A few weeks ago, just before Mother’s Day, Rob took the girls into work to do some computer programming for the Signal Conference Lemonade Stand. I know. That sounds amazing. And it was on a Saturday, which meant that I had nothing else planned for the day and could join in the fun. I’d probably learn something on top of hanging out with my favorite people on the planet.
But I also wanted to be alone. Kind of. Sort of. In my heart I knew I had been doing too much lately. How do I decide between doing fun stuff with my favorite people and doing fun stuff alone? Or heck, doing nothing at all alone?
Rob solved the problem by telling me to stay home. “There’s no reason you need to come, so don’t.”
So I stayed home and it was awesome. I went on a run. I read. I knitted some. I caught up on some work and did some wonderful planning. I loved it. And then everyone came back and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.
So what did I learn? This mega-extrovert needs the people who live with me to lovingly tell me not to come sometimes. Super Extroverts like me are slaves to our own fear that something amazing is going to happen without us. Being a homeschooling mom means that I don’t even have those moments in my routine where I’m by myself by default because the kids are in school all day. These people are awesome, but these awesome people are ALWAYS with me. But we extroverts need our down time to recharge, just like introverts. I have an interior life which I continually neglect because I just love being around other people so much. I have to stop doing that, and I suspect your favorite extrovert does too. I’m on a mission to find time for me, every week and in the daylight. I think I can do it, and I probably won’t miss out on too much fun either.
I think the answer might be yes. I never thought it could be true before, but I think it must be so. It all started when one of the Girl Scout moms in our area joked that I was crazy for taking on a second troop and I admitted it was because I wanted to be sure that Elise’s troop would get to do all the same stuff that Olivia’s troop is doing. That was my first hint.
Then this morning as I was wallowing in the depths of my lack-of-control, also known as parenting Elise when she is in a bad mood, first I cried and got some emotional encouragement from some school friends. Then I went to Panera, bought myself a bagel I didn’t need and spent the morning checking things off my “to-do at the computer” list. I felt like a million bucks. I even managed to fit in a trip to Staples to replace our printer toner so I could do more to-dos tomorrow. Then I wrote this Facebook Status: “Note to self: when having a bad day, spend an hour controlling the things you can control. Then you will feel better about the stuff you can’t control.”
One of the comments to that post was, “Thanks for the reminder! love, a fellow control-freak.” And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am a control freak. I know how it needs to be done, an I’m just going to get out there and do it so move over already.
Sorry, Rob. I’m a pain in the rear to do home improvement projects with, and now I know it’s me, not you. Sorry, kids. You guys are sweet and lovely, and I’m sorry I don’t let you help me with things as much as I should because I just want it to be done right, not done slowly with mistakes and learning. Sorry, all the people. I am really trying to learn how to keep my mouth shut and know that someone else’s way is different, but it’s probably just as good as mine.
Is there such a thing as a humble control freak???
I’ve spent the last five years (plus the two previous) getting to know Rob. We’ve spent most of that time increasing both our own patience levels and the population of Akron, Ohio. We’ve learned to expect certain personality short-comings to repeat. We’ve learned to try not to mention those short-comings unless we’re looking to start a fight or hurt feelings.
I’ve learned that Rob is exactly half of my Dad, and exactly half of his Dad. I’d say he’s the best half of both. He’s admirably principled, a very hard worker, not afraid of being transparent and a wonderful father. I have learned to trust him with my hardest conflicts because he is the best person at helping me figure it out and helping me when I need it. He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself and he’s always on my side.
I am so lucky to have found someone to be my best friend, advocate, (paycheck), coach and coworker.
I love you Rob. I hope I get a chance to go get you a handsome gift today. I hope I can think of something that reflects how much I feel about you.
Now back to our regularly scheduled anti-sentimentalism.