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What I Meant to Say

“You’re in my way. Move. Over there.”

“If you want to help, help. Don’t just stand there.”

“No, no, no, no. No you may not. Stop. Now.”

“Okay, if you boys start playing with the scarves again, I’m taking them away and you will not get them back for the rest of the winter.”

This is what Mama Crankypants Heiselt sounded like at the laundromat today. (That would be me.)

It all sounded so much differently in my head. It sounded a lot more like this:

“Excuse me, please. Can you stand over here while I sort the clothes?”

“If you’re standing right there anyway, do you think you could put these clothes in that washer?”

“Please don’t do that right now. It’s not appropriate.”

“Oh! So much fun to pull each other around by your scarves! But look, they’re getting stretched and you’re bumping into people, so let’s save that game for when we’re at home. Okay?”

They were confused. Maybe even hurt. I took a deep breath.

“Boys,” I said. “It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just a little cranky today. I think it’s because I’m tired. Sorry about that.”

Suddenly, the pressure was off. The jig was up. I had no more secrets.

And suddenly, they were no longer in my way. They were listening. Their games were fun again.

Just like that.


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