today. orlando. emily doe. the big things and small things, always together

Today my kid’s morning plans fell through because his friends were sick. Mama hustled, rustled up some buddies, and forged ahead. At the museum he ran away from us and got lost. Luckily (I guess) he found a friend and mooched lunch off his Grandma and gave her my cell. She was taking care of three kids under five but fed and rescued mine. Only 30 minutes spent searching the 84 acre park. Could have been so much worse.

I was freaked out and angry and frustrated. He should have known better. But he was scared and hungry and tired. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I was exhausted. Getting a lecture from your six year old that when they get lost is the least appropriate time to get mad will take you down a notch. He was right. I felt like an asshole.

Then his afternoon plans fell through. His friend canceled at the eleventh hour. I spent 45 minutes (while stuck under a sleeping toddler) trying to arrange an alternate playdate. He was disappointed and crying. I felt great sympathy and told him how hard I was trying and how sorry I was. But it was almost dinner time. Sometimes life gives you lemons.

In his ferocious sadness he took a swipe at one of our house plants, uprooting it by accident. He came and told on himself, like he always does. Just a fucking house plant. One my dad had nurtured for decades and that I’d brought to my home when he died of cancer. I felt burned for my efforts and utterly unappreciated. It all seemed so trivial and yet so all consuming. My super mama powers were failing miserably.

Maybe some music would help. Some random bluegrass station. It was all stalker music. I tried a different station. Also stalker music. Apparently every song every written is about women ruining men’s lives just by being. They know where we live and know if there are lights on someone’s home. They talk about our bodies and how it’s all our fault that they can’t help themselves for being out of control “in love” with us. I couldn’t do it, not today.

Everything felt like shit. Today’s problems were small but the world’s problems were big. Fifty people dead in Orlando. A world full of assholes running free after ruining women’s lives. Over and over again.

So I put on the wild super mama cape my kid made as a gift for me during quiet time (before he killed my plant), made from stapled together fabric and ribbon with a pocket for putting things. I turned on some Bev Grant and The Human Condition. Her song about Clifford Glover played softly. That was 1973 but it seems like nothing’s changed. I cried.

Then I went next door and told my mother in law about my day. It was like dredging the bottom of a dirty river looking for a dead body that you maybe did or didn’t want to find. She smiled at me and said “You know, parents have to be therapists all day long, but they never get to be the client.”

I watched my son sitting in the yard picking clover flowers, the late afternoon sun shining on his bent head. He brought me a sweaty handful and kissed me. “These are for you mama.”

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