Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I'm not a black-and-white kinda gal. Really, I'm not. In fact, I'd be willing to say it's one of the traits that defines me, my inability to ever stand so strongly on a subject that I can't see the other side, hazy as that vision may be. It's both a good thing and a bad thing. But it's definitely a part of me.

And yet, the other day, I suddenly realized that I'm neither a very good or a very bad parent--or rather, that I'm sometimes very good and sometimes very bad--and that totally took me by surprise. Which, of course, completely goes against that whole not being a black-and-white kinda gal. I don't know WHY I've always tried to judge myself as one or the other, or refused to recognize that both could coexist in me, and one doesn't necessarily have to take over the other. In other words, not only aren't I a black-and-white kinda gal, I'm a hypocrite as well.

But (and say it with me now, folks) I digress. Usually, I have good days and bad days as a mom. But lately, they're starting to run into one another. And it's hard to reconcile, for me at least. What my kids think is something their therapists will have to sort out later on, I guess.

For example: Last Thursday, I took N to preschool, and noticed a cage with four baby bunnies in it. I immediately fell in love with one of the two little black ones. All the mommy hormones came rushing in. But I knew Baroy would *kill* me if I brought another animal home, since he's expressed nothing but resentment over Pumpkin since I took him in. So I let it go. Well, I let it go mostly, but did mention to Baroy that afternoon how cute they were. And to my complete shock, he suggested I take the one I fell in love with, to keep Pumpkin company and maybe make him a little more social.

Now, E was in aftercare. (I get out of work too late on Thursdays to pick her up from school, so I usually get her after I run a few errands, and then we go and get Noah, who is napping when I leave work, from preschool.) So I immediately left the house to get E; I wanted her to be with me when I got Noah and the bunny. As we walked from aftercare to the car, I told her my surprise. She was beside herself with excitement. Kept hugging me and kissing me and telling me how I was the greatest mom in the world. We were both so excited, we couldn't keep still. We giggled and chattered the whole way to the school. But then, right before we got to the preschool parking lot, I hit a nasty traffic snarl, and E was oblivious. I asked her to shush so I could concentrate on maneuvering around cars. She kept on talking. And so I snapped, yelling at her to shut up. The smile left her face, and she shrank into her seat. After we'd parked, I apologized to her, but still. I'd taken the fun out of the afternoon, if only for a few moments. (By the time she had the baby bunny in her arms, all was forgiven. But I hadn't forgotten.)

In contrast, yesterday she came out of school with a total attitude. (I do get out early enough on Mondays to pick her up.) The teachers take them to the main playground to "release" them, and E was at the head of the line. She walked right up to me and started demanding that I take her swimming in the afternoon, and what was I making for dinner, and when could she go home with Emma...Well, I immediately lost it and started to really lace into her. And then pulled myself together, took a deep breath and said, "Hey, E, go back over to Mrs. G and let's do this over again." She hesitated, then 'got it.' She walked back to her teacher, took a deep breath of her own, then came running over to me. "Hi, Mommy!" she said as she gave me a huge hug. We both grinned and giggled and left the playground for home, holding hands and chatting amicably. That's who I want to be more often. That's a good mom. But the other woman, well, she exists in me too. And I don't think she's going anywhere. If the Zoloft hasn't scared her off, I'm afraid nothing will.

Grey. Lots and lots of grey. I really do have to learn to accept it.

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