I feel like a lot of things are coming crashing down this week; small slip-ups, little failures; tiny stresses for everyone. On Monday night, we were that family in Target. I was the mom speaking in clipped phrases, hushed tones to her children. “Hey, put that down.” and “No, stop messing with the cart.” All the while, it was nearly 6:45 and Baby Girl decided that check out was the time to begin crying because of sleepiness. We left hurriedly, my children wondering if I was going to lose it any second. I managed to keep calm and composed, however.
Driving back, I looked over to see Elliot sobbing quietly. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. His answer was not what I expected. “I don’t want to have to be a grown-up someday and pay bills. I just wanna be a kid.” I calmed him and reminded him just how long he has to be a kid and not to worry about the future. He was quiet a second – doing the math – and replied, “I only have 11 years before I go to college! It’s not enough time!”
What seven year old worries about this? Now I worry for him because he’s a thinker and emotional and lets this stuff get to him. I had no worries about the future when I was a kid. I worried about doing well in school and making more friends and being a well-behaved daughter. But it’s like I knew better than to think of a time when I had to worry about much larger issues. I wish he could find a way to put all that away for a while.
Yesterday, I was on pick-up duty and when we got Isaac, we saw he had gotten on red at school. This is a very rare occurrence for my middle boy. He is almost always on green; yellow happens only every now and then. He seemed to feel no remorse for his bad behaviour, which is what bothered me even more. The final nail in the coffin was when Ash finally got home. He slipped in the back door and the boys didn’t notice until a few minutes later. Isaac comes running out, “Daddy, you’re home! I got on green today!” A lie! Isaac is the honest child, the one who never wants a spanking but if he must, wants to know if it will hurt and immediately feels sorry for what he did. So this is relatively disconcerting, though I tell myself it’s just a phase. Overall, and compared to Elliot, he has weathered these little ages and stages fairly well. They say,”Oh, terrible twos.” None of my children were bad at two. Elliot was an awful three year old but Isaac has only shown glimpses of bad behavior this past year. I am hoping we can get to four here soon and he’ll be good to go. But not if he’s getting on red and lying about things. No sir.
Tonight I have to pack up the menfolk for their weekend trip. I am looking forward to Thursday night with Baby Girl. Just me and her and after 7 PM, just me… and the TV. Well, and cleaning. My mom will get into town Friday evening and we have no plans but it will be nice anyway. I need to regain some semblance of balance in my life. I feel like I have a headache every single day and I struggle to keep up. I struggle to feel alive in the face of all the to-dos. It’s not so much that I want something for me; it’s that I need slowness and time and the feeling that I have control of something. But maybe that just isn’t what being an adult is about. If so, then I do feel pretty bad for Elliot.