It started at 3:02 pm. I picked up the boys from school, which I do NOT usually do. I was late coming home from work, and so as a kindness, a favor, something I thought they might like, I swung by the school and waited for them, so they wouldn't have to walk home in the cold. They stood outside the car for a full thirty seconds, looking at me like I was some kind of alien abductor. I smiled. I waved. I beckoned. They looked at each other and shrugged ("I don't know what she's doing here!") and climbed in to the car.
"Why are you here, Mom?"
"I thought we were going to go home with Tyler today!"
A mother's sigh. "No, sweetie. That's Wednesday. I told you this morning that it WASN'T today, and it WASN'T tomorrow, it was WEDNESDAY. I thought you might like a ride home from school."
Fuss. Fuss. Fuss. "That's not what you said! You said it was TODAY!"
I don't know why I even get into it with them. But I did. "No. I did not say it was today because it ISN'T today. I very clearly told you that it WASN'T TODAY."
This continued for the rest of the way home, when I said, "It doesn't matter. It isn't today. You can go home with Tyler on Wednesday. Not today. The end."
Fuss. Fuss. Fuss.
Ok, now the best time of the day. (ha.) Homework.
Fuss. Fuss. Fuss.
Put away your lunchbox.
Pick up your coat, please.
Don't spill your healthy after school snack of soda pop and cookies.
No, you can't play the computer. First do your homework.
Fuss. Fuss. Fuss.
Whine. Whine. Whine.
You need to read for twenty minutes before you can play.
Stomp. Slam. Distant muttering that I'm not supposed to understand, but am very clearly supposed to hear and recognize as extreme discontent.
Here I do the mature thing of slamming a door at my end of the house. That'll learn 'em.
OK, you get the picture. This pattern continues through rest of the afternoon, eating in the basement, making birthday invitations, delivering the invitations, sending their friends home at the ridiculously early hour of 6:00, having to drive to pick up Daddy from work, eating the disgusting dinner we as horrible parents dared to force them to eat, taking showers, cleaning rooms, and finally, oh blessed day, bedtime.
Whine. Whine. Whine. "My scriptures won't stay open!!"
"Sweetheart, just hold them in your hands, like this. See, you can hold the page open really easy."
Fuss. Fuss. Fuss. Smack book multiple times to show Mom that there's just no way it's going to stay open.
"Honey, just hold the book."
Fuss. Whine. Smack.
Here is where I didn't offer to hold him on my lap and he could read out of my book.
Here is where I didn't just ignore the behavior of an obviously cranky little boy.
Here is where I snapped. I grabbed his scriptures, slammed them shut, threw them out the door, and yelled, "There! Now you don't have to worry about it any more!"
The rest of the family sat for a moment in stunned silence. One scuttled out the door to retrieve his abused book while my husband muttered, "That really doesn't help." Oh, I know. I know!
We finished our reading in an absolutely spirit-less atmosphere. We said prayers and I didn't even say Amen, because I knew if I attmepted to speak, the floodgates would open and I knew there would be no closing them.
I hurried to take out my contacts and hide in my bed. I did not see or speak to anyone else for the rest of the evening. I did not give kisses or heat rice pillows or fill night cups. I did not tuck anyone in or wave goodnight. I did not do the dishes. I did not practice. I did not sign homework folders. I did not let in the dog or turn off the lights.
I think we call it QUITTING.
And all I could do this morning was pull him into my lap and kiss his head while I cried and begged his forgiveness.