I have a love/hate relationship with Monday morning now. Back when I was single and unemployed, I used to just have hate/hate. Now that I have two small children who are old enough to fight over stuff, however, I pray at the altar of silence and Monday mornings, for at least a few hours this summer, I embrace the quiet of Monday mornings on a cellular level. For a solid 20 minutes. Until the restless starts creeping up my body. If I were the leisurely type, I’d whip out the 500 page book about a chimp I am supposed to be reading for book group, pour myself a cup of tea, and lay on my bed. But I can’t do that. I have the equivalent of a flesh-eating disease, only it lives in my brain and attacks my sense of worthiness in stillness. I am a Yoga guru’s extreme makeover waiting to happen.
Until that transformation, I am going to try to focus on the positive and say that this particular Monday morning I am happy. I am happy because last week is officially over. It was a week of accordion breathing from Gideon’s still small chest as he was hit with another athsma storm. I was reminded of the first year of his life, the ER visits, the timing of his breaths, the utter powerlessness I felt at being able to stuff enough oxygen down his lungs. Staying up all night watching his chest lit by a street light shining through our window, making sure it kept moving in and out, well, it’s a kind of laser focus I simply don’t employ much in my life. It is the opposite of multi-tasking and it’s terrifying. I placed my slip-on sneakers by the bed poised to jump in to, out the door, into the car and to the hospital in a split second decision. That didn’t happen last week. Gideon was fine in two days. God bless the home nebulizer and those vials of clear liquid. Then I got his bug and although I didn’t wheeze, I did get chills and fever and nausea that I no longer think means I’m pregnant. Sickness has left the building. Monday morning, me again.
I hate that my children fight. Like any solid addict, (not to jump on a popular bandwagon, I’ve been an addict before being an addict was cool. I never talk about it but I’ve been sober on and (briefly) off for over 20 years. And don’t leave me alone with a cake from Sweet Lady Jane) I am convinced that my boys’ loud, grating disputes about whose balloon is whose, who has more tiny plastic toy figures, who races to the car quickest after leaving the supermarket, are all my fault. That their need to fight about all of these tiny moments in life are because they are not getting enough attention from me, or the right kind of attention from me, or because they have never eaten anything green in their lives other than an M&M dyed the shade of freshly cut grass. Imperfect nutrition, most definitely my fault. I was telling a friend about my sensitivity to the boys’ fighting, which I am ashamed to write ended yesterday with me screaming at my husband, “I CANNOT STAND THE BOYS CONSTANT FUCKING SCREAMING!!!”, and she said, “Isn’t that just normal? Kids fighting? Didn’t you fight with your sister?”
“I don’t know, I have blocked all of that out.”
“No wonder you can’t stand hearing it. It must have been terribly painful.”
Why didn’t I think this through before I had children? The unavoidable reliving, in my case regurgitating, of all these moments of my life I pushed away in to the bowels of my mind.
Is there a doctor in the house?
So on this particular summer Monday, it is fresh-water river clear that driving me nuts is no longer the exclusive domain of my mother. My little ones can also push me to my limits. And my husband, the person in the car ahead of me, and all the people in cars everywhere in Los Angeles, the people at the beach, the person at the table next to me Starbuck’s going over her receipts with her accountant or bookie, not sure which, the tediously meticulous clerks at libraries, people who use public bathrooms other than me when I am desperate. People, really. It’s all people everywhere for all time who bring out the worst in me, without them I would be fine.
Important Note: If you found this and read it, you have made me feel less alone and so to you, I am forever grateful. You, of course, are eternally exempt from my contempt.