Oh let's cut the crap, shall we? Family life is chaotic, messy, and occasionally downright annoying. Sometimes I want to scream obscenities at various smaller-than-me people and then run away and never come back.
It's true. Sometimes I think maybe there is an axe murderer living inside me, and once in a while she makes a break for freedom.
Monday night she almost escaped.
My children had no idea how close they came to death. There was no audible screaming. Although I did raise my voice at one point when this conversation happened:
"Mommy? Can I have a snack?"
"No Megan, I am cooking dinner. No snacks."
"But I'm hungry!"
"I know this. That is why I am fixing dinner. We will eat in 20 minutes."
"But can't I have something while I wait?"
I took a slow breath and spoke in my patient but firm mom voice. "Megan. Listen very carefully. I am making dinner as fast as I can. We will eat in 20 minutes. You may have a big glass of water, and then you can eat all you want when dinner is served."
"But... I'm hungry!"
Patience gave way to my WWF Smackdown voice. "OUT! If I see you in this kitchen again before I call you up for dinner you will be eating Cat Food for dinner!"
Megan's face crumpled, and her lower lip began to tremble.
"Please go to your room to cry because I so do not want to see it!"
Then my 16 year old came in to ask if she could do something with Tim (the 18-yo boyfriend -- yes, the one she's been dating since April. Heaven help us all.) after Family Home Evening. I groaned inwardly because -- hello! -- didn't we set ourselves up for this by letting her go out to a concert with another boy on the last Monday of summer, and also by letting her go out with Tim on weeknights during the summer? I hate having to be the bad guy, and I do have compassion for the fact that due to their combined work schedules, she hasn't seen his face in over a week, but come on - it's a school night, and Monday night to boot! She stomped off to pout in her room, and come dinnertime she wasn't hungry and sat at the table with a forlorn look on her face. Actually, everyone had a forlorn look on their face due to the lovely leftovers that graced the dinner table. Nobody was jazzed about dinner, including me.
And then, the pinnacle of the evening, that happiest of all times arrived: Family Home Evening!!!! A kid in our ward is doing his Eagle Project by organizing care packages to be sent to forgotten soldiers in Iraq who don't have anyone who loves them enough to send them letters and so they will be overjoyed to get mail from perfect strangers. So this project sounds like a pretty good idea, right? Except that in addition to filling the box with goodies, we all had to write a letter to a perfect stranger. Or perhaps he's an imperfect stranger. I've never really understood exactly what that phrase means, actually, now that I stop and think about it.
What do you say to a soldier that you don't know... "I hope you don't get blown up tomorrow, but just in case you do, thanks for your selfless service?"
So we're all sitting at the table, and I'm trying to think of something halfway intelligent and sincere to write to some sad lonely soldier and Megan is tapping my arm every FIVE SECONDS to ask how to spell this or that. Karianne starts to sniff, then bursts into tears and lays her head down on her paper, and then runs to her room to finish her meltdown.
Finally we finish the
Because I am usually in charge and naturally bossy, at first I was frustrated that Tom kept disagreeing with me about where to go in the store and what to put in the package. Once I gave in to the Alpha Male and told myself I was GLAD that I was not in charge of something for a change, I was ok. Then Tom bought everyone a dipped cone at the deli, and we sat down at tables to eat them. The ice cream was oozing out of little holes in the hard chocolate shell like chocolate coated vanilla volcanos and we used about a pound of napkins to mop up the sticky mess that was dripping everywhere, including all over our hands and clothes.
Meanwhile, Nathan had bargained with his dad for a bag of caramel corn instead of a dipped cone so he was hoarding that, even though it was far too large for him to eat by himself, but by gum he was going to try. And all this time Megan is snuggling up to my left side on the bench with her sticky dripping cone and Susan was on my other side and at the next table was a family with an adorable toddler who kept screaming "DAD!!!" at random intervals and there was NO ESCAPE! I had to turn away from the other family and clamp my hand over the ear closest to them to keep from phasing into a murderous werewolf and killing everyone in that section of the store, which I'm pretty sure would be frowned upon by all involved. Besides, then my cute clothes would have been shredded.
Just kidding on the "cute" part. I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.
Finally we got home again and I stood at the counter contemplating the leftover leftovers to decide what to pitch and what could be saved to live another day while making a mental list of everything I had to do before I could close my eyes, and while I was doing this, Nathan burst into the kitchen with an angry "why isn't the monitor on the computer working?!"
And I just about lost it. Again.
I growled something about "there is only one of me in this house so the stupid computer will have to wait, and why in HECK are you standing here griping at me instead of getting ready for bed like I asked you to 10 minutes ago!"
So he growled and stomped off and I piled more guilt on myself and gave up and threw away all the food and slunk downstairs to try to figure out the cursed computer. And I actually did get it working in just a few minutes, amazingly enough.
And then I went and apologized to my son and then cut my husband's hair and then checked on the poor persecuted teenager with the thwarted love life and we talked until nearly midnight and then my husband also wanted to talk and it was 12:30 am when we finally turned out the light and I closed my eyes and waited for sleep and kinda hoped that I wouldn't wake up in the morning.
But I did wake up. And I felt better and could actually look back on the evening and smile. A little.
And while I figure that I am absolutely the only mom who ever wishes she could abandon her family but is too responsible to ever really do it, I'm okay with that.
I just hope it's a whole month before the axe-murderer comes to visit again.