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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Day My Kids Nearly Caused Me To Lose A Friend

Many of my friends know that my children have some behavioral issues. Although I am trying very hard to teach my children manners and respecting others' homes, they just don't seem to take me seriously.  There are just a couple of friends here and another couple back in my home state that I feel completely comfortable taking my children.  I'm so thankful for those friends who are supportive of me.

In July, I traveled with the kids down to Florida after I found Mother's half-sister for whom we have been searching for many years.  (The story of that reunion will be coming soon).  Since Tim had to work, he was unable to travel with me.  That meant dragging the kids around with me to visit friends and family.

 One of those friends commented on Facebook that she also wanted to see me.  This is a friend that I valued because she was such an encouragement to me as I pursued my degree while I worked full-time.  We have kept in touch even after I moved away, got married, and had children.  I cherished our friendship.  The kids and I visited her home last year.  She was so loving toward the kids and seemed to deal with their antics just fine.  I didn't expect it to be any different when we visited her at her home again last month.  However, as soon as we walked into her house, I knew things were not going to go as smoothly by the way my children acted.  I must say that the way my children behaved caused me more embarrassment than I can ever remember.  As soon as Ben entered my friend's kitchen, he went right over to her pantry to see what she had in there. I redirected him and told him that we would be eating soon.  My friend had her table already set for lunch.  Of course, my children, being the very picky eaters they are, once they saw what was being served, immediately said stuff like "Eww" , "Yuck", and "I don't like that". I was appalled and immediately tried to correct my kids. Believe me, I have tried and tried to teach my kids otherwise.  Jackie is the worst.  So, my friend immediately corrected my kids and let them know how hard she worked on this lunch and that it hurt her feelings when they turned their nose up at the food.  Then she told me that perhaps next time, I should bring he kids something from McDonald's or the like.  I totally agreed and said that I should have done that that day.  I was so glad that my friend got onto my kids so that they could maybe finally understand what I've been trying to teach them about manners. My friend offered to make grilled cheese sandwiches for them but in full Jackie fashion, Jackie turned her nose up at that, too.  Ben ended up eating 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. My friend had set 2 crystal glasses and 2 plastic cups at the table, also.  Of course, the plastic was for the kids which was perfect because I don't allow my children to use glass at home.  Well, Jackie saw my glass and whined that she wanted one, too.  I immediately said no but my friend offered to let Jackie use one.  I really wish I would have put my foot down then.  I was already somewhat irritated not only because if Jackie's poor manners but also because she was so whiny when my friend's very sweet dog greeted Jackie. Jackie had complained twice that this sweet little dog scratched her and this caused my friend to put the dog away in another room.  By the way, the poor dog didn't even leave any marks on whiny Jackie. Jackie was just being a brat. Which continued into lunch.

After lunch, we all played in the pool. My friend brought her little dog back out, too.  My friend seemed to enjoy my kids in the pool, despite the bickering between my kids.  Gee, they were I top form that day.  After awhile, we got out of the pool and after changing our clothes, we moved to the living room where the kids watched TV while my friend and I visited and talked about her international trips.  The kids finally seemed to settle down. I didn't even notice that Jackie had taken the crystal class into the living room.  You know, the crystal glass that she insisted on using during lunch. In the living room where the floor is tile. Can you see the picture? If I had only known about the glass.  If only I had put my foot down even harder before my friend got the glass for her.  If only, I could have foreseen the future....

As I was looking through my friend's pictures and she was telling me about all the places she visited, all was good until the crash.  My friend and I immediately went into a tirade with Jackie. Jackie starts crying and yelling that it was an accident, that it just fell apart in her hand.  Really?!!!! (Lately, everything is an accident for her).  My friend's husband came downstairs to see what was going on and then starts to shoo us out. I grabbed all of our stuff while profusely apologizing to my friend for everything.  Jackie, hysterical, had essentially curled up in a ball next to our stuff when suddenly, my friend whipped  around, gasped, and said "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Jackie, I think I owe you an apology." At first, I was flabbergasted because I didn't think either of my kids were owed an apology. If anything, my kids owed her an apology.  My friend then explained that she thinks she accidentally  gave Jackie a glass that had already had a hairline crack in it.  I have to admit that I was quite shocked at the way my friend screamed and yelled at Jackie, deserving as she was, but it made me feel slightly better when she apologized to Jackie for possibly giving Jackie the cracked glass.

Even as we left my friend's home,  I kept apologizing for my kids' behavior and explaining this was one reason my children are not allowed to use glass at home.  And my friend suggested that next time I leave my kids win somebody and that she and I could meet at a restaurant.  I had to agree that my children are no longer welcomed at his friend's house. I have never felt so embarrassed and ashamed by my kids' behavior.   This entire incident left me shaken. I laid into my kids nearly the entire ride back to my mother-in-law's house, where we were staying.

Despite the apology from my friend toward Jackie about the possible cracked glass, I still felt terrible after she commented that those glasses were from her mother-in-law.  That evening, I submitted an order through my bank to have a check sent to my friend to purchase a replacement glass, if it's even possible.   I actually took the money out of Jackie's college account because I felt like she needed to learn a very difficult lesson.

Even after we returned home from Florida, I was still so shaken by that entire incident.  Jackie had already become more difficult in recent months and this incident just added fuel to that fire. I honestly find it very difficult to enjoy being around her.  Even though it has been a month since that incident, I still have not been able to fully shake it off.  I actually went to talk to a counselor recently about these recent incidents. I was thankful for that because she helped me to feel less shame and to help me realize that the entire incident involving the glass was not entirely my fault, especially considering that I initially told Jackie no to the glass.  She also helped me realize that my children are especially difficult children, particularly Jackie because she has so many issues going on, and that it's not a reflection of my parenting. Jackie makes parenting especially difficult, she has from the very beginning.

As for my near ruined friendship, only time will tell whatever the future holds for that one.  There are now just a few friends homes that I will ever feel comfortable taking my children.  And even then, if there is ever a meal involved, my kids will not partake. They will have to take their own meals.
I feel sad that it's come down to that but I just cannot trust my children any longer.  I've tried and tried to teach them respect and manners to no avail.  I have given permission to my closest friends to correct my children.  Somehow, I must get the message across to my children and perhaps correction from my friends is key to that.

I realize this is very personal but I'm desperate so I am asking for help from people who truly care about me.  Help me correct and discipline my children.  Help me teach them right from wrong.  Help me raise them to be respectful.  Perhaps when my kids hear correction and receive discipline from others, they will realize that it's not all a joke. Most of all,  encourage me and pray for me that I can get these children raised without too much emotional harm.  They really do bring out the worst in me, especially my daughter.  We are dealing with so many new issues with her.  Well, not exactly new but we're finally getting answers about what is going on with beside her cerebral palsy.   As "normal" as she looks my daughter is actually a very complex child.  I'll explain some of that in a future post. In the meantime, lots of prayer is appreciated.