Single Mom Slice of Life:
“Worst Day EVER” Is Different For Everyone
Admit it – you’ve heard your kids declaring that it was the “worst day ever.” While you’re at it, did you maybe roll your eyes a bit with the mental note to remind them about what a real “worst day ever” feels like after they have jobs, traffic, and bills?
It’s ok to admit it. I did it just this week. For Justin, it was one of those, “when is dinner so I can eat and go to bed because it was the worst day ever” kind of days.
I thought about why my clients don’t understand they’re not my ONLY clients, being stuck in traffic for 10 minutes, having to stop in 109 degree heat for gas, AND having to come home to two starving teenagers who couldn’t decide between spaghetti and tacos for dinner.
As I washed up and prepared to make chili-mac for dinner (a happy medium), Justin took a deep breath… that’s usually a sign we’re in for a long day.
Well, at first, realizing that your calculator is broken isn’t that big of a deal, and in honors algebra, it was a day of calculator work – and no one is willing to share. Not only are they not willing to share, they roll their eyes and sigh heavily at the inconvenience of even being asked.
In biology, the teacher announced someone had taken home a test. Yeah, that’s right. On accident he’d gathered it up with his class work, shoved it in his backpack, and carted the “do not remove from class” test away. Not only was he called out in front of the class, but the kid behind him announced, “I knew it was him!”
There was a pop quiz in honors english – he thinks he probably flunked.
At lunch, he sat at a table with one friend, then all of her “super-talkative-never-shut-up-friends” soon joined. So, he moved tables. Sadly, his new table was full of kids talking about the rumors of a kid who tried to steal a biology test.
In piano and Spanish . . . I won’t lie – I can’t remember why. At that point the macaroni was starting to boil over and I was focused on trying not to douse the stove with pasta water.
In P.E., some kids touched the rack of volleyballs before the teacher arrived, an act punishable by 7 laps on the track. Another lap was added when someone else showed up to class not wearing the proper P.E. uniform.
Then of course, there was the mile walk home was made alone because all the good parents were on time to pick up their kids.
By the time his story had ended, I was nearly in tears. He was obviously upset. He asked if he could just ditch the next day of school just to make sure the bad luck had a chance to pass all the way through. He looked so sad and forlorn that I was instantly faced with the fact that he lives in his own world, and I’m only visiting it. And in his world – it was the worst day ever.
We hugged. It wasn’t one of those “I’ll hug you for ten seconds just to make you happy” kind of hugs, either. It was a full blown, squeezing “please don’t let go yet” kind of hugs that broke my heart. I miss the age where they fall and scrape their knee and ten minutes later they’re laughing and playing. This was a weight that lasted all night, and the next morning (in part because I didn’t let him ditch).
No, he’s growing, living in his own world where his day stays with him long after he’s told his story, eaten his dinner, and watched a movie where even the Wayans brother’s couldn’t make him laugh.
I know that there will be WAAAAAAY harder days, and that in no time, he wouldn’t even be able to remember the full list of things that had happened in detail. But how do you do that without crushing his spirit?
I didn’t. I fed him. I hugged him. I suffered through Dance Flick for him. The next morning, I reminded him that yesterday would only stay with him for as long as he allowed it to. He nodded, clearly not believing a word I said, and trudged off to school with slumped shoulders and a shuffling walk.
By the time he got home, his spirit wasn’t fully healed, but he was bouncing back. I had gained a renewed appreciation for life in high school, which if I remember correctly, were once described as my “worst days ever.”
What about you? Have you listened – truly listened – to what your kids consider to be worst days? How did you respond? How did you help them bounce back? Did it help you remember that maybe your problems weren’t really all that bad?