Sweet P has a hole in her boot.
And, I didn’t give her enough peanut butter to go with her apple.
Her partner was too noisy in the pod and the teacher told them to quiet.
AND she spilled water while feeding the cats.
Also we don’t have a puppy. AND I’ve darn near ruined her life by making her play the piano instead of watching Austin and Ally.
From what I could tell, this was the same list I’d heard delivered 30 minutes before. Course then, it was a bit hard to make out and a whole lot more screechy and catastrophic and crying and fueled by the 20 proof brand of you-just-don’t-understand angry reserved for moms who actually parent even while fantasizing about telling their kids’ to shut up.
By now the emotion had been sopped up and wrung out and I could actually understand what she was saying as she went through her bad-day details in her monotone spelling-bee voice.
S-O N-O-T H-A-P-P-Y.
Life is so hard some days, she says. My 9-year-old.
Yes. It IS.
Strength-building with Bad Days
Some days it feels so freakin’ hard.
And even as I admitted this truth to her, I felt a split second sear of jealously for my daughter whose biggest problems included a small portion of peanut butter.
MY biggest problems that day were how to fix my arthritic hip and how to get a client to pay the $425. he owed without me going all bitchy, and how to keep the cat from jumping on the counter — seriously I hate that — AND if someone could make it better — especially the arthritis part — with a scoop of peanut butter, I’m telling you what.
And I sat there, too, for a second trying to let the whole peanut butter and other first-world problems go because she has got plenty of peanut butter in a world where so many people have none and apples are like gold. And it’s true.
And it’s also true that she is nine, living in this world, in this house which right now has enough peanut butter and that’s o.k. too. And so this is what was going on inside all mom internal-brain talk squawk, split-second clicking through these thoughts like moms do, until I was smacked by the biggest one of all.
We have had so much worse than this.
Thank you. Thank you that these were the big ones for today because I can deal with this. Gratitude rolling over me now.
But she’s heard it before so I keep it to myself and try to be cool, so maybe, she’ll talk to me once more before graduation, and to her I say:
“You had a lot to deal with today. That must have felt challenging and hard.”
“Mama, you don’t even know,” she says all big-eyed.
“And, what happened? I mean how did you deal with it all?” I asked.
She was confused and wary, knowing by now a lesson was in the works, but she says, finally, (and I’m so glad she went where I wanted her to go otherwise I’d be a big lesson-loser) “Well, I just made it work. I just did stuff and kept going. Like with piano I just stopped crying and started playing and then it was over.”
Because we are all that. Humans are vast and resilient and we can take in so much challenge and we can hurt and complain and worry and at the very same time we are capable of getting through it.
We are capable of adapting, creating, persisting right up until we don’t need to anymore in which case we can take a deep breath and drink margaritas and revel in our own strength and laugh in relief.
Because we are ALL that and we can be strong and vulnerable at the very same moment. And hurting AND coping. And worried at the very same moment that we are out there working hard toward the better. We are all that. Right now. When we get that, when we know deeply our own capability, we are free.
We are strength-building with bad days.