Monday, January 11, 2010

And I Shall Call Her "Swing Set Witch"

Wow! It has been another crazy couple of days and another week has passed, just bringing us one week closer to Jason's return. Is it too early to start counting down yet?

Do I sound cheerful and optimistic again? I am! Of course, it could be because I just chugged down my second cup of (instant-blech!) coffee. Hey, I am coping, right?

Let me start by saying that this weekend was supposed to be so much fun. Friday night was our usual pizza night with my sister-in-law. Joshua was spending the night at my mom's house on Saturday night and going to church with her on Sunday. And I'd found a used swing set on craigslist that I was going to pick up.
On Friday night, my friend from Georgia came over to visit. She has 3 children, all similar ages to my children. We had pizza and the boys played video games and ran wildly around the house playing hide-and-go-seek. These kids were such good friends before we moved and it was so nice to see them playing together again! Her daughter played with Leila and Sarah and we just sat and talked. I have missed her so much and that adult conversation was incredibly rejuvenating. I felt like myself again!
We were sad to see our friends leave but it appears that we'll see them again soon. My friend is moving to Virginia in just 3 weeks! She won't be near me, but it will be much easier to see each other on the weekend when she's in the same state instead of being 9 hours away.

On Saturday, my plans included dropping Joshua off at my mom's house and then picking up a swing set for the kids. My mother and grandmother so generously offered to give the children a swing set for Christmas. They gave me money so that I could pick one out and purchase it. I had already spent months looking for swing sets, both new and used, online. I had decided on a set from Cedarworks because a friend of mine in Georgia had one and it was great. No chemicals, no splinters, etc. Cedarworks sets are expensive but they have an "economy" line called Play-a-round and that was what I'd decided to buy. I was struggling with actually making the purchase though, knowing that we would have to pay for a lot of it ourselves so I decided to check craigslist.

I found a cheap, used swing set on craiglist on Friday. It wasn't what I really wanted-it was just a set from BJ's. But it was cheap and it was nearly new! I called and the owner told me I could pick it up on Saturday afternoon. I wasn't completely convinced that I should buy it, but it was such a great deal, and I wouldn't have had to pay for any of it since the Christmas money would cover the entire cost. I told the owner I'd be there the next day.

On Saturday morning I got up and got the kids ready. I attached the trailer to the back of my van in the frigid morning air. Then I picked up Jessie and David (my sister-in-law and nephew) and we headed to my mom's house. There we dropped off Joshua and picked up my mom's spare pickup truck to haul the swing set. We drove another forty minutes from my mom's house into the city.

I spoke the owner of the swing set (aka "Swing Set Witch") again while we were on our way and she told me that I could pull the truck up to the backyard and start disassembling the swing set. We arrived and did just that. I had the cash for the swing set and tools to take it apart. We started removing pieces and loading them into the trailer and truck. Swing Set Witch chatted with us before heading back inside.

A few minutes later, Swing Set Witch emerged from her home. She came over to us as we were working and told us to stop. "I'm sorry," she said, "But you can't take the swing set right now. My daughter is upset. You must come back another time."

Jessie and I stared at each other. Was she serious??? Surely, she was joking. Swing Set Witch did not crack a smile. She went back inside for a minute and came back out again saying that we had to leave, we couldn't buy the swing set now.

I was shocked. We had spoken twice and she had told me to come pick up the swing set. She had listed it on craigslist! What was she thinking? She told me that her 5-year old daughter was crying because she wanted her swing set. She said that they were moving to Florida and that she'd buy her daughter a new swing set when they got there, but for now she was not going to let her daughter be upset. She said "I don't let her cry. I don't let her be upset." For real???

Apparently, there are parents in this world who cater to their child's every whim. And I'd just met one.

I told Swing Set Witch that I'd driven 2 hours to get there and that I had my children in the van. I even threw out the fact that I had 6 children, two sets of twins, and a husband in Iraq. I could tell that she wasn't listening because she interrupted me twice to say "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but my daughter is upset." I told her I could not come back and that I had just wasted my entire day. Swing Set Witch said that she'd have her husband disassemble the set and deliver it to us. I told her that I doubted her husband would be willing to drive so far to drop off the set when I could easily just take it now.

Finally, I suggested that she take the cash from me and take her daughter to the store. When she got back, the swing set would be gone. No deal. She told me, over and over again, that she did not want to see her daughter upset. She would not let her cry. She never cries.

I began to realize that I was not going home with the swing set. I was pissed. I was dumbfounded. And what could I do? I watched as Swing Set Witch unloaded the pieces from my trailer and put them back together. And I watched in disbelief as she called her daughter outside and ushered her over to the swing set and began to push her on the swing in the twenty degree weather in her shady backyard.


I left, angry and shaking my head. Why me? Who does something like that? It cost me $50 in gas just to go up there and back... all for nothing.

On the way home Jessie told me I should just buy one of the swing sets I'd seen online. Acting out of impulse, I called Kid's Creations. I had been looking at their redwood swing sets too, and if they weren't so expensive I'd have bought one of theirs instead of the Cedarworks set. It turned out the I spoke to the manager of this small, family-owned company. And he told me about a great deal that they had on a boxed set that had all of the features I'd looked for in a custom set but couldn't afford. He emailed me the information and I called back before I even got home. I bought the set. I told myself I'll use the money I make at the twins consignment sale to pay for the rest of cost. I feel good about it.

So, in the end, Swing Set Witch lost. She may have kept her daughter from crying now, but she is not doing her daughter any favors in the future. If I gave in every time my kids cried, we would live in chaos. My kids would rule the house and I'd just be their slave. Can you imagine?

I like to believe that I am teaching my children valuable lessons each day, not just when I'm teaching them school lessons. This weekend my kids were disappointed when they couldn't have the swing set that I'd promised. There were no tears though. And we talked about how we don't always get things that we want, or get things when we want them. Sometimes God teaches us important lessons, like patience, at times like this.

And it dawned on me, as I was talking with the kids that night, that it was bigger than just a swing set. God is using our trials right now to make us stronger, to bring us closer to each other, and to bring us closer to Him.

Yesterday Joshua came home from visiting Grandma and was greeted at the door by 5 very excited siblings. Overwhelmed, he burst into tears and hid under the coffee table. Later last night, he told me that he wanted to move to Grandma's house. I was hurt. I asked him why and he told me that he loved me, but not too much. He said I make him put dishes away and do school work. My heart broke.

My son doesn't want to live with me. What am I doing wrong? I hugged him and told him that I needed him and that I loved him too much to let him go. And I told him that Jessie and Grandma both work so he can't go with them. Not that I'd ever consider it anyway! I held him tight and told him that he was too special to me and that it made me sad that he didn't want to be here in our house with his family.

This morning I talked to Jason and it hit me. Joshua needs his daddy. He wants to go to Grandma's house because he has a strong attachment to Tom, my mom's husband. Joshua loves Tom! And then I stopped and thought about Jessie's husband, Rick. Joshua adores Uncle Rick. He sits with him just to be with him. He wants to just nap with him on the couch. He wants to do those daddy things with him. Jason figured it out... Joshua needs Daddy.

I feel silly for not seeing the obvious. Joshua is a very sensitive child and he's also very easygoing. I fooled myself into thinking that he's taking everything in stride when in fact, he's really hurting. He climbed onto my bed this morning when I talked to Jason. He crawled under the covers and cried. I held him close and I fought back tears too. We talked for a few minutes and I reassured him that it's ok to cry and that we all miss Daddy.

Joshua finally came downstairs.

I'm working on another post about poop. We had another incident yesterday. It was traumatizing for all involved.

For now, I'm smiling. Despite the poop, despite Swing Set Witch, and despite the mess in the play room, I am smiling. Actually, it is because of the poop, Swing Set Witch, and the mess that I'm smiling!

Oh, and now I'm smiling because my birthday gift was just delivered. My dad is so clever! He reads my blog now and apparently he knows about my newest addiction. I opened the package on the porch and discovered an espresso machine! I'm thrilled! Thanks Dad! Now, how do I work this thing?
Related Posts with Thumbnails