* Is it over yet?

Yesterday was another one of those days for Rio. When I picked him up he was already fussy; I knew that wasn’t a good sign and sure enough, sad faces on his chart. I decided we could talk about it later when he was in a better mood. As we were leaving one of the after-school staff handed him a card and a candy cane. The candy cane cheered him up a bit, at least until he dropped it on the sidewalk on the way to the car. Oh man, what a crisis! He stopped in his tracks and just wailed. I actually told him to pick it up and eat it, but he wasn’t having any of that. I tried to ease his pain and offered to give him another candy when we got home, but no, he didn’t want another candy. He wanted a candy cane. That candy cane, and no other would do. He was still wailing when we finally got in the car and drove away. I was still trying to convince him that he should be happy to get more candy at home and that he may as well forget the candy cane because it was a done deal, gone. He continued wailing. And then I had one of those moments that brings me no end of guilt and shame. I snapped.

“LOOK, I DON’T GET EVERYTHING I WANT, YOU KNOW. I DON’T HAVE 10 HORSES OR A BEAUTIFUL FARMHOUSE OR A FANCY CAMERA OR EVEN 15 MINUTES OF PEACE! BUT YOU DON’T SEE ME CRYING ABOUT IT, DO YOU? NO! BECAUSE I HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT, RIO, AND SO DO YOU! GET OVER IT FOR GOD’S SAKE ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IT’S A FRIGGIN CANDY CANE!”

Well, that pretty much made me feel like shit, but Rio shut up and that was actually pretty amazing. We drove the rest of the way home in silence. When we got home I opened Rio’s door for him and waited for him to get out of the car, then I hugged him tight.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you, Rio. I shouldn’t talk to you like that. It’s mean and disrespectful and I feel awful. Do you forgive me?”

“Sure Mama, I always forgive you.”

“You’re so sweet like that. That must be why I love you so much.”

Sometimes I could just eat him up.

It was definitely a hard night, though. Pa wouldn’t be home at all because he had his algebra final that night, poor guy. I had already promised myself I would do Rio’s homework with him first thing when we got home, but The Diva was coming over very soon to do yoga with me. And I was supposed to put the Christmas lights up tonight, too, because it was already way overdue. And I had to feed the kids at some point. And do like three days’ worth of dishes. And finish my Christmas cards.

Did I mention that I hate Christmas? Ugh.

Yet somehow it all came together. The first good news was that Rio didn’t have any homework that night. He claimed that his teacher gave it to him but then took it away. I’m still wondering what that’s all about, but I wasn’t about to lament that happy stroke of luck. Besides, Rio was not in a good state of mind for reading practice. Nope. So that was a load off my back. Then, The Diva was fashionably late, as usual, so I had some time to borrow the neighbor’s ladder and get started with the lights. We did our yoga upstairs and the only reason the boys stayed out of trouble is because Big B turned the TV on and Rio was happy to lounge on the couch and soak it in. Normally I would not approve of him watching TV after school, especially when he’s had a bad day at school. But I was just too damn stressed out to care and I knew that it would be impossible to ban him from that entire half of the house while I was upstairs and he was unsupervised. Not to mention the inevitable meltdown that would result. Screw that. A little Monster Garage won’t rot his brain just this once.

It ended up being a late dinner, but I got the little Hercules to bed at a reasonable hour and somehow managed to accomplish everything on my list before Pa got home from his exam. I don’t know who was happier that the night was over, me or him.

And then, just as I was congratulating myself for having done so much Christmas shopping already, it occurred to me that I still have to wrap all those presents. Before Saturday.

*sigh* I just want it to be over.

Tomorrow I'll be going to Rio's school for their Christmas pageant. Stay tuned for a full report:)

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