Friday, April 27, 2012

Nest of Freaks

I’m back. Not that I’d gone far. I just haven’t been able to write for a few weeks, maybe longer. It’s not because I’ve had writer’s block. It’s just the opposite…I’ve had writer’s diarrhea. I have been writing so many different projects at the same time that something had to give…and sadly it was the non-paying (but often much more therapeutic) writing of the blog.But it was a momentary pause, not a full stoppage. And even if I cannot write about the craziness of juggling marriage, work, and family, it doesn’t mean the insanity ceases. The chaos of family life didn’t stop. In fact, the waves of chaos have grown to a full blown tsunami. It got so bad at one point that I thought about getting rid of my husband and children. Not in a nefarious way…despite all the CSIs I’ve watched, I’m still not a good enough liar to get away with much more than parking in a red zone without falling apart and giving a full confession under cross examination. No, I was going to get rid of them the old fashioned way. One day – I think it was the morning that started out with the kids forgetting to feed the dog they begged for 8 months ago and complaining about taking her out, spilling chocolate on the sofa they weren’t supposed to be eating on, and not caring that they didn’t empty their lunch bags from the night before and whole sandwiches, cheese sticks and yogurt which could have been saved had to be thrown away - I was so fed up with my kids (ages 9- “but I think I’m 40” and 11 “but I act like I’m 2”) that I decided to take them back to the hospital. I rationalized, I gave birth to them at Cedars and Cedars can take them back. I was going to write out a note explaining why I was returning them, pin it to the backs of their shirts, drive by the hospital entrance and slow down just enough to push them out without them scrapping anything on the pavement. I went as far as to write the notes. They read, “Dear Hospital, I am sorry that this did not work out, but I am going to have to return these babies. I know they are no longer babies. That is the problem. They have grown to the point where they don’t listen, talk back, and constantly ask me for money…particularly at the mall. Please return them from whence they came.” I even signed my name to the note, taking no shame in my return decision. After another incident which involved throwing food at each other, (them, not me, although I probably would have felt better if I had thrown some food), I told them my plan to take them back to the hospital and read them my note. They thought it was hysterical. They weren’t mortified at all. It didn’t cause them to recognize their bad behavior and regret not only driving their mother to the edge, but actually over the edge and into the ditch. No, they laughed so hard, I was afraid they were going to pee in their pants or spit food out of their noses…something else for me to clean up! Nicole’s biggest issue with my note was my use of the word, whence. “Who uses the word ‘whence’ anymore?” she complained. Having clever kids sometimes has disadvantages. Natalie pointed out that even if I got rid of them, I’d still have daddy around. I had a plan for getting rid of him, too. I wrote another note. This one was addressed to his mother and read, “Dear Mama Jewel, I am sorry that this has not worked out, but I’m going to have to return your son. I know there was all that mention at our wedding about ‘until death do you part,’ but clearly, I can’t wait that long. You did not inform me that he does not listen, talks back, and does not know how to cook. Please accept this return…” More laughter from the girls. They pointed out that grandma wouldn’t take him back. They’re right…she’s too clever for that. She’d decline delivery, write “Return to sender” with a Sharpie on his butt, and ship him right back to me. Writing the notes was very cathartic. It also made me laugh to realize I had almost the same complaints about both the girls and David…except the girls can cook. They’ve all been on better behavior recently. Maybe the notes put the fear of God in them after all…or maybe not. I think the change has come more with me than with them. I’ve learned to better accept and not get so frustrated by my family’s dysfunctional functioning. In some ways, I think I’ve embraced it. A dear friend of ours was describing her workplace and lovingly dubbed her co-workers, “A nest of freaks.” We have now embraced that as our family description. Anytime anyone does something…usual for our family…I sigh and think, “Yup, that’s us, nest of freaks.” Laughter is good for you. So I promise, it won't be so long between posts anymore.