Usually I take advantage of an awkward situation and try to make it funny.
Especially when it involves my arm.
Not tonight, though.
I went to pick-up a pizza for dinner and as I waited, one of the employees started messing around. “Dudes, I just cut off my finger!” he yelled and laughed. “We’re gonna have to cut off the rest of your arm to prevent infection,” another kid said. “Totally!” another one agreed. “Here’s your pizza, sir,” the last guy said as he handed me the pie. I just stood there, annoyed. Did none of them notice my arm? Or did they and they just didn’t connect the dots about what they were saying?
All I know is that usually I would have thought it was funny. I would have said something like, “That’s what I had to do!” But, not tonight. Tonight I was grumpy. I’ve been sick for nearly three weeks, I can barely speak because of said sickness (coughing), I have a headache, I’m tired, it’s literally going to be 50 degrees below zero the next couple days, I doubt the Packers are going to win on Sunday…you get the point.
So, why am I telling you this? See, I have a deep sense of responsibility when it comes to my role in the world. Part of that is being funny. Part of it is being a teacher. I put a lot of pressure on myself to take advantage of these types of situations and when I don’t, well…I feel like I failed.
We all have these moments, though, right? We’re not proud of them or happy they occur, but they do anyway. I know parents of limb-different kids look to me as an example and I strive to be a good one, so I figure some honesty here will go a long way. Your kids will get frustrated at times. Frustrated with a task. Frustrated with people staring or pointing. They might even snap and react in a way that “isn’t like them.” And nobody really grows out of that.
While I didn’t snap tonight, I certainly reacted in a way that was out of the norm for me.
And that’s ok.
You know why? Because it’s part of life. We all have bad days. We all react in ways we wish we hadn’t from time to time. And you know what happens after we do that? We feel kind of bad, maybe a little out of sorts, and then we move on. We apologize to those we offended (if we did) and try to get our groove back. Usually it just takes time. Other times a good friend helps us through. Somehow or another we get past it and start acting “like ourselves” again.
When I left the pizza place, I thought to myself, “Well, that was a waste. That could’ve been super funny on Facebook.” And while that’s true, I also realized I wasn’t giving myself grace to just be a dude. A dude who was feeling grumpy. I need to remember to do that. We all do.
Especially now that we’re all only days away from breaking our New Year’s resolutions!
There we go…a zinger.
I think I’m turning the corner.
Be gracious and patient with yourself.
I will, too.