405 days of loving more!
A few weeks ago during dinner time the doorbell rang. I had of course just settled everyone down to eat, I mean complain over what I served, and the last thing I needed was an interruption. I tried to ignore the ring but it was followed by a knock. Clearly it was important. I told the boys to stay put and eat dinner and that I would be right back.
I headed to the door and saw a gentleman standing outside with a “Cell Phone Company not to be named” badge. Okay I figured, pushing my fears of strangers aside, he’s legit. Maybe he is here to tell me they are finally fixing the signal in the neighborhood; now that would be awesome! I slowly opened the door, once again telling my boys to stay put and to come nowhere near the door. (I have a thing about strangers seeing that I have four young boys in my house.)
“Hi Ma’am, I work for “Cell Phone Company” and we are in the area trying to figure out why the signal is so poor.”
(Score! This was going to be good. Maybe I could finally send text messages without problems! Turns out, I got unnecessarily excited.)
“We have a scanner that shows that there is a signal interrupting our “Cell Phone Company” service. It is coming from your house. Have you installed anything recently?”
At that point I was weirded out. A scanner? He was scanning my neighborhood while driving a car with not one sign that read “Cell Phone Company”? Was this really legit? I hemmed and hawed before answering him, debating how much information to share. Something was just NOT feeling right.
“Well, no not really. We have a booster to help get a better signal but we have had that for ages. There was a power outage recently though and that could have effected everything.” I said calmly through the small crack of the opened door. There was no way I was opening the door any wider.
“Hmmm. Well, do you mind going up to your attic to take the booster down? If you turn it off we can tell if it is the problem. I can then walk around your property and see if the signal gets better.”
Right. It’s almost dark out and you want me to go in the attic, leave my 4 kids alone and unplug the booster while you walk around my property? AS IF.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do you have a business card?”
“Actually, I am out. I gave my last one to the customer a few blocks away.”
Make that a double AS IF I was going to do anything to help him solve a problem. Just then two of my boys scampered towards me to see what was taking so long and #4 started screaming, no doubt saying “get me out of this high chair now before I throw dinner everywhere!”
“You know,” I said, “I can’t take the booster down now. It’s dinnertime and I need to go. You can stand in front of my house and scan and then return with a business card and a properly marked vehicle and I will determine if I want you walking around my house.”
I shut the door and ordered the boys back to dinner. They weren’t listening. Then I saw this man who I deemed had questionable requests and questionable identification start walking towards my side gate. What the ????
“Boys. Sit down at the kitchen table now please.” I said calmly. They didn’t budge; this seemed to interesting to them.
“Mommy who is that? I don’t want to eat. Can we see what he’s doing?” They badgered me with questions and I tried to stay calm so they didn’t freak out. Honestly though, I felt anything but calm. I quickly called my husband but he didn’t answer his phone. Crap. What was I supposed to do?
I looked and the boys were headed towards the back door to watch the man. To me, again, legitimate or not, this was an emergency. This was a stranger that I did not trust.
“BOYS!” I yelled from across the room, “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. I DO NOT TRUST THAT MAN AND I WANT YOU TO COME BACK TO THE TABLE.”
Well, since they haven’t heard me yell in ages, they hauled a*s to the table. And they sat there obediently. My quiet and calmer (although lets be real, not entirely calm) voice returned.
Now that I had their attention I was able to say what I needed to. “Guys, I don’t know him. I need you to stay close to me and to listen to everything I say, okay? Remember, strangers are danger until mommy or daddy says its okay. I am sure it will be fine but right now, hang out with me and ignore him, okay?”
And well they did. And then the door creaked open and I peed my pants in fear. Oh yes, yes I did (how is that for honesty?)! Daddy then walked in earlier than expected, like say 2 hours early, and said,
“Hi guys, who is the man in the driveway?”
Seriously? I told him the situation and he took care of it while I started cleaning up food that had been flung to every corner of the kitchen in my absence. I then settled the boys into their night time TV show and spoke with my hubby.
“Oh babe. I was scared. It was so sketchy! And then I yelled at the boys because they wouldn’t stay away and I feel bad but I felt it was an Emergency.”
“No, it was. You were right to do that. It was sketchy and they needed to know strangers can be danger.”
“I know but still I hate yelling.”
“Sweetheart, in emergencies, when you yell TO your kids but not AT them, it’s all good.”
Not only was I thrilled my hubby was home early that night to make me feel safe, but I was also thrilled he said that. I needed the re-assurance that I handled the situation right. And what he said is exactly what I have felt from the start. In my eyes, there is a huge difference between yelling to my kids in an emergency and yelling at them.
Yelling at someone is mean; it’s outright hurtful, even in emergencies. In this case it would have been “BOYS! Don’t you ever listen?! What’s wrong with you? I said get over here now!”
Yelling to someone in emergency is simply loud; it’s an intentionally louder voice in the direction of someone who needs to hear the message.
And well, the night of the Verizon stranger, I yelled to my kiddos and it worked. And not only did it work but it reinforced to me why I am so glad I stopped yelling. Because that night, when I yelled not only did they listen, but they really heard me explain what I had to about strangers. Before when I yelled, they didn’t really hear me, they didn’t listen and they didn’t get the message. Why? Because my yelling was so expected; I did it with such frequency that they tuned me out. Mommy’s yelling again? “Did she say anything? All we hear is blah, blah, blah, blah!”
The night of the Verizon man I needed to be heard and definitely not tuned out, just like I would need to be in an emergency situation. Whether it be “EMERGECNY! STOP! CAR!” or “EMERGECNY. QUICK. #4’s HAVING A SEIZURE. GET MOMMY THE PHONE!” there will be times when I need to really raise my voice to be heard. And I am okay with that so long as it is only in emergencies…because if I do it too often, it will lose its most necessary power at the most important moments.
As to whether or not the man was legit, time will tell. He gave my husband an email address. My husband emailed him but never heard back. He has yet to return to the house so I am taking that as an okay sign that we are good. Phew.