Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Very Bad Day Saved By Very Good Friends

IMG_3781July 24 – Well, if I thought things were improving with Jordan, I was wrong.

As planned, since Jordan has never seen snow, our morning was set to begin with a 9 a.m. ride up with Jake up the Gondola to the top of Jackson Hole, were there was breakfast of waffles and nutella (Jordan’s proclaimed favorite food), to be followed by frolicking in the snow. Ellery and Jake and I enjoyed all these things amongst some amazing views (which included watching snowboarders make tracks in late July!)

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Jordan did not, however, enjoy any of these things. As Ellery and I had come to learn, Jordan is not a morning person, but her mood this morning was as bad as it had ever been. She did not enjoy the ride up the gondola, she did not like the waffle (and yelled at Ellery when Ellery asked how it was), and refused to partake in any reindeer games. It was now clear that, under any circumstances, Jordan was not having fun – whether it was because she is 16, because she was homesick, because she didn’t enjoy our company, or whatever it was, it wasn’t going away. And things did not get any better when I told her that I would tolerate many things, but being rude and mean to Ellery and Jake was not one of them.

IMG_3786This resulted in a crying fit of significant proportions, a lengthy conversation with someone about how I was treating her like a 12 year old (earth to Jordan – even adults like snowball fights in July) purposely made within my earshot, and, unfortunately, a 9 hour drive through beautiful Shoshone National Forest, with amazing wide open green pastures, and the Wind River Canyon, with striking red rocks, in complete, steaming, angry silence. And then another 7 hours of the most boring drive I have ever made (really, worse than Kansas or Texas). IMG_3787 As much as I kept telling myself that this was merely moody teenager behavior, or that it would pass, I was pretty overwhelmed by her anger, even when she decided not to participate in the ritual cross-the-state-border photo (a ritual that she, herself, initiated).

IMG-20110724-00118Fortunately, relief was waiting in Denver, in two magnificent forms – the Lynch/Hyman family from Texas and David Picker and his girlfriend Anne. So, after checking into a beautifully large room at the Westin, Ellery and I (without Jordan, who chose to stay in the hotel and have room service – a choice I did not dissuade her from) met up with Leslie, Phil, Rachel and Gabe for a very nice and enjoyable dinner at a restaurant on the 16th Street mall. Then, while the kids went up to Phil and Leslie’s hotel room, we met up with David and Anne for drinks, where I promptly cried my eyes out over the stress of the day, which they allowed me to do, along with offering me various theories of what was going on, all aimed at making me feel better. And when I said, “Really, I’d love to just put her on a plane home, but I don’t want it to end this way,” Phil said, quite wisely, “Why don’t you just offer her the opportunity to go home?” I thought about it, and realized that despite the fact that I had wanted to see this trip through, really, that was the simplest solution. If she said yes, it would make us all happier; if she said no, it meant that she was committed to the trip and, hopefully, would be happier about it.

So, we came back to the room and I asked her. “Do you want to send me home?” she asked. “No, I don’t, but I’m giving you the opportunity to go home.” “Well, if you don’t want to send me home, then don’t.” OK, I thought, she wants to stay. It isn’t as bad for her as it seems. But just a few minutes later, she piped up, “There’s a 10:30 flight but I can’t change my ticket.” So, that was the answer – and it was OK. She was homesick, she wasn’t enjoying herself, she definitely wanted to go home. I bought the plane ticket.

Throughout the night, I thought maybe she would change her mind in the a.m., but that would be OK too.