You’d think that with the extra hour of sleep we all supposedly got, that yesterday would’ve gone completely smoothly. Of course, I let the kids stay up later, because the only thing that sucks harder than being woken up at 6 on a weekend morning is being woken up at 5 on a weekend morning. (And you know, Monkey would totally be the rat who keeps pressing the bar for a food pellet, getting shocked, and pressing the bar again, totally bewildered by each successive shock. He never understands why we are not overjoyed to see him hours before dawn. “I had a good sleep!” he declares, jumping on the bed. “I am ready to get up now!” And then when I snap at him—in my defense, maybe on the second or third trip into our room when the clock hasn’t even made it to 7 yet—he is horribly wounded.)
Anyway, I had high hopes for yesterday, but I am a fool.
After the shuffle and bustle to get everyone ready for church, I finally went and got ready, myself. I spent my time in the shower and then drying my hair and such developing a growing dread of life in general, which is something I do every now and then just to make sure that I haven’t accidentally grown too comfortable with myself. I missed choir rehearsal this week and I had NO idea what we were singing. There was to be a picnic after church for which I’d made cookies and the cookies were ugly. My hair was being stupid. My clothes didn’t fit right. THE SKY WAS THE WRONG SHADE OF BLUE. I’m just sayin’.
By the time I came out and it was nearly time to go, I wasn’t in the best mood, is my point.
Now, here’s the thing: I will do my best to contain such a mood. I recognize that it’s ridiculous, and I try to keep it under wraps. So I spent about thirty seconds telling Otto how I was being stupid, and then I was willing to MOVE ON, but it was not to be.
First of all, I’d asked the kids to strip their beds and bring their sheets downstairs. This, of course, was a MONUMENTAL imposition, and COMPLICATED, as well, because they’ve never actually touched bed sheets or followed directions of any sort, before. By the THIRD time I had to send them back upstairs to complete this HORRIBLY DEMEANING task, I was losing my temper. Monkey came downstairs with a top sheet, blanket, quilt, and pillow. But no bottom sheet. And then cried and told me not to yell at him. Chickadee came downstairs with just a top sheet and pillowcases.
Yes, it’s true. I never actually wash the fitted sheets. I mean, why would I want to clean the sheet that makes the MOST contact with your body? I’m sure I wouldn’t.
Anyway, by the time I got everyone’s sheets into the washer (so! complicated!), no one was very happy. And then I noticed that Chickadee had a stain on the back of her skirt. I asked her to wear a different skirt. BECAUSE I WAS HOPING TO RUIN HER LIFE.
The next bit was a blur. There was some flailing around on the floor and screaming and then Monkey wailing “What did I do??” and me looking around and declaring that FINE, WE WILL JUST ALL STAY HOME. NO GOD FOR US.
Otto was kind enough to shoo me along to church, and stay home with the wild heathens. So I drove off to a chorus of wailing and felt really ready to go have a peaceful spiritual experience!
The problem here (well, okay, ONE of the problems here) was that there was supposed to be a picnic after church. And clearly if the children couldn’t behave and get it together such that they could attend church, they shouldn’t be allowed to go to a picnic. Right? Right.
Except that I made cookies for the picnic. And people kept asking if I was going to the picnic. And we’re trying really hard to meet people and be more social and I am still trying to make some more friends, see, and even though I KNEW I should not be taking the kids to something fun after the way they’d behaved, I got home after the service and they’d helped Otto with chores all morning and were in bright, shiny moods and we decided to go.
Okay! Off to the picnic! It was out in the woods, and Monkey caught a giant lizard within minutes of our arrival, so that was very exciting. He took it to show to another kid, and that child’s father said to his son, “Oh, look at what she caught! She caught a BIG LIZARD!” and so I found myself calling Monkey by name VERY LOUDLY since he has one of those few male names that hasn’t yet been appropriated by Yuppie-spawn for girls, and then I sort of wanted to smack myself because what do I care if he’s mistaken for a girl? (For the record, Monkey was too enamored of his lizard to even notice.)
There was food, and lots of people, but in the end we sort of just hung out as our little family unit… which is fine, really, except that I’d been hoping for a bit more socializing. Church seems like the kind of place where it should be easy to make connections, and yet, I’m just struggling, still. I don’t know if I’m still making tacit comparisons to my old church or if it’s something else, but it just feels like it’s taking a reeeeeally long time to get to know folks.
But they all liked my ugly cookies, so that was good.
Back home again, the children were going to play outside, so Otto and I—being old and decrepit—tried to lay down for a bit. That lasted for approximately five minutes, after which Otto tried to play with them outside so that I could rest for a bit, and Chickadee came inside howling that Otto was so mean, Otto had kicked her and knocked her down, and LOOK AT THIS BIG BRUISE (I saw nothing) and he didn’t even apologize! He just said “I guess I’m not playing with you anymore.”
Her life is tragic. The tragicness of a horrible stepfather, it cannot be overstated. I mean, he plays soccer with you and his foot ends up somewhere in the vicinity of your leg, and if you don’t just drop dead immediately from the indignity of it all, you should DEFINITELY make it out like you’re mortally wounded. Everyone LOVES that! And as you howl and writhe in the grass and said stepfather declares that he’s not going to keep playing with you, well, that’s the death blow, right there. PROOF THAT HE HATES YOU.
Later—just to cap off an already-fabulous day—I discovered that the children had taken out everything they owned, upstairs, and although earlier they had assured me that “everything’s cleaned up” they are, in fact, full of crap. So we had a mad bedtime dash to get things cleaned up and also to tape the top of my head back onto my skull when I saw what they’d wrought up there. Holy hell.
[And yes, I most certainly did stand up there and bellow, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’M GETTING YOU FOR CHRISTMAS? DO YOU? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! BECAUSE YOU CLEARLY HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF ALREADY!” I’ll be signing autographs later, if you’re interested. Please bring by the torn book of your choice (you can find plenty upstairs at my house, because that’s what happens when you leave books OPEN ON THE FLOOR) and I shall sign it, “Greatest Mother on the Planet, Rocking It at 120 Decibels! Mir.”]
I need a Sunday after my Sunday. Sheesh.
Fortunately, everyone else in this house seems to have the memory of a gnat, because everyone was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and perfectly chipper this morning. I was on the lookout for signs of permanent psyche scarring, but apparently I’m not trying hard enough.