I know my memory is faulty when it comes to my early childhood and adolescence. I do have some very specific memories, but in general it’s a blur. For instance, I don’t remember exactly at what age I was expected to do chores, but I do remember folding laundry, cleaning my room, emptying the silverware from the dishwasher, vacuuming, dusting, etc. I remember cutting up orange slices for my soccer games. I remember watching cartoons on Saturday mornings and holding my tape recorder up to the radio to record songs from the Top 40 countdown on Sundays.
I don’t remember being sassy to my parents the way the boys sass me. I don’t remember fighting with my siblings every. single. day. I don’t remember having my mom yelling every morning and every evening because shit wasn’t getting done.
I do remember having to be asked multiple times to come up for dinner because I was watching Little House on the Prairie and didn’t want to miss it. I do remember my dad blowing his stack once or twice because I wasn’t helping vacuum like I was supposed to. I do remember not keeping my room clean and huffing and puffing about not being allowed to do whatever I wanted, but I do NOT remember acting as insufferable as my children have been lately.
Selective memory? Possibly. Or maybe I just expect too much from my boys because they are so precocious that I forget they are still little boys in lots of ways.
All I know is that it’s weeks like this one that make me wish I had a partner and that they had a dad who was active in their lives. I need someone to tell me that I am not crazy for expecting them to act a certain way. Or someone to tell me that I AM crazy and that I need to just chill out because it’s fine and they are only 9 and who cares if they end up fighting with their brother every day or missing the bus every morning.
A month or so ago, we had an issue with behavior in church. That morning we had a problem just getting out the door and getting to church on time and then the boys couldn’t sit still and were fooling around, so when we left and they wanted to know if we could do something special, I said no. And I told them why. And then G said he wished that he had a dad.
Not because I wasn’t enough, he said, because I was. But because it would be nice if I could have a break from always having to do everything myself. Like I wouldn’t always have to be the one telling them to get ready or to knock it off, I wouldn’t be the only one working and taking care of the house and them and everything else. It would be nice, he said, if I had someone to share that all with.
See? The kid says something like that and I forget he’s only 9. And then I feel guilty that he is able to see just how worn down I am by having to deal with everything myself. I feel like I am failing them by not being able to pull it all off and make it look easy. I don’t want them to think it is a struggle. I don’t want them to think that they are a burden.
But the truth is, I would like someone to share it with. Someone to run interference. Someone to make me laugh more so I can stop taking every single moment so effing seriously. Someone who can be the disciplinarian some of the time. Someone who will love all three of us for our strengths and weaknesses.
Someone who remembers what it was like to be a 9-year-old boy who can give me some perspective on raising one (or two).
For as much as I pride myself on being strong and capable and independent, there are just times when I would like someone to lean on.