When I was in 8th grade, right at the beginning of advanced math class, the intercom interrupted the class and I was summoned to THE OFFICE.
If you knew me then (and I’d like to think that not *that* much has changed since that time) you would understand why: 1. My whole class started snickering and saying things like, “Ooooo, Megan’s in trooooubbbble!” and 2. My face turned the shade of a red delicious apple and stayed that way for approximately three weeks afterward.
With my deer-in-the-headlights look and my pink overalls I was wearing over a very fashionable turquoise and white stripped shirt (did I mention this was in the 80’s?) I picked myself up and headed to THE OFFICE.
I sat there with Mr. Holmes (whom I only remember because we called him “Hawkeye Holmes”), and he looked at me sitting there, scared, waiting to find out what I did.
My offense? I had been accused of throwing eggs at a school bus by some nameless students.
Now, that offense is so absurd that it is laughable today and indeed, I’m laughing while I’m typing. But to the world’s MOST self-conscious 14-year-old, my life had just ended. I had been written up by a school bus driver, the accusation had been passed all the way to the administration, and there I was: a branded bus-egger.
I started crying right there in the office and stammering out my excuses of where I was at the appointed time and with whom (I had a reliable alibi – my mom actually picked me up from school that day and took me to Tulsa for some shopping). And to tell the truth, I don’t think Mr. Holmes even believed I did it either, but that didn’t change my outlook that day, nor my emotional response. I cried the whole rest of the day.
This afternoon, I thought it would be nice to bake some cookies for the apartment of four single guys who live below us (and who will live above us in another month) sort of as a peace offering due to the fact that the half pints haven’t quite mastered the concept of shared living space yet (ie: they can get pretty loud up here, as can I from time to time), and also as a way to meet them. We’ve been in this apartment for just over two weeks now and I’d only met one of them; Craig hadn’t met any of them.
So I piled up the cookies on two plastic plates and the six of us walked down the stairs to pass off our goodwill. And it was well received. We met two of the guys and enjoyed our little visit. They were really nice guys.
Later today, after dinner, I ran to the store for some milk and things. When I came back, Craig told me the guys had come up for a bit while I was gone. I didn’t think too much about this until Craig shut his computer and looked at me with a bit of concern and said, “Did something happen with the girls this morning?”
Huh? I had no idea where this was coming from, but he said when the guys came up, they wanted to check something with us. It seems this morning, around 7:30 or so, they heard a female voice cursing loudly. They thought it came from up here. They wondered if it was me.
Now then, the first thing that should be noted is that it was *great* for those guys, having thought that, to come to the source and check it with us (or Craig, since I wasn’t here). They said they wondered if the cookies we brought were to kind of make up for the outburst from this morning, and also thought that if we were going to live in community together, then it was their brotherly duty to bring the grievance to us.
Truly, I’m glad they did that, rather than to have gone somewhere else and started a campus rumor that there’s a crazy lady in Apt. E who cusses out her four small children early on Saturday mornings. But I’m also still that super self-conscious 14-year-old, sitting in the principal’s office, stammering out my defense, highly embarrassed that the accusation could even be made of me (which would explain that my spontaneous response was to start crying).
What are the odds anyway, that some female someone would be cursing loudly enough at 7:30 on a Saturday morning that the guys in a middle apartment should be able to hear it and that on that same day, I would be inspired to make cookies for them to make up for our loudness (feet wise, ball-bouncing wise, etc)? What are the odds?
Craig was still here even. The girls slept in until after 7 this morning which was an act of God in itself, so that by 7:30 we were peaceably eating bagels provided from the free stash over in Edwards Hall. I turned on the TV at 8:00 so they could watch cartoons. I’m sure we didn’t have a perfect morning. Something probably happened somewhere that made me lose patience with somebody, but I’m CERTAIN that this morning I didn’t cuss anybody out. There have been a very limited number of times I’ve used a curse word out loud (limited as in can count on two fingers – remember, I grew up a legalist, I can still remember both occasions), and one time online. But never to my kids.
I’m not going to go the route of saying, “Oh, well *I* would NEVER do that,” though, certainly, no one would be more surprised than me if I did, but by the grace of God go I and all that. While certainly not in my nature, it is in my capacity, I suppose. And also, I have yelled at my kids. It goes more like this: “STOP IT! That’s the fifth time I’ve had to tell you that. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!”
(Please, no commentary on my parenting style. I don’t like it when that happens, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen some of the time. And I need to be a better steward of my emotional reactions to their behavior. I also need to be a better mommy overall. No one knows that more than me, either).
But still, my pride has been pricked tonight. And the sad thing is that I’m more embarrassed that they thought it was me than I’m concerned that the words came from somebody who is surely hurting today, or certainly was this morning. *That’s* what should be making my heart the most burdened right now. Not that my name received a check by it this morning.