“It’s all your fault”
“You’ve ruined everything”
I have not said these things to friends or to my spouse, not even to my co-worker who really deserves to hear them. Nope, I have said these things to my children. As the words form on my lips and are lashed out by my tongue I immediately regret them. I am helpless, left to stand there, towering over them as I watch my words crash and land on the wide-eyed innocent face of my child. But I’m too angry to show my cards so I stomp away, curl up in a corner and berate myself.
Sometimes my words are so terrible that I have an immediate, physical reaction, trying desperately to scoop them up, wipe them off their shocked faces.
Either way it unfolds the same way; I calm down, explain to my child why I got so angry and make sure he understands his part in all of this, he says sorry, then I say sorry. Then the next morning or a week later I hear my child repeat those same awful words to his sibling.
On an ideal day I have the best sense of humor, I tolerate their pettiness and appreciate their eagerness. But on the not so ideal day, the day that I am tired, sick, hungry, overwhelmed, it doesn’t take much more than a crumb on the floor to set me off. Faint wisps of smoke escape my ears but my children are oblivious and carry on in their poking, fighting and bickering. My temperature begins to rise as they call my name over and over and over again, all at the same time. Then the tremors start, the Earth moving beneath them, still they dance around the table instead of sitting and bracing themselves. Finally I erupt and their eyes are vacant of any blame or understanding and filled only with complete shock.
One day, in the not so distant future, Lucas will remind Penny of the time I had a screaming fit, Penny will chuckle as she recalls the memory wondering why I was so crazy that day then Oliver will remind them of some detail that is in no way related to my outburst and they’ll all have a good laugh. And that will make all of this OK.