As we walked out the door I asked Mecca if she had everything she needed for the day and reminded her that we weren’t staying for the event. She said yes and we left.
So how did Thomas and I turn a peaceful situation into unnecessary chaos?
Mecca arrived at the rink with her socks, water bottle and protein bar fully ready to skate. At the last minute, I decide to give her money in case she wants to buy something. Five hours now seems like a long time to leave her. I ask her if she has pockets or a backpack to put the money in. ‘No’ she answers simply. I immediately get annoyed.
“Why don’t you have a bag? Where are you going to put the money?” I ask. “You didn’t tell me to bring a bag. I don’t know.”
That’s when I start my diatribe about her not being prepared. “You don’t have a place to put ANYTHING! Money, jacket, snacks, etc.”
Then Thomas finds out the troop leader doesn’t have a cell phone. “I’m not leaving my daughter for five hours without a phone,” he declares. “Mecca, where’s your cell phone?” “It’s in the car.” “Why is it in the car?” “I didn’t bring it in.” “Why don’t you have your phone with you?” “I don’t know,” she says with that blank stare kids get.
I inform him that I haven’t bought minutes for her phone in at least 3 months, so she doesn’t have cell service anyway. And, I’m not leaving my phone with her because she has no place to put it. After lecturing her about not having a bag for her stuff, he then spends 20 minutes on the phone with AT&T to reactivate her service.
At this point, 30 minutes of our precious date time has wasted away. Mecca scurries away from her erratic parents to go skate with her friends. Thomas and I are frazzled and the day definitely isn’t going as planned.
He finally completes the call with AT&T. I call Mecca’s number to make sure it’s working and some guy answers. Turns out they gave her number away for non-usage. He added time to someone else’s phone.
45 minutes and we are still at the stinking skating rink and not on our fun-filled date…
Fed up, I find the co-leader of Mecca’s troop. She indeed has a cell phone! We exchange numbers. All is well. Thomas and I kiss Mecca goodbye and leave.
Darn it! Let’s go have some fun even though we’re both totally annoyed.
At lunch, we talk about what happened and realize that we created the chaos. We both accused Mecca of being unprepared, but the truth was she was prepared with what she wanted and needed. She had socks to skate with, water to drink, and a protein bar for her snack. She knew they were serving pizza so lunch was covered.
She didn’t ask me for money, I wanted her to have it. She didn’t ask for a phone, Thomas wanted her to have one. Actually, she didn’t ask for anything. We were projecting our needs on her then making her wrong. Ouch!!!
When we picked her up we apologized to her for making her wrong and explained our epiphanies. Now she could have been more gracious, but she wasn’t. She said something like “Humph, I know. I brought what I needed and wanted.” (These new age kids and their innate wisdom!) We just rolled our eyes at each other and finally laughed about the whole situation.
Since this experience, I now ask her if she has what she needs and trust that she has it. I try not to list a bunch of things like I used to do. I want her to be more responsible. It’s better for her to forget things and learn to remember next time, than for her to be dependent upon me always reminding her. But with this comes me not being so accommodating when she forgets to bring her sweater and she’s cold or she forgets her book and says ‘I’m bored’ in the back seat. Not quite there yet, but that is my intention.
By the way, she bought 60 tokens with the $10 I gave her and played arcade games with her friends. She was the hit of the party!