A very wise person told me one time, "You don't have to attend every power struggle you are invited to."
Wow. I thought that was brilliant. Even though I'm sure I already knew that somewhere in my head, it was very liberating to actually hear it spoken. And believe me, I have attended my share of power struggles. You win some and lose some, but it is always very hard work.
Last Saturday, I was invited to one and although I tried not to attend, eventually I did walk through that door.
The party started when my granddaughter and her girlfriend purchased 2 boxes of the ready-to-bake Disney cookies. One box with a 'Cars' imprint in the middle and the other had a Minnie Mouse imprint. They burned at least one, maybe two pans of cookies. I was asleep when they were baking them, but the burned smell manages to permeate the entire house. I also saw the cremated remains in the wastebasket when I dumped the coffee grounds in the trash in the morning.
(Note: If you ever read that my house has burned to the ground with me in it, you will know that I ignored the smell of smoke. My granddaughter burns enough stuff that I don't even get out of bed to check anymore.)
When Kalisha got up in the morning and saw those Disney boxes and cookies, she was immediately going to the store to purchase some of the exact same boxes of cookies. *Here is where I should have ignored the invitation, but of course, I didn't. I told her she could eat one of the cookies the girls had left on the table, but she didn't need to buy more.
That wasn't good enough. She wanted those boxes of cookies to bake. I tried reasoning: too expensive, too many calories, I wasn't going to the store, etc. I believe it was at this point she said she was going to eat the burned ones that were in the trash.
Now I wasn't just attending the party, I had my ball gown and slippers on and we were going to dance for a while.
I believe I mentioned the fact that they were covered in coffee grounds and God only knew what else. She stated she didn't care and was going to eat them. I also quoted a few bible verses about envy. That certainly didn't make any difference.
Kalisha doesn't get this far off track very often anymore, but when she does, it usually has something to do with food of some kind. When her friend calls and says she just bought a Peppermint Shake, Kalisha wants one too, usually immediately. Or if one of the grandkids tell her they just had a Big Mac from McDonalds, she almost can't stand it.
It isn't all kinds of food; if she knows you went to Applebee's (and she likes Applebee's) she might say she would like to go sometime, but it doesn't become a consuming desire. It seems to be just her very favorite foods that affect her like this and send her into a tailspin. I should mention that she never screams or yells or has a tantrum. She just keeps repeating what she is going to do and nothing I say will budge her or change her mind.
After telling me she was going to dig them out of the trash, I took her phone and sent her to her room. It is the equivalent of the scene in the movies where someone slaps the hysterical person. She stayed in her room for a few hours, had a nap and came down saying she was sorry. She still wanted to buy the cookies sometime, but she wasn't "locked in" like she had been.
In retrospect, I should have refused the invitation by telling her to dust the coffee grounds off the burned cookies and to go right ahead and eat them. (I already knew there was nothing really gross on top of them.)
Ah, yes, the value of hindsight; it's a wonderful thing.