Men Are From Mars (And I Am A Little Sensitive)
I find it ironic (and really sweet) that Leanna, one of Alec's best friends, and an-almost-daughter to us, wrote a blog post about true love and said some nice things about the relationship that Mike and I have together. She said we made it seem effortless. And somehow we make her believe that true love exists. See her full post here.
Ha! Why do I think it is ironic? Because I had just written the following blogpost without even having seen what she had posted yet.
Really...did I really have to end it on that note?
Last day of our week of vacation and what do I do? I go all sensitive. And well,I kinda freaked out a little I guess. Here's what happened.
There are some things I do that I am completely confident in. Hosting a party (of any size) is one. Driving a boat on a busy lake? Most of the time. But not on Sunday.
First off, it was windy. Second, I could see lots of boats getting ready to take off at 11 am. Third, I was not feeling it. I chose not to ski first, like I often do, but offered to drive Mike if he wanted to go.
"Which way do you want to go?" I asked. (We have three coves we can head to from our dock).
"You're the driver, you choose." He replies.
Hmmn. Indecision. I'm a little unsure now. What if I choose the wrong way and all the boat traffic is there? What if I choose the windiest cove? I don't want to choose, boat driver or not.
I know which way I want to go when I go up. It is almost always the same way. The way I see it, if the water is bad and I choose that way--it is my fault. No one to blame but me. But when the skier asks the boat driver to choose, the bad water is kind of their fault. They chose the wrong way. At least that's how I have always felt. Maybe Mike does not really care as he tells me...but that niggling seed of doubt creeps in and so begins my unravel.
I choose a path and off we go. He falls on the up. Was it my fault, I wonder?
Alec tells me I went too fast. I felt like I did it the same as I always do though. More doubt.
"Did I go too fast?" I ask Mike as the boat comes around. Prepared to take the blame if I did something wrong.
"No" he says. I'm still unsure.
He gets up on the second attempt but already boats are bearing down on us. I take a turn that cuts off a portion of the cove to get ahead of the pack. Mike falls again.
Now the personal watercraft brigade is barreling at us. All five of them in a pack, cruising the lake at 10:56 am. (Four minutes before anyone is even supposed to be out making a wake on the lake. Yes, we cheated it too.)
He gets up again and I head off for the "good"" water that lies ahead as more boats are going up all around us. Great. Now I am really getting stressed about navigating between boats, trying to stay ahead of the personal watercraft brigade, and keeping the speed consistent at 32.5 mph for Mike to ski.
I am relieved when the brigade cuts slightly to the left, short of the good water, that's a nice move I think. But I am going faster than they are and pretty soon we are riding parallel to each other. Shore on right. Brigade on left. Doofus on the jet ski in the brigade has no idea he is making a beeline into my direct path. Hey doofus, I am towing someone, I have the right of way.
As we get closer and I have no where to go, the doofus has not even looked over his shoulder, I yell. Same time as Mike shouts, the guy on the jet ski turns to look...surprised no doubt, that we are so close to him. He veers left out of my path, but I still have a super narrow opening to navigate ahead. I think about signaling Mike to drop, but he does it on his own, he sees the situation. He's done.
Relief. No more driving in this wind and the boat traffic. Poor Mike, I think...that was a rotten ski run he just had. What an idiot jet skier. What kickin' wind.
Alec: You should've sounded the air horn at him, mom.
Me: I wanted to, but I didn't have time.
Boat driving is tough. Sometimes I hate it. Thinking that Mike knows this and understands, I was totally surprised when he says:
"Not enough time? You had five minutes to see he was coming?" (As in... if I were driving, I would have sounded the airhorn.) Or at least that is what I hear.
I respond defensively, now feeling very unsure about this whole thing, that I do not have enough hands/skill/ability to drive at the right speed, watch the idiot jet skier to make sure I don't hit him, steer around all other obstacles and decide what I should do next....I'm not that talented. I can't also be expected to sound the airhorn.
"Yeah", Mike says to Alec, "but she can drive, drive, drive".
Would you take that as a compliment? A validation of my driving skills? I didn't.
I heard, yeah...all she can do is drive. One thing at a time. No air horn blowing is possible out of her.
Now I am not only feeling defensive. But hurt. And mad. My face apparently confirms this.
Mike hollers from the back of the boat, "What. I'm kidding. I'm joking. Can't you take a joke?"
Nope. I guess I can't.
I drive the boat back in silence to our boat lift. We unload in silence. I do not look at Mike. I go to my chair, grab my book, lay down. I know I am being sensitive, but his words keep replaying over in my mind, and I cannot find a good way to take his comments.
I know I need to let it go. I'm doing a yoga breath. I'm attempting to chill. And then Mike comes over. He's pissed. His body language is telling me this. I think... don't say it. Don't say anything. Just let me get over this.
"You're not really mad are you? Can't you take a joke?" But he says it in an I am so pissed way, not a nice, I'm sorry kind of way.
The tears start welling up. I open my mouth to try to explain why I am upset. I attempt it. I repeat his words and ask, how can I hear these as a joke? Tears are rolling down my face now.
He interrupts, "I'm so pissed off that you are mad about this. You are twisting my words around, and now I am mad." He might even have stomped his foot. (Or maybe I am just imagining that).
Great. Hold on here. I'm the mad one. I'm the hurt one. I'm the one who has the right to be pissed off, aren't I?
So how did I get to be the one in the wrong? And he's yelling at me on the dock. And it is the last day of our vacation.
What the heck?
I know that I am sensitive and that I get stressed when I drive the boat. But here's the thing. I am stressed when I am made fun of and criticized by our children who do not even drive the boat. And to top it all off, I am even more unsure of myself when Mike doesn't take my side.
He didn't do his thing that makes me feel better, that makes me feel less like an idiot for not sounding the airhorn when clearly he would have been capable of it. He was sarcastic. He made a joke of me.
He hurt my feelings.
I think maybe there is truth to the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus thing. How can two people see/hear/live the same conversation so differently?
All I needed was confirmation that it was a tough situation and that I handled it okay. Even a gentle, next-time-you might-try-blowing-the-air-horn comment would be better than the way this whole thing went down.
That's what I needed to feel from my boys. A little support. A little love. A little less sarcasm.
Guys are so weird. Admittedly girls are sometimes sensitive. I am sensitive. And a seed of doubt about my own ability, grows and grows with both sarcasm and criticism. Until I freak out. Hey, I am normally a strong woman. I mostly hold my own. But there are times when I lack confidence. And I am sensitive. And I freak out.
In Leanna's words:
Fights happen, misunderstandings happen, but being able to work through it is more important than what the incident is about. Its finding the middle ground, the common area, and getting there. It's moving forward, together. Forever and Always.
Later, it was all okay. Crisis passed. Common ground found.
Leanna, you are wise beyond your years. And I love you forever and always.
And Men are really from Mars.....
P.S. I did apologize to Mike for being so sensitive. I don't think he has apologized yet for getting pissed at me, for getting mad at him.