Today had some energy in it that really left me shaken and upset. My heart rate late this morning probably matched me when I was out running sprints at the beach earlier, and I'm feeling a little shaky right now just typing this.
Funny thing is that I don't like conflict. It's bad enough when it's with someone I love or care for -- at least there the conflict has something else underneath it, the awareness of connection and caring to return to, usually. But conflict with people "out there" leaves me feeling rocked to the core, no matter what self-talk I do.
I heard yelling out front, "You'll hurt yourself! Get down!" And I wandered out to check. Things 2 and 3 were slithering out of a streetside tree, and I looked around. . . nobody. But they were looking up at the neighboring apartment house, and there was a face looking back at them.
A woman, upset, saying, "You could fall and get hurt and not be able to walk again!"
So I approached her and said, "It's okay with me if they climb the tree."
"It's not okay with me! They could get hurt!" She repeated some variations on this theme.
I agreed: "You're right. They could
get hurt. It's still okay with me."
okay with me! I'm calling the police."
"You may certainly do that. How about I call the city and see if there's any ordinances about tree climbing."
"I'm calling the police! They could get hurt!"
So I wandered back inside, after corralling Thing 3 and telling him he couldn't stand and argue with her (he's clearly going to be a lawyer or legislator or something argumentative -- an agitated street person, perhaps?). I called the non-emergency police line and asked my questions about laws pertaining to climbing city trees (and I don't know if this is
a city tree -- I think we're responsible for it, actually). I noticed my hands were shaking and my heart rate up. I took a slow, conscious breath every time the "on hold" beep sounded.
There aren't any laws or regulations or anything. They don't want the trees hurt, and they certainly don't want to be sued if the kids fall and crack their skulls. That makes sense. When they asked if I wanted an officer out, I thought of my friend who's a police officer here and thought I'd just talk to her if I wanted to. "No, thank you," I said, "not today."
Since we had friends over, our day went on. I set up toys, my friend and I chatted, the kids played the piano and herded the poultry around. Then there was a knock at the door.
Two uniformed of our city's finest stood there. Feeling incredibly lucky that we'd picked up and vacuumed, I asked them in, said, "You must have been contacted by our neighbor!" and we started. Before we really got going, his radio went off and he took off -- sirens, even, which means something in this sleepy urban village.
The other officer took a seat and we began. She hadn't spoken to the neighbor, so I recounted my side of the story and mentioned that I was doing well to keep the children off of the roof. She said that nothing I was telling her was outside of normal kid behavior, and mentioned that breaking an arm falling out of a tree might be a good lesson. I concurred. She said that the neighbor hadn't been happy after talking to the other officer, so that seemed positive. She made a face when the neighbor was identified as a renter, and us as homeowners. That made me feel funny. She agreed there was no law against them doing this, and then told me she was the school resource officer. When I'd identified the kids as homeschooled, she said that she gets called out whenever there are kids involved. She took my information and wanted to look at the children. They apparently passed the "not beaten, hale and hearty" test, because she just said hi to them and then laughed when they insisted she tell the neighbor that they could climb the trees.
I think the neighbor ended her call with, "And they're never in school!" Just what we need -- perhaps there's a CPS call in our future. Whoopie.
It took an hour, but the kids persuaded me to let them go out and climb again. No shouts from the neighbor this time. I did have them sweep up any leaves they knocked down, and reminded them that behaving nicely out front might go some way toward shaping this woman's view of them as homeschooled children.
Who am I trying to kid? They're going to keep on doing what they do, and I'm going to deal with it as well as I can and hopefully they won't walk the ridgepole any time soon.
As I think of the morning now, with slightly fewer sympathetic nervous system inputs, I am just. . . tired
about it. Maybe the poor neighbor knows someone who was greatly harmed in a fall from a tree -- it's pretty high, and it's over cement. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she thinks I'm a terrible parent, or they're wild, out-of-control children. I'm sorry we don't live on a wooded farm, with big animals for my children to work off some of their enormous energy on. I'm sorry that her caring about my children's welfare feels intrusive and annoying. I'm sort of weird still about the renter/owner split -- the landlord of that apartment building lives down the street. I look inside of me for graciousness, and there's some there, but it's in a pretty empty bucket today. There's been a lot of intense discussions in our homeschooling support group lately, and it feels like this is rasping away at the same sore spots. I can hold good intentions toward the woman who called the police, but I don't want to talk to her or take her peanut butter cookies, or thank her for her concern. I want to be left alone, mostly. I want to struggle with my children, to help urge them toward adulthood with support from others but less criticism. I want thicker skin and a steadier heart.
I guess I should probably run more.
In other news, even though I tried to spend $137 on more orange tweed plus enough white/gray tweed to make myself my own sweater, it was to no avail. Apparently there's a worldwide shortage of Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed (curses on a yarn company which ends lines of yarns only to bring out imposters in replacement. So there, Donegal Aran Tweed!). I'm wandering around Ravelry, cap in hand, Paypal at the ready, but so far have only scored one ball. Sigh. Now I have to figure out how to make certain that my money is refunded to Paypal.
Oh, and it apparently does
pay to be young and cute, instead of old and greying. Not that I'd know but Thing 2 was the only one to get an unofficial yarn giveaway yesterday at the A's Stitch'n'Pitch. Photos
apparently will be up later -- look for more of our little group.
The nice lady from Article Pract let her choose a skein from a basket and she got a sweet pink tencel/cotton blend and two nice Crystal Palace straight needles. I think I'm going to work her up a little neck warmer or something. It's that soft.
Maybe tomorrow will be a lighter day.
Labels: kids, knitting