I come from good, strong stubborn stock. From pretty much every side of my family. And as a gift, I have passed it along to 2.5 of my children. The jury is still out on the boy, but the girls are just about as stubborn as they come. For the most part, I am thankful for this streak within me. It’s the reason I have been successful in so many ways, and in my mind, stubbornness and persistence and perseverance are all better qualities than the alternative—being plain old vanilla. Sometimes, though, it gets the better of me and the consequences make me wish I was just a wee bit more agreeable.
Let’s take The Great Les Miserables Debacle of 2013, shall we?
I had tickets to take my firstborn to see this play. Honestly, after a really horrible re-entry after getting home from my trip—read: family drama, read: work drama, read: kid drama, read: health drama—it was the one thing that was really soldiering me forward. “Well, this sucks, but at least we are going to see Les Mis!” “Well, I have spent most of today crying, but Les Mis!” Emily was equally excited, and it is this thing that we share, this play. I took her to see the movie, only after properly schooling her in the recordings of several productions of it. We share a lot of the same opinions: it’s sort of weird that Fantine and Jean Valjean just die of “something” but no one ever tells us what they die of, Russell Crowe was a very poor choice, and “Eponine’s Errand” is our favorite part of the entire production, even though it’s basically just a 6-line song. “That bourgeois two-a-penny thing!
The play began at 7:30 and we were well on the road by 6. Plenty of time, which is good because I hate to be late. Maybe even enough time to stop for a much-needed caffeine pit stop, since the show was well over three-hours long.
And here’s where The Stubborn comes into play.
Him: You should use Waze. It’s the only app to use, really. Remember that time you were almost late for the first day of Emily’s shoot? (TRANSLATION: Something I didn’t want to be late for) And you called me in tears that the GPS took you on a road that I would have told you never to take during rush hour and that the GPS is kind of a dumb jackhole?
Me: Yes, but Waze drains the battery on my phone.
Him: But you have a plug in the car.
Me: But then it gets too complicated. I don’t really like complicated.
Him: Use Waze. TRUST ME.
I didn’t trust him, or Waze, of course.
And used my GPS, assuming that she’d guide us all the way to the Princess of Wales parking lot because THAT WAS HER JOB.
But she took me on the Allen.
Where we sat.
And I watched our arrival time change from 6:30 to 6:45 to 7:05 to 7:15 to 7:24 to 7:31.
Taking a highway that you can’t get off of once you pass the point of no return and realize that you’d made a terrible mistake is pretty crappy at the best of times.
But when you have somewhere important to be? When you have precious and excited cargo in the back? When you are uncomfortable with downtown parking?
Insert Total Ali Meltdown here.
In tears, we finally made it to the Princes of Wales parking garage. Well, *I* was in tears. And I was sweating too.
We found another one close by.
Finally we found a lot that only took coins and we had to dig beneath the seats of the car to find enough change to equal the $15 we had to pay for parking and then motor over to the theater, late.
We made it to our seats by the beginning of At The End of The Day, only tripping over seventeen people.
I felt like I had failed my kid. It was truly and completely my fault. Allowing the GPS to lead us into the colossal parking lot known as The Allen At Rush Hour. Allowing myself to completely lose my mind and my cool in front of her. Allowing us to be late for this very important date.
But, I looked over at her face during the performance.
And I felt her squeeze my arms during the teary bits. (It’s always Empty Chair at Empty Tables where the waterworks start uncontrollably dripping down our faces)
And I saw her smiles during intermission.
And I knew that she’d already forgiven me before we even got there.
So I’ve forgiven myself as Miss Emily is no worse for wear and we had a wonderful date night, just the two of us.
But I’ll never forgive my GPS.
I’m just stubborn that way, I guess.