This past April, my family and I spent a wonderful 10 days in jolly old England with dear friends.
What an eye-opener.
And I'm not talking about the country or our friends.
You see...during a particularly tense search for adequate lunchtime fare, my kids unceremoniously announced that I was a "control freak."
I felt like I had been sucker-punched and was now experiencing my very own intervention/inquisition right there in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
I stammered and squirmed as I defended and rationalized the apparently "freak-like" behavior leading up to our gastronomic standoff.
"Girls," I reasoned, "How can you want McDonald's when we can experience British food?" (I know how that may sound upon reflection...but stay with me here)
"It's not just about where we eat, Mom," they countered.
My mind quickly inventoried the past 18 years of their lives as my breath caught in my throat.
Could it be true?
At this moment, my husband stepped in and offered the following words of conciliation:
"It's not that your Mother is controlling. It is more that she anticipates everyone's needs and then gently tells you what you want."
As the rounds of guffaws at my expense subsided, I sobered to the humbling realization that perhaps my actions had and have been controlling at times ...no matter how good-naturedly they were intended and delivered.
Unknowingly I had created a pattern of behavior within my family; a pattern that began out of necessity when my children were helpless but continued out of habit.
For the remainder of the trip, I began to observe myself and shift my behavior accordingly (more on this in another post).
Was I perfect? Nope.
Am I perfect now? Nope.
Am I becoming more aware and challenging my old pattern?
Yup...one day at a time.
P.S. if you're wondering where we ate that day, we settled on a British pub. I had the traditional British fish and chips - the kids and my husband had a hamburger with French fries.
I wisely let it go.
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