Ah, Christ – it’ll be fine. It is, somehow, the right thing to do and I know this because…well, I just do. It is a beautiful day here and I am looking forward to seeing the kids after school. Last Tuesday, I cried in front of kind coworker because I realized I was dreading seeing my own kids, their voices (LOUD!) the bickering and demands, “Mom! Watch this! Mom! No! Watch this!”
And the sheer force of their hugs, practically knocking me over.
And I flinched. I did. And it takes a lot to make me flinch!
I was just too damn tired to deal with any of it. But, I still smiled and still nagged and still hugged back, was still very mom-ish…but, wasn’t really there with them. I was just – as I have been for a while – going through the motions. And they knew it – – – the girl is, like me, wide open (The Finder!) and knows – on an emotional level it seems (hence all the crying) when I am faking it, when I am wishing I were somewhere else (nowhere to go but to sleep – hence all the napping. The boy just gets pissed, or as he calls it – irritated. They are upset with me a lot. I try to do everything just right, as you know. But, they always end up pissed and crying. It sucks to be so often out of sync with my kids.
The past couple of days – when I freed my cliche’d mind and just said ‘Fuck it, let’s pretend I’m not going back.’
Well, they were pretty nice – not great, not terribly productive (two bad drawings and 1/2 a crocheted elephant, a bunch of long rants to myself and others, el ten eleven listened to at least el twelve times … But not on turntable:( maybe I’ll mess with that today:) yesterday the boy came downstairs with an not-so-old-but-kinda-old LL Bean shortwave radio, with the hand-crank power option. “Some cat peed on this old broken radio. I’ll have to clean it.”
He proceeds over to the bathroom sink. “I’m just going to wash the speaker. ‘Cause that’s where that cat peed. Is Boober disgusting!?’ He sounds delighted.
‘It might work, Bud. Put it in a dry place. Maybe we can get it going again.’
The boy shrugs, ‘Eh, if not – I could just use it for something else. Take it apart or something.’
‘That’s a great idea, Bud. I’ll try to remind you.’
And he goes off, dripping radio in hand, and I appreciate the weird warbling voice he gets when he is happy. And I stood in the dining room and considered the odds of me actually reminding him. There is no way in hell I’d be inclined to undertake a radio take-apart with a bossy dense and clever 7 year old (shit! Almost eight!) And it will be another project – another opportunity to write a brilliant childhood for my own children – that Mom just couldn’t deal with.
At least not under the current circumstances. The attentional demands of the day leave me RAW. A blur of:
When I teach sex ed. I like to emphasize the enormous power of hormones by relaying the following scenario, de-personalized but with powerful details:
(I am a good storyteller and so even the twelve year old boys are imagining that they have just given birth:)
You have just given birth to this wicked slimy writhing little person. Ew! You’ve never met this person – but you sure recall the 40 WEEKS that you were sick and sore and cranky and your feet were so fat you couldn’t even wear shoes. Oh! And how you had to pee ALL THE TIME! That…oh! That was great. (Voice Lowers, for dramatic emphasis)
Except, hmmm…you don’t really remember all that at all…I mean, you did just go through ‘Oh, 18 hours of some of the most brutal labor imaginable, and then there’s the Doctor, still messing around with cords (CORDS!) and nurses and lights and blood everywhere…
(Voice becomes almost tender but maintains matter-of-factness, because it is, after all matter-of-fact.)
And then the little bundle of…oh my goodness…(feign maternal breathlessness) THE WHOLE WORLD FALLS AWAY…
And suddenly, you would fight lions and tigers to protect this little bundle who is wholly your responsibility. To raise it until it is able to make wise decisions with it’s own protection and the betterment of the species clearly and justly in mind.
YUP! ALL THAT love and devotion IS CAUSED BY HORMONES! And so yes, hormones can cause love and so yes you should probably just avoid activities that stimulate hormones that reinforce those activities. Our human bodies are 300,000 years old, with only slow and scattered mightily confused evolutions (Is getting taller and fatter really good for us as a species? Nope. We are too smart for our own good. Figured out how to have it all and it’s killing us.) Your hormones don’t care if you’re a 16 year old kid who wants to go to UNC and would be the first in your family to go anywhere…nope, your hormones just assume that you’re going to die when you’re twenty (because humans, as animals – in the wild without technology* – would die so young. That is why the human reproduction system matures at such a young age. We were never meant to live so long. But, thumbs are thumbs and brains are responsive and one thing begats another and…we have it all figured out, don’t we?)
Your hormones just say hurry up and reproduce. As soon as you can, as often as you can. And women died having babies.
Sad, but true. We’re just dumb animals, after all. Mammals to the core!
And it is out of that deeper sense of responsibility to my kids, to raise them to live better and longer than me – not out of technology, but out of sheer goodness and humility…it is out of the knowledge that my kids NEED a brilliant childhood, full of tricks and salvations and the tools of the trade of staying alive – truly alive – in a world whose economies (both social and fiscal) perpetuate death
– here –
refers to anything other than living like cavepeople.
I don’t really have a long-term plan. I am not really thinking much past this summer. When I plan to basically reclaim my humanity and be real true with myself about what’s the best use of my time, not only for me – but for the small bipeds that require my assistance as a navigational specialist.
And it’s true that last night I did want to go back to work. I really really wanted to just plow forward and go back and
‘I’m Being Responsible!’
But, when a truth hits me square in the forehead (like the hammer when I was building the chicken coop – which I will finally have the headspace to finish. Building by instinct – without more than vague plan and sense of feel – takes headspace, for sure.)
So, yeah – ultimately I am being responsible.