So sometimes people say, "you make it look so easy!" to me and I just smile.
I am going to tell you a story about today that might make you like me less, but right in this moment I don't care. Because it is a true story. It isn't embellished in any way and there is no hyperbole, it just is what it is and what it is is the most embarrassing series of events I can remember, even more embarrassing than the time when I was 13 and I was distracted and talking to a friend after a Cross Country race and started to change my clothes outside, in a field full of people, thinking I was in a locker room.
Are you ready?
I think I have a problem, sometimes, with pushing myself to go get stuff done even when it isn't the best idea.
Today I took the kids to Target with me because we needed peanut butter and bread and also so I could see if this particular store had any of the bent plywood dining chairs in stock. We need to fit six tiny chairs in our tiny dining room and these were tiny and on clearance at another store for so cheap it would be silly NOT to buy them, but they were out of stock at that location. Wouldn't you know that at this store they had exactly six left? And I could get all six of them for less than $40 total? I had an employee load them all huge and crazy on a second cart. I also grabbed some groceries and a few other things (hello, it's Target, of course I did) and then suddenly I could tell my kids had had it. They were just d-o-n-e. Clark started doing his shriek. His "I am tired and loud and three years old and I don't have any self control" shriek.
We got to the check-out and the kids were getting louder and louder and when I went to pay and ran my debit card through -- rejected. "I'll run it as credit," I told the cashier. Again -- rejected. Deep breath. I knew immediately that if my debit card didn't work that it meant Luke had been too busy to deposit his check from last week. Last week! You know, our income? What I use to buy groceries? The bill was somewhere around $60 and I was standing there like an idiot as the line backed up. I searched my wallet for another way to pay but had nothing but frequent customer cards and old receipts. While I was distracted with the wallet searching, Clark climbed himself out of the cart all clumsy and noisy and scary like, and bolted towards the little end aisle full of trading cards. I called Luke who confirmed that he had not deposited his check. He was busy. He had to go. He apologized and hung up. I chased after Clark. I tried to distract him and it didn't work. Then I tried to whisper-inform him that he needed to loosen his grip on the stuff we didn't own because we were leaving. He asked me why and I decided to be honest and whisper-explain that mommy didn't have her money with her to buy anything and he LOST. IT. Lost it.
Clark is smart and emotional and persistent and he has a huge sweet heart but is also easily frustrated and often defiant. He can have a fit the size of Nevada and a few seconds later start calmly talking about something that happened last week. He has a temper. He has no self-control. He also tells me he loves me and gives me big hugs and apologizes later. He is unpredictable. And he is three. I am at my wit's end with him sometimes. He has embarrassed me so many times and I hope this doesn't sound rude, but I do not want your advice. I know that from the outside looking in you may think what you do with your kid would totally help with my kid but I don't think kids actually work like that. He isn't textbook anything and I promise that I will never ever give you advice on how to do things with your kid because our kids are just small people and it turns out that people are all different from each other.
Also I have already tried everything.
So I carried my 40 pound, off-the-charts tall, screaming, thrashing three year old away from the trading card aisle and back towards the cart that contained Alice, Alice who is two, Alice who was attempting to leap from the cart and towards the super cute Sanrio 50th Anniversary tote bag I was going to use the rest of her birthday money to purchase. "MINE BAG! MINE BAAAG!" she screamed. Girl loves bags. And Hello Kitty. And birthday presents.
There were probably 30 people staring at us. I don't blame them. We were very loud and ridiculous. I was wearing a newborn baby and pushing a crying toddler and carrying a tantruming preschooler. Ridiculous.
We got just past the check-out area and I stood Clark up on his feet and told him he needed to walk but instead he got down on the floor and thrashed and pushed and SCREAMED.
I tripped on him. And fell over. Onto the floor. With the baby. While the people watched.
I was there on the dirty floor, next to Clark and I thought, wow, I truly do not ever remember being this embarrassed, ever, in my whole entire life.
I was saying bad words in my head. When we got back to the car I called my mom and cried hot blushing tears and then when we got home I drank two beers as fast as I could.
I guess the truth is that I do kind of try to make it look easy. I don't do it so you all (readers, friends, citizens of the world) will think it is easy for me, I do it so I will think it is easy for me.
And obviously I know better. I know that the day to day stuff can suck. But making the decision to do it every day, to do the day to day stuff again and again and again, to keep pushing and trying to learn the kids and my husband and myself and this life a little better?
They do make that part easy.