Sunday, September 8, 2013

Breaking Promises

     We were supposed to end the summer with a big goodbye, by repeating the best reward from all the summer challenges.  Punkgirl and Happyboy voted on dinner at the beach, which was pretty fun the first time around, is something you can really only do in summer (unless you want sand in your eyes and don't want to go in the water at all), and was cheap enough to fit into my non-existent budget.
     When the Tuesday before school came around there was just no way we could do it.  Coffeeguy had to work late, Rose had been up all night, and I had no sandwich bread or anything feasible to transport to the beach.  At 4:30 there were thunderstorms.  We told the kids we would make it the first day of school celebration, and had a movie night instead.  They fought over the movie, finally agreed on one, and only mentioned not going to the beach about 7 times.  
     On Wednesday, Coffeeguy had two people out at work, and he would probably be late.  Although he made it home by 5, I had already had the conversation that we couldn't go today (complete with angry accusations of "you said TODAY.)  The weather was supposed to be much better by the weekend.  We said Friday.
     Punkgirl was pissed enough to go to the INTERIM guidance counselor (hers was on maternity leave) to tell them how upset she is that she didn't get to go have dinner on the beach.  I was pissed enough that she was pissed that I spat out "Life doesn't always go the way we want it to! You deal with it and move on!"
     Friday it was freezing.  Knowing the pissy response I was going to get at the idea of not going, we gave them a choice:  We can go today, and not swim, or go tomorrow, and POTENTIALLY swim.  It was going to be 15 degrees higher tomorrow, and more than likely warm enough for them to go in the water.
     Cue the sulking faces and the pouty behavior.  As they sat down to watch the Goonies (which you can't help but laugh at, which is why we picked it) with popcorn and candy (having replaced Beach Dinner with another Movie Night) I began to analyze Punkgirl's reactions to postponing the trip.  We didn't do that often, and I found myself getting increasingly angry that she was all bad moody because I had to move ONE of the 90 activities I had planned that summer.  Sometimes things can't be set in stone, sometimes we have to be flexible, sometimes we just damn well can't do them at all---
     In the midst of my mental tirade I figured it out.  I wasn't angry with Punkgirl for being disappointed that we had to move our plans to another night.  I was mad at myself, for making her upset enough to go to a virtual stranger to settle her thoughts down.  I had parents who were divorced, and there were times where my father didn't show up after we waited anxiously all day.  My mother would say he had to work.  I remember being mad or upset, and my poor mother could never tell me that Dad couldn't take us today because she smelled alcohol on his breath.  I saw it as a broken promise, that Dad didn't want to spend time with us, that he had to work too much.
     Even as an adult, when my relationship with my Dad was great, and I talked about how awesome he was, my mother never told me why he couldn't make it on those days.  It wasn't until a few years after he had passed that she let on how tough it had been.
     Neither I nor Coffeeguy were alcoholics, and we weren't divorced.  Our broken promises were caused by inconvenience and weather.  I realized that Punkgirl was feeling the same way I had felt, like Mom & Dad just didn't want to spend time with her.  I felt awful.  So I decided, then and there, that I would make up for it.  We not only would go to the beach on Saturday, we would have dinner, they would swim and I would call their favorite cousins who live near the beach for an added surprise. We would bring the leftover candy from movie night.  It would be worth the wait, it would be fantastic, and it would change my "broken promise" into a fulfilled one.

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