I felt anger yesterday. And resentment. Envy. Ugly thoughts. I don’t belong on facebook because of my hyper-sensitivity, but I’m on it to be the Scare-Me-Not mommy. Facebook, childishly, really hurts. I look around the site and see things that make me jealous, or left out, or angry.
Sisters on a beach vacation – beautiful, strong sisters I wish with all my heart were my own. Family at Yankee Stadium – something I’d love to be invited to (and have vocalized this wish to my mother many times when she was one of the crew) but have been left out of over and over again until I gave up. Young couples with their arms around each other, grinning ear to ear. Friends who get 3 vacations in one summer. The beach, the beach, the beach. Their children playing together, jumping in the waves. More sisters, four or five, all grinning, all looking like one another, all there for one another, no matter what.
(Oh, to bring Jonah back to the beach. To hear him gleefully cry “the ocean!” again. Now, it’s impossible. Next year I will plan ahead and see if I can hire someone like Joe to go with me to help me with him – and we’ll take him to Cape Cod. )
The young family living in Hawaii. The really nice rich cousin whose family goes to Rome, or Milan, or wherever else the 1% go for vacation. The family who has little material possessions yet is drowning in love.
Then, the people fighting diseases, fighting for causes, fighting for their children…trapped in the midst of horrible things – all of them rooted deep in faith, all of them brave and uncomplaining.
And then there is me.
I don’t have the diplomacy to keep my mouth shut and I don’t have the grace to be uncomplaining and I don’t have the faith to hold me up.
For all those who so kindly commented on my last post, you see I am mostly just a little girl, emotionally – frightened and bratty as hell. The spoiled only child who grew into the downwardly mobile idealistic hippie chick college student, who grew into a married woman who had a baby largely because she knew the child would have an amazing father (never even considering what kind of a mother I would make) who grew yet again into a numbed, dumbed-down version of herself – a broken, tired, jealous, Peri-menopausal mess.
There is no heroism in me and very little strength.
The acts of kindness I like to commit are only a conscious effort to combat what I know about myself…to have something, anything, to put some weight on the other side of the scale. I like to believe myself a Buddhist, a least a little, and a Christian, a little more, and yet I fall so short of the ideals, the teachings. I can’t stop these tight, tears-behind-my-eyes, ugly feelings that come roaring up inside me like a sickness.
So yesterday, when all was said and done, I eventually reaped what I had sown – ripe seeds of nasty, intrusive, pissy, uncalled-for emotions.
But I’ll get back to that later.
My mom and I drove down for our Saturday Jonah visit, and, as Andy said later, “he was on his A game.” He was so amazingly good. Almost too good. What do I mean by that? I guess mostly that it’s easier to leave him behind when he is aggressive and scream-y and difficult. When he’s so good, I want to hold him close to me and never let go.
I taped a small “conversation” I had with Jonah but I’m not sure how easy it is to hear. If you listen closely, at the very end, Andy asks, “Jonah, what’s a fart say?” and Jonah blows a raspberry.
And not only did he go swimming at the river,
…but we also drove to “grocery store” at Jonah’s request to buy waffles and syrup and orange soda. I watched as my boy got his own cart, spun it around and into the store, expertly steered it past both produce and people, and acted like a good little kid, only occasionally asking for something we weren’t going to buy (and taking it very well when we said “not now” or “tomorrow” or any of the other distraction words — anything but “no.”) Jonah acted better, even, than some of the other kids there. Of course we did have to go to the self-check out to avoid any waiting, but still it was so incredibly cool to watch him growing and learning and doing so well.
When my mom and I left, it was with the hope we always have when Boo is good – that he will continue in this direction, steadily learning patience and life skills as well as academics, gradually improving, progressively making his way out of aggression and into verbalization. Socialization. Happiness. It never happens, of course – there is always the backslide, but every time, we hope – we have learned its necessity.
When I returned home from our visit, I drove up to the Rensselaerville Falls and made a large nature art creation. Nobody was around. Nobody almost ever is…even when the parking lot is full, most people are on the ridiculously steep trails. I hefted rocks that I looked at after I was done, wondering how I’d lifted some of them at all — then, with my rock-circle-wall sufficiently constructed, I began decorating it, first with two branches to make a cross, then with fallen leaves I could find on the ground or trapped swirling around a stick in the water.
I sat on a rock shelf nearby and listened to the waterfall, always rushing, never-ending, as calming and reassuring a sound I’d ever heard. I first searched for patterns in the sound, and for a while I opened myself further and let them enter me. When I arose from my reverie, I realized I had made this creation for Liam the Brave - The sweet, suffering toddler for whom I made the box.
And I walked fully clothed into the area of water surrounding me, into the middle toward the next waterfall level, feet groping as the water rose higher and higher on me. To my calves. My mid-thighs. My waist. Close enough to the drop of the falls for the sound to swallow my screams, loud and long and enraged. I screamed and thrashed around in the water as if dousing Wicked Witches into melting pools. I cried and I sobbed. I yelled primal, awful AAAAAHHHHHs, and, finally, raised my body tall and straight.
I walked purposefully up and out of the pool of water, back over to my rock creation, and felt the rage rise again. I barely stopped myself from deconstructing the creation, rock by rock, and shot-putting the smaller ones into the water, smashing them against rocks, pitching them at the falls.
But I didn’t. It isn’t mine anymore, I thought. It’s Liam’s now.
I picked up my things – my bug repellent, my camera, my sandals – and carried them up the hill, along the trail, and back to the car.
It was not until the moment I reached for the driver’s door handle that I realized I’d locked the doors (something I almost never, ever do).
With a sinking heart, I realized I’d left my purse (with my cell phone and my keys) in the trunk.
And what did I do? I smiled. The karmic slap. You reap what you sow, you jealous, angry bitch.
Instead of finding someone in the Huyck Preserve office (I was sure it was closed anyway) or knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask if I could use their phone to call AAA, I just smiled again.
I know what I’ll do.
I searched around the parking lot for a little while until I found what I thought was a hefty, perfect, pointed rock. Then I walked over to the driver’s side way-back triangle-window, and brought down the rock as hard as I could, right in the middle of the glass. Instead of hearing a satisfying shatter, I watched a white scratch appear as the rock bounced off. It was loud as hell, though, echoing throughout the park. Again and again I brought the rock down on the glass. More and more and more white scratches appeared. Some small nicks. Nothing much else. By now the glass would need replacing anyway, I realized, whether I broke it or not.
So I reached down, grabbed up the uncomplaining rock, and walked maybe two feet away from the car. I aimed as best I could and threw the rock at the window with all the strength I had. Rock bounced off window. I picked it up and threw it again, where it bashed in the silver trim halfway between the way-back-triangle window and the back window. Still I threw it again, this time making the familiar white-mark-scratch, only this time even further off mark, on the back window.
At this point I was half in tears at my stupidity and half-laughing at the strange fun of trying to bash a window in with a heavy, sharp rock.
Finally, I walked to the office, which was actually open, and found a young man inside. “Did you just hear all that noise?” I asked him. “Yeah,” he answered. “I was about to come out and see what’s going on.”
“What’s going on,” I said, “is I’m trying to bash out my back window because I locked my keys in the car. Do you happen to have a hammer?”
He did. Both a sledgehammer and a pick-axe. He chose the sledgehammer and held it out to me. “Do you want to do it or do you want me to do it?” he asked. “You do it, please,” I answered, not wanting to make a wild swing and cave in the roof or something.
“Well I’ve never done this before,” he said before giving the window just a wee more than a tap with his giant sledgehammer. The result was my anticipated, satisfying SMASH, glass all over the inside of my car.
I thanked the dude, stuck my lanky arm through the hole, unlocked the back door, opened it, stuck my body in the car, used my lanky arm to reach the front door lock and unlock it, popped the trunk, grabbed my purse, slammed the trunk shut and the back door closed, and drove the hell home.
And so, in one of the longest posts I’ve written in quite some time, there lies the moral of the karmic smash:
Don’t waste time being angry, or jealous, or resentful. You’ll end up falling under the illusion of surface-sight and misunderstanding. You’ll end up making assumptions that may not be true. You’ll end up a grasping fool, unhappy and repellent. There is no good in any of it. Let it all go.
Learn it, Amy. And right quick.