I spend the early hours of Sunday morning making perfect pancakes for my children. I sweat, or rather, 'glow,' over a sweltering hot plate because I am an unappreciated martyr with an incomprehensible need to get eggs into my children. The maple syrup that they sampled in Trader Joe's, awaits them at the table. A special and expensive treat. This is the only peaceful meal per week, that we enjoy together. Once they are happily ensconced in mid munch, I will sneak away to telephone my mother.
They all appear just after six, no doubt drawn by the tempting aroma. Instead of evoking blissful happiness, I appear to have provoked mass hysteria for some unaccountable reason. In-between the skreiks of agony, I am given to understand that their expectations have not been met. It would appear that some foolish, tired old woman promised waffles instead of pancakes today. I make a mental note that my memory bank is in need of a reboot, or maybe just a kick. Breakfast is a fiasco, or rather no-one breaks their fast. The syrup is condemned as inedible due to it's excessively runny nature. No-one comments upon it's taste. The garbage disposal unit takes the hit. I do not fare so well. I toss bottles of Ensure and the ever growing masses of non eating persons in my family. I remind myself that I am supposedly an adult and therefore banned from throwing a hissy fit of my own. I attempt clean up, when an additional wail demands my ever waning attention.
In the hall, my neglected daughter takes issue with the computer that is mal-functioning. She has used all the usual tricks to tempt it, but they have all failed. I repeat those same tricks that I have already taught her, just to be on the safe side. She voices the exact same complaints that we share when it comes to malfunctioning technology.
“I'm sorry dear, you'll just have to wait until Daddy gets up and see if he has any magic left.” She pouts. I pout in sympathy. I worry that I am producing another generation of Ludites?
I stand in the kitchen and listen to the tirade. The filthiest child in the world, as opposed to his little brother, the cleanest child in the world, is berating me. “Look! I just don't get it? I washed my hands and now there's no towel. Where is the towel? Who took the towel?” He is incensed with my inefficiency. For the last 8 years he has had no use for a towel, apart from the occasional wipe of a snotty face, the dab of a bloody toe or the smearing of primary coloured paint. Now, suddenly, I have acquired another critic. “Don't just look at me! My fingers are dripping! Find me a towel!” To hear my speech delayed, son speak without a stutter and in complete sentences, several seamless sentences, is too much for me to process. I “recent developments” overwhelming. I am too stunned and tired to quibble. I oblige. My fragile hold on reality, if not sanity, is severely challenged.
It's official. I am now in a thoroughly bad temper and it's not even 8 in the morning. I am also a bad mother. I have no energy, no patience and no humour. My milk of human kindness has evaporated, curdled. As soon as spouse's toe touches the bottom stair, I depart and take my cheesy self elsewhere. I fight back the waves of self pity and the under tow of self loathing. Bad wife.
I shut myself in an empty room. I take it out on my mother. I dial, long distance. I decide that I have no time left for the petty trifles of the elderly, infirm and defenseless. I pout as I listen and count the list of crimes against my person, my unhappy lot. Nobody in the world knows my woes. She stops prattling for a moment, presumably so that she can draw breath. There is a brief pause, followed by “are you still there dear?”
“Yes.” The international line is fraught.
“I'm sorry dear,” she continues, “I don't pretend to understand your busy life, and mine is so dull by comparison. I only wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better.”
“Thanks mum. You just did!”