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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Who made this mess?

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For the past few years, I've been attending weekly meetings of a group for recovering control freaks, fixers and people pleasers. It's been a slow but steady path and from time to time I can look at a situation and see how much I've changed (and sometimes how far I still have to go).

Earlier this week, I made plans to go straight from work to the meeting. I arranged a ride home from school for Charlie and told Mike he would have to pick Robbie up from school. Annie had rehearsal and would be driving herself home. That's it. Easy peasy. Until...

We had a Thanksgiving pitch-in at lunch. Seriously some of the best southern cooking I've ever had (My contribution? Apples & caramel dip.) and there was plenty leftover, including home made mac and cheese. I knew the boys would love to be on the receiving end of those leftovers...and, if I'm really honest with myself, I didn't want Mike to order pizza for dinner because we are on a tight budget until payday.

So I told Mike that I would meet him at Robbie's school to hand off dinner. Then I would go on to my meeting. Only, when I got to the school, Mike wasn't there. He was still a good 15 minutes away. I went in, picked up Robbie and called Mike.

"I've got Rob. I'll just meet you at St. Luke's on 86th Street and then I'll go on to the meeting." He agreed.

Robbie and I arrived at the St. Luke's parking lot at 5:48pm. I had 12 minutes to get to the meeting on time, which was kind of important because I was supposed to lead the discussion.

5:50pm. No Mike.

5:51pm. My phone died so I could no longer track where my husband was using the "Find my iPhone" app.

I could feel my blood pressure rising and my jaw setting itself in "angry" mode. I took a deep breath and thought to myself "I cannot change this situation. There is no point in getting upset." I was pretty proud of myself for that.

Mike arrived somewhere around 5:56pm, although I don't know exactly what time it was because I'd given up staring down the clock. He took Robbie and the dinner and I sat in the parking lot trying to decide if it was worth showing up late to the meeting.

As I considered the option of arriving late, not totally happy with Mike for making me late, I heard a friend's voice in my head (not really, Mom), asking what was my part in this situation.

So I asked myself that. "What was my part in this debacle of a plan?"

It didn't take long to recognize that it was really all my part. There had been a plan in place that would have taken me directly from work to the meeting without having to stop for anything. Who changed that plan? Me.

Mike is completely capable of picking up Robbie and making dinner for himself and the boys. We could have eaten the yummy leftovers for dinner the next day. But I was both trying to be nice (hello, people pleasing fixer) and to control the situation (control freak!) by devising the leftover drop off/kid exchange plan. Mike teases that I am addicted to chaos. Looking at this situation, he might not be wrong.

I smiled to myself, even laughed a little, as I came to the realization that this mess was all my fault. So, I may not have come far enough to not create the situation in the first place, but I have grown enough to recognize how my actions led to the outcome. That gives me hope.

(And yes, I still went to the meeting and it was worth it.)