I don't care what Katy Perry wails about on her multi-whatever album...the teenage dream I'm living in is much more challenging than letting some guy put his hands on me in my skintight jeans.
I am the mom.
I am wrong.
End of story.
As a kid--from my earliest memories--I was waiting.
Waiting for one of my parents to throw in the towel and either a) take us to a motel or grandma's to spend the night or b) get sick enough from the drink to cease all aggression toward the other in the face of their own self-destructive rage.
Waiting outside the bathroom door while my mom took a bath. Talking to her the whole time, keeping her engaged, making sure she didn't off herself between turning on the water and the water losing enough heat to make her uncomfortable--at which point she would get out, towel off, and resume being my mom.
Waiting for news that my dad had taken his own life. He threatened to do so often enough that part of me had to accept the possibility in order to protect the part of me that would have to bolster up my brothers when and if this ever actually happened.
Waiting for the Utopian un-reality of The Brady Bunch or Family Ties to show up in my life--establishing once and for all the glossy, Hollywood natural order.
Waiting to grow up and move out and have my own kids and make their childhood completely different from mine.
Waiting (so to speak) for the other shoe to drop.
The wait is over--and I wonder, sometimes, if anything is really different--let alone better.
Despite the lack of (comparative) drama, unrest, fear and insecurity in the day-to-day life I tried to create for my spawn, there has still been ample drama, unrest, fear and insecurity.
Some generated by yours truly. Some not.
All of it landing squarely in my lap--where I, upon feeling its ever-present weight, instantly deploy my own special (if somewhat schizophrenic) combination of defensive AND offensive tactics. The whole while breathing (with every breath) a prayer for peace, love, safety, comfort and grace to explode in the hearts and lives of my girls.
Caught up in the very real struggles of their lives, I tend to forget that my darling offspring could have it so much worse. After all, wasn't that one of my prime objectives--to make the childhood they experienced as soft and safe and nurturing as the womb they each burst from before wailing their first and most primal wail?
But yet, they disdain. They are vexed. They are tormented--with tears choking their words and thoughts and vision and hope. Today is as bad as it can get for them in their personal prison--and they will not be consoled.
They can (and they do) languish; comfortable (I tell myself) in the safety net that is me.
Maybe non-catastrophic-consequences kids are the product of:
The fear of creating a catastrophic-consequences kid who feels the world rests
on her shoulders and is constantly gasping for air as she suffocates under a
scratchy wool blanket of anxiety
A family environment where the world actually rests on the parent's shoulders
and kids are free to fuck up all they want without the world ending--leaving
the parent(s) gasping for air as they suffocate under not only anxiety but
guilt compounded by depleting bank accounts.
Does part of my inability to do anything right in they eyes on my second-born come from the cocoon of relative normalcy I tried to spin around her since the doctor slapped her adorable, newborn ass?
Like many a case that has gone cold, I know deep in my bones that the riddle of this current struggle may never be solved.
But that's not to say we won't find a sense of peace. A way to live with it. A loyalty and bond usually only known by those who have been in the trenches together--clinging to one another, crying, shaking and seeing in the other's eyes the truths that only the two of you will ever truly know.