One morning earlier this week, in a highly uncharacteristic move, I departed the house before my children did. I did not leave calmly, nor did I leave happily. I left in what can only be described as a rage. My children were so wildly obnoxious and rude that I literally wondered if I would be able to contain my anger long enough to get myself out the door, in the car and safely drive off.
The details of their transgressions (both were equally culpable) fall squarely into the “things I need not share with everyone on earth” category, but, suffice to say, it was unpleasant for everyone involved. I am aware of two sets of tears (mine and Jessie’s) and one denial of car usage. I am less aware of what exactly prompted the complete dissolution of humanity from my kitchen table.
As much as my children were losing their shit at the tender hour of 7 a.m., I was no better. As I drove off I willed myself not to cry. I had a full day of meetings and appointments and the thought of facing any of them with my beloved mascara having been washed away was simply more than I could bear. I situated my car in a place that I would not be spotted by aforementioned monsters, yet would be able to assure that they got off okay. I spied Jessie and her bright pink jacket (which she has since managed to lose) walking alongside our neighbor Grace and checked her off my list of immediate concerns. Not long afterward, the high school bus rounded the corner and I checked to see that Harrison’s car remained in the driveway. At the precise moment I did my drive-by, he was climbing into his friend Alex’s car, hitching a ride. (This kid will do anything to avoid taking the bus.) Once I knew that they were both on their way to school and each looked fairly unscathed by the events of the morning, the need to weep passed. But, as you can surmise from the fact that I am still talking about this all this days later, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
One thing I know for sure: this had nothing to do with anything tangible. (Read: one child did not do anything egregious against the other.) And while I like to think it was unrelated to Jessie’s (not quite so) new identity, I fear that, in the recesses of the minds, it may have been. No matter if the issue is transgender, illness, anxiety or any other of the many curveballs we all face as people and, perhaps even more so as parents, everyone in the house is forced to take it on and, inevitably, it bubbles to the surface under the guise of something totally unrelated and, voila, we have complete and total meltdown. Well, that was a hell of a way to start the day.
I know how hard this (or any other unanticipated, crazy ass issue) has been for everyone in the family. A part of me almost appreciates the degree of normalcy in siblings going after one another, although that morning was a tad more dramatic and intense than I might like. Another part of me, though, wonders when the new normal will become just plain old normal. When will negative sibling exchanges be taken at face value and not require deep psychological thinking? When will I successfully embrace the “sometimes a rose is just a rose” philosophy that is so close, yet so far away? And when will my kids make the move from being at each other’s throats to appreciating one another and their shared history?
I am relatively sure that my darling children have all but forgotten about the ugliness of that morning earlier this week. There have been minor upsets, insults and altercations since then which, if I had to guess, are more in the forefront of their immature minds than the time they drove mom to the brink of insanity. And I suppose it is preferable that I, as opposed to my kids, be the one struggling. Either way, as boring a normal can be it sounds kinda nice right about now…