I was an asshole multiple times today. Even my kids would agree with me. We quote my great-grandmother (in broken english) with, "You do everything right and then you do one thing wrong you a sunnamabitch." Today I did that one (ok more than one) thing wrong.
The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions and when I woke my kids for school with a bright smile and gentle,"good morning" I was intending a happy easeful morning. One of those mornings where breakfast is joyfully munched on and the arrival to school is a delightful journey of counting gratitudes all along the way.
Grab ass. My three boys love to play what my father would lovingly name, grab ass. Lots of grab ass was being had this morning as no one wanted to go to school. Can we play hookie mom? Not today! Tend to your business and be at the front door in 15 minutes. As the name G.A. would lend itself to, I heard lots (LOTS) of screaming, pounding, crying and begging for mercy while I was showering. What do I expect, three boys unattended under the age of 12? I told myself, "don't engage, breath, stay calm, don't yell, what is the worst they can do?". By the time I dripping, wrapped in a towel opened the bathroom door the house was in total chaos, I started screaming, threatened two weeks of no video games and calling them all "lil devils".
It took another 20 minutes to get the lil' devils into the car and well by that time I was being the meanest, ugliest old hag I know. And I know a lot of old hags... ok just kidding. THEN it got really good. As I pulled down my street, some burly guys were standing in the middle of the road waving for traffic to stop while they pulled a tractor out of their driveway. We were already really late AND I was angrily on a roll momsplaining the issues at hand with the devils. So I waited stopped impatiently outraged and once the street guy moved, I sped, yes sped by him screeching him out of the way. I heard him say, "hey, you could at least wait till I mooooove the....." I was gone. Four yr old Roman says, "mom watch out the cops are going to get you." The cops have nothing on me. There is no policing for simple asshole behavior. Look at our president! I digress.
Late school drop off happened. We agree to have an after school family meeting to discuss whats important- the loss of video games. We say a heavy goodbye. I pull out of the drop off circle, it's quiet and I am wrecked, drooling and limp.
Roman,"Mom I love you." Me,"I love you too Ro." Ro,"It's ok mom, the police didn't get you." Me,"Thank goodness."
As I headed back to the scene of the neighborhood crime I started to feel a huge sense of remorse. Damn it! How did I lose my temper like that? Yes I know there are many reasons I could name a valid even noble list. And I know better, ugh I wrote a book about being kind for goodness sake. The ripple effect of asshole had reached so many people in such a short amount of time. It is what it is and now how do I learn, grow and shift the effects?
I pull up to the tractor house on my way to my own, I slow down. Ro, "Mom what are you doing? Keep going the cops might come."
I stop in front of the house and all four of the guys are standing (safely) in the driveway. I roll down the window, clear my throat and say,"excuse me." They look at me incredulously like I am what is for lunch. "I was the one who sped by you. I was a real jerk. I'm so sorry." Their faces changed from hard to soft. The street guy stared right at me as I continued, "I had a rough morning and I took it out on you. I am really sorry." My voice cracked with a sob underneath and street guy spoke with genuine tenderness, "Ah that's ok. Thank you. Thank you for stopping back. I hope you have a much better rest of your day."
"Thank you, you too." Sob of the heavens broke through as me and Ro drove up the rest of the way home for second breakfast.
There is a ripple effect in any direction. I think what we do most days has a stronger effect than what we do on a rare occasion. At least I hope for that as I don't really want to be "the sunnamabitch" in the world from now on. The truth is I am neither angel nor devil. My kids too. All of us. My practice is to support my thoughts, actions and intentional habits to have a positive ripple effect in the world. I am still learning. Every day. It is humbling and the kindness of the street man cracked my heart open on another level today. His kindness and generosity has created a ripple effect and so it is. And so it is. And so it is.
My prayer is that my life, my learning and growing has a ripple effect of love in the world. My prayer is that I model more love than fear for my children and that the asshole part of me gets seen, heard and healed. My prayer is that we, me and you, forgive and listen to whatever needs to be healed within our selves and help make the world a kinder better place.
Thanks for reading. I hoped it gave a you a giggle and get-out-of-jail free card for the days you are an asshole too.