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CRY/TRYING TALES

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I’m  trying to get out of the house and make it to Super Soccer Stars at the Boston Common.  In order to do this on time I have to wake up D Man and force feed the poor child his bottle.  Meanwhile I’m trying to convince Miss P. to put on her velcro sneakers in lieu of her summer-staple sandals because well, this is soccer and dem’s da rules.  I’m holding/bottle-feeding a 9 month old with one hand while attempting to shove a soccer uniform on a torso that’s in constant motion.  “I don’t want to wear that shirt Mommy!”  But you have to.  Because well, this is soccer and dem’s da rules.  {Not so brilliant newsflash… 3 year olds aren’t so into “da rules”}  I leave the house with the following items attached to some nook and cranny of my body: 2 bags, 2 kids, 1 velcro sneaker, 4 snacks, a bottle, a lollipop aka BRIBE (is that why they call them suckers?) and a blanket.  The only thing I don’t have on my person is coffee. Or breakfast.  I’m starving.  I now have 20 minutes to get across the city, find parking, and convince my daughter that exercise and group activity is FUN God Damn It.

We park and she decides she wants to ride in the stroller for the first time since she was old enough to walk.  So here I am trying to wrestle a hiccuping baby into the Bjorn while cursing myself for not bringing the double stroller and trying to keep my toddler from playing peek-a-boo with parked cars.  I’m starving.  We get to the field where I lay out a blanket for The D Man.  I sit down next to him.  In gum.  As I’m watching Miss P. not participate I realize that none of us are wearing sunscreen.  She comes over and asks me to do the activities with her so now I’m on the only helicopter parent on the field.  I feel like a jackass.  I’m watching her snuggle up to me, feel her forehead, and realize that she’s sick.  Duh.  That is the only time she acts like this.  I feel like a jackass again.  I look over at my son alone on the blanket.  I think I need to be cloned into two jackasses.

Soccer is over and P. asks to go on the Merry Go Round.  I buy the ticket and we are just about ready to give it to the lady when she decides she wants to go on the playground instead.  No way, Jose.  Mama bought a ticket per request so Mama is going on the Merry-Go-Round.  A Level Ten Temper-Tantrum ensues.  I briefly think to myself: Do I really care?  Shouldn’t I just let it goIt’s $3 for the Love of Pete.  But I stand my ground.  It’s the principle that matters.  She’s apparently better at standing her ground than I am though.  Screaming at the top of her lungs I think this is not my daughter.  I shouldn’t have forced her.  She doesn’t feel well.  But I can’t drop it.  I do not like this behavior and won’t allow it.  I sit down and hold my head in my hands to gather myself.  I’m starving, and still not wearing sunscreen.  An older lady walks by, takes one look at my daughter, points to her shirt that reads NANTUCKET (the uniform came off the second we got to the field) and says: “She’s sad because she wants to go back THERE. Life can’t be that bad.”   She’s trying to be funny but it makes me feel worse.  And then it happens.  A woman standing and watching her kids on the Merry-Go-Round comes over and puts her hand on my shoulder.  This is what ensues:

Her: “It’s not rational, it’s just the way they are sometimes.  It’s nothing you did. ”

Me: “It’s been a rough morning.  Do you have two?  I can’t believe how hard it can be.”

Her: “Yes, I do, but don’t worry, it gets easier.  You are in the thick of it.  Mine are a little older and I finally feel like I can breathe again.”

Me: “Thank you for saying that.  I feel so overwhelmed sometimes.”

Her: “It’s so overwhelming.  You know you are an educated, rational human-being with all of the resources you need to make it work and sometimes it just doesn’t.  That’s all.  It just doesn’t.”

Me: “You are so right.”

I gather myself and go over to my squatting toddler.  I thank this stranger for her kind words and tell her I was really happy we met (even though we didn’t, really.)  I contemplate giving her my card and telling her I will probably write really nice things about her but figured that would sound contrived and let it be.

We smile at each other and I walk towards the playground with my little Jekyll & Hyde.  I think to myself, YESTHIS.  THIS is what we need more of.  Reactions that are compassionate and nonjudgmental.  A notion of camaraderie.  A gesture that is small and words that are little but that can change a Mom’s day and make her feel like she is not alone.  An acknowledgement that Mothering is a privilege, of course it is, but not one that always comes easy.  That life is not only what we see on social media.  But also what we see next to the Merry-Go-Round at the Boston Common on a Friday morning.

– MIM –

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