Friday, May 17, 2013

My New Old Bike

When I was a little girl there was no money for new bikes, so my dad bought me one from a junk heap in some guy's backyard. I remember his last name was Hamm, and my bike cost $10.00, and I could still point out the house we bought it from in Martensville. I also remember him telling me that he'd fix it up nice for me, and picking out the can of sky blue spray paint from Canadian Tire. He bought me a plastic white basket and rainbow streamers for the handle bars.

I loved that bike.

I've been wanting to buy one like it for years now, but I've never found one that was the exact right whimsical shade of blue. And if it was the right colour, then it wasn't the right style of bike. Lately though, I've seen more and more old fashioned looking bikes. Last year there was a red one at the lake that I thought about stealing and spray painting more than once.

And then today as Hannah and I were walking to pick up our van from the garage where it was getting a tire fixed, a girl drove past me on "my" bike. So of course, I screamed at her, "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BIKE!?!?!?!" I was expecting to hear that it was from somewhere I couldn't get to, sometime years ago, for some price that I couldn't afford. But it was from Canadian Tire. She'd bought it the day before. On sale. And I could afford it. Guess how quickly I drove over there after I picked up our van?

I paid for it and wheeled it out of the store and it was MINE. I pushed it around the corner. I didn't want anyone around to watch my first attempt to ride it. I haven't rode a bike since I lived in Martensville. I had this fear that I was going to be the person who would prove the adage "It's like riding a bike!" wrong. But of course, like everyone else, I remembered... Riding a bike really is just like riding a bike.

That first block I laughed the whole way. I couldn't help it. Once I got the laughing under control I still couldn't wipe the ridiculous smile off my face. I felt ten years old all over again. And imagine my delight when I realized there were no hand breaks or fancy gears. To stop I pedal backwards. Just like in the old days when life was no more complicated than which colour to paint my new bike, and we put those cards from packs of gum on our tires with clothespins, and tossed poor Jynx into a backpack to bring to the store for company. The basket came with the bike, all I need now are some rainbow streamers.

Happy. This bike makes me feel happy right down to my toes.

I hope dad can see me riding it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Out Of Nowhere

21 days. That's my new record. And now my new goal, since I yelled at the kids tonight and I'm back to zero. And it came out of nowhere, or that's how it seemed, but when I sat down afterwards and thought about it, it didn't really. 

We were having a good day, a GREAT day even. We went to the park, we hung out in the backyard, the kids played together like angels, and then helped me clean up the yard with no complaining. And then they got in the bath and acted like idiots, because they're kids. And when I told them to stop acting like idiots, (not in those words) they didn't. 

Nothing ticks me off faster than kids who continue to laugh and fool around after they've already got in trouble for not doing what they're supposed to be doing. And yelling stops that. Cold. And it feels good to make them take you seriously. And yelling makes that happen. Boy does it. 

It wasn't a huge outburst, but it was enough to know I blew it. In the past after that first outburst I would have yelled at them more, I know I would have because I WANTED to keep yelling. I wanted to really badly. 
And then I walked away and I thought to myself, "Was that really justified? Were they really being defiant, or just not taking you seriously? Are you really angry at their behaviour? Or how it made you feel about yourself?"

And there it is. It didn't really come out of nowhere. I yelled at them because of my own feelings of inadequacy... I'm mad at that feeling of being ignored. (I hate that feeling, and it comes from more places than just my kids.) I want to feel like what I say means something so I go and yell at them, which everyone knows makes people immediately stop listening to your words. When you yell at someone all they hear is the anger. We've all been there...I know I have.

On the up side, I went a whole 21 days this time AND when I started yelling I reined it in pretty quickly, mostly in an effort to convince myself that it wasn't a full out yell yet since it was so short... It didn't count? Maybe?

My kids would say it counted I think. There's nothing worse than a day of fun, and then anger coming out of nowhere at you. I remember days like that as a kid, and swearing I'd never be like that, and here I am.

I "fixed" it with apologies, and cuddles, and kisses... I still feel terrible. I need to find a way to manage my emotions when they take me by surprise. I'm getting better at keeping my cool when I know I'm grumpy, when I've been angry all day, I am getting better at reminding myself that that even though I feel mad I don't really have a reason to, and I definitely don't have a reason to take out my feelings on my kids. But those out of nowhere flashes of anger can still catch me off guard and then... Back to zero.