Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More Family Shit (Literally)

Yesterday as I was leaving to go to a funeral (for a 21-year-old neighborhood girl who OD’ed last week – a post for another day if I ever get up the nerve to write it), one of the toilets stopped up. As I slid into the pew, I reminded my husband that it should be off limits until we could deal with it later. Somehow either the message never got delivered or it was forgotten because later in the day as I was heavily into cooking for my boss’s retirement reception today, my son Dan appeared to tell me the toilet wasn’t working. I misunderstood something he said and one of those rapid-fire exchanges proceeded which ended with:

Mom: Just shut the f–k up!
Dan: I’m not talking to you any more!
Mom: Good!

At which point I left my cooking, grabbed a plunger, and proceeded to work CPR on a dying toilet that was extremely ugly. Remember, we are the ones who seldom can fix anything ourselves. Well, all my efforts failed. I turned it over to my husband, never thinking that he would actually prevail because if there is one thing I can do, it usually is plunge toilets. But miraculously he succeeded. So the toilet was fixed. He even cleaned the nasty plunger.

But the damage had been done between Dan and me. Whereas my husband seeks peace at any price, I am resolutely stubborn about not offering apologies when I don’t think I was in the wrong. So I went off to yoga to calm my body, mind, and soul. I was really fine when I came home, but Dan had apparently been stewing all evening. We had a short exchange which was fruitless.

He is a 3rd year law student who is already working for a firm in Tucson. They are flying him to Dallas today to participate in a case for which he wrote the brief. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I had this admonishment from my husband:

Husband: You would really never forgive yourself if Dan’s plane crashed and you hadn’t made up with him.
Me: Did you say the same thing to him? I could more easily get killed driving to work than his plane falling out of the air! (To myself: Butt out! It’s not your problem...)

Subsequently Dan and I talked and I could see that things were thawing. We were both starting to see how that earlier conversation had gone so wrong, where both of us had totally not understood what the other was saying. I went to bed thinking all was well. After I had been asleep for about an hour, Dan brought the dog into see me – a real olive branch, although I could have done without the dog at 1 AM.

This morning I gave him a kiss and wished him a good and safe trip. The toilet flushed fine once again. Another day unfolds...

3 Comments:

Blogger Velvet said...

This was very well written!

But what does "We are the ones who seldom fix anything ourselves" mean? Who? Your family? I ask because I just had this conversation with my neighbor about yes, unclogging a toilet!

10:46 AM  
Blogger DC Cookie said...

Amazing, isn't it, that the ones we can be the most nasty to are the ones we care the most about.

11:53 AM  
Blogger playfulinnc said...

We are the same in the apology department. If I know I screw up, I am first to apologize. If not, well...it takes a lot to get me there. But, I hate the whole "she could die tomorrow" mentality. It puts pressure on getting to the peae without truly understanding where the miscommunication was. I prefer to learn.

See ya tonight!

1:30 PM  

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