Monday, March 22, 2010

The Big Break

I was talking to a good friend tonight about how difficult it is to be a parent in general, how we find so much joy in being mothers to our respective three children (two boys and a girl) but that it also often amounts to being just a plain pain in the ass. She spoke to me of a recent health issue with one of her sons and how it taxed her patience and even sanity when she realized that it wasn't a truly serious issue but one that was manageable, really, if it weren't for the difficult behavior of her son. I spoke of dealing with one of my son's current academic difficulties in school and his irrational defiance of help. I told her about the drama of my afternoon with him at the Korean learning center, the tears, the defiance, the obstreperousness and the almost teeth-gritting patience and lack of drama of the teacher at the center.

It makes me feel insane and not because it's really all that stressful. It makes me feel nuts because, sometimes, it's just so damn boring. There's a small -- o.k., maybe slightly bigger than small but certainly not huge -- part of me that just can't be bothered, that just wants the kid to get on with it, stop the drama, accept the help, do the work, be happy and move on. I want to feel those things purely and perhaps not really act on them (I can continue to be encouraging and gentle and oh-so-politically correct and be aware of his self-esteem) but I also don't want the tortured feeling that comes way too quickly after -- the feeling that something might be going on that's deeper and more psychologically intense, that somehow the particular dynamics of being in a family like ours, his birth order, the fact that his sister has a severe disability and he's seen thousands of seizures and she can't talk and nothing seems to help her -- well, all that always, always enters into my thoughts on the tail of the other parenting is such a pain in the ass feelings and I just want to feel the simple parenting is such a pain in the ass feeling all by itself.

And if that isn't enough crabbiness for you, I also told my friend that given my insurance issues of last week (still waiting for birth control prescription for Sophie to be approved), the third grader's academic difficulties, The Husband's spending an absolutely unprecedented time with The Mistress and continued financial woes, well, I want a break.

Actually, I don't want just a break. I want a


I'm so crabby that I don't want to think a telephone call from a friend at a particularly stressful moment is my break. I don't want to think about the grace of God or the moment I have a vision in a yoga class and all is well in that moment. I'm just a teensy tinesy bit tired of the gratitude movement and the thinking positive thing.

I want a


I'm thinking huge here -- my friend suggested to shoot for half a million dollars. I'm thinking the birth control is covered by the insurance company, Sophie begins taking it and her terrible seizures stop. I'm thinking that someone calls me and wants to help me finish putting my book together, represent me and sell it to a publisher for an advance. I'm thinking that a few families with lots of money want to start a school for children like Sophie that is modeled after Waldorf Schools, a beautiful place with lots of nature, art, movement, animals, trees, flowers and music.  I'm thinking someone tells me that I will be fifty pounds lighter tomorrow and so perfectly conditioned that I can begin running 3-6 miles daily.

Big sigh. Humor me.


  1. i read your post...and found myself not knowing where to begin. because i wish i could somehow lift you up up up and away from it all. just so you could breathe slowly. and relax. and let your guard down. and dream. laugh. just simply be unfettered and alive.
    and then return to everyone you LOVE so completely. because even all the way from here...
    that much is crystal clear.

  2. You are right to the max here. I am so ready for a break/BREAK here that is not even funny. I began to feel this much better Saturday and it was like having been thirsty for all of my life and zomg! WATER!!!

    Unfortunately the water was real and I must have some turkey DNA because I don't know how to get out of the pouring water from above and continued to move pots here and yonder until every bone in my body hurt, and this morning I felt so bad I couldn't get up.

    Yes, just let me know where we are going so I know what to pack. I wish I had millions, I would fund the school, I would be the resident psychologist and the martini mixer and we would be thin, and gorgeous and we will have rainbows at our call.

    It must be the fever. Good night darling, I love you.

  3. I feel that "get on with it feeling" so many times a day, and yes it is boring and tiresome sometimes, the typical stuff just as much as the disability stuff, and so obvious what they (my kids) NEED to do that it drives me absolutely nuts that they aren't doing it. Most of the time I try to talk in my nice and patient voice but I'm pretty sure I yelled "I CAN'T DO THIS A-N-Y-M-O-R-E" at top volume this morning. I don't remember why or even to whom I was speaking (screaming), but I do remember feeling horrible and thinking immediately that perhaps something else is going on to cause that particular child (was it Ruby?) to act that in that particular way and that I should be getting outside help rather than beating my head against the wall. But then do I just think she needs help because we're in "that world" and the binder of specialists is so huge that I don't even know what a typical kid is like anymore?

    Yes, a break. I love your list. I'd add time away by yourself -- a whole week where you only need to think about yourself because someone fabulous has it all covered at home.

  4. I get this--that feeling of wanting to say to your child, "Just deal with it"--but knowing there are so many things, issues, challenges at play that getting on with it isn't likely to happen.

    Like rebecca says, I wish I could somehow lift you up and away, give you that break you so desperately need. I'm sorry it's hard right now.

  5. I've read and reread,
    because I'm giving you ample time to gush about how not just one, but all of those dreams have come to reality.

    okay, I humoured you.

    And I think you and that elusive husband of yours need to go on a break together.

  6. I want a break for you, too. Maybe if we all hope at once, it will happen!

  7. This posting makes me long for Renee, who would know exactly what to prescribe for this malady.
    I think she'd wish for a magic carpet to whisk you away to some warm, secluded desert oasis, filled with fragrant flowers. You would have a quiet room with a private pool and waterfall, where you would be massaged and washed and fed good food. The food would nourish your body, mind and spirit, and it would also help you to magically lose whatever pounds are bothering you. Then you would sleep deeply, and wake up refreshed, and everything in your life would look different to you, familiar, joyful and not draining.
    I think Renee would know how to get there...but we can dream of it together, and ask her to help us find it, can't we? XOXO

  8. I know and don't know what you mean. I don't know the reality of a daughter who needs you so much. If that fifty pound thing happens, I want to be the first to know of it.

  9. Well hit me over the head with a cracked mirror and call me ugly.

    I rarely ever EVER read something that I feel but haven't had the smarts or awareness to articulate myself. And you did it. And I really REALLY needed to read it. I'm copying and pasting, woman. You are COPIED. Look for yourself or a close resemblance in a Flux blog coming to your computer soon.
    **This has been a paste and copy. Any paste and copying is without the explicit consent of the author and done with the cheeky gall of the copier. Any opinion on such copying and pasting is not encouraged or socially accepted. This has been a message from your local pain in the ass.


  10. Look- can I just say this? Maybe Oprah always has something in her life to be grateful for but dammit, if we are eternally grateful, what the hell does grateful mean?
    Bite my grateful ass. Sometimes it's not appropriate to be grateful.
    Love you, dear.



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