I hate school mornings.
I morph into an ugly, wingless, extra terrestrial being and no matter how hard I try, I can’t control it. I completely get what David Banner went through whenever Hulk was summoned to the surface by the anger gods. (If you’re under 20, you may know him as Bruce Banner, doesn’t matter, he’s the same hero in my books.)
Enter ‘Hulka’, my occasional alter ego. She is not as muscular as Hulk and she doesn’t become green, but she does come to life Mondays to Fridays, between 6 and 7am and again for a few minutes in the afternoon around 5.
What’s incredible is that as soon as they are out the door, and I’m halfway through my second cup of coffee I feel a semblance of my calm, loving self, return to my being. The ‘they’ that I refer to are my children. My children whom I love more than life, the ones I work tirelessly for and the same ones I could easily sell on any given morning, or late afternoon.
Somedays… They. Drive. Me. Batty.
Particularly in the mornings when the plea for “Five more minutes pleeeeease” is on repeat and no one is ever satisfied with the food prepared. The other day, they came downstairs for breakfast before running off to school and each found a glass of water and their vitamins. That’s it. There would be no bacon or French toast or corned beef left on the table that morning. Not even a bowl of cereal. I’d had it and could endure no more.
I guess that’s the price I pay for giving up a live-in helper. Sigh.
The thing is, I know my limits and I try to operate within them. That said, my children now know (by trial and plenty error) that calling Grandma or Grandpa for homework help is always a safer bet than asking me. The Incredible ‘Hulka’ shows up at these opportune moments. I used to feel like a borderline failure as a mother – ashamed almost, because I was unable to assist my children with their basic homework assignments. But I quickly got over myself with that dream. I had honestly heard enough of “…that’s not how ‘Miss’ does it,” or “…Mummy, this is how it’s done in modern times.” Soon enough I learned that my brain operates on a different frequency than my children’s. “What do you mean that you don’t understand 2+2 = 4??? Isn’t it obvious?”
I recognized fairly early that my involvement in the process would cause my children to become emotionally and academically scarred. So I took myself away. Scubaaay. When my son whispered to his sister that he thought I honestly didn’t know the answers (due to the length of time since I had last been in a classroom), my daughter (also my biggest cheerleader) advised him that “Mummy knows everything!” (She’s 8, so in her eyes I’m still the authority on all things!) I listened to their conversation while pretending not to, and gracefully gave up the homework ghost that day.
Clearly, David and I have much more in common than I ever dreamed of as a child who was completely fascinated by his timely metamorphoses. Yes, I’m talking about David Banner again. I always I liked him. Next to Wonder Woman (naturally), Hulk was my favorite superhero. Little did I know that we were kindred spirits, affected by like stimulants and now as I grow older, my tolerance threshold gets lower and lower. I’m working on it though…
Much to my mother’s chagrin, I have always spoken to my children in conversational adult language. I discuss topics with them that my parents and quite likely yours, would never have considered. Truth is, I screw up more often than I care to write about today, but I take no shame in letting my children know when my cup is full. As best as is appropriate, I am quick to explain to them that although they are correct to think that their mother is an amazing woman, I occasionally make mistakes. And when I do, I say that I’m sorry. It’s not always easy to apologize, but they too are learning that the road to change begins with the art of forgiveness. I am human after all. If nothing else, my boy and girl will know the value of an apology, and when and how to say sorry.
I grew up thinking that my parents were immaculately perfect. I have no recollection of any discord, argument or even a heated exchange – well, maybe once, but that’s a whole other story. My sisters and I were shielded from anything untoward that may (or may not) have taken place in our home. And while that worked for them then, today I choose to do it differently. In creating the bed of roses for their lives, it’s important for me that they understand that those beautiful, fragrant roses come with delicate petals, necessary leaves, some dirty soil including a mandatory worm or two and of course, prickly thorns. It’s all part of the beauty and intrigue of this thing called life.
All I’m doing is trying to keep it real…