We fought on Mother's Day. Over everything and nothing. Mostly, however, the day was punctuated by silence.
Card holidays, I find, despite all the best intentions, can be incendiary.
Too many expectations go beyond cards and trinkets. Adoration, for instance, on demand. A day filled with breakfasts in bed and family harmony.
Just one thing goes wrong, and all of a sudden, everything seems to go up in flames.
I can admit, the simmering fire was my fault and entirely my responsibility to extinguish.
I also knew how it would end ... With an apology and walk around the block with the dog.
Didn't stop me from dragging it out. Fanning the flames a little as I let them burn out.
The cooling off time can still feel oppressively warm. Like hot flashes.
Eventually, we end up fixing all with a little ice cream and sprinkles.
Ice cream is the plaster of our lives. It doesn't matter that it's temporary, it can always apply.
It looked like Father's Day was going to be the unplanned sequel.
Humor that lands with a thud has its own way of spoiling even the best of intentions. Feelings, after all, are fickle things.
Knowing which expense accounts are backing my jokes isn't one of my better skills. Sometimes I can be opaque.
But suddenly increasing the volume of our voices as if we were in a commercial break from this marriage rom-com was clearly apparent.
We couldn't help it. Feeling the anger of 1,000 slights, we just started arguing.
In the car.
With the kids trying to melt into the backseat, as kids will do when their world careens out of control and the people who are supposed to help them navigate, seem to be driving recklessly.
How many years had we tried to not argue in front of the kids? How many times had the words "this is not the time nor place" crossed our minds and traveled through our lips?
Countless, fruitless times.
Lately, we make time. We talk, yell, argue, debate, bring up old wars and admit that we are not perfect.
Eventually, we agree to a truce. There is calm and quiet. The children begin chattering again, a sure sign that the angry wrinkle in this day has been successfully smoothed out.
The kids don't want to know that there will be other angry exchanges. I can remember those from my childhood, too. We'd all rather tread water in the uncomfortable silence.
They sound like experts when they point out their discomfort:
"Please don't fight," they say in unison. "It's not good for the kids."
"Not fighting is worse," we reply as a pair. “Jinxed.”
"See what happened there?" He asks them. "It's important you see all the good places disagreements can lead."
Like to real forgiveness, no matter how temporary it seems.
And it's good to remember: we're not jinxed; we're on the same page.
“Are you thinking what I'm thinking?”
“Ice cream ... with sprinkles.”