… to accept selfish, disrespectful, ungrateful people for who and what they are, the courage NOT to become bitter, and the wisdom NOT to let it happen again!”
This morning was a SUPER early day for me, as most Fridays usually are being a full-time mother, full-time house-wife, a full-time real estate agent. Since Fridays are in essence my “Mondays”, my alarm goes off at 4:30am, I pop up like a Jack-In-The-Box, hop out of bed, start the coffee and spin around like a manic robot getting everything and everyone ready and dealt with ahead of what are usually very hectic weekends in our household. Trust me when I say that I am not complaining, because I thoroughly love every one of my jobs and am blessed beyond words to have them! My adoring husband is ever so appreciative that I’ve somehow found a way to balance my career and our family in such a way that everything runs smoothly and I’ve created a peaceful environment for them to come home to despite my organized chaos. I am also desperately hoping that I am, in all things, showing my daughter that yes, she can have and do it all if she so chooses, and this is how: Eat, sleep, pray, breathe, cry a little, laugh a lot, sing loud in the car, smile as much as possible, participate when you can, don’t bite off more than you can chew, LEARN TO SAY NO WHEN NECESSARY and thank God for everything all the while. (Being grateful eight days a week, 366 days a year is my other full-time job hee hee!) For the most part I am a very happy girl with a kind, patient, loving heart filled with enough “everything” for everyone in my atmosphere. I live my life by “The Four Agreements” and this is how I roll.
So every Friday for the last eight or so years we have faithfully patroned a small, family-owned dry cleaning business on the far southeast side of the town that we live in because they are fairly priced and do a good job, but even more so because we are just loyal that way. Meanwhile, once a week I pull through the window and go out of my way to be kind to this woman who is usually wearing a scowl, throwing or slamming stuff around, or barking out orders to the others that are behind the counter. And so I watch. And think. And wonder. “Hmmm, maybe I’ll kill her with kindness today”, or “maybe she’s had a rough morning”, or, “maybe she’s not a morning person at all”, or, “maybe she’s really stressed out Cat, so tell her to have a good day and go on about your business! AGREEMENT NO. 2: DON’T ANYTHING PERSONALLY! Her nasty attitude is about HER, not YOU!” But today something changed and my otherwise patient demeanor snapped and took a turn for the worse!
I have always taken the time to untangle, organize and neatly twist-tie the hangers then place them at the bottom of the basket for return with the next week’s clothes, a practice I started many years ago when I had actually gone inside their store rather than drive-thru on a morning I was bringing comforters in. On that particular day I’d been standing and waiting while watching one of the girls at the counter feverishly detangling the massive pile of hangers others had returned as well, so with that I thought it would be a nice gesture to organize mine ahead of time. This morning, however, was the first time in years that I didn’t take the time to do that, which, I actually did feel bad about for a split second. But today of all days was slated to be straight from Hell, so I just shoved everything in the bag as quickly as I could and loaded the car for whatever the day might possibly bring.
You see, there is a little stress in our home this last couple of months. Nothing we won’t get through of course, because God IS so good, but stress nonetheless there is. Let’s see, I have a deeply hurting if not troubled child that I am desperately trying to keep from falling into his own oblivion, an uncle in Florida just days away from meeting The Maker, eleven live real estate transactions going at once, a husband with DOZENS of live real estate transactions going at once and a jacked up knee that needs surgery, a dog that won’t stop peeing on everything, a Bad Cat that keeps running away, a Good Cat who won’t stop crying and starving herself when the other is gone, a very socially active daughter wrapping up her last weeks of elementary school who is also playing volleyball, a house to keep up with, four peoples’ laundry to do, 300 miles a week of driving, my physical fitness to keep up with, and oh yes – this particular Memorial Day weekend marks the 19th anniversary of the night a man I was supposed to marry met HIS Maker by running his Harley through a brick wall going 90mph with no helmet. Yah, I’d say I am really kind of sad and emotional this week. I haven’t slept much, am functioning on pretty much coffee and faith alone, and I have an anxiety stomach ache nearly all the time because I’m so afraid to let one of the 27 balls I currently have in the air fall on the ground and thus me right along with it (and also maybe because of the coffee)!
DEAR DRY CLEANING LADY: I TOO WAS IN A FOUL MOOD THIS MORNING! Guess what? I still smiled at you and took the time to ask how you were?
Who wants to know what she said to me when I asked the question, “Good morning dear, how are you?” She literally BARKED back at me, “Well thanks for not untangling the hangers for me!” And no, this was no friendly banter. She was literally mad that I didn’t untangle the hangers. Now what?
Well I’ll tell you “now what”. I’m so done with not only that dry cleaner lady but likewise anyone in my life who does not treat me or mine with the equal amounts of kindness and respect with which I treat them. These last few months have been a reckoning of my soul, my strength, my will, and the personal boundaries I need to keep firmly in place going forward if I am going to survive without bitterness. I will not be spoken to harshly. I will not be treated rudely. I will not be disregarded, or unappreciated, or taken for granted. No more. Never again! “We treat and value others as we wish to be treated and valued or we lose them.” When I drove away from the window I kept my calm, and simply said to her, “See you next Tuesday dear!” Only she won’t be seeing any of these Williamsons again, and I’m damned sure she didn’t understand the horrible incrypted message I was sending.
As My Cousin Vinny once said, “I’M DONE WITH THAT GUY”! And yup, I’m so done with all those guys (and girls). Life is too short to spend my good energy or precious time in the company of miserable, toxic people. – The End