A wise friend recently said to me "Men don't get emotionally connected to the moment like women do," and I thought..."BRILLIANT! Must blog that!" So here I am, demonstrating yet another difference that I've noticed between men and women, or at least between me and my man.
So last night was back to school night for my middle-schooler. She's in 8th grade now. WOW! I still can't entirely wrap my head around my first born, my little girl, lover of all things pink, watcher of Bear and the Big Blue House (I absolutely ADORED Luna! Remember the singing moon, Luna?!?), consumer of salami and cheese like a true Italian, singer of Sara Hickman (and if you don't know who she is, GOOGLE her immediately!), reader of Angelina Ballerina, my baby, finishing primary school.
Sorry...I digress...last night was back to school night and I couldn't make it. And I felt really sad about that. My husband, a teacher at her school, was obviously there but couldn't attend as her "parental representative" because he had to run his own class for the night. He assured me that I shouldn't feel guilty because I was sick. And that I shouldn't be sad because she has many of the same teachers as last year and I went last year so they know I care about her, or at least I did when she was in 7th grade.
Although he was trying to help me feel better, I still couldn't reconcile my harsh, self-imposed pangs of regret. Then he pointed out that, due to my vertigo (that's my illness...PITA vertigo!), I would likely do more damage if I showed up at BTSN, looking like a zombie, trying not to lean to the right or worse, fall over, incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation and unable to move my head for fear of the awful spinning, and we all know that nodding is the primary mode of communication when you're sitting at your child's desk listening to her teachers talk about all the cool things they're going to learn in the 8th grade. He was right. It was better if I just didn't.
And then, all dressed up in his fancy BTSN suit, my handsome, science-teacher-of-a-husband, kissed me on the forehead, said, "Don't feel bad...let it go," and went off to school. Easy for him to say.
This is the difference between my husband and me. He can intelligently process a situation, find the reason in a decision and move forward, LET IT GO, no big deal. On the other hand, I, too, can intelligently process a situation, but that typically requires me phoning-a-friend, embarking on an extended survey of all factors, and lots of discussion and reassurance. My husband does not have the time, nor the patience, to help me "intelligently process." He says I'm "beating it over the head until it bleeds," and I'm really not entirely sure what he's referring to.
But I do know that we do things differently. We think differently. We process differently. And last night, when our daughter, our so-grown-up 8th-grader was essentially non-represented at her FINAL back to school night of her entire primary school career, I was sad. He was rationale. I had guilt. He thought I was INSANE. I wanted reassurance. He wanted me to let it go. I wanted to process some more. (OK...I see his point about the beating and the blood and all.) He had evaluated the chain of events reasonably. I had connected to the moment - the LAST of all back to school nights - emotionally. And that's the difference.
What it came down to was that I was missing out on a moment, a moment that mattered to me, that I wanted to store for all eternity in my memory, along with all of the other back to school nights. And more importantly, I didn't want her to feel in any way, that she wasn't important. I wasn't as concerned about proving to her teachers that I'm an involved and present parent. I am and I know that. And I wasn't overly worried that I'd miss some critical bit of information. Seriously, I read the School Loop email EVERY day, and her dad works at the school...she's not going to miss anything.
Once I'd processed the disappointment, found its source and replaced it with some good ole' self-assurance, there was only one thing to do before I let it go. I sat down my sweet and spicy 13-year-old and told her how I felt about missing her final back to school night and that I wanted her to know that she was so LOVED, even though I might've been the only parent in all of Ladera Ranch Middle School that didn't show up to back to school night, and finally, that I was so, SO proud of her. Then I gave her a great big hug.
And she hugged me back, a big, I'm-not-too-old-to-hug-my-mom-at-least-in-the-privacy-of-our-own-home hug, giving me an even sweeter memory of her last back to school night. Then she calmly agreed with her father and said I was acting "CRAY-CRAY."
Spinning, CRAY-CRAY, and letting it go. It'll do.