of BBQ ribs and grilled corn on the cob I thought the day was going well.
But during the game…that’s when I think everything went screwy.
There’s a strange dynamic that goes on where one of my stepsons does the most annoying things possible and the wife corrects him. And he stops for a while but then goes right back to doing it. And my mother-in-law corrects him and he stops for a while but then starts back up. So my father-in-law corrects him and he stops for a while and then starts back up.
And then I correct him and usually my father-in-law will come to his defense and correct ME for correcting him. Mind you, this is the FOURTH time he’s being told about the annoying behavior. And in a sane, rational world, HE would be the one getting corrected, not me. In fact, in sane and rational world, he would have been long beyond simple correction and have moved into punishment.
But family situations are rarely sane and rational, aren’t they? And THAT is where I zigged when I should have zagged today.
In this “reflective” moment, I am reminded that a situation with built-in conflict (as all family situations are) is no place to expect sane and rational. I am reminded that I’m the “outsider” which I will never overcome, no matter how hard I try…sane and rational, no. Normal for a “blended family”? Totally.
In summary…being a tiny bit reflective, I see where I went wrong today: unrealistic expectations. I expected things to make perfect sense all the time and in a situation with nine human beings. In any situation with even two human beings, things will simply not make sense all the time. Sometimes things will make absolutely no sense at all and we’ll look back and laugh at the absurdity one day.
And sometimes, things will simply make no sense and all you can do is to look around you and say, “Might be a completely bizarre situation, but it’s MY bizarre situation.”
In the long run…the complete lack of sanity and rationality makes it SO much more fun. Especially now that I’ve been a tiny bit reflective about it.