Prayers for the tragedy in France. “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it must be attained through understanding” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Welcome to the newly renovated The View Through The Window. I was getting tired of that old theme and I like to switch things up now and then. I hope you like this new blog style as much as I do. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.
He’s the good cop to your bad cop. The fun loving parent to your disciplinarian. The one who sneaks your kids candy during time outs. I quote, “Daddy’s awesome and you suck.”
Husbands. You gotta love em. And because we love them, let’s start with all the things they do that make them wonderful :
-He comes home after work.
I’m just kidding. We all know husbands do a lot more good than just come home from work. Let’s add to the list.
-He comes straight home from work.
Still kidding. Don’t get your boxers in a bunch. The real list follows :
-He comes straight home from work to a crabby wife and hyper kids, yet still manages to remain upbeat.
-Is tired as hell but tells you to take a break.
-Knows exactly what to do when you’re angry. When I’m mad at him, my husband starts cleaning. He strongly believes that cleanliness is next to godliness because it prevents your wife from doing that head turning thing from the Exorcist.
-Doesn’t question the logic behind why I can be as grumpy as I want but he gets in trouble for not smiling enough.
-Worked for years at a job he hated because he felt he had to. His hard work is what made it possible for me to stay at home with our kids. This is the reason why I call my husband the real superman. That and because he’s survived being married to me for so long.
-Is ever supportive, whether it’s you wanting to go back to school, starting a blog or turning off all the lights and pretending no one’s home when the neighbor’s annoying kids show up uninvited.
-Is the world’s greatest dad. My husband has more patience than a monkey has love for bananas. He can play make believe games with my boys for hours. I would rather clean the house. Or watch paint dry. Or clean the house while I watch paint dry.
-He lets you blog about him.
And since nothing and no one is perfect, here are things he does that make him so very annoying :
-You send him to the supermarket for cauliflower and he returns with lettuce. You ask for parsley and he gets spinach.
-Half your kitchen stuff ends up where it shouldn’t be when he unloads the dishwasher.
-His version of cleaning is to dump everything in the kids’ toy box and/or the closet.
-You can always count on him to not answer his phone.
-Wouldn’t know his way around the kitchen even if it came equipped with exit signs.
-Thinks it’s okay to have a conversation with you when you’re brushing your teeth. Or through the bathroom door. But thou shall not interrupt viewing of football game.
-Thinks we are out of <fill in the blank> if a sixty second search for it yields nothing.
-Grins and says But I picked you when you tell him his taste sucks.
-Thinks sitting down to pee is a strange and foreign concept.
-His looking for something usually ends up with you finding it for him.
-His lack of attention to detail and failure to pick up on social cues makes you wonder if he spent his adolescent years devoid of human interaction. When I was pregnant and mine no longer fit, my husband thought it was okay to tell my family I was wearing his underwear.
-Hogs the blanket. Tosses and turns enough to wake the dead. My husband’s nocturnal bed shaking (no, not that kind) once even woke him up. He turned to me, still half asleep, and asked was there an earthquake? to which I replied no, darling, your ass was just doing its sleep aerobics thing again.
-Leaves all pantry and cabinet doors wide open. Shutting them makes you feel like Vanna White after an exceptionally large puzzle solving on an early 90’s episode of Wheel of Fortune. You know, before it went all touch screen.
-He lets you blog about him with the condition that you will do a similar post on wives.
Needless to say, I accepted the challenge.
All mothers, or all parents rather, know that the time gap between one oh, shit! moment and the next is small. There’s that golden five minutes when everything is right in your world and the rock of now freaking what?! hasn’t shattered the glass of homework is done, dinner is ready, house is habitable, and the kids are mostly clean. Yes, when you’re a mother to two little boys, one of them prone to fits of extreme hyperactivity, that is your utopia. It’s a step up from the game of limbo I was playing when both my boys were under the age of three and how low can you go was anyone’s guess. That point was crossed when the washing machine crapped out at the same time as my breast pump. Begging God to grant you just one effing onesie that’s clean, just one! while you rummage through the pile of baby clothes like a homeless bag lady with her udders full to bursting wouldn’t rank very high on anyone’s Nielsen box.
The past week has been a mad rush of trying to get all my school work done and handed in on time. The feeling of thank everything that’s holy, the semester’s over had barely registered when I saw my first grader get off the bus and walk towards home. He paused to fiddle with something the neighbor across the street had put up in his yard and that’s when we both heard it. The extremely loud, nasal voice of our neighbor, demanding that my son keep his hands off whatever it was he was fiddling with for fear of it breaking and him hurting himself. The man was shouting so obnoxiously, at the top of his lungs, that I and the other kids walking home from the bus stop could clearly hear every word.
My son stared in the direction of the voice for a minute, stunned. Then he turned and slowly walked towards me, shock, hurt, and humiliation written all over his face. I felt those emotions myself, along with guilt. Not the kind of guilt you feel when you’re perusing Wikipedia articles while ignoring their please donate requests, but the kind of guilt you feel when you know you’ve failed someone.
My seven year old is a sweet little guy with an over the top zest for the funner things in life and an inability to keep his hands to himself. He’s the typical boy, just extremely overactive. He’s fried chicken, cooked extra spicy. If something in his vicinity is just standing there, minding its own business, he has to get his Facebook on and poke it. Often that something is his little brother.
He’s a curly haired cutie that neither listens to nor fears anyone. Being the first occupant of my womb entitled him to certain freebies in the minds of his grandchild starved grandparents, both maternal and paternal. Before we knew it, he was spoiled to the point of no return. He’s got an attention span of a full sixty seconds and a proclivity for bouncing off walls, sometimes literally, and getting himself into trouble, usually of the type that requires bandaging. He is the road runner to my coyote in the Sisyphus like trials that are the mothering of a child with a mind of his own.
That’s not to say he’s mean or hurtful. Far from it. He’s the Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone, not the Macaulay Culkin of The Good Son. If he knew what he was doing would bother our neighbor, he would never have done it. He’s well aware that he’s only allowed to make his parents miserable.
While standing at our door watching him walk over to me, I remembered another shouting my son had received from the same man, earlier on in the month, for not stopping to look right and left before crossing the street. I had let that pass at the time due to it seemingly coming from a genuine concern for my son’s well being, but in light of the most recent screamathon, I felt like the world’s biggest dumb fuck of a mom for doing so. If I hadn’t let the man think it was okay for him to raise his voice at my son the first time, he wouldn’t have dared to do it for the second.
Along with the guilt came the confusion of what exactly to do about the situation. My mama bear instincts were raring to go ape shit on the guy, but were held in check by the fact that on both occasions, my kid was being careless. And even though the man was loud and vile, the end result was that my son was safer due to his actions . It was a tough few minutes of mental and emotional wrangling, but in the end I decided that, even it was for his safety, no one could talk to my child in a way that made him feel and look the way he did when he slowly walked towards me from the driveway across the street. No kid’s safety should have to come at the expense of his self esteem.
I dialed the number for the neighbor and spoke to his extremely polite and really mature for his age eight year old, who rides the same bus and was witness to what had happened. He calmly explained to me that his dad was too harsh and that when his dad shouts like that, it scares him, too, which made me think the man’s fuse seemed to be only slightly longer than that of the incredible Hulk’s. The boy said not to worry and that he would send his father over to talk to me as soon as he returned home.
I hate confrontation. I’m a five foot zero inch shorty, but my brain forgets that little detail when it’s trying to put out the fire in my she’s pissed off as hell quadrant. I can’t say I wasn’t scared of meeting the man. I was actually hoping he would show up after six o’clock and then he’d be my husband’s problem. But I remembered the way I felt earlier, when I saw my son’s reaction, and that decided it for me. I had had enough of feeling like I had failed him. Whether I wanted to or not, I would don my warrior mom, she bear out to protect her cub, this bitch means child protective business outfit and confront that bastard. Which I did. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I got the point across, with double the prize money awarded because I did it without…wait for it…raising my voice.
This whole ordeal, and some of the other dear god, what the eff scenarios I’ve been through in the seven years I’ve been a parent, have taught me that being a mom or a dad is challenging. Very challenging. It’s the test of your life, without the option of open book or open notes. You’re expected to have all the answers when half the time you don’t even know what the fuck the question is. Your job comes with the requirement that mommy will make it all better, even on occasions when mommy’s ready to shit her pants. But it’s worth it in the end, when your children go off to college and become the state’s problem. Just kidding. It’s really all worth it just to hear those sweet little guys call you their momma.