At the first of this week, I posted my status on Facebook as something like this: “I’m in the worst mood I’ve been in since my hysterectomy 5 years ago. I guess I’m making up for all the PMS I haven’t had since then.”

The backstory to that post was that John and I had just taken a trip over the weekend (Mother’s Day weekend) to Jackson, MS, to pick up our daughter from college and bring her & her belongings home for the summer. When father and daughter get together after being away from each other for a long period of time, there is always an initial period of adjustment…and bickering. It got on my last nerve to hear them go back and forth for more than 7 hours on the way home. I finally pulled rank on Mother’s Day and asked, “Could you please, just for me, try to get along? It’s Mother’s Day.”

When we got home from the trip, which would up taking about 9 hours due to our getting delayed in a traffic jam this side of Memphis, my nerves were shot, and we were all tired. Julie wheeled her suitcase into the house, and I reminded her that she needed to go into Daniel’s old bedroom, which John converted to his office when Daniel left for college in Murfreesboro 2 1/2 years ago. At that point, she burst into tears.

I had tried to prepare her for her change in bedroom. I fought for her to stay in her bedroom when Daniel moved back home. His belongings are still in boxes in our dining room, and finally after Julie’s spring break in March, he moved his bed into Julie’s bedroom and her bed into John’s office, after much discussion between John, me, and him. I kept trying to convince my men that Julie needed things to stay the same for at least a year after she went to college. I remember that my mom didn’t change one thing about my bedroom the whole time I was in college. There was a measure of security in knowing that when I returned home, no matter how many changes I had gone through in the intervening months, my room would remain the same.

However, my persuasive skills with my husband evidently aren’t very good. He doesn’t seem to understand the emotional impact that changes bring, and he says, “I don’t remember feeling that way, and my mom and dad moved to a new house when I was in college.” Frustration! Sometimes I think we live on different planets. (That book about men being from Mars and women being from Venus has it right.)

Anyway, that’s the backstory…and then on Tuesday I went to the doctor after having tried (unsuccessfully) to fight what I thought was just a bad cold. It wound up being a sinus infection and an ear infection, and the doctor prescribed a shot in my buttocks as well as an oral antibiotic. Funny, I wasn’t in such a bad mood on Tuesday, and even when I got to feeling worse later in the week and had to leave work because I was sick, I was in a better mood.

I am thankful that bad moods don’t strike me very often. Normally I am quite chipper, and I try to see the positive side of most situations. But family situations wear me down, and that is where I feel that I fail the most. I guess every mom can relate to that statement.

I really am glad that Julie’s home for the summer. I’m trying to stay positive about Daniel being home for longer than he first planned when he graduated from college. He’s much easier to live with (and much more mature) than during his teen years. We’re adjusting to John working outside our home for the first time in about 26 years. He’s under stress from that; I’m under stress from changes in my work responsibilities; we’re all under stress from adjusting to living together as a family again. We tend to be vocal about our frustrations, so even though sometimes we say things that we later regret, at least no one can accuse the Trudel family of bottling up our feelings.

We WILL survive this summer, and we WILL still love each other. Of this I am sure.

In the meantime, I will remember this saying that always makes me laugh: “Sometimes I wake up Grumpy. Sometimes I let him sleep.” (This could apply to any of our family members.)

3 thoughts on “Grumpy

  1. Love this Anne. It all rings so true. I used to think that SOMEbody should write a book about the truth of being a parent. I decided “Operating Instructions” was a good start, but I still think the paradoxes and complexities of living in a family are too often sentimentalized or satirized. From my perspective you hit it just right about the real world experience of being a mother/wife/worker — the fatigue, the guilt, the good intentions, the struggle to get back to a big-picture perspective, the underlying faith — based on experience — that most things will work out in the end. Most things.

  2. Real families fight, it’s a good thing to let it out. It’s better than having silent anger, or the elephant in the room. How else would we grow to love and respect each other!!??

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