The Wait

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who charge you or will not see you if you are late but don’t provide the same consideration. 

How many times have you waited on your hairstylist, mechanic, doctor or anybody else for an extended period of time even though you made a appointment? I know ish happens and it throws off their schedule. Why not call me to say you’re running behind? Give me the option of coming in later or rescheduling for another day. 

A doctor’s office may charge you a copay for being late and make you reschedule your appointment. But what do they do for you when they are running late? My time is just as valuable as theirs. 

Yesterday I waited 42 minutes, yes I was watching the clock. Why? I needed to get to a PTA meeting. I gave myself plenty of time by scheduling at 2pm and the meeting was at 4:30 with a 20 minute drive. I started getting anxious because I wasn’t sure if this was just the first wait. You know how you wait in the common area but then wait again in the room? I had mentally given them until 3pm to come get me. 

I made a different doctor’s appointment during lunch time for something else. Forty-five minutes later…I approached the front desk and asked, how much longer? Their response? About an hour. Are you kidding me? I requested a refund of the copay they insisted on collecting upfront. They looked confused and offered me a credit. No thanks. That forces me to return to you for services. As politely as possible I told them it was rude and inconsiderate of patients to make them wait. “You could have called me and said you were running behind.” 

If I go through the process of making an appointment the least you can do is see me on time or call me if it’s delayed. Making me wait is unacceptable. Especially if you have a firm late policy that cancels my appointment and charges me a fee. My time is just as valuable. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if clients or patients could charge a fee or receive a credit every time they are made to wait longer than 5 or 10 minutes? I think so. 

Thanks for listening. 

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love is…

After dinner last night and when all the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher, I asked the Fantastik4 to come back to the dinning room table and have a seat. Like most of us, when somebody says they want to talk your mind starts racing through all of the recent events attempting to determine what happened? Why do we need to sit down? I’m sure they were wondering, is this was another lecture or were we going to play a game?

It was actually neither. I decided at the last minute that I wanted to talk about love. I wanted to know what love meant to them. As I reflect on our conversation I wonder why we don’t openly share what love looks like or feels like to us. It’s different for everybody. But instead of being forthright, we want people to guess. We would not go to a restaurant and expect the waiter to guess what we want for our meal. We don’t expect an employer to guess what job or salary we want. We don’t expect a car dealership to guess which car we want. Most of us typically have a good idea of what we want even if we are open to some suggestions. Why aren’t we the same way with love.

I understand we may not know. But if we put some thought into it then we will figure it out and help the people who love us the most to love us better. I have read and really do like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. That’s a great guide. But if we ask and we tell, think of how much deeper the understanding will become.

When I asked the Fan4 what love looks like to them, this is what they said:
Provide, protect, trusting and believing
Take care of and care for
Protect and take chances for (this interprets into willingness to sacrifice)
Kindness and respect

All of their responses touched me. I took a moment to think about their personalities and reactions in different situations. Now I understand some things a lot better.

The stud muffin, the baby of the bunch, is the one who said to him love means to take care of and care for. I had a breakthrough with those few and very simple words. I have a better understanding of how to parent and relate to him. He is the child who seems easily frazzled and frustrated. We have often asked ourselves, what wrong with him? Now I get it. This morning was a prime example of how I missed an opportunity to love him they way he wants to be loved. He had a field trip permission form that required a signature and a form to order a special t-shirt  for Field Day. Well, in all honesty, I glanced at both forms and did not pay close attention to the due dates. I received a call from a very frustrated little guy this morning. He started the conversation with, I can’t participate in field day because you didn’t fill out my form and I don’t get a t-shirt because I don’t have $5.00. Flashback to the night before. I didn’t take care of him. I apologized profusely and asked to speak to the teenager. I explained my mistake and asked him to fill out the forms and give the stud muffin change for $10 I had given him for lunch. The crisis was diverted and this time, an unhappy kid did not get on the bus with his heart broken. I have made a promise to myself to pay more attention. I love him. I want him to see it in his way. I want to take care of things that are important to him that we agree will occur.

Today was not my best mommy day. Little Dude need a certain sized tri-fold science project board. I bought the wrong size last night during my late night run to the store. Love to him is kindness and respect. Because I bought a board, I got a pass. But he set the expectations and gave me time frames to have the board to him today. I couldn’t do it but I promised to make it happen and with the help of my super nephew, he received his board. Whew!

Let’s think about this love thing. How easy is it to communicate what love looks like to you? Do you ever ask what love looks like to the people you are loving? You may be surprised. Ask at least one person what love looks like to them. Then ask yourself. I believe we can take our relationships to the next level of love if we take time to ask and listen.

I fell in love yesterday 

I fell in love yesterday 

I have to admit

It wasn’t live at first sight

We had seen each other many times before

I always dreaded the visits

For whatever reason I always agreed to one more

I’d often leave weary, discouraged or sad

Yesterday was different I left happy and excited

My heart was won over after years upon years

But I have another 

The idea of breaking it off brings me to tears 

I’ve got to let go

I need to walk away

Yesterday was full of revelation

My heart was conflicted 

My old love’s lies and deceit were revealed

We have history 

I thought we had commitment 

We see each other weekly

We’ve know each other for years

But the last six months have been more intense

I didn’t think we would ever part

In my heart I hoped that this was the one

But my new love is my new love

Now I must move on

Once the trust is nonexistent

There is nothing left to share

I’ve made my choice

I’m choosing the electronic scale at my doctor’s office 

The gym scale is full of lies

5:37 PM

There it is, the garage door is opening. I glance at the beautiful clock on the mantle. It was a wedding gift from one of my friends. I am not sure why I bothered to look. It’s always the same time everyday, 5:37. I sit there wondering. How does he manage to get home at the exact same time. I wonder if he ever gets home early and just sits around the corner waiting until it’s time to open the garage door. He never runs late, never. It’s always the same time.
When we were first married we would commute together, well to the bus station at least. He would drop me off in the mornings then pick me up in the evening. It was a great time to get to know each other better. We would talk about a variety of things, there was no limit to the conversation. When he picked me up from the bus station in the evenings, he would hop out of the car, greeting me with a kiss then and open my car door . He asked about my day and listen to me as I filled him in on the ins and outs of my daily adventures.
When the first baby came, we agreed I would stay home. That was the same year we moved into our first house. I was always excited when he arrived home. The sound of the garage door opening meant so much to me back then. It meant adult conversation, somebody else to hold and change the baby and time with my honey. It was great. We were a happy family of three until the other baby came along. Then we were a happy family of four. 

The kids and I would run to the back door when we heard the garage door open. I would lead the way yelling, “daddy’s home!!!” and they would follow saying the same thing in their cute little toddler voices while clapping and smiling. He would walk in the door with a big smile. After kissing me he would pick them up and kiss them. Daddy was home. 

Then one day or maybe over the course of a few months, something changed. I no longer led the charge. I did not feel like being the head cheerleader. I stopped running to the door. Without me leading them and encouraging them the children stopped too. 

I looked at the clock, 5:39 pm? He’s late? He’s never late. I wonder if something happened to him. 

Come Get Your Kids

“Come get your kids” is a phrase that anybody who has spent any amount of time with me has heard. It’s my mantra concerning the Fan4 regarding visitation with their dad. Soon after he and I divorced, I adopted this expression, I live by it and I whole heartedly mean what I say. Come get them, please. 

I love my children with all of me. They receive more of my time, energy, effort and money than anything else in my life including me. But that’s nothing new. We, as mothers, tend to sacrifice everything for our children and we have a sense of ownership when it comes to them. We put ourselves in a position of dictatorship and determine we have absolute control regarding the children. After all “mother knows best” right? 

For some mothers “best” is never seeing their fathers. Oh they have a litany of reasons and excuses. When they begin sharing their list they sound very convincing. The father of their children is a terrible person and should never have access to the children. That’s right! Keep your children safe and sound from the monster who broke your heart, left you for another woman, doesn’t dress the correctly, never combs your daughter’s hair just right, wants to bring that woman around, lives with his mother, lives in a neighborhood you don’t approve of, doesn’t pay child support, refuses to get back with you, doesn’t consistently show up for visitation, has other children, is a terrible cook, has them sleeping on the floor, only has a one bedroom apartment, refuses to buy organic, gives them sugary sweets… You get my point. It doesn’t take much for the tzarina to pull the plug on visitation. 

If the guy actually has any knowledge of his rights and refuses to bow down to her then she adjusts her tactic and becomes combative. When he shows up she’s gone because she forgot he was coming over. She refuses to open the door. She complains about everything he does or doesn’t do. She tells him he can only have his visitation  with the children at her house for a limited amount of time. She teaches the children to fear and or distrust their father. She encourages them to disrespect him. Her intent is to sabotage the relationship between father and child. After all, she is constantly making sacrifices on the alter of motherhood and everyone must bow down to acknowledge her supremacy, control and fear. Yes, fear is one of the driving factors, a broken heart / rejection is  another. He was the reason their family is no longer in tact. It’s always his fault. 

I was talking to the mother of a male toddler not long ago when she went through her well rehearsed list of why her son would not be allowed to spend time with his father. One of the many reasons  she listed was he’s incompetent and doesn’t know how to be a father. So I asked her, why did you marry and create a baby with a man like him? I informed her, from my perspective, marrying him was a reflection of her character and decision making ability. 

Can I be honest? I mean really honest? I don’t believe that a woman has the ability to be mother and father. I refuse to say Happy Father’s Day to any woman. It doesn’t matter if she’s  widowed, divorced or never married she cannot be a father to her child(ren). There is a different dynamic and perspective that men bring to the relationship. Women don’t have the ability to duplicate a male’s thoughts or actions. I try to temper my offense when people wish me Happy Father’s Day. I’m not a man. On my very best day and his very worst day, my ex is still more of man than I’ll ever be. 

I’ve heard people say they didn’t have the same set of circumstances as I do with my ex. I work hard at this, very hard. I make sacrifices. I negotiate. I keep my opinions to myself at times. I ask him for his input. We make some decisions together. When it comes to extracurricular activities, we have a conversation about them because it requires both of us to commit to games, practices, camps, tryouts etc. 

Am I able to do life with the Fan4 without their father? Heck yes! Do I want to? No! I like having time to myself. I’m not sure I would have began a master’s program. Juggling four children is a lot of work. Knowing that they would go to their father’s house every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend from Thursday until Monday gave me the time I needed to study and complete projects. Having them gone gives me time with friends. I can’t tell you how many things I do when they’re gone. I would have missed out on a lot of events I attend out of state because I would not have been able to fly all of us and I refuse to drive more than 9 hours with them. See how I made visitation about me? Come get your kids!! Free childcare!! Yes, sign me up. Do they always want to go? No. Do I care? No. He’s providing their basic necessities in the form of food, clothing and shelter. Do I cringe when I see them with uncombed hair, in dress clothes that are wrinkled, wearing clothes that are too little and with ashy knees and elbows? Yes! On my gosh yes. But I get over it each time. 

The Fan4 come back home today after spending two weeks with their dad. I have come to appreciate and even look forward to summer visitation. They are gone for a total of 30 days. I know some of you just choked on the air you’re breathing. I’ve loved every minute of the time they were gone. I haven’t cooked more than four meals, my grocery bill was nonexistent and I didn’t have to wonder about them. I know they are safe with their father. 

When you change your mindset you change your actions. When you change your actions you change your outcome. A change in your outcome is a change in your child’s present and future. 

Lemonade 

You know the saying by Elbert Hubbard “when life hands you lemons make lemonade”? I like the thought of handing the lemons to somebody else and let them make the lemonade. Im not talking about passing the buck but support. 

Today I spent my lunch following the questionable driving direction given by Siri. By the end of the hour I was frustrated with her and hungry. I went to a drive through and forgot to order. I realized my mistake before getting to the pick up window, got out of line and drove back through. When the attendant handed me the order I reminded him that I had asked for a cup of water as well. He handed me a drink and said, “I made you a lemonade.” 

Siri handed me lemons but this guy took them and made lemonade. 

Some days it really is the small things that matter.