I've been doing some serious contemplation this weekend (*cough* read: every 15 minutes for the past five years) as to whether or not I am competent enough to be a parent. I feel like every exchange between Riley and I sometimes is an argument. This past weekend was a three-day weekend for me, and I was really looking forward to it. I recently had a five-day-straight vacation from work to move (it speaks volumes of my life that moving is considered a "vacation") and I felt in that time, I hit my stride as a housewife and mommy. By the close of my time off, I had a routine in place. The kids and I were getting along beautifully. We'd hang out together in the play room while I watched Riley draw every letter of the alphabet on the Wii uDraw for the eightieth time (oh, but this time they're bubble letters! And it's an under-the-sea theme!) while simultaneously trying to prevent Zoey from cutting her teeth on every wire she could dig up from between the carpet and the wall. I was calm. I was patient. I thought to myself "If I didn't need the money, I could be happy with this, surely."
Cut to this past weekend. Friday was Riley's last day of art camp! I felt like such an official parent, dropping him off at camp, kissing his head and telling him I'd be back in a couple hours. Then I RAN ERRANDS! I know, right? Supermom. The last hour of camp was dedicated to showing off the kids' artworks, so I picked up my mom and brought her with me to check them out. They were pretty neat. So then we drop Grandma off and go home afterwards, and it's like passing through the door of our house is passing into another dimension, where fun is not had and niceties are few and far between. I won't get into the particulars of it, just imagine that it's a somewhat boring movie in which a five year old boy insists on thwarting his infant sister's every attempt at happiness, set to the soundtrack of my impassioned mommy voice chiding him, and frequent trips to sit on the stairs for timeout.
Using that analogy, the pivitol point of the movie would have been Saturday, when the infant sister's tired fussing reached a fever pitch and the five year old brother's shouts to silence her were drowned out by my yell- I'm not proud of this- that I couldn't wait to go back to work on Monday. That's the part of the soundtrack where you realize that you have the volume up to loud, and possibly that this movie sucks. Riley came upstairs, then, and wrapped his arms around his sister in one of those progressively tightening hugs that I eventually have to scold him for.
"Zee's crying because she's waiting for a REAL mommy" he said, and my eyes stung immediately. I don't remember what I said. Something out of anger, doubtlessly, and hurt. Then I slammed the pantry door open, and like a 17-oz glass bomb of karma, a full bottle of olive oil toppled from the top shelf and landed directly on the top of my bare foot. I paced the room for a few moments, breathless and sick to my stomach and overwhelmed, before leaning my head against the dishwasher and bursting into tears. Where the hell did Supermom go? Here I am, back to square one, where I am clueless and ruled by emotion and two steps behind my precocious son. Here I am, crying with my head on a broken dishwasher and a blue knot the size of a baseball rapidly developing on my foot. Not so super. The movie just continued to suck from that point on, but I've got a sneaking suspicion that my own attitude probably didn't help.
|Don't you wish your girlfriend's foot was hot like mine?|
Last night, while Russell had his own not-so-super parenting moment and brooded on the couch, Riley and I went downstairs. I started up Word on Russell's computer, as Riley's been obsessed with typing, and sat down on my own to do awesome things (don't ask). Riley has been learning to understand the red zig-zagging line that indicates a spelling error, and trying to correct it himself, but he asked at one point "How do you spell Heaven? It's not H-E-V-E-N, because it's got a red line under it." This got my attention, and after correcting his spelling, I asked what he was writing.
"It's a story about a man who doesn't know about heaven."
"Oh yeah?" I asked, "What happens?"
"Well, he asks God to tell him about it. You're in this story, you're God's wife, and I'm God's son."
God's wife, eh? I guess I can't be too bad a mom, if I'm given a role like that. Now I just need to figure out what my son is trying to teach me about heaven, and I'll be set.