The last time my Mom went to Italy, she brought me back a beautiful bracelet of hand-painted glass beads from the straw market in Venice (actually, she brought a lot of them back and my sisters and aunts each got one, too, but it still made me feel special, and this is MY blog, so we’re talking about ME, dammit.) The hardware was the simple (and not too sturdy) kind used by a lot of craftspeople (not that I know that firsthand. Crafty, I am not. [Well, actually, I AM sorta crafty. But not craftsy. That’s what I mean.] ANYway –)
Mom died soon after that trip, and I, well, I went a little nutso for a while (those of you who were there and totally understand what I’m talking about here should know something: I am grateful EVERY DAY for the fact that you are still in my life, but I do NOT understand how or why. [PA, this includes you, too.] Definitely not my finest hours weeks months.)
One of my least destructive behaviors during those months was an obsession with that bracelet; I refused to take it off. I’d be in my office, pretending to work, and probably IM-ing with some of you who are reading this (seriously, it blows my mind that you guys stuck around. Talk about anchors…) and the beads would catch my eye, and I’d have to touch every single one of them, moving the bracelet slowly around my wrist. And I would chant to myself (not out loud. Didn’t need the officemates thinking I was any crazier than they already did.) I just whispered (or maybe it was prayer): “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.” until I got all the way around the circle of beads. I’m not Catholic, but I can appreciate the soothing (or maybe I mean numbing?) power of rituals; that bracelet was my own private (damn, now I feel like I should be typing “Idaho” next) rosary.
One morning, while I was getting ready for work, drying my hair, the bracelet caught on the sleeve of my shirt. Beads went flying everywhere. It looked like a giant spray of confetti and I took it personally; that sense of celebration mocked me and I just got SO. ANGRY. I think I came closer then to having a total breakdown than at any other point that year. I never made it to work that day. Eventually, I got up off the bathroom floor and gathered up the beads and a fragment of still-threaded bracelet and put it all in a glass jar we had on the counter.
Eight years, five houses, two kids and two states later, Goat #1 found that jar in the office, and poured out the contents. I didn’t notice until he was out of bed for the kajillionth time, on Wednesday night, when he stood next to me in the office relating the kajillionth reason he NEEDED to be up. He was twirling something around and around in the air in that fidgety way kids do when you ask them a question and they’re improvising? I was getting impatient for a decent answer to the “why are you out of bed again” question (although at this point, I’m not even sure I’d have accepted “because it’s on fire, Mommy” as a good enough reason) when I realized he was swinging the still-threaded fragment of my bracelet. And I completely lost. my. shit.
The bracelet was just the catalyst. I know that. I knew that even then. But all it took, after being calm and firm about sending him back to bed for two freaking hours (anyone else interested in how long it would take my kid to reduce SuperNanny to a whimpering Brit?) was a hair-trigger. I miss my Mom every day. And sometimes, when it’s been a really long day, and all the evidence points to the fact that I could obviously use some help with the wild goats I’m raising, because I’m in over my head, it takes all of my willpower not to allow myself to wallow and wish I could call “Nana” and say “What the hell do I do now?” So my willfully disobedient son, standing there flinging about what’s left of my last present from my Mom like it has no more value than a Happy Meal toy, set me off. I yelled. (Actually, it had the timbre and volume of a jungle cat. Who knew Goat Mamas could roar?)
“What do you think you’re doing? Put that DOWN! That doesn’t belong to you! You’re supposed to be in bed! I am VERY TIRED of telling you to STAY. IN. BED. Now GO!”
Yep. Yet another for my collection of not-finest moments. Mother of the Year will elude me again, I’m sure. So now, on top of tired and frustrated and missing Mom, I had more proof just how much I still need her, because I obviously SUCK at this parenting thing.
Yesterday, I came home to find this on my desk in the office:
I couldn’t believe I’d been so out of control that he thought I blamed him for breaking my “nechlace.” Apparently, I don’t need to be Mother of the Year to have Boy of the Year. I picked it up, and went to find my boy, so I could grab him, and hold him tight, and tell him “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
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