Temper tantrums are synonymous with two and three year olds. If they perceive a slight or a denial, they start by screaming at the top of their lungs. Next, if they don't achieve a desired outcome, they will swing at anyone close to them, fall on the floor and wildly kick their feet. This behavior can go on indefinitely until they get what they want, are relegated to their bedrooms, or fall asleep from total exhaustion. I'm sure all of you who have had kids are shaking your heads about now, trying to erase the horrible images I've so cruelly conjured up. Sorry, but there is a method to my madness, I assure you.
I'm well passed the terrible twos stage of my life, I'm 71. Yet over the weekend I had a huge temper tantrum that would surpass those of any toddler by a good long mile! Without going into details about the 'who' and 'why' of it, I'll describe my irrational behavior. I'm doing this in part to educate you on the fact that losing one's temper can happen at any age, and in part to embarrass myself in order to perhaps refrain from behaving this shamefully again.
When my hubby, who turned 80 last month, asked a much younger and more fit person to help him repair a backyard wall and was denied, he was disappointed to say the least. However, he took it in stride (he always takes the high road), making plausible excuses for the sloucher.
When he told ME about it, I was furious. It wasn't necessarily the refusal that got me, but the words that were chosen to decline.
"I don't do that kind of stuff anymore," came out of this guy's mouth as if to say he was much better than that and if he needed to repair an outside wall, he'd hire somebody.
Well, 'lah-dee-dah-dah'! We could hire somebody, too, but we're old school, and if a job needs done, we're on it! Hell, together we built our first house, insulated the walls and painted them, tiled the basement, dug the trenches for irrigation, and landscaped the grounds. Yes, we were younger then, but so what! The fact is that our family instilled in us a pride in doing hard labor that we still carry with us today.
We did much of the same when we moved into our current residence which we've called home for over 40 years continuing to maintain our property along the way.
Last Saturday hubby and I pruned 10 huge shrubs in 90 degree heat and didn't stop until everything was cleaned up and put away. While doing this work, we noticed the back wall was crumbing in spots. Each block weighs about 75lbs.and is a bit much to take down and replace. I suggested hubby ask a certain person to help since he was planning to visit in a few weeks. Later that evening when talking on the phone, the pending project was brought up. Since you already know the outcome of their conversation, I won't repeat myself.
After the steam came out of my ears, and I stopped hollering about the inconsiderateness of this certain someone, I announced that I thought his visit should be canceled. I wasn't about to open my home to anyone who showed such disrespect to my husband. I tossed and turned all night, and decided I was going to tear this ingrate up one side and down the other.
In the morning I sent the most outrageous email I could come up with. I screamed, punched out obscenities, kicked my feet,and spewed spittle all over my laptop! If that wasn't a first-class temper tantrum, I don't know what you'd call it! After hitting the send icon, I felt strangely relieved. I could care less what the person on the receiving end was feeling!
I didn't hear from him on Sunday, but when opening my mail this morning, lo and behold, his reply was staring me in the face. When I opened it, this is what I saw:
'I WAS JUST KIDDING! OF COURSE I'LL HELP REPAIR THE WALL.DO YOU THINK THAT I DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING MY PARENTS TAUGHT ME ABOUT PRIDE IN DOING HARD LABOR!"
Boy was I embarrassed! I certainly learned a good lesson: NEVER JUDGE A STATEMENT AT FACE VALUE! IT COULD LEAVE YOU RED-FACED WITH YOUR FOOT STUCK SQUARELY IN YOUR BIG MOUTH!
Sorry, son, I vow never to have a temper tantrum again, or at least until I get all the facts first!