I tried to run away today.
My daughter sat on my bed and watched me pack. She told me it was probably a good idea for me to leave since I seemed so upset. This sort of hurt my feelings, but then she added, “This is how I felt last night, I understand” and I realized she was practicing a little empathy which I always welcome. I had nowhere to go. My tastes are expensive – I’d been searching Airbnb for a nice beach house that would accept me and a dog for one night and it just wasn’t happening. It was too last minute for five star accommodations, but I kept packing, convinced I’d find somewhere to go once I got in the car.
“I have a great idea!” my daughter said as I shoved my reading glasses and the book that has sat unread on my nightstand for a year into my bag. She suggested that I go down to the basement and stay there until tomorrow and pretend I was at a hotel. She promised no one would bother me and said she’d serve me on request – all I had to do was text her what I wanted. I considered this for a few minutes as I snuggled into my dogs neck trying to hide my tears and slight smile. I agreed.
Last night we had a family over for dinner. We haven’t entertained them before but the mom and I have been friends since we met in a mom’s group when our kids were little. My daughter basically said before the party that she was not going to be nice because she didn’t know ‘these people’. I threatened, advised and begged prior to their 6:30 arrival that she be nice.
She was a beast.
She ignored their two kids, put a saran wrap caution tape barrier to prevent them from going into our kid-friendly basement we had specifically renovated for nights like these, she made music.ly’s in her room for a while until she went into the garage and started maintaining her bicycle. There were screwdrivers, pumps and wrenches spread out around her as she muttered loudly about “getting bad vibes from these people.”
They are beautiful people.
I was mortified. This is a familiar state for me as a parent that I’ve been working really hard at managing. I backslid last night – I was distracted, I wasn’t present, I was angry and anxious about what my kid would say or do next. She kept confirming my fears with more and more behavior bombs as the night went on until….
Ten minutes before our company left, my daughter did a strange thing. With a confident AHEM, she apologized and explained she was “just really tired and needed some alone time.” She then strapped some bicycle lights on her body, did some cartwheels and made some jokes. A real charmer. My husband said at the end of the night, “Oh isn’t she great? She redeemed herself!” No it wasn’t and no she didn’t. Her apology and grand finale show made me even more furious. Why the f&*^ can’t she be the awesome kid I know her to be around other people? It’s like she smells our fear and it manifests. I used to think she wasn’t in control and had impulsivity issues but this is a very self-aware kid; she knows what she’s doing. She doesn’t care if people like her, she’s not about impressions. You either like her or you don’t. I don’t know what it’s like to be this type of person. I admire it. I don’t want her to change this – just play the game a little tiny bit when it matters (to us).
After the party, my husband took her on a midnight bike ride so she could show off her lights (still on her body, not on the wheels as intended). I thought this was a bad idea – almost like a reward for bad behavior so when she got back, I told her again how disappointed I was. She cried, she hugged me, she said she was sorry, she asked to sleep with me. I let her but I was still pissed – so pissed I couldn’t sleep. I woke up pissed.
This morning my mission was to clean our garage. It was something my husband expected me to do the last two weeks but since I’ve got a kid attached to me these last two weeks before school – I didn’t get to it. I figured I’d do it on the weekend while he was around so he could help me shuttle things to their new spots once I had everything sorted. I’m an angry cleaner; my mood was perfect for a productive sesssion.
While they were out at her riding lesson, I quickly put some things from the garage on the curb that I knew he wouldn’t want to get rid of. My husband is a hoarder, I like to throw things out. There’s the old coat rack that has been shoved in the back of the closet in our our old house (and then later the garage) for the last fifteen years, one of the crooked legs balanced with the same bar of Irish Spring. This is one of the twenty bars he for some reason stole from my parent’s house ten years ago. The soap is stowed away under the workbench in the garage, never to touch a human body –the soap hit the curb along with some old bike helmets, a rusty fireplace cover and a cheap wall mirror. I was hoping someone would come and take them all before they got back – no such luck.
When they pulled up, everything in our garage was in the driveway, sorted into three sections; toss, go to basement, and a huge pile that needed to be organized before figuring out what to do with. I had done two hours of heavy labor. All my husband saw was his beloved Honeymooner’s era coat rack on the curb. I have his reaction on video. As he dragged the coat rack back into the garage, I got an animated lecture about my careless regard for money and objects.
I practiced my “Do Not Engage” mantra at that moment but tears started and I went inside telling him I would finish when he left and that I wouldn’t continue as long as he was around. We do not partner well in these situations. In many situations, actually. We see someone for this. My mantra quickly gave way to fury when he said I had to “clean up the mess in the driveway” first – the mess being my exhaustive organization of our cluttered garage. I let loose and screamed at him until my daughter came in, phone in hand – a strange little girl face frozen on the screen – to tell us to be quiet as she was face-timing a friend. WHAT?!
I was mortified. I was ashamed. I wanted to run away. So I went upstairs and started packing. I was being incredibly immature. I knew it. I was being a bad mom. I knew it. I wasn’t showing good coping mechanisms. I was questioning everything. I just wanted to leave. I feel this way a lot. I birthed and chose some very big energy people to family with – it’s exhausting to be a person who and be surrounded by people who want(s) so passionately.
My husband came down an hour ago, sheepish and coy, to tell me what I great job I did on the garage. And then in a humiliating (and therefore effective) attempt to win my affection, he licked my dirty toes. Now he’s out picking up a pizza, my daughter has worked her way to sitting on the rug at my feet along with the dog and I have a feeling we’re going to end up all watching a movie tonight on this couch.
So much for my great escape.
Have you ever run away from home?