I have spent the last week completely upset about these murders in Connecticut. At first I spent Friday freaked out because of misinformation. We were stuck at work and we only knew a shooting had happened at an elementary school. Not where or who. And even five minutes is too long not to know more when your parents are both elementary teachers.
I have a difficult relationship with my parents. It has only become MORE difficult as I have aged. Unlike my little brother. He was the difficult one, the one acting out and running away and threatening self harm loudly and as a way to manipulate and protest our parents slightly strict flower child methods.
When I turned twenty and was finally on my own I was shocked to find myself writing a suicide note. I had lived my life previous to that hooked on books the same way my clients are hooked on narcotics. When I didn’t have time to have a satisfying read I was forced to acknowledge some things about myself.
One of those is that I would make a terrible parent. It makes me sad. It makes me ashamed. But it’s the truth. Once a week I have a confrontation with my adoptive child–my husband’s thirteen year old Australian shepherd. It goes something like this…
Bedtime was hours ago. And Chloe is afraid of weather-changing storms. We know when it will rain before anyone else without a storm anxious dog, when her nails clack against the shower at two am and the next two am she finally admits that she has to pee eventually. So it’s two am and she is clawing at the bed trying to wake my husband. His workday starts at three because some jobs can only run when no other machine is running because the calculations are so exact that even a hair is thousands of times too large an error for the machine they’re building to work. So its the middle of his night. I go to bed much later usually. I hear tales of parents who go to bed late like me and rise at dawn but I am thirty and I still need more sleep than the average teenager. (More on that later).
I am IN BED, but I am not sleeping. So it really is up to me to walk her. I do not want to walk outside in the soaked and saturated air. I have one pair of shoes that the Puppy Era has left me and I don’t like putting them on and I don’t like walking in water and I don’t like getting them wet and wearing them wet the next day. So I go to walk her eventually and she will not come no matter how many times I call her. Why? Because she is trying to catch her some kitty-cat steak as a victory feast for surviving the latest thunder attack. Bast, our three year old feline, plays the game with her. And is a total chicken.
I sigh and go upstairs again and hear the crack of the chase as Chloe realizes her chase time is up and Bast tries to avoid her lunge by digging claws into my sleeping husbands scalp. It pisses me off and I smack Chloe on the nose. She whimpers and runs downstairs. So I have now cussed at (usually) and struck my child.
I take her outside and she noses the gate. Sometimes she will just go in the yard which cuts down cleanup efforts. But this time she just puts her nose to the gate. I take up what I have learned from the dog Whisperer as the dominant position, standing feet apart in the doorway arms crossed or on my hips. I radiate The Bossedness at her and tell her to go in the yard. we battle quietly for about two minutes then I realize…she won’t crap in the yard. I belatedly realize that she only ever pees in the yard. She will poop on the carpet to avoid thunder but now that she is being given a choice as she sees it she will not poop in her house.
I sigh. Lock puppy in the house. He went out earlier like all sane animals do when mommy gets home. Approach gate. Smack her nose again because I am pissed at myself for not noticing sooner and connecting the dots and now I remember oh yeah. I am a terrible parent. Let her out. She poops like crazy, releasing the frustrations of the whole day of storm cowering. Then she hangs out. Smelling. Not coming back. Not listening to me. Investigating whatever she suspects the storm may have done, with her nose. I pad out to her, pissed because I have to clean further out and walk with shoes and have smelly feet. I don’t hit her again. I have had time to regret. Maybe it isn’t just her who gets crazy with the weather. It’s cold you damn dog I am uncomfortable and I immediately had to potty when you got outside my yard. Damnit.
So in case you haven’t been tallying with me–i resisted meeting her needs out of laziness, punished her for a phobia she can’t help and we suspect she was punished for, buckshot style, when she came to us. Took a full five minutes to realize what she needed even though its always the same. And then I grumped at her for my parenting flaws. She’s a dog!! She came to me set in her ways, I have learned I cannot train her out of this storm phobia. Why fight it? It only makes me feel shittier about myself.
Bottom line I am lazy and stupid. Those are not good parenting characteristics. I frequently admire people for being constantly available to their children, bringing their forgotten musical instruments to school and always answering phone calls made from their kids immediately. Because I wouldn’t be. You left your clarinet at home? Kid, I bought you a CLARINET. You left it at home, here is where you learn how valuable an item it is. Because you can’t magic it to a place it was not. You have to tote it yourself or miss rehearsal.
So I take the birth control I hate, though not the one that cause the ectopic pregnancy I am still recovering from. Because I want kids. But I can’t handle a dog without flipping out irrationally. And I was scared crazy by watching the hcg levels go up and down as my little bump fought to stay in my Fallopian tube, finally busting out of it and dying.
I cried all weekend because the shootings scared me. First I was scared it was my parents school and they were harmed. Then out of reaction because it was half a continent away and I realized even if I was fine so many were not. Then because I learned a girl younger than me bravely hid her children and protected them and died for them. And I would never be brave like that. I don’t WANT to be. I want to be safe! I want people to protect themselves not die senselessly. Then I bought my parents gifts and contacted them to try to arrange an early Christmas. Then had a fight with them because they don’t DO early Christmas and were offended that I was trying to skip out on it, and walked out. Then cried the rest of the weekend away.
I just wanted to see that they were okay. It was irrational and overly emotional and things have been bad between them and me because they seriously don’t understand what I feel about that almost baby.
Can you imagine me on pregnancy hormones? Although in my favor the months I was pregnant I was planning a wedding and was the calmest most Zen bride anyone ever saw. Apparently I am one of those people who has a very calm, laissez faire pregnancy. Its just normally that I overreact and get into a sinkhole emotional spiral.
Well. I would be terrible at it. But it makes me even crazier to know that. Because I feel attached to these strange children someone was good enough to help survive to this age then be taken out by a socio with an idiot mother just like me. Stupid so stupid. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even part with an almost baby without mostly losing my most basic ties. In the six months since my wedding and miscarriage I have unfriended or been unfriended by all but one family member and she lives in Nevada. We keep in touch to coordinate my grandfather’s new heart disease care.
That’s no parent. Judgemental and picky and quick to cut ties.