I recently had the pleasure of surprising my family in Southern California with the selfish desire to hold my newborn nephew. They were completely shocked to see me at their door and I have the footage to prove it. This was also my first time ever being away from my kids for more than 36 hours, which made the trip an even bigger deal for me. I had a lovely time. Sadly, however, I ended up bringing back a strained AC joint (or so the doctor has diagnosed it), a head cold, and apparently a bad attitude.
You may be thinking the bad attitude was due to my vacation coming to an end too soon. This was not the case. It was more due to the fact that I am a wuss when it comes to pain. I wish I could say I was hardcore like my mom was in this way. I would listen to her, time and time again, indicate her pain level as a “2” on the 1-10 pain scale. My Mom was a cancer patient on chemo, I’m pretty sure 2’s don’t exist. She was bad-ass that way. Me, not so much. I’ll say a 4 or 5 right off the bat because I want pain relief and a 2 isn’t going to make that happen. Being in pain tends to mess with my emotional state as much as my physical state. I have a hard time separating the two. If I’m in pain, my head gets stuck on repeat, “Pain. Pain. Still pain. Make the pain stop. Pain. Pain.” I’m not good at moving beyond it and, as a result, I get in a bad mood.
I didn’t recognize my poor attitude when I first returned home. I told my husband that my shoulder was hurt and that my head cold was bugging, but I had yet to realize that it was seeping into my emotional state. I heard myself saying a lot of negative things and bringing up the pain quite a bit, but I still was happy to be home and grateful for my trip and doing well enough despite the pain. It wasn’t until the first full day home, when I replayed all of my words and actions from the day prior, that I realized I was being a real downer, particularly towards my husband. I hardly showed any appreciation for all that he did in my absence and all that he did to make the trip possible in the first place. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate him and all he did to keep our home running, it was that I was so self-absorbed with my pain that it consumed me. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not excusing my behavior, because I already shared that No Excuses, No Explanations is the way to go. I just personally needed to figure out what would possess me to be so unappreciative and grumpy towards my husband and life in general.
Once I realized that my bad attitude did nothing for the world around me, I knew my husband deserved an apology. Is it just me or is it difficult to come forward and apologize? I find it’s even harder to do so when nobody has even expressed offense having been given. My husband hadn’t said, “Sara, you’re being ungrateful and grouchy.” He was moving forward and doing his thing. So, I had to voluntarily swallow my pride and fess up to screwing up and being a drag. Thankfully, I married a forgiving man.
My shoulder still hurts and I anticipate that it will continue to do so as it heals over the next week. However, I’m doing my best to prevent the pain from pulling my mood down now. You can’t have a good day with a bad attitude, and you can’t have a bad day with a good attitude. I think we all know this to be true already, I was just given a fresh reminder. Letting the pain get the best of my attitude, and my attitude get the best of my day, was just making matters worse. So the opposite has to be true. A good attitude can only beget a brighter day.
Perhaps this is why my second eldest never seems to have a bad day? She walks around with a positive attitude. So much so that she received a Certificate of Character at school for having a positive attitude. They announced the winners for each class at an assembly that my husband and I were able to attend. The teacher had informed us that she would be receiving the award, but she was unaware. When I heard her name be called for the award, I had to laugh, as I watched her skip happily up to the front. That’s the type of girl that deserves such an award. One that skips, and dances, and appreciates, and smiles, and laughs, and embraces the good all around. Sure, she gets mopey at times, particularly when she wants someone to play with her, but overall she’s a ray of sunshine. I could stand to learn a thing or two from her, as I strive to have a good attitude that brings forth a good day.
We reap what we sow, do we not?