Cop 1: Well, Officer Jim. Looks like we have another coping mom in the area.
Cop 2: I think we should avoid her for a few days, Bob.
Cop 1: Good coping strategy, Jim.
Cop 2: Let's go out for a martini after work.
Silly Son and Beautiful Daughter are back at the house for the week.
Immediately, my level of anxiety goes whack-o. I prepare myself for their return, saying a common mantra, "Oh, Lord of Nature, God of Calm, High Priestess of Conflict-Avoidance, give me peace!
The goal this week? Conflict avoidance.
The interior goal (the one in my brain cavity)? Calm.
The coping strategy? Nature.
However, Handsome Husband's first words to me this morning threw all of my goals out for a bit.
"Hey, when I got up this morning, the kids left all of the exterior doors open, there are eating utensils and bowls all over the living room and in the guest room, and the dogs were outside all night. I also don't think your daughter is in her bedroom. Maybe she was out all night."
Ack! My stomach began to roil
Biff! My eyes welled up.
Zing! I said, "This week's goals include conflict-avoidance, calm, and nature."
I repeated the mantra, over and over, but it didn't work very well. So, I stood up and said, "We have no power. We are but mere puppets on their stage. We cannot teach them anything at this point. We must duck and spin around in order to avoid the shit they will fling at us. Let's start right now. Repeat after me; 'conflict-avoidance-calm-nature, conflict-avoidance-calm-nature.'"
Hey! It kind of worked! Handsome Husband looked at me with fire in his eyes, then he grabbed his stuff and headed out for his truck. I returned to making my list of things-to-get-done-today, including several columns of overwhelming to-dos. For a brief and magical moment, life was very, very good.
I poured myself another cup of coffee and watched the variety of bird species fighting over seeds and nuts at the bird-feeding station right outside the big, bay, kitchen window.
Oh My God!
Birds have conflict!
When they land on the flat feeder, they jet their eyes and heads from side-to-side, looking for Rocket the Cat to suddenly spring at them! They look down just long enough to spy one pumpkin seed to grab, but they don't grab it. Instead, they squawk and screech, trying to lure out the dreaded hunter. Then, just as they feel comfort in dipping their beaks toward a morsel, BAM! Out of nowhere comes an awful, loud, and aggressive Scrub Jay! The jays are like my kids. I am like the stupid scared, nervous bird. Like me, the bird jumps away from the feeder, only to feel REALLY PISSED OFF that breakfast is not to be had. However, getting mad or feeling sad does no good. Now, the little weak bird is hungry, without food, and has wasted huge amounts of energy avoiding conflict with the cat...and is super-depressed and angry at the Scrub Jay...who doesn't give a care...so the little bird loses!
Now my goals for the week are completely blown! If my idea of having the Lord of Nature intervene on my part was to be effective, I would have to see that nature, itself, does not have conflict!
Now, about those other gods; God of Calm and High-Priestess of Conflict-Avoidance can come through for me, this will be a good week. I think I'll do these things in order to create the needed success:
1. Follow my list of things to accomplish to a "t."
2. Smile all day long.
3. Say, "Whatever suits your fancy," each time a teenager asks me a question.
4. Make use of the martini shaker at 6:00 each evening.
5. Go pull a weed from the ground, lay it on the roadway, and burn it with my super-cool, flame-thrower, Dragon Weeder contraption (the one with a 5-gallon propane tank attached) whenever I feel I am not in control. By burning a weed, I'll fulfill my goal of avoiding conflict. The weed can't scream or argue. It just simply will fry up, turn black, and float off with the wind. Then, the feeling of wasting my breath on arguing comes up, I'll be all calm and satisfied.