Birthday parties scare the hell out of me, because I know, deep down inside, despite having identified, finally, so much love and beauty in the world, that I am still not as light as air or sea foam or Styrofoam or even Wd40.
It’s Ok. No one’s perfect.
I still keep two bottles of frozen milk in my freezer behind the frozen waffles and chicken nuggets, despite my daughter being weaned almost two years ago. I know they’re expired and should be tossed, but I can’t. I worked so hard for them. I don’t care if it’s weird.
I am having a fight-or-flight reaction to my laundry.
It shouldn’t surprise me, really. I’m angry a lot these days. I’m angry about the laundry, sure; there’s no better symbol of the Sisyphean futility of things than the laundry, so smug that it continues to accumulate around me even as I surrender myself to doing it. I find myself wistfully nostalgic for my college years, when I could just go buy new underwear on my way out to the bars rather than waste an evening in the laundromat, when the dryer buzzes
Often, parents are expected to be superheroes. They aren’t supposed to make mistakes. They are supposed to be perfect, solid role models, and predictors of the future. There is no room for error.
My mom handles Christmas like a boss. From the gifts to the food to the music selection, we all know to just shut up, stand back, and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Christmas is Mom’s special holiday because hers kind of sucked as a kid. She has dedicated her adulthood to ensuring no one in her life experiences anything like them.
I have memories of glittering Christmases and not being able to pay my field trip fee or cobbling together dinners from the back of the pantry until Dad got paid. We rarely travelled or went anywhere that cost money. My childhood was filled with small experiences and many things. It was also tinged with the worry familiar to anyone who stretches the dollars in the bank a little too far, too often.
The ghosts of Christmases past haunt my mother and me in very different ways.
When will I actually feel maternal, I silently wonder. I am certain I felt it for the ten minutes when he was placed on me. I’m almost sure of it. I remember thinking I created this. Look he’s so perfect. Blue, but so very perfect. This is my baby. Look at his eyes. Those toes, fingers. And after that everything is a blur.
I ran around in circles until I spied an unsuspecting elderly woman basking in the sun. As I approached her, my sobs began anew and I tried to confess what had just transpired: I had nearly killed my baby! This kind stranger hugged me and patted me on the back whispering the universal words of comfort, “There, there, now.”
I can honestly say, I’m not a great mom. I’m not a bad one either. I’m an adequate mom whose trying hard to be a better one. And that’s ok.
This time around my mom can sit back with all the other traumatized parents, simply enjoying the fact that it isn’t her, and probably giggle a bit that I’m finally getting my just deserts.
I know yelling is bad, yet every day I have a difficult time controlling my temper and muzzling my dragon mouth.