It rained this past Saturday, so while we thought we were going to the pool for the last weekend of the summer, our plans got altered. In fact, we were left with no plans. Seth spend the bulk of the day on his computer, and I was itching to get out.
I told Marc (my husband) that I wanted to go to the movies, and picked one that I thought would appeal to the three of us. I showed the trailer to Marc, and he gave it a thumbs up. I then showed it to Seth, who panned the idea. He said the movie didn't interest him, but I knew better. He was having one of those "I don't have school... so I'm gonna play on my computer 24/7, and you can't stop me days!"
"Oh yeah?" I thought. "That's what you think," but it became a battle royal.
I wound up giving Seth an ultimatum: "You have a choice," I said. "See the movie or your computer gets taken away for a week. It's your choice." I then proceeded to threaten that daddy and I would see the movie without him and that we were getting ready to leave.
He knew better... and knew that at age 9, we would never leave him home alone. Besides, he wouldn't be comfortable being alone; Marc still lays in bed with him to help him fall asleep at night, and he sleeps with his light on.
Seth threw a tantrum and declared that we always make him do things he doesn't want to do. This statement could not be further from the truth.
There have been many a weekend or occasion when we proposed a certain activity that Seth nixed, and we went along with his wishes if we didn't feel strongly about it. Ultimately, Seth made the choice to accompany us to the movie and wound up liking it... but I was still pissed.
"Don't mess with a peri-menopausal mama," I was thinking. You're not a match!
Trust me... If I need to get out of the house, I need to get out of the house! I could have gone myself, but I had planned for a family outing and we were going to have dinner after. We invited Seth to choose the restaurant, since we selected the movie.
I don't ask for much, but these days with my kickin' hormones, I have my moods and often don't feel great, so I need all the distraction I can get. Is that too much to ask? I thought.
Of course Seth knows nothing of hormones, so I didn't dare go there with him, but I also thought that I shouldn't have to beg. This was an opportunity for a huge life lesson, and I seized it. I explained to Seth that as the Rolling Stones sing, "You can't always get what you want." Life is full of compromises, and part of it is understanding and respecting the needs and wishes of others. No two people think alike, and sometimes we might not want to do what they suggest, but if we decide to give it a try, we might find ourselves pleasantly surprised. I wasn't referring, of course, to behavior that goes against your better judgement, but for something as simple as an age-appropriate movie, what's the big deal? Is it worth a family fight?
I also explained that when he grows up and gets married one day and has a family of his own... he's expressed interest in all this... that there will be times when his wife and family want to do things that may be their choice and not his. He may have to go along for the ride.
Spoken like the true aspiring fireman that he is, he replied, "No, I won't."
And, I asked why?
He said, "Because I won't be home that much... I'll be responding to fire calls."
"Oh... I see...," I said. "But your family is going to expect you to be home some time. They'll want to be with you and do things together."
"They'll have to understand," he said, quite matter of factly.
He's got it all figured out... but I still want him to get with the compromise program.