Negotiating with Others

Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.” – Buddha

Yesterday as I was getting the kids in the car to drive them to school, Mr. D became very upset because I hadn’t picked the right socks. “The dinosaur socks upstairs” he insisted and I went back to scramble for the right ones but when I came back, they still weren’t the right pair.

Now we were going to make Miss O late for school if I continued to hunt for the mythical socks. Mythical in my mind at least because the problem wasn’t the socks, it was that he didn’t want to go to school yet. So I gave Mr. D a choice between monster socks and airplane socks. He chose airplane and when I got them out it started a whole new round of crying, “That’s helicopters.”

Oh, holy hell. It reminded me of a theory my brother passed on to me about relationships when we were in our twenties. Our beliefs about what’s important will always differ from those around us and that’s the topic of my Wise & Shine post this week: Navigating the Gray Area


41 thoughts on “Negotiating with Others

    1. I literally laughed out loud at “that’s helicopters”! I know neither one of you would appreciate it. Especially on days where “nothing is quite ‘right’.”

      When I’m not in the midst of plane and helicopter fiascos, I can appreciate Frankl’s wisdom in “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

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  1. Love it Wynne. I’m with Mr. D today, struggling between monster socks and airplane socks. Get that wrong and my whole day can go to shreds. Ha, ha. Love that you’re giving him a chance to feel. I’ve made that mistake too many times to count and it’s usually gotten me into a ton of trouble. Love the relationship perspective too. You are so right that marriage is in fact one big gray area. Ha, ha, manage those gray areas well and you increase your chances of longevity. Miss that and you could be in trouble. Ha, ha. Thanks for the perspective.

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    1. Oh, I’m laughing, Brian. Some days we really are on the verge of getting it wrong and going to shreds, aren’t we?

      And you’re right about managing those gray areas well for a long marriage. I suspect that’s the key to your great success!!

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      1. “Great success.” Oh pulllleaaase, Wynne, there are days I’m hanging on by a thread. I’m just lucky I married a Saint and there are days where she gives real consideration to handing in her wings. (Yea, this is my lame attempt at getting on her good side. I’ll let you know if it works.) Ha, ha. Btw, Thank you. Nice of you to say.

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  2. This is such a precious story. We had dinner last night at my daughters house across the street. The kids where drawing pictures at the island with colorful markers. I was sipping wine from a safe distance. When suddenly Ms. S marks Ms. A’s sweater with a black marker. She was put in time out. After a while I went in to see how she was doing. She had tucked herself in bed. I asked her why she marked her sisters sweater and she said because she was drawing her picture. The one in her head. The one she couldn’t replicate like Ms. A, being 3 years younger. So we decided to ask Ms. A if she would gift the picture to Ms. S because it was her vision. Sister graciously did. The mark came out. All is well. You have to love what kids teach us. Hugs, C

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  3. Love it. Mr. D sounds so much like one of my grandsons when he was that age (and I hate to say it, but also when he was older!). They get a thought in their head and getting them to move on from it or put it in perspective is a challenge for the gods. “Oh holy hell” was the most appropriate response! 😏

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    1. A challenge for the gods – well put, Jane! It’s amazing how little people can really have some big opinions, isn’t it? The words in my head might have been just a little bit saltier than “Oh holy hell” but I thought I’d publish the tame version. 🙂

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  4. You’re in big trouble when you confuse airplanes with helicopters, Wynne!

    I love this part of your post: “My years as a parent of young kids have taught me that it goes better when I believe them when they tell me how they feel. In that way, we don’t end up debating the truth of the feeling but instead can move to finding out what to do about it.”

    Very wise and pragmatic. Your recreation of your brothers diagram was interesting especially in light of how his relationship worked out. Boundaries indeed are so important.

    Happy Thursday! Hope the socks worked out better today?

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    1. Thanks, Ab. You are so right about my helicopter snafu! 🙂

      We get to work with big emotions and learn a lot from them a lot in these years, don’t we, Ab? I’m glad that I’ve learned something from them.

      Socks are a lot better today. Because as you well know, it’s never really about the socks…. Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s surely a sign of great intelligence that Mr. D is so precise, right? 😊 At least, that’s what I used to console myself with, when Garrett did similar things. In any case, your story gave me a smile, Wynne. And I hope your morning goes more smoothly today!

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    1. Thanks, Kendra! What a good way to look at it. Okay – I’m going to take a lot of comfort in that because clearly Garrett turned out great. And yes, when I made it through the moment, the helicopters comment made me smile too! 🙂 ❤

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  6. I want to be so aware of my socks that I can name them by what’s on them. I’m sorry his socks weren’t the right ones, but I’m gonna guess it’s water under the bridge by now. Kids move on quickly!


      1. I find most of parenting amusing — even if I need a few minutes before I appreciate it. 🙂 So I will never take offense if people are laughing alongside me!


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