Janey came home from school in her typical after school no talking mode. We have worked out what she likes to do, and it doesn't need a lot of words---a little cuddle, then a lot of cheese and onions, then some videos, then usually a shower. We did that routine, and I put a dress on her to be ready for the next part of her evening routine---a car ride with Tony when he gets home.
|Not my actual seedlings, but very similar ones!|
I stayed calm. I didn't even feel like being angry---I don't get angry that often. And at first, I didn't even feel that upset. But as I started to clean up the table, floor and Janey, I started to cry. I couldn't stop, once I started. I had been feeling low for a few days, and it all hit me hard right then---that still, after all these years, it was still impossible to have a few minutes to myself, how it felt unfair to William and to Freddy how rarely I could concentrate just on them, how I couldn't see any end in sight to the tough parts of life with Janey.
As I tried to clean, she decided she wanted a video. I told her I had to clean up first. She didn't take that well, and started screaming and arm biting. I kept cleaning, and kept crying. When she saw I was crying, she gave me a curious look, but then went back to screaming "I WANT KIPPER!" In that moment, I felt totally defeated. I felt like I can do all I can to keep Janey happy, and still, the minute I can't do what she wants that second, she's furious. She doesn't think "Gee, she's been doing what I wanted all afternoon, and in fact for years, really. I made a huge mess and she's cleaning it. I could lay off her for a minute" Of course she doesn't think that. It's not in her to think it, and when I am not in a state, I can accept that. But as the vacuum jammed and the floor became more covered with wet dirt and dead seedlings, I wasn't thinking well.
Life with Janey isn't easy. I know here I'm supposed to say life with any child isn't always easy, that the special rewards of being her mother make up for the tough times, that it's not a child's role to make the life of their parents easy---I know all that, and I believe all that. But there's a difference here. Although she makes some progress in some ways, although as I wrote about recently, her stages like the mischief stage do eventually get better, Janey isn't ever going to really grow up. There isn't going to be a day when she truly understands that I'm doing the best I can, that maybe she could wait five minutes for a video while I clean up, that she shouldn't toss dirt on the ground, that I have feelings too.
I've regrouped today. I'm ready to get back out there, to do my level best to help Janey have a good life, to try to be the mother I want to be. But I am pretty sure each of you knows the feeling behind the tears yesterday. If we don't admit it's tough sometimes, it's a very lonely kind of sadness. We have to be able to admit this isn't an easy gig, being a parent of a child like Janey. I am going to resist for now the urge to modify that statement, and just let it stand, for now, for once. It's not easy.