Saturday, December 5, 2009

There Are Some Things You Only Laugh About Later

Today was a thing, an entity in itself. I hold it up for you.

Today forgot to eat breakfast and slept in late. Everyone, especially Lola's 2cd grade teacher, knows that getting a late start sets everything off on the wrong foot.

I woke and stepped out into our Christmas explosion. The living room is inundated with kitch I inherited from my mother-in-law, half of which I am packing up and storing, but which is meanwhile making merry in my home. Mr. Curry lay on the couch, hoodie up, watching a TV documentary about the Colombian mass murderer and drug lord, Pablo Escaban. The boys, both of which were raised without toy guns or violent images allowed, played an M rated video game in Dakota's room. I could hear their howls of violent glee. The dog raised his head and barked at them before settling his head back into the couch pillow that is absolutely not allowed to be on the floor, which was next to the cream colored faux fur blanket that is absolutely not allowed to be on the floor either. Lola was still sleeping at 9:40am. We were supposed to be leaving at about 9am for taking the Christmas picture and buying the Christmas tree.

I washed my face and told the boys to turn off the game and brush the dogs. I woke Lola and asked her to get in the bathroom for a shower. I rubbed Mr. Curry's head and kissed the dog.

20 minutes later I rose my voice at the boys and demanded they get off the game, told Lola to hurry up and dry off and what WAS she doing with my makeup in the steam filled bathroom? and asked Mr. Curry if he was ready to leave. The television yelled loudly about the imminent death of many innocent Columbians in 1992 and I realized the dog brush had broken last week and the boys could not clean the dog coats for our Christmas picture and then I stepped in a wet spot on the floor and realized I had wet my last pair of socks on the kitchen floor.

5 minutes later I marched into the boys room and turned off the TV- which they are not allowed to have in their room as I have told them their entire lives- said in an even but POWERFUL voice that they should get up NOW and get ready. Dakota smiled at me. I felt the smile as a woman feels a 'friendly' slap on the ass from a man she has just cursed out. I licked my chapped top lip and the downturn of my mouth let tears leak into my eyes. I turned quickly before the boys could see them. I'm supposed to be even, in control. You don't let teenagers see you sweat. They are like sharks who smell blood from miles away in salty stormy waters.

Mr. Curry got up off the couch and Pablo Escaban was escorting his family to the airport in attempts to flee the Los Pepes who were killing everyone associated with Pablo. I escorted my family out the door and into the car. Lola sat between Ian and Dakota and yelled loudly at Ian for poking her in the side and Ian laughed at her and I told him to stop and Mr. Curry sighed very loudly but not loudly enough for the kids to hear. Just me. The sky was grey and overcast and wrong for taking cheerful ' California Christmas ' pictures, as our cards usually say.

We got to the parking lot of Wal-Mart and I hurried inside, purchased a dog brush and dog treats as bribes to get them to look up and happy at the camera for our Christmas pictures and hurried back to the car and as we left I realized Dakota had worn the wrong color sweater. I told you to wear black or dark blue, I said. Mr. Curry drove us back to the house and went through his own sweaters, found one for Dakota, who was loudly/softly ( this is the definition of passive aggressive in case you were unsure) complaining about how I was ruining everyone's day. Lola began to begin to start to maybe cry, because she was starving, because I forgot to feed her.

We drove to the park, got out, and Dakota began to very slowly bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuush the dogs. Hurry, please, I said. He shrugged, and bruuuuushed the dogs. Lola began to collect the large clumps of dirty dog hair in her hands, while jumping like a bunny on the very dirty parking lot cement. Lola stop that, I said. Dakota I'll just do it, I said. I brushed the dogs and Dakota snickered at me. Ian began to also snicker at me, because Ian is 13 and thinks that Dakota is pretty much the Boy that created Boys. Lola kept hopping and playing with dog hair, ignoring me. Why are they ALL ignoring me! I thought. Lola that's enough! I growled, and grabbed her by the arm, pulled her toward Mr. Curry. Go to your dad, right now! Lola looked at me with surprise and hurt and I felt like a piece of shit. Mr. Curry, who was feeling very bummy and sad today and trying to take perhaps a few hours off of being an enforcer ( which he has more than earned, trust me ) leaned against the car.

CitricSugar said...

I think I need to hug my mum. I certainly hope you are able to laugh later. Beautifully written - novel-worthy, in fact.

Good luck on the do-over!

Annje said...

What is it about today, eh? Mine was a little like that just without the plans to get a tree and take a picture. The good thing, is that tomorrow is a new day ;-)

Home Girl said...

oh boy what a morning! sounds just like me with a plan in my head trying to force my family to co-operate but failing at every turn. reading about dakota's struggles makes me appreciate the simplicity of my life with little ones right now - parenting teenagers sounds terrifying. seems you really have your hands full managing your crew. it strikes me that you have overcome unthinkable challenges as a young person and i'm sure that your son will have inherited your resiliance. can't be easy watching him struggle, i'm sure i would be such a mess. good luck mummy sounds like you need lots of TLC this christmas xx

Ms. Moon said...

And your Christmas wish may not happen immediately. But eventually, (be patient) it will.

Jennifer said...

I've been reading your posts about Dakota and I think about my four-year-old boy and what the future holds and all the complications of parenting and how well you describe it, the pure ache of it. Some aches I don't know yet, but they are coming. Some day Dakota will be grown and through this hard patch, though adulthood can be a series of hard patches too. Adolescence is probably the most difficult, a painful initiation.

I hope tomorrow is a better day. A kind of do-over.

katiecrackernuts said...

You'll get there and if you don't you'll be somewhere different. Struggle on ... you've laid the foundations for da boy, it will be OK in the end. He'll come back 'round to being your mate, you'll see.

Elizabeth said...

Whatever you wish for, I wish for you, too. And some hugs for you in solidarity.

Vashti said...

Loving you even more today! Hope you get your photo and your tree. And he will come through the other side. be strong and have grace.
XX

Beth said...

From the get-go, it didn’t sound as though the day was going to work out as planned. Every family has those days.
You’ll get that Christmas picture taken – and it will be one full of smiles. Every family has those days, too. ;)

corabela said...

I remember being so awful to my mom as a teenager. At some point I forgot she was a person with feelings and primarily saw her as someone who held me back and nagged me. I always loved her...all the while. I'm sure you know Dakota still feels the same. It's just those years do something weird to us. They make us forget to be kind.

Rachael said...

You should let him read this someday when he is all turned out and you can sigh (if not laugh) about this.

The poignancy of your writing and the depth of feeling you are able to portray in a few short paragraphs always touches me.

Hope you get that perfect picture. And, the other thing, of course.

Just.Kate said...

Oof. I need to go hug my mom, and then find someone to hug me. :)

Mwa said...

What a Saturday. And what a love. And what a struggle. x

michelle said...

I'm feelin ya, Maggie May. I'm climbing that hill with Mia every day. She's the same age as Lola Moon.

I'm feelin ya

nfmgirl said...

I don't even have kids, yet you speak to the mother in every woman. I hope you get your Christmas wish, girlie.

just making my way said...

I hope the do-over happens for you. I have those times when I know I am being so sharp and such a bitch - and I just can't stop. It's an awful feeling.

Have a better day!

Ellen said...

How many times do I remember trying to get my family all ready for the "Christmas Picture"...it seemed liked the harder I tried the more difficult if became. I gave up (so I give you many credits!) on doing it that way. We began to do a more relaxed one on Thanksgiving. That worked till my grown daughters were not always near to be with us. I hate not having everyone together! Sometimes pets are in them and most times not.
As for the "tragic teen years"...I too had a daughter that seemed bent on doing to the best of her ability to crush our hearts. I was not a happy mom for many years. I tried though for all the rest of my family even when inside I felt so fragile...but then I thought of all she is dealing with and knowing that my husband and I WERE great parents. We just needed to be consistant...she is still my "Wild Child" but a talented young woman of 24 and on her own doing amazing creative photography. Never lose hope...
Merry Christmas and look for the little touches....they are there....

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

But they have you. And bursting into tears, why, of course you would. Anyone would if they could feel, as you obviously do, the enormity of it all.

Added you to my blogroll.

CitricSugar is correct--you are novel worthy.

clearness said...

We actually did our formal Christmas portrait on Saturday. For the first year in a long time they both smiled and looked so amazing in the portrait. I'm pleased. Last year and the year before my son cried the entire time.

Just reading about your day made my head spin. Sounds like you were very busy. Take it easy today

Juniper said...

Hope the next day was better, luckily no two are the same and some truly do just start off on the wrong (wet) foot. YOu write so well that even at the closing of the day here as my eyes hurt from the effort of staying open I could not stop reading your post. Toddlers have their own idiotic moments in which patience can end paper thin, teenagers are another planet still to come and I dread somewhat their complexity and intensity. Such a fine balance support/space/control. Good luck.

Lacey said...

You paint such a vivid picture, Maggie. All I could think about was that one quote about how when mama's not happy, NOBODY'S happy. :-)

Chris Stone said...

beautiful post. and i do wish you a good holiday time.

Captain Dumbass said...

Sigh. After all the craziness of trying to get the house together today for Christmas I need to remind myself of just how young they are.

Bex said...

I love the Holidays, but honestly, they seem to get more complicated every year. I alternate between wishing December would never end, and wishing it would just hurry up and be over with. And I'm Jewish.

Petit fleur said...

Hugs n smooches for Maggie May.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo pf

sleepynewmommy said...

Beautifully written. I hope you get your Christmas wish...

Existential Waitress said...

I love the expression "Do over." I may start incorporating that expression around here. Some days really do just call for a "do over."

Amie said...

I have yet to attempt the Christmas photo. I decided it will only be bug this year because getting all of us together and looking clean and happy and having it not be raining seemed like too much to take. This morning I pulled out a suitable photo outfit for Bug (it's still lying on the table) and I am charging camera battery...we'll see.

I'll think I'll ask Bug to stick--maybe at five or so.

perfectlycursedlife said...

You'll definitely laugh about this day later...it was custom built for that type of later-laughter.

Phoenix said...

Oh sweetie...

I'll say to you what I frequently forget to say to myself: There will be another day to get it right.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I hope you get that wish, Maggie.

Love, SB.

Jeanne said...

This brings back unpleasantly vivid recollections of my failed attempt to be step-mom to a 15-year-old boy who'd lost his mother to brain cancer the year before.

I wish you better results, and I'm confident you'll have them, because you've known him and loved him since he was born, and that counts.

Evangeline said...

Do-overs are the best. I hope your do-over day is much better.

And Dakota will find his way, no matter what you or Mr. Curry do or don't do, say or don't say. It's really up to Dakota to figure out now, and he will.

And man, am I dreading parenting through the teenage years.

"You don't let teenagers see you sweat. They are like sharks who smell blood from miles away in salty stormy waters."

*sigh* Well put, but can you say hard? Because that's gonna be H-A-R-D.

K Soucy said...

Christmas card photos bring out the worst in moms. Just ask my kids.
Aside, I sent my 14 year old son to bed in frustrated hysterical tears over restrictions we have put on him due to his lack of effort and sub par grades. While I can be a little more lax, my husband is becoming more militant each day. My boy said he does not even want to get out of bed in the morn. and hates his life!!! Red flag!! I can see it. I remember that desperate lonely tied up feeling he was screaming about as he attempted to kick me out of his room. I remained calm, swallowing my own tears as I sat in the dark trying to talk him back, remembering him as a difficult, but sweet baby boy that I had rocked so many times in that very dark room.
We re-evaluated and made some newer looser boundries for our boy. We'll see how this goes.
It's all such a fine line really and who knows where that line should fall for each child.

I always seem to stumble into your blog when I need it most.
Thanks.

krista said...

do you know what i love the most about this? the fact that you didn't end up with the tree and the picture. does that sound morbid? or coming from that little bastard schadenfraude? it's not. what i mean is...you know when to let of of the idea and respect the family dynamic. at times, it is so necessary, yes? to acknowledge that TODAY IS NOT THE DAY. pack it up and move on. try again later. when the day feels a bit more like it should.
i think you've taught your children something immeasurable about holidays. that they're fluid and messy and lovely...just like everyday life. and sometimes, just sometimes, they are not full of the spirit of whatever moves us. they are just full of it.
does any of this make sense?

modaspia said...

i hope your wish comes true maggie. i'm a firm believer that the universe will answer you if you ask your question, sincerely. just have to ask it once.
and you are a captivating writer. we're all there with you, trying to mother and hold it together.
don't get mad but hey mr. curry how bout some help here??

Bee said...

I deeply, deeply identify with these fears and worries. My relationship with my 15 year old sets the emotional tenor of every day.

maggie said...

Some days I think it's just really hard to be the mom. Or maybe it's everyday...

This reminds me of one of my daughter's current favorite books, "It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! My Mom says some days like that. Even in Australia!"

molly said...

you kill me.

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