Better

This morning everybody is angry with me, total kon kon (which is the Japanese sound for when people are super pissed). Seth and Owen because I wouldn’t let them have sleepovers last night, and Tex because, in a serious lapse of judgment, I let Seth wear her wedding tie to his freshman/sophomore semi-formal last night. Doesn’t matter that I was fielding things on the fly (Seth came home in a rush for his clothes and couldn’t find a good tie that matched the shirt he wanted to wear), that I actually didn’t remember it was her wedding tie (what kind of wife am I??) or that I thought it was adorable that Seth wanted to borrow Tex’s tie and that I’m married to a butch who has ties that Seth can borrow – none of that matters, although I guess it kind of matters to me since I’m going on about it in a whiney defensive manner – what matters is that everyone is mad!

 I hate it when people are mad at me, especially the people I love most. It makes me feel like I’m the suck person of the universe and can’t do anything right. It makes my stomach hurt. Tex has stomped off to walk the dog and take her tie to the cleaner, this after an extremely unpleasant interchange when she discovered Seth had not only borrowed said wedding tie with my blessings, but tossed it carelessly on top of the dog’s crate (his way of saying “fuck you” to me after the sleepover ban; he also left his dress shirt on the ottoman with a dirty ice cream dish balanced on it and a dirty glass on the floor) and said wedding tie is drenched with the extremely noxious “cologne” the male children Seth hangs out with insist on anointing themselves with. 

 When people are mad at me, I tend to let the bad feelings accumulate. My one mistake becomes a magnet to pull to me so many, many other mistakes I’ve made in my life; not only that, but I start thinking about how I’m a failure in every other way, as well. Not a very good or consistent parent. An indifferent wife. Don’t take good care of myself or my family. My work life is a joke. My creative life is a joke. I disappoint everyone. I’m old and dried up. Oooh, don’t it ‘arf go on and on!

 I’ve got a picture of Seth as a baby kicking around on my windowsill that I can see as I type. We were at the mall, and it was one of those instant picture-onto-keychain things we were getting for relatives. He doesn’t have much hair and he’s trapped in his stroller and he is certainly not wearing cologne. But he was still himself, and from his expression I can tell he wasn’t exactly enjoying being peered at and made over; he much preferred being left alone. That was 15 years ago and now there are a scant 3 years before he flies the coop and is out on his own.

 Holding steady against the onslaught of all those old, powerful emotions is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and is perhaps the definition I most relate to of being a parent, a wife, a friend. When I denigrate myself, give in to my deep desires to crawl back in bed, scream and accuse, eat cookies all day, what kind of home am I making for myself, for my family? What am I saying to my friends? I do do those things, often, actually, because they attract and seduce me in my most human places. And I’m really pretty upset right now and I can tell you that my stomach hurts and that I’m already thinking about cookies.

 There’s something else I can see from my desk, but only if I turn around: stuck up on my file cabinet is a little card I picked up somewhere that says “Life gets better no matter what.” Some days that feels counterintuitive and dumbly Pollyanna — how can life get better if, say, you get cancer, or someone you love gets killed, or they drop the bomb? Other days it makes a glimmer of sense. Like right now I’m making breakfast, and I’m planning the day, and when Tex gets back I hope she’s feeling better and when the boys wake up I hope they’re feeling better and already from writing this I’m feeling better, even though I was really in a devil mood when I sat down here.

 Dear reader, I hope for you that your life is also getting better. No matter what. 

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Published in: on March 17, 2012 at 9:02 AM  Leave a Comment  
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