This morning a big bowl of Vichyssoise that Bill made last night for tomorrow night’s dinner got mostly knocked over when I closed the door after removing a bowl of dough that was under the bowl of soup. Apparently the prior arrangement prevented a shelf on the door of the fridge from hitting the lip of the bowl of soup. When I removed the dough bowl and moved the soup bowl lower, that changed the whole inner logistical physical set up, and the next time I opened the fridge, to get apples for the kids for their lunches, I discovered a thick, pale green leek and potato pond on one shelf and small vichyssoisefalls dribbling to the bottom of the refrigerator.
I became unhappy at the sight.
While I was trying to salvage some of the soup by – yes – herding as much of the pond back into the bowl as possible with soggy paper towels, Alex suddenly appeared in the kitchen and froze – grinning – one hand in the corner cupboard reaching for a Hershey kiss. The caramel swirl kind, in case you’re interested. Anyway, I snapped at him to cut it out and stop doing that and it would be nice if he LISTENED TO ME for a change.
Totally undeserved. He slunk away sadly.
I felt even less happy.
I got the soup cleaned up and managed to salvage enough for us all to have a few sips tomorrow night. We’ll call it an appetizer.
Then I went into the bathroom to help Julia with her hair.
She has long hair, like I did at her age, and, like mine at that age, it is prone to tangles. Jungles, really. Probably why my mother usually kept my hair confined in a braid most of my childhood. Julia, however, is not as malleable a child as I was. She doesn’t like braids. She prefers her mane flowing wild and free. Until it snags around her earring. Then it’s all sorts of fun for both of us. I tried unwrapping the hair from the earring, but that pulled and hurt. So then I thought if I just took the earring out, that would solve everything. But the back had been pushed on too tightly and my right thumbnail is very short at the moment and I couldn’t slip it in there between her delicate earlobe and the earring back…so of course THAT hurt – a lot – and she started crying and I felt horrible and at the same time, and SO frustrated that I snapped at her, too, and that, of course, elicited more tears on her part…and if I wasn’t on an antidepressant that has, apparently, dried up my tear ducts, I would have sobbed right along with her.
I took her into the living room and we sat together on the big comfy chair, and I held her while her crying slowed and stopped. Then I continued to hold her and kind of wished she and I could trade places, and I could be small and someone bigger could hug me.
Finally, after a time of silence, I asked her, softly, “Do you forgive me?”
And I pulled back a bit so I could see her face.
She pressed her lips together and shook her head.
I hugged her again.
So be it.
A few moments later I managed to unwrap the strands of hair from her earring and then pull her tangly tresses into a ponytail. We didn’t have time to fight the jungle any more.
I felt worn out. Worn down. Horrible.
The kids, of course, being resilient people, had bounced back. Mommy’s crabby mood would pass, they knew. Soon it was time for them to head to school. Alex was putting his shoes on in one corner of the kitchen and Julia was behind me to my left. She asked if I could give her a ride to school and let Alex and their friend J walk.
I think that was her way of forgiving me.
I have such great kids.
And then I turned suddenly to shut off the light over the stove and elbowed Julia right in the eye.