For anyone who is unaware, I am going to explain a simple truth about how the world operates. Specifically, how people attempt to explain and defend their side.
And it all starts with my sister.
My nephew was going to spend the night at a friends house. My niece, who can’t bear the thought that her bubby is going to be somewhere she cannot go, had packed up her suitcase to go with him. When told she couldn’t I imagine she had a breakdown, but apparently still packed her suitcase saying she was going to a friends house and taking her younger sister with her; she was going to introduce her younger sister to her friend…
Well, long story short, my dad ended up asking them to spend the night at his house.
So, this morning I wake up and don’t hear anything, so I assume they are gone.
Side note: during this season in my life I am living at home once again. It’s tragic, I know. But better than living out of my car.
Anyway, I go down to the kitchen to have breakfast. My dad comes out of the bathroom and I ask, “where are the girls.”
“Out side with your mom.”
Ok, darn. I was hoping they were gone already…
Another side note: I love my nieces but usually when the kids come over to the house I am the one who ends up watching them and playing with them. And that means I don’t get to work on my personal stuff. Yes, I play some games and watch some YouTube after work, or really, just all the time in general. But I also have some personal projects that I work on. I can’t do that when babysitting.
Anyway, my mom comes inside, without the girls. Which is fairly typical. After all when we were kids we played outside by ourselves all the time. And my sister only tried to walk to my grandmas house once.
But she is very irritated and tells my dad to get out there and play with those girls. He is, after all, the one who told them they could spend the night. And she is currently working on the upstairs bathroom and has the whole weekend off to get whatever phase she’s on completed and she wants to get it completed!
And this is where we see how the world works.
Here we have two sides: my dad who asked his granddaughters to spend the night. And my mom who already had her plans to work on the bathroom.
My dad felt bad for the girls… wanted them to spend the night… is being duped by my sister… I mean, take your pick. But he had them spend the night. They are his responsibility, no?
My mom has been working on this bathroom for a week or two now. She has to work, so she doesn’t have a ton of free time to scrape and clean and paint. And this weekend, which she has off from work, she had planned to get some phase of this process done. I believe she is painting next weekend.
But the typical thing always happens: the person who says “come over and play” is not the one who actually plays with the kids.
My mom got home and was probably happy to see the girls, but also was not too happy that they were spending the night. Why? She wants to work on her bathroom. She was watching a TV show after working in retail all day long, taking a break. There are two little girls running around the house until 10pm… At one point one of the girls is drawing on the dry erase board while the other is trying to get the dog to go into the TV room while my dad is on the phone trying to help a member of his band use some online recording-so-they-can-practice program. My mom says, “what are they doing here?” And I had to break it to her that dad said they could spend the night.
Morning comes and I’m done eating my cereal and my mom comes inside, without the girls, and tells my dad to go outside and play with those girls because he’s the one who asked them over and she wants to work on her bathroom.
Again, here’s how the world works…
My dad, who objectively is in the wrong, states that they were inside with him. She’s the one who took them outside…
Now, if my parents were 10 years old, at this point I would have stopped the argument and explained why my dad is in the wrong here. I would have also explained how my mom made the situation a little worse by taking some responsibility for taking the girls outside, so she has no argument for why my dad isn’t outside playing with the girls. As a former teacher, I feel this is a fairly typical way to handle the situation. Not to tell people who is right and who is wrong, but to explain where the misconceptions are and how to come to a conclusion without devolving into a pointless argument.
But my parents aren’t 10.
They just act like it sometimes.
So my mom comes back with a story of how she’s been out there with those girls for an hour waiting for him to get out there and play with them.
To which my dad responds that it has not been an hour, it’s been only a few minutes.
In the meantime, mind you, there is a 4 year old and a 3 year old outside by themselves, doing who-knows-what because they’re curious, naive creatures and the two adults are inside arguing about, realistically NOTHING at this point except for who is right.
And it occurred to me that this is how most arguments go, especially in my family. One person brings up something, and the other person begins to immediately explain why they are not at fault; usually accompanied with or followed-up by an explanation of why the other person is actually the one who is wrong. People can’t stop, pause, wait, think, ponder, and have a little humility and just admit where they went wrong. People can’t explain their side without having it torn apart by someone who just wants to be right. People don’t want to be in the wrong so they just make up things, going even to the extremes in order to win an argument.
One person says it’s been a whole HOUR while the other person says it’s only been a couple of minutes.
When in fact, it was more like 10 to 15 minutes at least. I don’t really know, I was in the bathroom.
P.S. – longer story than I wanted it to be, but isn’t it such a prime example of how arguments take place most of the time? One person embellishes the truth to make their point, and another person rips ’em a new one for being a big, fat liar. And no one is able to separate facts and feelings and just have a civil discussion.