This past Saturday, my sons and I headed out to their basketball games and we were running terribly late. There were many reasons why we were late including the fact that I was sick as a dog and, due to my being sick, I had forgotten to wash my older son’s uniform the night before.
When we first started getting ready, I figured we had enough time to throw it in the washing machine and dry it in the dryer because it was about an hour and a half before we had to leave the house. If you are a parent, you know that things seldom work out exactly the way that you envisioned them, especially when it comes to having kids.
As we were getting ready, it seems that my older son accidentally changed the setting on the dryer so the uniform wasn’t completely dry by the time we had to leave. I had to make an executive decision and, since the uniform was just slightly damp, I told my son not to worry about it because he just had to take his picture in the uniform and then he could take it off so we could dry it before his game.
When we got to the gym and headed to take the pictures, I sent him to the bathroom to put his uniform on. He returned and proceeded to tell the photographer in the hallway, unbeknownst to me, that he couldn’t put his uniform on because it was wet. Of course, it was just my luck that the photographer came into the room and blurted this out in front of the other mothers waiting with their kids to have their pictures taken. They all looked at me like I was the worst mother on the planet.
Mortified, I went out into the hallway and asked my son what was going on and proceeded to check his uniform. Trust me, it was hardly even damp at this point but my son continued to be dramatic and insisted that he couldn’t wear the uniform for pictures. I immediately leaned in to whisper in his ear an empty threat about what was going to happen if he didn’t put the uniform on just to take his pictures hoping this would snap him out of his little tantrum.
He finally headed towards the bathroom and, after having to go into the men’s bathroom twenty minutes later to drag him out of there, he finally put the uniform on, took the photos, and the drama was finally over. Unfortunately, this was only after my being embarrassed in front of the photographer and the other mothers, having to go into the men’s bathroom in front of a gym full of people, and being sick with the flu.
Later on, as we were watching my younger son play in his game, my older son walked over to me and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry you had to come out and be upset when you are so sick.” I immediately realized that this was an opportunity to have a teachable moment with him and reflect on the morning’s events.
I responded by telling him that, even though I was sick, I had to make sacrifices to take both of them to their games and to take their pictures because that was my responsibility. Additionally, I told him that sometimes in life, we all just have to “Bite the bullet” and do things that we might not necessarily want to do at that moment, like him having to put on his slightly damp uniform to take his pictures.
Fortunately, our talk seemed to drive home the point for him and he learned that he can’t just shut down or fall apart when unexpected things happen. So, even though I had a horrible morning and, half of my son’s school probably thinks I’m a couple of eggs short of a dozen now, it was all worth it because my son learned some life skill coping mechanisms which will hopefully serve him well throughout his life.
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