Two days ago, I found myself on the kitchen floor, legs curled up to my chest crying.
It had been a day.
It didn't start out so bad. The kids and I had a fairly uneventful and easy trip to the grocery store. We piled the cart with plenty of healthy items and then sprinkled it with our favorite treats.
While traveling home, they accommodated my NPR program and quietly read library books while gnawing on Starburst.
It was joyful. Until it wasn't.
Somewhere between grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots and chocolate milk, I turned into a raving lunatic. I could no longer cope with asking them fourteen times to take their plate to the counter, wash their hands, and to stop bothering each other. I could not contend with the constant giggling, teasing, and non-stop joke telling over and over again. Imagine that, kids wanting to laugh and tell jokes in the summertime? And when they started running circles around the kitchen saying the same mundane, ridiculous made-up phrases over and over, I lost my shit.
"G-E-T O-U-T....do you HEAR me? G-E-T O-U-T of the God damned kitchen!!! I am through with you!"
Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't curse at my children. I'm likely to be the one to give you the evil eye if you happen to drop a 'shit' or 'damn' around my little ones. I just don't tolerate it. But for whatever reason and really with very little prompting, I could not, I repeat, I could not handle it.
And it wasn't until after washing the dishes and heading into the bathroom, I found my middle child crying pulling out the vacuum from the closet. Tripping over the power cord, tears streaming down her face, she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry I made you mad, mama...please don't be through with me."
To which I threw down my towel and said something to the effect of, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to say those words. I love you to the moon and back."
Why is parenting so God damn hard? Why do my decisions matter so much to me? Argh.
And so there I was knees up to my chest crying....wishing that I knew how to get a better grip, how to not worry so much, how to not stress so much, how to not try to control so much.
I suppose acknowledgement is the first step. I'm hoping that grace is the second and that ultimately, they won't be laying on their therapists' couch someday recounting this story. I'm certain that there in for many more doozies with me at the helm.
Until then, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference." Amen.