Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sometimes I write things and hesitate to share.
What will people think?  How am I portraying myself to fellow mom's?
Should I care?  And anyways, kinda' too late, huh?:)
(Just had to throw that out there.  These thoughts DO go through my head.)
I just can't worry about that.  Just have to do it.  That's what blogs are for.
To share, unleash.  To work it out.
So, I continue. 
It's UNCANNY how in motherhood,
pretty turns to ugly,
joy turns to sorrow,
clean turns to messy,
relaxed turns to tense, 
faith turns to doubt.
love, to hate.
Just like that.  On a dime.
Keeps ya' on your un-manicured toes, doesn't it?
But what is it?  What IS it about those magical days, where the minutes seem strung together in your favor?
The universe supporting your every move, with luck, beauty, kindness and utter peace,
only to end in rage-filled fits?  
Really?  REALLY?
I was able to (luxuriously) sneak away for a much-needed haircut yesterday,
which, in the day of the life of a mom, can be as magical as having a day off from work, taking a mini-vacay, finding $5 in your pocket.  WOO HOO!
Ok.  Maybe not so exciting.  But we take what we can get sometimes and run with it. 
A little moment in time to be re-invented, renewed, rejuvenated, 
our worries and cares of the moment, falling to the floor with the simple clippings of some dried out hair, laying heavily at our feet.
Leaving fresh strands to breathe again.
A trip to your favorite stylist, even if the beauty and freshness only lasts the car ride home,
And maybe I stopped for a latte and a boxed lunch, 
enjoyed a quiet car,
only to arrive to a sleeping 3-year-old (who never naps,)
adding more peace and solace to this already amazing day.  
My mind in such good spirits and thankfulness for my occasions to escape,
I was feeling EXTRA generous.
Thinking, "Ah!  What a great day!  I'm going to let the kids play outside at the park a little longer after school!  (Where Jack gets drilled in the face at point blank range with a football.  Leaving it's laces tattooed in to his cheek.  Awesome.)  
He recovers quickly, after a few tears and witnessing the revenge his buddy takes out on his attacker, by doing the same.  Nice.  
He gigges through tears as we drive away.
 "Jack!  That is NOT ok!  NOR funny!  We don't take revenge!"  (Although, we sometimes want to.)
But, "I'll take the kids out to dinner after gymnastics!  Kids?  I'll pick you up something special at the grocery store!  It's such a LOVELY day!"  (Pollyanna's lovin' me.) 
Everyone FEEDING off my joy and happiness.  
We get to gymnastics (which is a drive, by the way,)
Grace is ready to go, excited to see her friends, tumble, play, etc.
She says she needs to get ponytail holders out of the car to put her hair back.
"Sure.  I'm taking your brother to the bathroom.  Meet us back inside."
We come out to her class lining up at the door.  No Grace.
"Where's your sister?"  " I have no idea.  I think she's still in the car."
So I go out the car.  And she's sobbing in the backseat.
She came back in and couldn't find me and panicked and thought I left.
So ran back to the car to sob.
"Ohhhh. . .poor thing!  She was scared!"
(Never mind that she was sitting in the parked car.  Wouldn't I have taken that?) 
But whatever.
Here's the thing.
Grace has a point of no return and I'm not sure how to handle it.
OF COURSE, I responded with, "Oh Grace!  I was just inside with Charlie!  I told you that!  It's ok, honey.  I'm sorry.  Ok.  Let's wipe those tears and go inside and have some fun.  Your friends are waiting for you!:)  
Nope.  Grace doesn't work like that. 
Doesn't matter how consoling, loving and nurturing you are.
How trivial the situation might've been, in MY mind.
Five-year-old little girls' minds, MY five-year-olds mind, doesn't roll like that.
Once the tears have started to flow and she feels she's been wronged in some way,
the door is closed.
No confiding.  No letting in.  No consoling being had.  Even threatening to never do gymnastics again isn't enough.  And of course I did.
Now, I don't know how you are, but I'm a rager.
That evil little dude that sits on the 'wrong' shoulder is poking the vein popping out of my neck, in these moments. . ."Just hit that window.  Break it.  With your fist.  Just throw that toy.  Kick that tire.  Just. . .react!"
In my mind, I throw my hands up to the heavens, like a passionate coach to a shitty ref for a bad call.
Getting tossed out of the game for my inappropriate conduct, a la Bobby Knight, only instead of a chair, I threw a Curious George board book.
Yeah.  I'm a bad ass.
And a year or so ago, before yoga, meditation, breathing, I just might have.
Or at the VERY least, yelled in an almost inaudible high-pitched something (you know the one, that only dogs can hear,) about how LOONEY angry I am!
And I have my days.
After the lovely day today, I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Why does the day have to end like that?
I just want to blow a gasket.  I DO want to teach a lesson.  I DID want to drag her in there and make her sit in class, even if she was sobbing. (That was part of it. . .she was crying so hard, she didn't want people to see her.)
But after all that accommodating, all that we do to make their lives better, easier, more fun,
well, sometimes, they just piss on it.
So I quietly stewed and fumed in the front seat. 
Second guessing every reaction, every remark, reminding her this was her choice.
Trying to make her feel guilty.
Reminding her that her dad works his tail off so you have these opportunities of gymnastics, ballet, t-ball, whatever you want to try.
And when you behave this way, it's SO disappointing.
Is this fair to a five-year-old?  I'm not sure.
If WE have our moments, why can't they?
If we can let something small carry us away sometimes, why can't they?
But these moments, seem to CONVENIENTLY fall on the days where I've done something wonderful for myself.  As if in cosmic payback form, to say, "Suck it.  You had your break.  Welcome back to reality, lady."
Like when you go on a three-day vacation with your husband, only to spend the next SEVEN, re-entering.
It's a little bit bull shit.
AND in good mommy form (despite the rage building, fixin' to rip open my chest like the Hulk, to destroy everything in sight,)
I step back.
"Ok.  Liz.  What's really going on here?  Is she/he tired?  Is she/he coming down with something?  Could I have been more loving and gentle?  (Always.)  Or is she just the devil reincarnated in a sweet little leotard-wearing-body?  Where, in her LAST brutal time out, she punctured a hole in her new and lovely Renewal By Andersen window screen, to shove shoeless barbies, pencils, hair binders and whatever else she could find, down to the awning below.
Yes.  All of those things.
And did she come home (banned to her room, because I didn't know how else to react,) to fall asleep for TWO hours?  (4:30-6:30pm.  Which, we all know, is NOT good.  Especially when bedtime is at 7:30pm.)  Yay.  Awesome.
What's even more hilarious, in these moments, is that, I follow suit.
I rage.  I'm inconsolable.  I take it out on everyone else.  With stomping.  Silence.  Huffs and puffs.  ZERO patience for any slip up from the other two.
And for ME, too, there's no turning back.
(Mmm!  Wonder where she gets the stubborness and rage!)
So, it's my lesson to be learned too.
There are so many ridiculously hard lessons to be learned in parenting.  
From the pain of the unexpected.  To the disappointment and annoyance of situations, 
like the above.
And to be in these situations.  "Ok.  Do I discipline hard core?  Do I do nothing?"
A local mom just lost her sweet, precious nine-year-old to leukemia.  
My heart aches and breaks for them.
What if that was us?  What if this was the last day I had with my kids?
Do I go balls to the wall teaching them or do I let it go?
Sometimes the answer is easy, sometimes, not.
You get better at rolling with it and let the anger steep less and less each time.
But DEAR.GOD.  It's those moments where I need to walk away.  FAR.AWAY.
SO frustrated in my children, but frustrated with myself.  How do I do this?
How do I handle this one?
Yes, tomorrow, it'll be a thing of the past, but for today, a teachable moment 
that may or may not affect how my daughter handles fear.
How she copes.  How she either collapses to a puddle or pulls herself together and moves forward.
Is this a little heavy for a Tuesday?  For a tired five-year-old?
Sure is.
Like my self-appointed favorite friend and mom/wife guru reminds me in my head daily,
"You need to feel GOOD about your choices each day.  That you've been true to who you are.  No matter what that means."  
In more words or less, that we need to be GOOD and be at peace with the way we live with ourselves, our children, our husbands. . .
We have our days, when our choices, decisions, reactions are SO FAR less than stellar. 
And a husband-less night that was looking so promising, 
kinda' went down the shitter.
Doesn't help that we're on day 3 of no electronics.
(Don't ask.  My, yet again, feeble intent to enrich the lives of my wholesome bunch.)
AND doesn't help, that i'm in the land of PMS.
That I have zits on my chin the size and depth of the Grand Canyon.  

On the quiet ride home, I thought, "No one's walkin' out of this in one piece.
Mom's 'bout to go postal."
Can we be redeemed, called back from this dark and nasty place? 
With the click of a switch.  A little adjustment of attitudes (mine.)
A little breathing.  A little not-passing of judgement.
Maybe a little note from my wounded daughter as my heavy fingers punched the keys ferociously, to vent my feelings and look for justification.
Ugh.  Shoulders slump.  Throat closing.  Tears rising.
Crap.  She wins.
Answer received.
Cut some slack.  Be kind.  Be understanding.  Be.Loving.
While I try to distract her from the fun being had outside amongst the neighbor kids,
(while she's being punished inside for the 'choices' she made, for the tantrum she threw,
we talked it out over a game of memory,
Only to be interrupted to tend to an eye gouge from a stick in the retina,
(It's just not Jack's night,)
in the meantime, losing my hand (literally) to a naked 3-year-old. 
Who just minutes before, was clothed.
 Naked memory.
(Yeah.  Don't even know where to go with that one.)
I give up.
 No.  I give up.  Really?  Aren't we past this?
Jack replies, in his weepiest, saddest, most melo-dramatic voice he can muster. . .
"I'll take some dry cheerios.  To go with this disappointing evening."
Wow.  Drama.   
So, we take what we can.  From these not-so-pretty moments.
And make do.
And find gratitude in between, for another day.


Kelly Zender said...

OMG, Liz...this is my life! Your post brought me tears and I sit in the same frustrated mother situation time and time again. Why can I hold it together and keep my cool when I work and teach everyone else's children and the nonpatient, frustrated, nothing seems right person in me comes out with my own kids?? That doesn't seem right, it never has! I face more husband-less nights than nights when he is home and it is so much to take on. There are times I find myself wishing for the night to be over so I can hear myself think, I can sit down and do something for me, or I can simply get some sleep. People tell me it is ok to take time for myself and to do what I need to to take care of myself, but that leaves me feeling selfish and guilty. Sometimes I just don't know what to do, where to turn, or how to be the best mom for my three kids.

Wow...your post left me with some serious thoughts...thank you!
P.S. It better not have been Charlie who left Jack with the indent of the football on his face...

Sherry said...

My eyes grow wide and I often giggle while reading but it's only because I'm shocked and comforted that Im not alone in my constant quest to be the mom I want to be in my mind vs. the one my kids get to deal with daily. Thanks for always keepin it real. It's what I love about your blog, that and you're local!

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