I’m sorry for such vulgarity! And right in the title too. Eeesh.
Actually I’m not sorry.
It’s the truth and the word mindf*ck describes my parenting the last few days to perfection.
Monday night Watermelon and her friend M wanted to walk to the gas station to get ice cream. Sounds harmless, right? Well you have to cross a busy highway so my answer is always the same.
Nope. No and no.
Rambo and I don’t want our 12 year old cute daughter crossing a major highway or walking that far. Call us paranoid or strict or whatever. Watermelon thinks we’re crazy because at least 3 of her other friends are allowed to do it. All 3 of those girls have pretty much non-existent parents. Parents who could care less if their cute little girls are crossing intersections or highways because they only care about their daughters being out of the house so they don’t have to deal with them.
So I told Watermelon and M that they couldn’t go. That I cared too much about her to let her do that. She was mad. I let her be mad. But it sucked. Big ass donkey balls. I hate saying no. I hate being the bad guy in her eyes. I hate the feelings I felt. I hate that I ever got mad at my own mom for the same thing. Just yuck.
And it’s made so much more lovely by the fact that her friend M had to witness me being a jerk.
For a couple hours Monday night, I’m sure that Watermelon and M discussed how I must be Satan’s sister.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. Watermelon asks me to come outside. There stands M. Crying. Her step-dad took her 3 year old brother and left to get away for a bit. Away from M’s mom who is acting crazy and is supposedly on drugs. M doesn’t want to be there. Can M stay with us for the night?
I hugged M for a while. Told her I was sorry. I looked at Watermelon because I was actually worried she may feel jealous or left out and all I saw was Watermelon looking at M – with sadness in her eyes for M. Twelve year old girls shouldn’t have to deal with this shit. Ever. It’s just not fair. Ever.
I’ve been here before with M. She only lives a few houses down and so when things get bad – she runs to our house and Watermelon. I hate sending her back home on those nights – but I have to. She’s not my kid. I feel like I’m sending a soldier into a raging war…only the soldier is a kid with no weapons and the war has nothing to do with her.
Drugs and fighting and yelling and crying and leaving. I told M those are all adult things that she shouldn’t even know about. She should just be being a kid.
M is screwed up enough because her bio father has nothing to do with her. She is constantly seeking male attention. And now more of this?
I said if her parents okayed it – she could stay. I didn’t even have to wake her up this morning. Her and Watermelon were up and dancing and getting ready for school before the alarm even went off. I hugged them both goodbye and a part of me wanted to tell M that she never had to leave. That THIS right here was how her every morning should be. That THIS is what she deserves….but I have no power over that.
It has to be enough that I can give her one night of refuge I guess.
So I only had to take little Banana to daycare this morning. She rode in the front seat and was all excited. A few minutes in – I felt something on my arm. It was her hand reaching for mine. She never spoke a word.
I held on for dear life and she held my hand all the way there.
Such a small gesture – and yet – so big. For me, it felt like a lifeline from God. Like an opportunity to suck all the goodness out of a 7 year old that I could so I could refill my tank that had been emptied so much in the last 48 hours.
Have you ever held a small child’s hand for at least 15 minutes? It’s soft and perfect and just the right size and it fits in your hand like a glove. My hand that has seen pain and tears and 12 year olds who live in a toxic environment and loss and love and disappointment and joy – wrapped around this tiny hand that hasn’t experienced much of anything yet except childhood and happiness. Her little pure hand in my adult tainted hand….reminded me of when mine used to be pure.
She held mine tight. She never let go all the way there. She wore her flip flops today to be like me. She wore a dress today to be like me. She wore her cool shades all the way to daycare so she could look like me. She told me she wants me to go on her field trip with her next week because if I don’t she’ll miss me and Rambo.
The moment was perfect. And God how I wished I could stay in that moment and just feel the tiny hand in mine. Not go to work. Not worry about M and if she’ll stay at our house again tonight. Not think about any other jobs or duties or responsibilities.
I guess while last night we gave M some peace and quiet and security, Banana gave me some of that back this morning without even knowing it.
Those are the moments that matter. The moments we cling to in our darkest hours. The moments that make all the other shit worth it. The moments that can sometimes completely erase past pains or current heartbreak. The moments we hope will come around again.
The moments we never saw coming but needed desperately.
I went from being a hated mom to feeling heartbreak for M to relief that I could help her to sadness that I couldn’t help her longer to sanity and gratefulness for what I have that came in the form of a tiny hand reaching across the car for mine.
Parenting is a freaking roller coaster of emotions.
It is a complete and total mindf*ck.
It is not for the feint of heart. You can go from asshole to savior in a matter of seconds.
And if you’re like me – you often wonder if you can pull off this thing called parenting? You wonder if you’re doing anything right. You wonder how you’ll ever survive this.
Then the Universe gives you a little encouragement that you didn’t see coming.
In the form of a tiny hand. Reaching for yours.
And in that moment you know that you have to keep on trying….because you love the little girls behind the tiny hands more than the air you breathe.
Be it asshole or savior – the love you feel never lessens.
And the mindf*ck continues.
As it should I suppose.