I hate it when we fight. It’s been happening more frequently lately and I absolutely hate it. Most of the time, we fight when one of us is overly tired and we reach that point of no return. When I determine that the fight is escalating with no resolve, I really try to take a step back and understand what truly is going on in the moment and nine times out of ten, it’s exhaustion. I try to be understanding because I get crabby too. I, too, have moments when I feel that I don’t have control over my emotions and usually at that moment, I find an escape whether that be dial up the music to eleven, go for a swim or have an adult beverage. I try to just talk you through what you’re feeling and try to make you understand that what you’re feeling is perfectly ok. What I have a hard time with is when you’re in a fit of rage and you start talking down to yourself saying, ‘I’m a mean person’ or ‘nobody likes me’ and ‘I’m awful.’ This I can’t tolerate.
Usually I can talk you off a ledge by just offering a hug. You melt in to me and I feel your whole body sigh in relief. As you get older, it’s becoming harder and harder to talk you off a ledge. Sometimes the hug is not wanted for quite some time and my heart hurts when my offers to help are denied. Recently, for one of the first times, you went to bed angry at me–refusing a hug as I tried to be empathetic to your feelings. That hurt. I sat on the edge of your bed, hoping you would have a change of heart but instead I watched the back of your head for a few minutes, realizing maybe you just wanted to feel sorrow.
As I walked out of your room, I heard you begin to cry again and all I wanted to do was run back in, scoop you up in my arms and tell you that you didn’t have to go through this moment by yourself. Your dad told me just to leave you alone–allow you to be sad. I went downstairs feeling like a failure. I feel like I gave up on you; I didn’t fight hard enough for you in that moment. Would this be a shifting moment in our relationship? Will you think that I would no longer move heaven and earth to see you smile? Sure, one moment doesn’t cause a huge transition but the little moments add up and the little unsuspecting moments can be the most damaging.
My heart hurt. I felt pretty defeated until I heard a tiny voice from the top of the stairs. Every fiber in my body hoped that it was you and my heart did a somersault when I saw your tiny legs hanging through the staircase and I heard you ask if I could help you fall asleep because you couldn’t stop crying. I sat in your bed and scooped up your tiny body and rested your head in my lap. The room was still and quiet until you said, Momma, I love you more than anything. I melted right there and realized I will forever work tirelessly to make you feel that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you.
School started recently and given a strange turn of events, basically had to fight with the school and the district to have you attend the elementary school you are supposed to go to. The same school your brother and neighborhood friends go to. I had received a phone call on our way home from our road trip, from your school informing us that we needed to call them back in regards to registration. At this point, the first day of school is roughly ten days away. Dad calls back and I see him listening very intently with a concerned look on his face. I’m driving so I can’t see exactly what your dad is writing down. He then holds up a piece of paper with the name of a different school. Apparently, due to overcrowding in our city, you have been diverted to a different school despite your brother being accepted into our correct school. At this point, it’s 5:00 on a Friday evening so not much is going to get done. I spent the rest of the evening and majority of the weekend talking to myself–playing out in my mind how I envisioned the conversation taking place. In case you’re wondering, they all ended with me being a badass.
As a family, we marched up the hill to the school on Monday morning. I was determined to get you in that school after listening to you have near panic attacks over the weekend about going to a new school in which you wouldn’t know anybody. Seriously, this is not something you need when you’re already an emotional being. We asked a lot of questions that morning and little was answered. Their hands were tied, they told us so we went to the school district where they believed more of our questions could be answered. We drive clear across town where we leave our information in hopes that someone would research our case and get back to us. We left feeling split. Your dad was confident that we had done enough. I felt slighted. I didn’t think we would get a call back nor did I feel confident that anything would change. You were being singled-out and would spend the school year wondering why you couldn’t go to the same school as your brother and friends. Suddenly the idea of moving to a small town anywhere but here seemed like a possibility.
I drop your dad off at Bart and no sooner do I pull away from the curb that I receive a phone call. The phone call is from your school (the correct school we are trying to get you into). The woman starts with this grandiose story of how they just received a phone call from a student who wanted to transfer from our school to the school you were deferred to you and wouldn’t you just know, the kid is in first grade! Turns out this serendipitous phone call means you get to attend your correct school. I don’t believe this story for one second nor do I care. I feel a mistake was made and instead of admitting fault, I was told a tale. They could have told me a stork dropped your paperwork in their laps and played Yankee Doodle Dandy on a concertina. I didn’t care what happened–I just wanted you in and thank goodness we got it done because perhaps had we just rolled over and accepted our fate, things would be much different for you today.
You were ecstatic on your first day of first grade and I still can’t believe I have a child in first grade. You walked with the entire neighborhood and I shed only a few tears. This year will be very different for you, transferring into public school that is and I only hope that your sweet innocence stays intact. We’re a week in to the new school year and so far, so good. You tell me you haven’t made any new friends yet and lunch is ok because you get to eat in a cafeteria (that excitement will fade) but you play with your neighborhood friends during recess when you can find them and that seems to be enough for you. I signed you up for science camp after school after hearing that not much science is done in the classroom. You love science and you get to stay for an extra hour at school. It’s a win-win for everyone!
You’re growing up and most days I don’t see it or at least it’s not shoved in my face. With the frequency of disagreements lately and the requests to spend more time with your friends, I can’t help but feel that pull from you even more. There are times when you’re mad at me and the look you give me is unlike any look you have ever given me. It’s a look of hate and anger and their are moments when I think, yikes, am I that awful of a mother that you already despise me? I don’t have an explanation for your distaste for things. Perhaps it’s exhaustion or an emotional growth spurt or influence from your friends and peers. I don’t know and in those moments you look at me with anger and I hear you upstairs in your room speaking awful things to yourself I’m wondering if I’m really truly cut out for this parenting business. I signed up for cute cuddly babies that fall asleep in my arms. I’m terrified of you and your extreme mood swings. On a side note, we’re making quite a bit more wine this year and I seem to consume beer at a much higher rate. I really should make a graph to show my alcohol consumption from the day you were born to today. Nope, no relationship between drinking and parenthood there.
Please be kind to me and I’ll stop saying things like, you know, one day I won’t be here and you’re going to miss me or one day when I’m gone, I’m going to come back and haunt you. Perhaps it’s my not so constructive talks that are causing you angst. I’m warning you now, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to raising you. That should help you feel better.