I was in fine form this morning. I lurched out of bed and a curious smell wafted down the hallway. Nothing says “Good morning” quite like this: something our family fondly (okay, not so fondly) refers to as a “craptastrophe.”
And it was all downhill from there. The big girls fought about absurd and unimportant things for hours on end. The checkout lady at the grocery store was the slowest moving land mammal on the planet. My usually attentive husband was watching a mind-numbing golf tournament all day.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well, they don’t call them truisms for nothing. I was selfish, resentful, impatient, angry and altogether ugly today; so the whole family followed suit.
As my 9 year old stood before me weeping, I kicked the rant into high gear. The yelling was beyond a tone of voice. It felt good to embrace the rage. When I was finally done dressing her down, she hiccupped, “Can… I .. uh… just… uh… say… something?” Grudgingly I allowed her to speak.
This happens often when she’s in trouble. Regardless of how clear the situation, she launches into her version of events, hoping to explain her superior perspective. I suspect she may end up becoming a lawyer like her aunt.
Usually, this only gets her in more trouble. Today, however; at the end of her halting explanation, I was appalled to realize that the entire thing had been a misunderstanding on my part. She hadn’t actually done anything wrong.
That was the low point.
There’s no other way to say it: shittiest parent in the world.
I wrote this two weeks ago and haven’t quite brought myself to post it. What would be the point? Not only is it an exceptionally un-flattering peek into my world, it is just so depressing.
But then I remember how that day began: Craptastrophe. For us, this goes beyond a poopy diaper. Thankfully, what was once a bi-weekly experience is now a rare opportunity to test our parenting metal. Our daughter occasionally dabbles in something the developmental psychologists call “smearing”. Perhaps it is a convenient medium for her artistic endeavors. Perhaps she is trying to clean it up. Whatever the reason for this bad habit, when things are very quiet and very smelly, we know what to expect.
I’m sure you have the mental picture: it’s on the sheets, on the walls, on her clothes, in her hair… And if that’s not disgusting enough, she gives us her usual toothy grin. Yep, it’s in her teeth too.
Even now, when we gag and complain and offer each other outrageous favours to do the clean up, she’s still cute and sweet and altogether wonderful to us. We love her just as much even when she’s covered head-to-toe in shit.
Cause that’s what family does. They love me, not matter what: even the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad version of myself. Whatever clean up needs to happen – an apology, several apologies, an anger management course, a time out… I know that they’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.
So here’s us, shovelling it together.