These last four weeks of summer have been hard. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of not having a routine or you miss your friends or it’s your age or you’re just being an asshole but these first weeks of summer have been difficult for you. It seems like I can’t do anything right. One second you’re happy and then I enter a room and ask you to grab a sweater before we leave the house and you give me the glare of death. You would think by the complete look of disdain you are directing towards me that I just asked you to light your stuffed animals on fire. I find that if I really need to communicate to you or get a point across, I tell your dad and he relays that to you and then you listen. If I were to walk up to you and say the exact same thing, you would cross your arms and sigh in disgust. I wish it were acceptable to give you the finger sometimes.
I don’t remember being so annoyed with my folks at your age. Teenage years, absolutely but seven years old? I don’t understand. Perhaps it’s because with Dad working so much, I’m the same face you see every day, telling you every second to stop hitting your brother and to clean up your room. Believe me, I don’t enjoy being the disciplinary nor do I enjoy reminding you every other second to calm down and not be obnoxious. I miss toddler Olivia who always had a smile and was always singing or dancing from room to room. Present day you is sassy, moody and awkward. I still love you unconditionally and it’s a good thing I do because I’ve seen a ton of corners that would be perfect for booted children. I just hope what ever it is that’s troubling you, we resolve it soon or otherwise I’ll just plan to stay inebriated for the rest of your days. Maybe I’ll do that anyway.
Our Summer of Awesome has returned but you’re not as thrilled about it as you were last year. Or perhaps you are excited about it but don’t want me to see you’re excited about it? Ladies are bitches, aren’t we? I’ll announce what adventure we will be partaking in for the day and you will roll your eyes in annoyance and sulk away muttering, why or whatever. Usually by the time we arrive at our destination, you seem to forget why you were angry in the first place and muster enough joy to enjoy yourself. At some point in the day, you seem to realize that you’re enjoying yourself and quickly resort back to despising me in any way you can.
You’re swimming for your third year with the Dublin Green Gators and do appear to at least be enjoying yourself there. You have a solid group of friends that you enjoy spending time with at the pool and even though you’re in a new age group and technically shouldn’t be placing in your events, are actually finding some success. I’m trying my hardest to step back and allow your coaches to coach as hard as that might be for me. It’s really hard to sit back and watch when you clearly don’t want to be at practice and instead of swimming your drills, you’re thrashing in the water, pretending like you can’t swim. You’re a phenomenal swimmer but I often feel like you don’t always concentrate and give 100% but then again, you’re seven years old.
At a recent swim meet, we did have an altercation between us after you devoured an entire jumbo bag of gummi bears before the swim meet even started after I told you, you could only eat a few. Apparently your sugar cravings are as intense as mine. I feel your pain and I wish you luck dealing with that down the road. You were upset because you didn’t place in any of your events and I suggested perhaps it was due to your unhealthy food options that morning. You weren’t just upset, you were outraged. How dare I question your nutritional habits! When you reach the point of tears and yelling, I can pretty much kiss the day goodbye because you lack the ability to let things go. You let things fester and absorb you to the point that you can’t see anything else in front of you. You had to swim again immediately after this outburst and of course you couldn’t pull yourself together in time so you bombed your race and of course that led to another outburst. Needless to say, the day was a wash and most of the adults were just annoyed that we got up early and spent our Saturday morning watching you have an emotional breakdown. Again, you’re seven years old. I’m guessing emotional instability is just part of the program at this point.
I should have been more sympathetic to your needs but I was upset that you purposely ignored me again. Your sole purpose these last few weeks almost feels like a direct attempt to annoy me and defy me. This was just another one of those moments but this time it actually exploded back in your face. Do I like sweet sweet revenge? Yes, but not when I have to wake up at 5:30am on a Saturday. In the words of the great George W. Bush, “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Such wise words.
On one of our most recent adventures, we headed up to Old Town Sacramento. I haven’t been here since I was a kid and was looking forward to rediscovering it with you and Miles. The thought of walking around a town didn’t exactly excite you and you were visibly annoyed that you couldn’t spend the day with your friends but I figured you were going to be annoyed with me anyway so at least this way, the rest of us can still go out and do something fun and you can still be miserable.
We arrived just in time to jump on the train and explore the Sacramento River. It was only a 45 minute train ride but I thought it was just the right amount of time before you and Miles started to get antsy. We walked around a bit in my attempt to find flavored popcorn which I remember as being in abundance but was only able to find one store that sold caramel apple kettle corn. Not exactly the strawberry popcorn I remember from my youth but still delicious as all hell.
We were able to buy the last remaining underground tour tickets which included headphones and snazzy devices we wore around our necks. Miles was tepid about the whole experience but I was delighted to see how much you enjoyed the tour often oohing and aahing and gasping with excitement when you saw something that interested you. After the tour was done, we grabbed dinner and reflected on our day and you actually said, Thanks Mom, I had a lot of fun. I nearly died of shock. I only wish I was quicker with my phone so I could record the statement and play it back to you every hour on the hour.
These last weeks have been difficult as I attempt to balance work with dealing with you and your brother who are so obviously bored. We have certainly had our disagreements before but they seem to be so much more frequent lately. I realize I’m not always your favorite person and as your mother, it’s expected that you find me annoying. I’m just having difficulty understanding why it’s happening so soon and so frequently. You’re growing up and that subject has always been difficult for me to accept but now I have to watch you grow up while watching you grow further away from me and that just hurts. With every disagreement we have, I feel like a wedge grows bigger and bigger between us. I hate it. Perhaps this is just growing pains and before long, you’ll be my right-hand lady again but until then, I sit here patiently, waiting and hoping that I’m not the subject once again of your misery. I signed up for baby cuddles, not this shit! Where was any of this mentioned in the ‘congratulations, you’re having a baby’ pamphlets? The pamphlet should have been, ‘congratulations, you’re having an emotionally unstable tyrannical monster who will steal all your money and joy and will leave you an empty shell of lost hopes and dreams.’ The birth rate may not be so high if people knew from the get-go what they were getting themselves into.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (excuse the Ferris Bueller reference) parenting doesn’t get easier, it just gets more complicated. As a parent, you’re relieved because your child outgrows one annoying trait only to turn around and adopt an entirely new and even more annoying trait. WHEN DOES THE VICIOUS CYCLE END?! Will I one day be able to sit down with you and we can fondly reflect back on your childhood with laughter and bottles of wine or will you change your name to Willow and run off with a man named Burgundy because in your words, he understands you, not at all like your mother? Please Lord, don’t let it be the latter. I will cut off my left hand and throw it at you before I let that happen.