I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March. You should do it too! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!
My daughter is on the couch with 100.4° temperature, miserable with a cold. I am trying to quickly clean the bathroom. She calls me and I yell “Hold on! I just want to finish this and I’ll be right there.”
As I finish scrubbing, my mind goes to a day years and years ago when I was doing dishes and my son kept calling my name over and over and over. I don’t remember the exact reason I was at my wits end with the whining and neediness. I do remember I said something like “Stop! Stop whining, ‘mommy.’ Hold on! I need to finish the dishes, and then I’ll be there!”
I think I had to repeat it because he called me again. And again. I finally walked to the living room, most likely with my eyes wide, my eyebrows up in annoyance at my 3 year old. (I think he was about 3, maybe 4). That’s when I noticed that there was a man on my porch, knocking on the screen door. That’s when I remembered that a psychology professor was coming to meet with my husband about a video project.
“I think he was trying to tell you I was here,” the professor said. I noticed (or imagined) a hint of raised eyebrows, incredulous that a mother could be so daft.
I don’t know why I’m thinking of this old story — I’m not annoyed that my sick daughter needs my help. My mind tries to make sense of my flashback, perhaps it was just my words: “Hold on!” that brought it back. I wonder if the professor was judging my lack of mothering skills, or if it was just me. I wonder how many times I judge someone’s comments or actions without thinking about what they may have just been dealing with. It’s been a long time since that day, but if I met that man again, I would still have the urge to defend myself. I would still want to say, “Yea, I was a great parent too… before I had kids.”