Today: kind of murderous. For the most part. Dishes, drudgery. In the evening I’m pissed at my son for interrupting the few minutes Ralph and I have to talk on the bleachers while our daughter swims, after I told our son to Please Be Quiet because I want a few minutes to talk to my husband. And of course he wasn’t, and it made me so angry that he’s such a selfish dick, and I know if I don’t curb my anger he feels it and it makes him feel Bad and Terrible. The list of grievances kept coming: I’m irritated the yoga classroom being so damned cold, eye-rollingly cross at my husband for caring too much what other parents think (of us, of our kids’ behavior) in the public sphere, annoyed at my mother at dinner when she orders a huge drink, which who cares, but of course she’s always telling me she “isn’t drinking anymore”, probably the most confusing and gaslighting lie of my childhood. And then other stuff that adult children can get annoyed at their parents about (in other words, No Big Deal). I feel surprisingly acrimonious towards my daughter at 7:30 tonight, who displays an uncharacteristic disrespect when we leave the YMCA and she asks for her chocolate muffin and I say kindly Hey, you told me you didn’t want it, and your father and brother ate it and she cries, then yells – at me – and won’t calm. I mean normally I can handle her crying fits or small rages or drama because I really, really do understand and it isn’t “drama” to the person going through it. But today I felt like pulling the car over and screaming at her. I didn’t – which I do put down to good parenting – yay me.
As shitty a day as I sometimes have, I’m aware of how fortunate I am to have a family. And there’s something comforting in the fact that even when I am having a Bad Day they aren’t necessarily having such a rough time. At dinner my mother and Nels cuddled together and she spontaneously asked him if he’d like to stay the night. And I felt this amazing gratitude toward my mother, who let me down in so many ways growing up but her love of my children – and their love of her – is something completely Beautiful and all their own and one of my great pleasures to witness. Ralph got home a little after 10:30 PM – he’d taken The Boy grocery and craft supply shopping (the latter is a near constant around here, whenever there’s cash to scrape up) and left our son – bathed, hair washed, snuggled in a blanket on my mom’s couch and watching 101 Dalmations – at my mother’s house. Ralph and I have a night with just our girl, which frankly feels wonderful. And because the kids don’t get up for school it’s like every day is a weekend, and that is rather awesome I must say, because I feel I can really recover and rest from a Bad Day and I don’t get sick or stressed too much the way I absolutely did when I worked out of the home.
While Ralph and Nels are out I work on a sewing project; Sophie comes back with some pipe cleaner and origami creations she’d worked on while we were out at dinner (she enjoys spending time alone, an aspect of her personality I love about her) and we make plans for a project. Then she tells me she wants to sew and can I take a break from what I’m working on? Sure. She picks a pattern from the specialized stitches on my mom’s Bernina and selects a scrap and finds thread and asks me how to thread the machine. I start talking her through it but before I can say more than a couple words her hands perform the operations effortlessly and gracefully. I feel chills: it’s one of those moments like the quickening in one’s womb, or a first kiss, or witnessing a death, something amazing happening. I have taught many, many people to sew but I don’t think I’ve seen any novice thread a machine as beautifully as she just did, her first try. I know that in part it’s because I’ve been sewing around her as long as she can remember; still, I’d never shown her the operation directly. And it feels so strange to me the workings are in her blood and her long, beautiful fingers and I didn’t mean to put it there, but there it is at any rate.