When I reminded my family we were meeting their Grandparents at a restaurant to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday, I got mixed responses. My husband wanted to know what time, my oldest said “oh yeah,” and my youngest claimed she didn’t know about it.
I know I told everyone, not just once but many times; it has been the topic of conversation all week. Not only that but it’s on the calendar and visible to any inquiring minds when figuring out their schedules. I can assure you they all know when they have to be at birthday parties, swap meets and other fun places that benefit only them, but I have yet to get any of them to remember where I tell them they need to be at any given time.
They also never remember where I tell them I am going when I walk out of the house. I say my goodbyes, tell them where I’m going, when I’ll be back and give them instruction on what I need them to do while I’m gone. But when I get home, I’ll walk back in the door and one of them will look up in surprise and say, “Oh, hi, were you gone? Where did you go?”
I am currently planning my daughter’s 18th birthday party. She wants a big, backyard, barbeque with all her friends and their families. I ran into her friend’s mom and asked her if her husband was attending too. She said, “Probably, but I won’t tell him until that evening when he asks what’s for dinner. Then I’ll just say, ‘come with me.’ He’ll never remember if I tell him now.”
She has four children, two in college, two in high school and when she said that me, a bell went off in my head: I’ve missed the mark all these years. I have often complained about having to repeat myself over and over again. I do more talking than anyone in the household just because I have conversations several times over. I feel like the dog: when I walk the dog, she covers more area than I do because she walks in a zigzag down the path, whereas I walk in a straight line. It’s the same with conversations with my family:
Monday: “We are going to have dinner with Grandma on Sunday.”
Tuesday: “I’ll want to leave here by 11:30 Sunday morning and we’ll be gone several hours. You both should probably make sure your homework is finished on Saturday, because you’ll probably be tired Sunday night.”
Wednesday: “My mom is coming with us to have dinner with Grandma. We’ll take two cars so we won’t be crammed in one car.”
Thursday: “I know you have a birthday party to attend on Saturday, it’s not overnight is it? I don’t want you to be tired when we meet Grandma to celebrate your sister’s birthday.”
Friday: “Do you have a plan for your homework that’s due on Monday? I suggest you take advantage of Saturday and get it done so you can enjoy your party with Grandma without homework hovering over your head.”
Saturday: “We have to leave at 11:30 tomorrow.”
Oldest: “Oh yeah, I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and finish my homework Sunday night.”
Youngest: “Where are we going. No one told me.”
Dad: “What time?”
These conversations are not exact, but in the span of motherhood, I’ve lived these scenarios many times; I’m making a point about how much I talk about coming events. My youngest said to me, “Well, you didn’t tell me very loud.” I said, “Well, you don’t listen very loud.”
Talking louder is not the answer; believe me I’ve spent a lot of their lives talking louder. I need to change my strategy and just spring events on them at the last minute. It would save me a lot of talking energy and when they claimed I didn’t tell them about it, they would be right.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is busy springing something on her family at this moment.. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.