“fine. i don’t want it anymore”

the “fine.” caught my attention as i worked on my second cup of coffee while cleaning an alligator cup with a chipped lip, i have yet to throw it away because it’s h.’s and a.’s giraffe is in good shape. we tease h. that she needs to stop eating plastic alligators. she has no idea and smiles – oh, to be that clueless. i mean innocent.

“a., stop it, she said you can have it. she just didn’t want to be grabbed at.” i am guessing that was the case by the grunts, squeals and predictable nature of their sisterly exchanges.

“no, that’s fine.” she says with a huff and walks towards her room. which, by the way, she has been going to, locking the door and listening to music when she gets upset. a good strategy to cope with anger, but she is four, and that was the second “fine”, i may be willing to let one go, but a second? i think it’s time to see what’s going on. there are three words that work their way behind my eye balls and claw at my optic nerve “whatever, sure and fine”. there are more than three, but those are the “big three”. i once had a student who made and wore a t-shirt to school that said “whatever andy” – i hope he knows how much i loved it. that day i played as if it upset me in some way, we both smiled, knowing in our own ways that it was a connection we had.

now, here is the true battle of stubborn. i could let a. walk away in her fit of anger and think about what she may or may not want to do next, i mean we are talking about a princess wand that is missing its jewel and batteries to make it go “zwing”, which had no value in the house prior to h. picking it up, a. going to grab it, h. saying “mi…mi…mi…whaaaayah.”, and a. turning away to exhibit her control to younger sis. i could let her walk away, or i could ask (read: demand and watch take place) that she ask h. for the wand in an appropriate way and see what h. says. i let this one go, i was only on my second cup of coffee and had yet to have my three glasses of morning tea – yes, i enjoy liquids – more on that some day. a. went to her room, came out 4 minutes later holding a flashlight, walked past h. dangling it, h. wanted it, a. gave it to her, a. then grabbed the wand and moved on. they were both sitting below me with towels on their heads five minutes later.

i am stubborn, i like things to go my way, and i dig my heels to the core of the earth when i believe in something. what’s interesting? i am not sure if others see my stubbornness. i mean, i know that r. does, and definitely the people who i used to work with, but it’s not like i am unwilling to compromise, i just know when i am right, and when compromising would, well, compromise the situation. a. and h. have been working on balancing my stubbornness, they don’t know it, but they are. kids have a funny way of exposing your weaknesses and giving you time to work on them until they have “real” memories.

is it a weakness? i actually wear my stubbornness with a sense of pride. (but questioned whether other people see it in the previous paragraph?) i would ask people at work, with a half grin, “am I stubborn?” they would look at me as if i just asked them if i was white and bald. i knew the answer, i like being stubborn. (sorry, but I was just reminded of a time when i used to work in kitchens and when a new hire was working their first day i would ask them “is something in my nose?” not sure why. it made me laugh.) i enjoy listening to people’s ideas, but I don’t enjoy pandering. so if you want it your way, well, do it that way, don’t give me your left over compromise. that sounds weird.

tomorrow r. and i will celebrate fifteen years of dating. fifteen years ago tomorrow i walked into a “fine” establishment called the “golden chair” in eau claire, wisconsin on my brothers twenty-second birthday and said hello to the woman who is now my wife and mother to our two girls. she is much more than the previous sentence – to list what someone becomes to you in fifteen years of being together would be ridiculous.

as we drove home from lunch today, a beautiful eighty-degree day demanded that we eat outside, i was trying to remember who I was fifteen years ago. i look at pictures and i can see how i represented myself, but i can’t get myself back in the body and mind of the person i was when i first met r.. i feel like i was a lot of “normal” things that a nineteen year old is; carefree, relaxed, and up for anything, but i couldn’t remember how that felt, i couldn’t completely remember the traits that i had then that i don’t have now. i don’t miss them, well maybe a little, but the benefits and growth that come with actually “growing up” certainly outweigh a longing to feel carefree again. at this point at least – i kind of have to care. we all go through the process of wondering “who am i?” “who have i been?”. many times we take outside roads to try to get closer to the person we want to be, or who we want others to see. we want people to see our confidence, we want to be confident, we want the world to know that we have our shit together, but none of us do. actually, if none of us have our shit together, then we all have our shit together – yeah. which, I think we all do. there is a core all of us share.

i may still be stubborn, i didn’t walk away from r. when she politely took my hand off of her knee fifteen years ago, but there are many things that i am not anymore, and many things that i still aspire to be. can’t stop.

anniversaries, birthdays, holidays in general, are important. they are a time to look back, but more importantly they are a time to look forward. trite? perhaps, but true. they are a time to be grateful that you can’t fully remember who you were “back then”, and a time to hope that the pieces that have taken you to a more positive place are the ones you held onto, and the ones that held you back were dropped off. we can get caught up in our past, become nostalgic, long for what was, but that is what we are, we are a culmination of everything that we ever went through. we are our past. we hold onto it. do we remember it? not important. be what you are as a result of what you were, and continue to forget – so that you can appreciate who you are now.

ramble babble ding-dong. bunny needs a rope tied around his neck. that is not a euphemism, but would make a really cool one, really a. is holding bunny and has asked six times for me to tie a rope around its neck. i should probably now state that the bunny is not real. i’ll stop now.

a cool song. no real connection to the post – just beautiful to listen to.

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