This week has been an exercise in patience and so far I have just narrowly passed. I mean by a hair. It all started with a comment from a negative Nancy about my previous article trying to encourage fellow writers not to be disparaged by rejection letters. I won’t get into that because, really it isn’t worth the time reading about. But I will say that I firmly do NOT believe that Literary Agents torture kittens for fun in their spare time, nor that rejection letters are a personal attack on writers or that their rejection of my work means there is something wrong with them. It was a good article, written from a place of positivity coupled with copious amounts of great intentions. Just for arguments sake. And we’ll stop there. I will however tell you about the rest of my week leading up to one powder keg of a finale.
I have one of those cheap, quick set-up, above ground pools with a filter and pump, in my backyard. Not braggin’ y’all… I clean this glorified piece of plastic every single day. I am not kidding, every day. I vacuum the bottom of it, skim the water, blast clean the filter, wipe off the debris on the pool cover and spray it down, balance the chlorine levels and I shock it at least one to two times per week. In the Oklahoma heat, by the time I am done doing all of the maintenance to the pool I am sweating buckets and ready to dive into it head first. If it were deep enough for me to do so without retaining a head injury, that is. Yesterday morning, I stepped outside to get it all ready so that my four year old could swim, like she woke up at 9am begging me to do. I usually make her stay inside while I’m doing all of this work because – Well… trying to keep a four year old out of things that are not meant for them to mess with, is no small feat and at the time I needed to get the job done without interruption. I turn around to go inside, drenched in sweat and dirt, only to find that my four year old daughter, had locked me out of the house. Not only has she locked me out, but she also went into her room where she could not hear me banging on the door and screaming for her to unlock it. This went on for several minutes until she finally ran to the door and let me in. I got onto her for locking me out to which she replied, “Can we go swimming now?” as she stripped down to nothing in the middle of the kitchen in preparation to put her swimsuit on. Later, while we were finally relaxing in the pool, she looks at me and says, “Mom, I’m sorry for locking you out of the house. I won’t do it again, pinky promise.” As I wrap my pinky finger around hers she then adds in a clause, “As long as you’re nice to me.” Of course she saw me cleaning the pool so that she doesn’t die from e-coli poisoning, instead of letting her swim when she originally wanted to, as an act in meanness and not in caring for her. I can’t win with this one.
Today our bank decided to change our cards to the ones with the chip in it. I don’t see the difference, but they do so there it is. I activated my card that came in the mail, first thing this morning and when I tried to set my PIN, it told me that it couldn’t and to contact my bank. Of course I tried several times to call them and because there is only ever one, maybe two tellers there at a time, no one answers. My husband promised our daughter last night that we would buy her some Christmas lights for her room. She inherited her obsession for them, from me. Every room in our house has strands of Christmas lights on the walls because for me, it’s necessary. I can’t help it, this is just who I am. So as soon as she wakes up and while I’m trying to call the bank about my fancy-schmancy new debit card, she is two inches from my face the whole time asking when we are going to the store to buy her lights. Finally I give up calling the bank and decide we will have to go up there instead. As we are leaving and while we are in the car driving, my toddler is asking me if we are going to get her lights. I tell her “yes, after we go to the bank,” and she begins to plead her case on why it is imperative that we get her lights FIRST, as I counter with the logic of I cannot pay for said lights if my card does not work. This went on for quite a while. I decided to go to the store and try to use my card as credit instead and then head to the bank to set my PIN. I did this because convincing a toddler that my current need is more important than her want, was unfruitful and the conversation was beginning to drive me crazy.
We get to the bank where we see a giant John Deer ATV sitting on display in the lobby. Only in Oklahoma… I knew that my daughter would go nuts and this would wind up being the worst experience at the bank, in my life. She loves trucks, cars, construction machines, trains, etc. and this ATV looked like a giant toy to her. My first words were, “Do not go near that, do you understand?” She hesitantly looked at me and said, “Yes Ma’am,” but it wasn’t genuine. I spent 30 minutes at the Teller while she called someplace else trying to figure out why I could not set my PIN, while my four year old tip-toed closer to, then around and then onto the ATV. Every time I told her to get away from this expensive vehicle that I could not afford for her to damage let alone blast through the glass doors of the bank and ride off into the sunset in, she just backed away long enough for me to avert my eyes back to the Teller asking me questions, and then inched her way right back to it. We eventually got the matter settled and could leave. We walk out of the bank to the parking lot where I head towards what I thought was our car. Not actually looking completely up to see if it was or not, I pull the handle of the car and realize it is not unlocking like it usually does when I grab the handle. I look up to see an elderly woman staring in complete horror through her driver’s side window at the tattooed woman with a child trying to break into her car with her sitting in it. It was that moment that I realized, I am one loose thread away from unraveling. I begged for her forgiveness for me being so careless to think this was my car — it should be said that mine was parked right next to hers – I laughed nervously and walked my daughter to our actual car. We get home and I hang up my daughter’s lights on her wall, at which time she tells me, “There’s not enough of them, Mom.”
A couple of hours later, the tiny terror and I head an hour and half out of the state to meet my older daughter at a doctor’s appointment. Because I am directionally challenged and could get lost on my own street, I decided to let the GPS instruct me on where to go. As the lady on the GPS in her soft voice is telling me what directions to take, my toddler is repeating every word she says, but scrambling it all up and I am losing my mind because it’s not like I can hit replay, I’ve only been to this new doctor once, and my kid won’t be quiet long enough for me to hear what the lady is saying. Meanwhile, I have huge trucks riding my behind, my toddler is telling me she has to pee and I feel closer and closer to insanity. We finally get to the appointment where the little one proceeds to crawl across the examining room floor meowing like a cat. That was until she saw the stool with the wheels on it. Then she decided to lay stomach-down on it and propel herself across the room. Did I mention my teenage daughter’s father and step mother where crammed in this room with us? Well they were. As soon as the doctor came in, the toddler decided to stand directly in front of her looking up at and talking over the doctor. I felt my blood boiling. I was ready to snap, but because we were at a pediatric office that probably has CPS on speed dial, I kept my cool. I gave her “the look.” Every mother knows the look. Your eyes turn the size of silver dollars, pupils enlarge and your lips purse together, as you begin to resemble something along the lines of the hulk just at the beginning of his transformation. Yep. That thread was breaking, as this little girl of mine stared back at me with a devious grin, almost sizing me up. As if to say, “What? What are you gonna do, suckah?” Yeah she was charging me up. I’m sure you know the phrase “going ham,” well I was about to go ham AND potatoes the likes of which no one has ever seen before.
Thankfully that ended and we made our hour and half drive back home, with frazzled me driving as fast as I could without plowing people off of the road. If there was a coffee large enough that could be mixed with ungodly amounts of wine, my world would have been a better place at that moment in time.
We picked up my husband and ended our day at a restaurant that we typically don’t like, because my daughter said that she wanted eggs, sausage, hash browns and pancakes for dinner – Which left us with only one choice to choose from. While we ate, she was making the syrups talk and then stuck her tongue into the opening of the Blueberry syrup container. This was after she got under the table to catch lost crayons, banged on the table with her spoon and talked as loudly as she possibly could. The couple sitting next to us with their three young children were fighting a similar battle. It wasn’t until I overheard the father say to them, “This is why we don’t like taking y’all anywhere, cuz y’all don’t know how to act,” that I realized someone out there understood exactly what I was feeling. There’s more of us out there than people understand. We are the people on the verge of a nervous breakdown and just praying that someone will offer to babysit so that we can sit in quiet bliss, in our home, barely clothed and staring at the walls while not talking to anyone. We are the ones that have the look of total desperation on our faces in the grocery store. The ones who haven’t had a real dinner out in years and have completely forgotten what the words “table manners” mean, while others stare at us nodding their disapproving heads in shame and whispering about how much better of a parent they would be than us – IF THEY HAD A CHILD. We are the ones who need someone to tell us that these mini psychopaths that we share a dwelling with eventually DO grow up and move the hell out and to hang in there. We’re like abused animals, terrified of people and just looking for the nearest shelter to crawl in, away from the world. So if you see one of us, be kind, approach with caution and if we look on the verge of tears, maybe offer up a hug.