She gives a smile when the pain comes

It was a rough day on the parenting trail. I had to send the kid to daycare all day today because I really needed to go in to work and get some time-sensitive things done that can’t wait until next week. Keeping the job is important. But I am increasingly looking for ways to get additional things published, get some extra money. Maybe get a ticket out of this daily rat race. I wrote and submitted another essay on my lunch hour today. And editing of my last novel is coming along nicely; should be ready for some real beta readers soon, not just my friends who are kind to me and will say “Ok, but it needs some work.” I want it DONE. I want the other novel DONE. I want them OUT and I want them PUBLISHED.

He was up super late last night. Couldn’t sleep. Didn’t know why. I was out doing my monthly theater thing but the babysitter kept me apprised of his multiple risings. He hasn’t slept right all week here. The transition, the new bed, the humidity, the crazy schedule of no school and no deadlines, it ain’t workin’ for him. He has always done better with structure as he is such a wild child, like his mama. Despite being up late, I literally drug him out of bed today so we could get on with it all.

He was one of the first kids at the daycare center, where he hasn’t been in weeks, and clung to me like a barnacle. He cried, and then I pretended not to cry; pretended to be cheerful and that it was business as usual. Then I got in my car and cried, and watched him through the glass a few minutes to make sure they were really taking care of him, and used the half hour drive to work to attempt to remove the knife from my heart, the one with “GUILT” on the handle.

It was a day, as they say about work. I called the center after a few hours and they said he was doing fine. I chose to believe that so I could go on with my day.

It was gorgeous, very hot and sunny when I left to pick him up. I sang in the car and couldn’t wait to see him. He was, understandably, crabby and very tired by the time I got him, and snapped at a girl who went and fetched his shoes for him from a cubby when he couldn’t remember where he put them. I made sure to thank her nicely and then chastised him gently for being mean to the girl who was clearly enamored, I mean, trying to help him. Player and doesn’t know it, that kid.

He got into some petty argument with me on the way home and I tried to be patient. And then whining and whining and nastiness and a lot of traffic and finally I was yelling at him in the car. I am not a yeller, I don’t parent by yelling. So when I do yell, he knows I mean business and he was quiet after that. He kept asking if I was mad after that and I just couldn’t get my shit together to not be mad. Sometimes I need a few minutes, you know? I came in and made dinner and he started whining about what we were having and I made it VERY clear that there would be no more whining tonight, NONE. Eat the dinner and knock it off.

The entire evening was this way. Everything he did pushed the boundaries, except the workout we both did (NYT 7 Minute Workout, perfect length for a little kid and a tired Mom). Put that down, you’ll hurt yourself, and him ignoring me until he DID hurt himself and then me yelling again about why don’t you just listen to me the first time. Potato chip crumbs all over the floor and the hand vac was out of power and him crying about that, because I tried to make him sweep them up, but he’s there and it’s winding down to completely dead and that makes him cry, and everything is broken and not working right. Him hurting his foot with the broken Charlie Bar from the patio doors, crying, and me trying to put ice on it and him suddenly recovering enough to ask for chocolate. Me giving him a 30, 15, 10 and 5 minute warning about the end of TV and then shutting it off and him hitting me when I wouldn’t give him one more minute to just finish that part he was watching, just that one part and then that’s it, and you’re so mean and I miss my Dad! And I sent him away to brush his teeth while I got out the big vacuum and sucked up all the chip crumbs and he cried and brushed them, and asked for a story even though I told him he’d lost story privileges.

He looked so little sitting on the edge of that big bed, with the red checked sheets and gosh, I shouldn’t have gotten him a comforter, that’s too hot for summer, you idiot. I gave in and let him read a book to me, which he did with no help. Then I spent a half hour trying to foam roll away my sciatica, which is starting to beg me for a steroid shot. I may have to give in and see the doctor before the next race, which could be in as little as 10 more days. 5 races this year, I told myself. And I want to do that. One down, four to go.

Two more days of “vacation” (ha) until he starts camp next Monday.

Shit is just all fucked up today and I feel like a failure. I just want something to go right and be easy. Everything is such a goddamned struggle. Sometimes I really just want a neck rub. Someone to hold my hand and pour me some wine and say hey, you’re doing ok, relax a while and try to find the joy in these precious days. You will one day long for them with pangs as deep as an addict kicking smack, and would do anything to have just one more of these days, with that little voice, parsing out the words and clutching his 15 stuffed animals in his big bed.


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