Thursday, February 26, 2015
Playing By A New Set Of Rules
My parents divorced when I was quite young, like 2 or 3 years old--is it strange that I honestly don't really know when? Anyway, as kids we spent most of the calendar year with my mom and grandparents in Nebraska (or Colorado after my mom remarried), and then each summer we went and stayed with my dad and step mom in Utah. One of the hardest and most confusing parts of this arrangement, especially as a kid, was the fact that we lived by one set of rules 9 months of the year, and then for the other 3 months we suddenly had a whole new set of rules. As a mother myself I get that the idea of 'rules' as these finite and fixed things does not always happen. Circumstances often cause shifts--great and small--in the rules and the ways they're applied. I get that. That's not what I'm talking about though. I'm talking about one set of expectations (or lack thereof) and then a completely different set of expectations placed upon you in the next household. No one ever sat down and talked this through with us or tried to understand this mental shift we experienced as young children a couple times a year. It was challenging and confusing and frustrating.
Fast forward to the present. Here we are living in Cincinnati and last week the girls had the entire week of off school for 'snow days.' Of course Monday was a holiday, but the rest of the week was all due to weather. B and I grew up in Utah and Colorado respectively so we are no strangers to snow. What has felt very strange to us is how little snow it takes here in Cincinnati to close the schools down. I don't think we've had more than 5-6 inches (MAX) on any given day, and would estimate closer to 4 inches and yet... school closed. They also close the schools for excessive cold as the temperatures dropped in the negative degrees Thursday morning. I told B, I don't mind being back in a colder climate and having snow, what I do mind is school closing every time there are a few inches on the ground. From our memories snow days happened maybe 1-2 times a year. Certainly not a whole week. And there was at least a foot of snow on the ground to justify canceling school. What adds to the confusion is that snow is a normal thing in Cincinnati. It's not like Texas or Florida where snow is an anomaly and they are completely unprepared. They have plows, I've seen them. It snows here! And yet it seems like the city shuts down with just a few inches. And part of me is feeling really frustrated and confused--Surely they're going to figure this out and realize that this much snow isn't cause for great alarm and school cancellations. Surely, this won't always be the way they handle a few inches of snow.
But what I'm realizing is that we're the ones that are going to have to change. Our perspective and our sense of normal is going to have to adjust. We're playing by new rules, rules that seem to go against logic but apparently they make sense to everyone else. And while it's much less emotionally taxing and frustrating than my first example, there's a relationship. Once again I feel like a fish out of water and wondering if anyone is open to the idea that the current way of doing things isn't the only way... in fact, maybe there is a better way? But like being a kid again, you realize theres not much you can do but fall in line.
Have you ever had to learn to play by a new set of rules? How do you morph into these new (and often confusing/frustrating) rules? Did you find yourself always pushing against the pricks and crying foul to anyone who would listen, or did you relent and give in to your new surroundings? Also, anyone else have the 2 household, 2 sets of rules problem as a kid? Was this issue ever addressed by the adults or did you, as the kid, just have to deal? Lastly, is there anyone in Cincinnati who feels the same way about the snow and school cancellations here? Is there something we're missing/not understanding?