This is basically a long whine from me. If you want something cheerful, you’ll need to find another posting from me, or from someone else!
After a successful night out earlier this week, all seemed to be going well.
Last night, I had a meeting that finished earlier than usual. I was chatting afterwards to a parent and she received a phone call from her son. Her face dropped, she went ashen and had to dash off, asking “Did everyone get out of the car OK?” I got a text this morning to say her son is OK, but she wants to know if there is a place to donate unwanted teenage kids. This has nothing to do with the actual topic of this post except insofar as it highlights that kids mess with plans on short notice.
Tonight, I was supposed to be going to a nice Italian restaurant in Georgetown with a friend who is in town from California. It wasn’t a date; we just like going out to nice places in Washington when she’s around. Some of the time my now-runaway wife would come along too.
I had planned for the two girls still at home to have dinner at one of their friends’ houses. After being at home alone all day, I didn’t want them to spend most of the evening alone while I was out having fun. Also, asking them to cook three meals for themselves, when the oldest is only 15, seems a tad unreasonable…
Smash, bang, fizzle. Things fell over each over faster than a Congressman on an assistant.
I thought that flute lessons stopped with the end of school. Wrong. They’re paid up to the end of the month. Danielle, my runaway wife, is OK with dropping Charlotte off but she can’t pick her up afterwards. Maybe the ‘dinner neighbor’ can do it? Maybe. But, BOTH of the kids complained loudly about having to go to this person’s place for dinner. Oops, this is my fault, I should have consulted them first about this; I thought they LIKED going there. Both of her kids are friends with my daughters. Apparently, they like the people in the house, but the house itself is not up to their standards for cleanliness. I’ve noticed it’s really untidy but it hadn’t occurred to me that their house is dirty enough for the kids to complain.
Since I don’t have time to organize something else for the girls and have to be back home to pick up Charlotte from flute, I canceled my dinner engagement. My friend is, of course, a little miffed.
When they found out I would be home for dinner, the girls immediately switched tactics. “No, you should go!” they said. “We didn’t realize you’d cancel your meal!” And other nice things like that. When you’re younger, you tend to complain without thinking about the end game, the consequences of getting what you want. They didn’t realize that not going to the neighbor’s house for dinner meant I would cancel my plans because it was too late to make other arrangements. I was surprised and touched that they teamed up to talk me into going out anyway, that they WANTED me to go out and have some fun. That was very kind of them.
In theory, I could rekindle the plans. But I have a sneaking suspicion my friend would glare at me over her drinks. She would definitely see me as a bigger flake with a start/stop/start than a simple cancelation (the first time I have done it). I’ve learned a few things that I need to remember for the future. First, I need to plan a little more carefully with my kids. Second, they are sweet enough to be miserable so I can be happy. Third, given the first two, what else do I need to worry about…