I officially lost my shit last week in the clear, blue middle of a Tuesday – my daughter had stayed home sick, but she wasn’t REALLY sick, and you know how when kids aren’t REALLY sick but they’re at the tail end of whatever virus they had over the weekend (sigh) and you err on the side of caution and keep them home, but they’re bored and annoyed and acting like assholes?
Plus, the internet was down which meant I couldn’t outsource the whole parenting thing to The Simpsons, and she didn’t want to read, or do puzzles or draw, because all she wanted to do was stare balefully at me and toss her head and scrunch her left shoulder every time I said “baby, how can I make this more interesting and more fun for you?”
We went to the store, and that was just a jolly little nightmare of sighs and eye rolls, and did I mention it was Day Two of my period, and I was wearing this ratty old shirt from some work team building exercise thing — you know, the one with the curry stain — and also I hadn’t washed my hair in two days.
On the way back, me shlepping six bags of groceries and her shlepping six bags of bullshit attitude, a woman in an SUV pulled up on the curb literally in front of us. Like, up on the curb. Blocking the side walk. And did I mention that there were all these brambles between the car and this thick wall of vines on the other side of the car?
So, like, there was no way through, except to push through them, or walk around in the middle of the street.
I fought the urge to kick the side of her car because that would not be good parenting. (“Sweetie, we don’t destroy other peoples property except when they’re assholes” isn’t a great life lesson) plus, there were too many witnesses.
My daughter walked through the leaves and vines, and scratched her arm. I walked in the middle of the street with my six bags of groceries, plus my backpack, plus I needed to change my tampon.
And then the woman in the SUV tried to get out of her car – from the passenger side. No idea why. Maybe her door wasn’t working? I don’t know – but I do know that she couldn’t. Why? Because of the way she parked.
It wasn’t CONVENIENT for HER.
So what did she do after my daughter walked through the thick scratchy vines?
She pulled her car out, and parked somewhere else.
And when she got out with her perfect shiny hair, and her designer jeans and sunglasses, I lost my shit.
“Seriously?” I said in Hebrew. “SERIOUSLY? You moved your car NOW because it wasn’t convenient for YOU but you let my daughter walk through that mess, and you let me walk in the middle of the street? What nerve!”
It felt good.
It felt really fucking good for that second .
I felt righteous. I felt INDIGNANT. I took out every shred of anger, every bit of angst on that woman who was organized and pretty and had a nice car, and I just let it go.
But it didn’t change anything.
“That wasn’t nice of you, Mom.” my daughter said.
“Oh, suddenly you’re worried about being nice?”
“What was the point? It wasn’t so hard to walk around. Why are you so dramatic?”
“WHY AM I SO DRAMATIC? WHY AM IIIIIII SO DRAMATIC? YOU’VE BEEN STORMING AROUND ALL DAY, AND I AM SICK OF THIS SHIT.”
She rolled her eyes. Wonder where she got THAT from.
We trudged the rest of the way home, with fifteen cats following us meowing for food.
She continued to glare at me throughout the day. We had no reset. No perky after school special kind of lesson. The day just sucked, and she sucked and I sucked, and some days are like that. Even in Israel.
But we ate our dinner and brushed our teeth and went to bed, and woke up and things were a little better, and so it goes in life. There are good days and there are bad days, and there are days in between, and there are days of grace, and days where it takes every ounce of strength to stay the course.
I thought about that woman off and on in little flashes of remorse, but not enough to actually try to look for her to apologise for losing it.
And then yesterday, on my way back home, after the rains had come and the earth was a little softer and turning green around the corners, I saw a woman on the little dirt road where I live. She looked like me a bit – a little harried, a little tired, but she had a nice smile.
“Hi,” she said. “I owe you an apology.”
“Why?” I had no idea who she was.
“Last week, I was having a horrible day, and I wasn’t thinking, and I blocked you and your daughter in front of the preschool.”
I touched her arm.
“Hey, it’s ok,” I said, shocked and humbled that I didn’t even recognize this woman who had made me feel so angry, angry enough to lose it and shout at her.
“I was having a horrible day, too, and I lost it. I’m sorry, too.” I said.
“I guess some days are like that.”
And they are.
And I’ll try to remember that the world is small and we’re all connected, and we’re all so, so human, and that everyone is tired, too.
I may forget it again — chances are, I will. But maybe I’ll remember a little piece of this, just enough to make me take a breath before I lose it, and remember that we’re ALL breathing – all human – and we are all weighed down with all our bags of bullshit.
All of us. Our friends. Our family. Our neighbours. Total strangers.
And even our own kids, too. So that night, I gave my daughter an extra long hug, and she extra long hugged me back.