Posted on | September 24, 2012 | 8 Comments
I’ve spent the last three days at home, sick as all get out, with a sick toddler. And above all the “no sirs” and “PUT THAT DOWN” and “J, PLEASE” the one phrase that got said the most was the simply spat “Get. It. Together.”
To be honest, I really don’t know which one of us needed to hear it the most.
We were both tired of being in the house, tired of each other, tired of tissues, tired of coughing and above all else, just tired of not feeling up to par. So in between feeling lousy, we took every opportunity to piss each other off… and yeah, I know he’s three… but I also felt like he did a lot of it on purpose. And because I felt like that, I did a lot of gritting my teeth, a lot of growling, and a bit of clenching knuckles.
His name, coupled with the word “no” became an unfortunate mantra. His face seemed poised on the precipice of crumbling at all times. My patience was… non existent. I had a really crappy parenting weekend. A really crappy one.
I think I told him to “GET. IT. TOGETHER.” at least a billion times. I would feel the growl in the pit of my stomach before it ever erupted out of my mouth, feel it building to a breaking point, a violent explosion of spat out semi-meanness directed towards my normally sweet and gentle son.
There was nothing sweet and gentle about this weekend… not for either of us. I was so on edge, so ready to snap, that by the end of Sunday, every time J did anything out of line he immediately started saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” on repeat… a tiny offering of peace to the angry beast his mother had become.
Get it together.
It’s what I should have told myself. It’s what I think I was trying to tell myself all weekend. Just… get it together. Because he’s three and I’m thirty-four. Because in a battle of wills or a battle of strength, I will always win. Because I’m his mother and it’s my job to just get it together.
So this morning, I pulled myself together. I woke him up with a smile I tried hard to feel and we had biscuits with apple butter and watched Go Diego Go. When he peed on the floor just as we were heading out the door, I bit my tongue and cleaned him up, asking him to tell me what was wrong, why he was forgetting to use the big boy potty. When he cried for his pacifier in the car, I reminded him that he was a big boy while reminding myself he’s just a baby… his tears are temporary, his tests are finite, his three-ness will expire. It’s so hard to remember, when I’m in the thick of the madness, that this really will pass, that these moments of madness will give way to the hushing lull of silence, the bare floors of an empty home. It’s so hard to remember to get it together, to enjoy him while I can, to embrace him while he’s here, to love him even when he seems most unlovable.
This morning, I got it together, finally. But I wish I could have remembered to do that all weekend long.