A lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today I’m ‘at work,’ meaning I am in my office and not at home.  Home is where perimenopausal pms collides with my daughter’s monologues to create such chaotic scatter in my mind that I either explode with irritation or simply become dotty and unhappy.  Neither one is helpful for my daughter, I believe, so I am pleased that Husband is willing to take off work and stay home with the Child.

I head for the train this morning, relaxed, having left more than enough time, and discover that Metro North is deeply casual about its schedule.  One train is 6 minutes early, which I miss, the next threatens to run local and I hop off, thinking another express is on its way.  I express this to a fellow passenger, but the train does not come.  He checks his schedule and informs me in a very hostile tone that ‘there is no 7:51!…thanks a lot, Lady!”  Pow!

I say “and apparently you think I did it to cause you harm…now you’ve insulted me…I guess I’ll go elsewhere.”    He mutters something and I, quite agitated (see perimenopausal pms above), start pacing the station in the cold and wet.  Unable to calm myself, unable to let it go, full of ideas about rotten humanity, I pace for almost 30 minutes and then I see him approaching me.  I turn my back.  But there he is in front of me. This is what he says:  “I’m really sorry about that.   I shouldn’t have said that.  It’s a helluva way for you to start the day.”  and, amazingly, I soften.  “I really appreciate that,” I say.   All my ideas about humans suddenly shift and I realize, yet again, how connected we are.

Lesson learned.

1pm.  I check in with the family.  Vita is crying.  The computer ‘wouldn’t let’ her make a newsletter, ‘typing is evil,’ and ‘no one is ever around during vacation.’  I try validating; the hyperbole escalates.  I try questioning her convictions, she shouts ‘NO.”  I name her feelings (I think) of frustration and boredom.   I really can’t remember what happened then but before I knew it, she was back on some psychotic-seeming track.  I hung up the phone.  Did I mention about perimenopausal pms?

20 minutes later I call back, thinking maybe I have enough presence of mind to be helpful.  She and Daddy are watching the last scenes of the extended “Lord of the Rings” that they didn’t finish last night.  She is cheerful and pleasant.  20 minutes later, she calls me to tell me of her idea for a project.

I did not do a thing, and she changed.  What is the lesson?

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