Overcome by insomnia, I moved to another room at about 2 a.m., so as not to wake up my partner by tossing and turning.
6:00 am, still dark out, door to the bedroom opens, and seconds later a jarring LED light shines in my eyes. When I don’t respond hoping the offending party would go away, it happens again and leads to a sharp shooting headache.
Internal response: I want to wring your neck.
“Are you looking for your dad?”
‘The other room please.”
Later questioned why on earth she would do something like that?
“I wanted to see.”
See what? My eyeballs?
Total exercise time to calm down: 100 minutes: 20 min cardio, 80 min 102-degree yoga.
While talking to partner other child yells daddy I want to show you something. He walks away in the middle of our conversation.
External response: Silence
We all go out, children on their bikes, adults on foot.
Smaller child, every few minutes: ouwaaaaa, I’m gonna fall. Father reassures her, coaches her, holds the back of the bike. At one point bike falls, child doesn’t. Nevertheless, major drama ensues. I can’t be sure over what, since there is no injury whatsoever.
Internal response: Rise in blood pressure.
External response: Walk away from the small child and her father. Busy myself with the older child.
Back at home, older child decides not to use the water in the fridge and instead pour herself water from a new one-gallon bottle. Since she’s trying to pour it in another water bottle, she misses, thus pouring the water on the floor. Now she starts crying.
Internal response: Christ almighty. The floor should cry? Why are you crying?
External response: Go to the bathroom.
After the bathroom break decide to stay in the bedroom and pack for tomorrow’s trip. I imagined bedroom can be my space. In that moment they both want to take a bath in our bathtub. I leave the room. They fill the tub, get in a fight, start crying again, and ask to take a shower in their own shower. The drain and waste all that water. Remember, we live in the desert and I grew up in a war, so waste is not in my vocabulary.
Internal response: What the FUCK? This is the last time they will use our bathroom.
External response: As they walk upstairs to their shower, ask what they want for snack and start to prep it, hoping to eliminate hypoglycemia as the reason for demonic possession.
They shout their dad’s name. He is outside. I go to find out what they need. “Can you help us turn on the faucet?”
“No but I can show you how.” We’ve been in this house for 1.5 years. How can you not know how to turn on the faucet?
The little one opens the hot water. Now we want to add cold water. I ask her to test and see if the temp is what she wants. She holds her hand under the water and screams bloody murder. First because it’s too hot and then because it’s too cold.
Internal response: I can’t take any of this anymore. Is it Sunday yet?
External response: Stay until we achieve the correct water temp, then walk to my closet, lie down on the floor, and stay there motionless for a long time while pondering what possesses people to have children. By the time I leave the closet, I look like this:
After they have their dinner and finish their 4th hour of movie watching, I finally speak up. It’s my turn to watch my show. It’s the first time I have ever asked to watch my show while they are with us. They can stay if they like, but the show I have chosen contains brutal murder scenes. Dad takes them out of the TV room and I enjoy a moment of silence and brutal murders. I was even excused from the bedtime routine.
My friend, a mother to four kids, tells me about her moments of unraveling. It always helps to know biological parents lose their cool with their children, that the crazy feeling is normal. The problem is as a stepmom of kids who now visit us every other Wednesday and every other weekend, I don’t have the option of unraveling. Why? Well because I’m not sure what they are? Do I treat them as guests or family members (who are expected to follow some rules). Also, because their father sees them so infrequently, his house is supposed to be a fun house. Therein lie the challenges that lead to moments of insanity, which tend to linger on for days even after they leave.
We make choices in life based on the information available to us and our readiness. If you don’t like the consequence of a choice you made (small or big), there’s no need to continually criticize yourself. Change direction starting with this upcoming step. It’s not over while you are still alive and can make different choices.
Since we were leaving for Texas on the actual day of the girls’ Christmas play, we went to church to watch the rehearsal a day in advance. There, H2’s little friend came up to me wondering if I had any gum. “No sweetie. I’m sorry.” (I wanted to let him know that I don’t carry gum because it’s bad for your teeth and TMJ. Also, it make you hungry and studies show…) He is a brunette version of the Little Prince and the bottom line is I couldn’t fulfill his request. So, I made a mental note to start carrying gum from then on in case I ran into him.
That was the end of his conversation with me. Off he went about his business.
The next day, we flew to Austin and the he went to church with his father for the actual play. When he returned home, his mom asked if he had had a good time.
“Did you see any friends?”
He named a few people, and added: “Bahar was there.”
“No. She’s in Texas,” his mom corrected him.
“Well,” he replied with certainty, “I guess she changed her mind. And she still didn’t bring gum.”
I don’t know who else in church has my sheep curls, but whoever it is, if she would bother to carry some gum in her purse, I might have remained in the Little Prince’s good graces. Now I’m just another grown-up who doesn’t hear him or worse yet thinks that a drawing of a boa swallowing an elephant is merely a hat!
Cheers to all the children who know what they are looking for is what matters most.
“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
I write a note on my stepdaughters’ blackboard every time they come to visit us. This image and its corresponding message left such an impression on me that I drew/wrote them on the girls’ black board. Think how much more exciting the world would be if people didn’t spend so much time and energy blending in.
Your mission this week, should you choose to accept it, is to get out of the box and let the real you come out and play. Release a few balloons into the world. Give the world a dose of your unusual.
Cheers and happy Monday.
H2: “Can someone help me butter my waffle?”
As I butter the waffle, she continues:
“You are so good at that. I can never do it.”
Me: “Now that’s BS and you know it.”
H2: “What’s BS?”
H2: “What’s BS, BB? “
One afternoon H2 and I were listening to music from Grease while we were coloring. The song Sandra Dee came on and I started singing: Look at meee I’m Sandra Dee, Lousy with… then I abruptly shut up. H2 looked at me and said: Virginity. It’s Virginity.
I stayed silent.