I Worry

I worry about my kids. Then I worry that I don’t worry enough about them. I worry about how much I dislike parenting, but it might just be a general aversion to taking care of people. Something happened when I was a child, and I never learned how to take care of people, or myself. And that’s how you get a grown woman playing with Barbies, moulding the redhead on the couch, while the blonde and the brunette look on concerned. At least, I imagine they are concerned, I fact they have the same bimbo expression they’ve always had, the one that tells girls they can grow up to be doctors just by putting on a cute white lab-coat and looking stupid.

Last weekend the kids’ dad took them to the snow to snowboard. I was invited several times and politely declined- I am neither co-ordinated, nor brave, nor Anglo Saxon enough to snowboard. Then I decided to board the dogs and have myself a little vacation.

On Friday night I came home. Late. And no one barked at me. And there were no other living souls sapping the energy field of the house- all was pure indulgent quiet. The next day He Who Shall Not Be Named came over and I have no qualms taking care of him, though I suspect I do it at least in part because there’s something in it for me. I get something and so I gladly give; I am the porn Florence Nightingale when I know I’m getting laid.

Kids have a habit of being ungrateful little bastards, plus every time you turn around you’ve hurt their feelings or their elbows or their weird-ass pride and then you feel so horribly guilty that can you be blamed for starting to dread the whole experience? Parenting young children is like a minefield, you never know when one false move will get your head blown off.

Sunday night I was again blissfully alone, I had a book, I made a salad, no one whimpered or cried, and I didn’t hurt anyone, or their feelings.

On Monday they all came back. The noisemakers and care-taking demanders, the yelpers and the whiners, the people in my space who twirl around on my nerves doing pirouettes in tennis shoes. I love my kids. I love my dogs. I even love my ex- appreciate his company more often than not. But none of the din could erase the memory of that time I had marinating in my own silence, answering to no one but my own soul. Deliciously, selfishly and unashamedly alone.

Photo by Todd McGuinness

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