Sunday, May 13, 2012


Just now, I stood in the night waiting for Teddy to pee.  I could hear an owl hooting a few trees away.  A motorcycle roared past on the highway.  Dogs barked and the big dipper spilled its tears out onto the world over my head.  The presence of the trees seemed consoling in their steadfastness.  The fresh air helped me to be able to breathe evenly after I had sobbed on Mike's shoulder.  I had had my cry and sent him to bed.  There was nothing to be done for it.

Nick was mad at me during a walk this afternoon, and actually screamed "I hate you! I hate you!  I hate you!" across the valley.  It hurt, digging deep with its sharp blade.

It was a simple problem.  Mike and I had told Nick to put on a pair of shorts for a bike ride, saying that he would get too hot in long pants.  He picked an old pair of jeans instead, but he didn't realize until the two of them were on the trail and I was walking with Teddy on his leash that his jeans were uncomfortable.  He demanded to be driven home for a pair of shorts.  Neither of us would do it.  I didn't want to be deprived of my walk and Mike wanted his bike ride.  Already, I didn't get to bike because Teddy had wrenched my elbow by leaping and pulling on his leash on our last walk and I couldn't yet bike with it.  Teddy and I were planning to have a quiet walk by ourselves.  I was a little lonely at the thought, but it was okay. 

But then Mike rode off and left an angry boy in the truck telling me that he wanted to wait there for us.  No way, I thought.  First, it was too hot to leave a kid in a truck.  Second, Nick isn't old enough to wait in the car by himself, not there at the trailhead.  There were too many people.  Who knew who they were and what they might do?  Nick would be too vulnerable.  I set my mind to getting whatever walk I could, slowing down to accommodate Nick's discomfort.

The whole hour, Nick and I only walked a mile and a half.  What a misery it was.  Nick spent the entire time arguing that I should have taken him home to change.  I tried to reason with him.  I asked him about a scenario with the Boy Scouts and a younger boy ignoring sage advice from an older boy and expecting that the whole group would miss their trip to accommodate him anyway.  To no avail.  He yelled at me.  It was awful.  I worked to stay quiet and firm.  I am not by nature a patient person.  I kept walking, albeit slowly and Nick dragged along behind me.  When I waited for him to catch up, he stopped.  I tried to ask him what he would expect from his own child.  He yelled more, not relenting, saying that I was cruel.  Eventually, I told him we'd said as much as either of us had to say and were repeating ourselves.  I told him I wanted to be quiet and look at the light through the trees.  I tried to point out the way the sun made the new leaves glow green.  Nick was not done with his argument. 

I did not yell.  I did not give in. 

Eventually, Mike swung by on his bike and we made it back to the truck.  But then, the walk, the day, Mother's day, was ruined.  A quiet dinner at our local cafe with Nick safely ensconced in his iPhone game did not recover it.  Nick's apology even, and time on the couch with a family movie, did not repair it.  It was broken.  At dinner, I told Mike that I'd begun to lower my expectations of holidays about me, but it seemed that I hadn't lowered them enough yet.  He laughed.  I didn't cry then, in front of all those people.  Somehow, I waited until Nick was safely asleep and I could tell Mike how I really felt until I felt the hitch of breath that came with the tears.  I couldn't breathe.  Was Nick better off without me?  Why did he fight me so much?  So many unanswerable questions.  So many doubts.

The fresh air helped a little, but I have to admit that it's still broken, the day to celebrate a Mother's love. I hope that tomorrow, an ordinary Monday, will help to fix it.

Thank you for listening, jb

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