Lifestyle: FIX IT, MOMMY!
Recently I separated from my husband. I say recently, but it's been a year. We have been together our whole adult lives—14 years now. So, by my perspective, one year is a small glitch in this second decade of our lives. Through this hard break up, I have learned incredible life lessons through the eyes of our children.
My four year-old just threw his favorite monster truck into the air, allowing it to "crash and burn" as it hit the pavement. "Kalyb, be careful with your favorite toy," I said at the exact same moment he released it. I watched, in slow motion, as it fell, slamming into the cement and breaking into three pieces. With huge tears in his eyes he gathers the pieces and places them in my lap.
"Fix it Mommy," he cries. My heart is in more pieces than the truck. And without missing a beat, I translate the lesson that in its own right, slaps me in the face as the words come out of my mouth, "Sometimes, baby, things break...and they can't be fixed." My lesson for him was to be thoughtful, careful with things that were valuable to him. My lesson to me? If I’m not valuable to someone, they will not be careful, I will get broken. I cannot make someone value me. I can and will, however value myself.
I have taken full responsibility as both parents. Someone has to apply for grownup status. So, like millions of others, I work two jobs and spend much of my day on autopilot. I intend not to feel or think about anything that is not absolutely necessary to effectively complete the tasks at hand at any given moment. It’s a survival mechanism.
I have, in a way, cocooned my emotional baggage and tucked it away, somewhere.
I live minute by minute in a scheduled, RoboMom routine. One foot in front of the other with blinders blocking my peripheral. I do this—function over feel. In a twist of fate, another lesson, small but conspicuous, appears to fly with G-force out of my mouth to my child and boomerang its way right back to me.
In the grocery store, Kalyb begs to push the buggy. “Why not?” I say to myself. He corners well on his iPod’s need- for- speed game. The boy can drive! Three rows in, past the energy drinks and chocolate, I’m in the zone. I’m calculating in my head and checking off my must-have/can’t forget shopping list when I hear it. “BANG! THUD.” Translation, "Crash and burn.” Yes, my son has toppled over the mound of calorie-conscious cereal boxes that were neatly on display in the center aisle.
"Kalyb!" I yell, partly in fear, partly to look better for the disapproving stock boy. A little perturbed, I demand that he help me pick up the mess. My frustration turns to self- awareness. I let my 4 year-old drive. A crash was inevitable. While he whined and cried that I had yelled at him, I reach down and took his chin, "Son, you have to watch where you’re going. Not just what’s in front of you, but what’s all around you." BAM. Slap in my own face.
Sometimes I am too focused on what’s right in front of me. I, too, have missed things going on around me. I need to remember to turn off my autopilot more often. Guess I’ve got more than cereal boxes to clear away.
Note to self: Think before speaking. You’re sounding too much like your mother. You’re sounding too much like A mother. Enough epiphanies for today. I wipe mine and my son’s tears and carefully drive my slightly broken buggy away.