This is the alternative

By Mir
September 28, 2004

That denial thing sure was fun while it lasted.

Did you know that it takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs? It’s true. I know this because I am brilliant. Or because it says so on my Sorrento Trivia Stringster, because there is very little food in the house and I’m eating string cheese. 3,000 cows dying for football? That’s just wrong. I protest! I shall go on an all-bacon diet in support of the bovine community. Because I care.

It’s raining, which is enough to put me in a funk under the best of circumstances. I should be delighted that it waited to start until after the kids were off, this morning, but instead I am obsessing over the fact that I sent them to school in their matching Veggie Tales fleece jackets instead of in their rain coats. Further proof of my substandard mothering skills, and all.

So I have spent my morning doing my hermit impression–which, really, is coming along quite nicely, but needs a bit more practice to achieve perfection–which means I have not gotten the necessary groceries or made any of those important networking contacts that everyone assures me will land me that great job. (Which great job is that? I have no idea. But I’m assured that I will know it when I see it. Personally I fear it’s on the other side of a bright white light, but that’s another story for another time.) Now I am steeling myself for an early pick-up of Miss Chickadee so that I can take her to the therapy appointment that I demanded when calling her therapist last Friday.

Me: We don’t have an appointment scheduled until the middle of October. We need one now. She’s not doing well, I gave it some “adjustment” time like you suggested, and she’s just getting worse.
Therapist: Hmmm. Well, what’s going on?
Me: Besides the usual? Besides the defiance, the screaming, the crying, and the lashing out? How about her daily trips to the nurse with her mystery ailments? How about the big hole she cut in her dress today for which I am seriously considering locking her in the basement??
Therapist: How about you bring her in on Tuesday?
Me: Fine. Good.
Therapist: How about you consider some Valium, also?
Me: No thanks, I’m kind of used to these feelings of rage and inadequacy, now.

Okay, those last two lines are fictitious. But as anyone with a young child in therapy knows, any child therapist worth her salt is as much in the business of teaching the parents how to more effectively parent the child with problems as she is in the business of treating the child. And on Friday, I was in serious need of intervention. It had been a long week.

The kids went to their dad’s for the weekend, Sunday night was uneventful, yesterday went off without a hitch. Now how long will it take me to learn that no good deed goes unpunished? This morning was one struggle after another because–oh, yeah–I had committed the cardinal sin of forgetting for one day that I have a difficult child. (Skip the hate mail, please. I love that little girl more than life itself, but no one is ever going to accuse her of being easy.) This morning was my refresher course. And so it came to pass that we parted on very poor terms this morning, which probably means she had a rotten day at school, which means that picking her up early is something I’m not exactly relishing. But the therapy part, that’s good, of course. If I don’t kill her before we get there.

I have grown to quite adore the other mom with whom we wait for the bus. Her daughters are delightful, and she herself is a take-no-nonsense yet kind woman. She witnessed this morning’s fiasco (which culminated in Chickadee–who was sullenly refusing to traverse the last 60 feet or so to the bus stop–being dragged by me over to the waiting bus and placed bodily inside, while she cried; yes I am the world’s meanest mother) without passing judgement and then comforted me after the bus pulled away. Meanwhile, Monkey skipped in little circles around me and patted her dog and little cartoon birds and butterflies danced around his happy-go-lucky head. The other mom gestured his way and said, “He’s really different than she is, huh?”

“Yep,” I agreed. “God decided to cut me a break the second time.” We laughed. She was sympathetic and encouraging. I felt a bit better.

Now, as I try to prepare myself to head out into the rain to face the child whom I cherish but rarely feel capable of handling, I wish things were different. I wish things were easier, for both of us. But–as a wise friend of mine is prone to saying–it is what it is. Yesterday was a gift and today it’s time to get back to reality. We’ll get where we need to be. And it could be a lot worse. I could be one of those 3,000 cows.


Things I Might Once Have Said


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