We went on a business/pleasure trip to Houston this weekend, and that involved Travel!Nolan, who is not the easiest to deal with. Travel!Nolan only presents himself when we're on a plane, train or automobile, though. The rest of the time he's Normal!Nolan, which isn't as good as Vacation!Nolan, but you can't have everything. :)
Anyhow, it was a lovely weekend. I did some shopping at the Galleria, and went in all the high end shops, intending to buy nothing at all. Friday was completely dead, so I didn't feel bad at all that I tried on a $7,400 Valentino dress or a $16,500 necklace at Tiffany's. I think the salespeople were glad to have something to do.
It was a lovely weekend; we took the boys, and they went ice skating and played at the arcade and ate at the Cheesecake Factory and played with new (and old) friends. They also missed school on Friday, so they call that a win. I started running a fever on Sunday afternoon, and so this morning I'm sitting on the sofa with a box of Kleenex watching trash TV. Don't judge.
But something happened on the last leg of the trip home that completely floored me. I know that some people treat each other badly, but most of the time that happens in private. Or, at least in my experience, people put on their best faces for public display. Unfortunately, on the plane from Dallas to Amarillo, the family that sat behind us did not.
There was a mother father and a child. They were Persian, I would guess. Attractive and well off. The father wore what looked like a bespoke suit (his expression was tortured) and the Mother a very expensive coat and shoes (She looked very, very sad). The "child," who was a very well dressed woman in her early twenties, boarded the plane bitching. She led their little three person processional, and the first thing she did was complain about (her) choice of seat. Her whiny, petulant, entitled voice rang out in the cabin. "I don't like to feel the vibration of the engine, Dad. I ONLY WANTED TO CHANGE SEATS. I don't think that's too much to ask."
Her father had just put 500 heavy things in the overhead bin. At 9:00 at night, he probably didn't feel like dragging it all out, moving down 10 rows and seating themselves again. I don't blame him.
They began a heated conversation in a different language. Farsi? I have no idea. But the funny thing is, tone of voice is the same in every language. The mother was being kind and patient (if upset and teary), the father was being firm, and the child was being the biggest brat of all time. The parents continued to speak in their language, but the daughter switched to English (to irritate her parents, I'm guessing).
"I don't see why it would ruin everyone's weekend if I left early. All I wanted to do was change my ticket. I don't know why you couldn't do this one thing, Dad. You're AWFUL."
"Tell me what I did wrong. Name one thing I did to deserve you."
"Shut up, shut up, God, I hate you both."
(When the father probably threatened to spank her,) "If you even think about touching me Dad, I'll call the cops." (Should have done that when she was little, Dad. Spare the rod...)
"You're both the bane of my existence. I hate you so much. You're the absolute worst to travel with."
"I don't care about either of you. I hate you."
It went on. Quite frankly, it was all Nolan and I could do not to stand up, turn around and tell that "child" that respect for her parents, even if she feels they're being unreasonable, is paramount. I would have never, even when I was fifteen and thought my parents were stupid (they were not), have treated them like that. You just DO NOT TALK TO PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU IN SUCH A WAY. It hurt my heart, and even though I don't know the particulars of this family's problems, it's clear that these parents spoiled this girl and led her to believe that she was entitled to treat them in such a way.
It makes me feel as if how strict we are on the boys is really for the best. That not allowing them to tell me, "No," even from an early age, was the right thing to do. That not allowing eye-rolling and deep sighs in my presence is for the best, and that maintaining a pleasant tone of voice, even when angry, is important. If my boys ever spoke to me in the way that girl treated her mom and dad, I'd feel that I failed completely as a parent. So I'm not giving them everything they want (phones, computers, video games), I'm going to be strict and continue to have high expectations for academics and behavior, and will continue to keep tabs on where they go and what they do and with whom they spend time... it's going to keep happening.
Because that's the kind of parent I am.