I don’t have a lot of blog fodder right now that is not a long complaint about parenting a whiney three-year-old, so I’m going to have to go elsewhere for a story. I’ve been sitting on this story for a few weeks and thought I’d share.
If you’ll remember, the second week of June we had a HUGE SALE fundraiser in our yard/garage. Doing a garage sale of any kind is exhausting, but the martyr in me likes to think that when over a dozen different families bring you all their treasures, the sheer volume of merchandise to be stored, moved, organized, priced and sold entitles me to a little more exhaustion. (Not that I didn’t have help, because I had great help!) Also you need to know that Trent and I kind of have a deal about these kinds of things: I do it and he stays out of my way. Or helps in specific ways that I request. Like staying out of my way. And keeping the kids out of my way. Wow, I’m really starting to sound like a crazy mean lady, but it’s all for the BABY, people!
So, let’s just say that after weeks of prep, two LONG days of dealing with weird garage sale people and constantly adjusting the position of the sale items for optimum presentation, by Saturday evening? I was DONE. Dead woman walking on shakey legs and even more shakey temperament. Trent, the T family and my in-laws had done a wonderful job of caring for my children during the sale, but they were home when we were cleaning up. My parents were also there helping, which was wonderful. There were a few straggling shoppers that wanted to haggle/scavenge, and I wasn’t having it. I told them to remove the items from my sight pretty please, hoping they would be scared off by my rudeness.
As we were tearing down, moving heavy items, boxing up the many things that didn’t sell, trying to find a way to get stuff back into our garage, etc. THE ICE CREAM TRUCK comes down our cul–de-sac. Now, i don’t have a lot of enemies, but in my mind? The Ice Cream Truck is my enemy. I never make eye-contact with the driver, but imagine him as a childless jerk who has years of manipulation perfected in the art of seducing little ones with sugar and fracturing parent/child relationships. My kids and I can be having a lovely, whine-free afternoon full of free back-yard sprinkler fun, and as soon as they catch a note of that tinny, jack-in-the-box music, and all hell breaks loose. They burst into begging and pleading with such passion that you would think someone was offering them a new car, not a $5 treat that is really worht 75 cents. Sometimes they evade my capture and run out to the front to “just look” at the truck, which totally eggs-on the Ice Cream Truck, who slows to a crawl and (I imagine) a smug, knowing smile. He may not get my $10, but he’s wreaked havoc, which is worth almost as much. So it goes in my mind.
But back to the garage sale. The kids were out front with us, and they, of course, were jumping up and down with excitement, begging and pointing. All four adults took the classic stance of ignoring the entire existence of the Ice Cream Truck. This is my go-to move for such situations. Pretend it doesn’t exist and soon it will go away. BUT IT DIDN’T GO AWAY. The truck not only slowed to .5 mph, it made LOOP around the cul–de-sac and came BACK around to our house where the children were on the verge of hysterical tears at the injustice of their parents. I walked inside for a moment, and my anger (surely compounded by my exhaustion) started to bubble up as I walked back outside and saw the Ice Cream Truck has STOPPED right in front of my children. Oh no he di’int. I put on my best confrontational face (which actually not that great) and started my Stomp of Justice out to that driver to give him a piece of my mind. Oh. I tell you. I was on FIRE with all the zingers I had planned for this stranger (so much easier to tell off a stranger!).
But when I approached the truck, this little post-middle-aged lady came out to meet me. Hmpph. OK, first surprise. It was a “she.” Then she asked where we were adopting from. She had seen the signs. So I told her. But I still was mad at her! I was! Then she asked if she could buy this total gym thing that hadn’t sold, but that we’d been lugging around for weeks and were wondering how we were going to get rid of. And I told her that everything was free at that point. She was overjoyed and almost hugged me. She asked if she could come back in an hour and pick it up, and I said yes. Then she asked if my kids could have a popsicle. And I said yes. I almost bartered for Klondikes instead, but I decided to let it go.
But she totally ruined my angry mojo. Now instead of picturing an evil, faceless, family-wrecking man behind the wheel of that pink truck, I’m picturing Sandra, the 55 year old grandma whose niece is adopting domestically and who is trying to earn a living and maybe do a little exercise on the side. Well. Pff.
So maybe the ICT is no longer my enemy. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to drop $10 everytime Sandra drives by. But I MIGHT crack a smile. Or possibly wave.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1