This Is Me Today
Have you ever put your ear to the ground and listened. I have seen it done in the movies, Native American trackers putting their ears to the ground to hear horses’ hooves, miles away. I’m listening now. I am angry with my child, the boy one, he was rude, expected too much, forgot I am a person, saw only the mother. He treated me with contempt. My love was not shield enough, he hurt me. He hurt me with a thoughtless text message.
I want him to apologise, see the wound he made with his words but he is young and does not understand the weapons he holds.
I want to be the parent, the rock, but today I crumbled into the rough sea of hormones.
He thought he had done something wrong but was not sure, so carried on as normal when we met after the message.
I want to be the parent, the constant but I was stubborn and reminded him to take his shoes off and pick up the wet towel he had left on the floor when he said hello.
He moved quietly and did as he was told.
I want to be the parent, the teacher, but when he asked about my day, I told him to put his washing downstairs.
We both knew he had to be at work on time, we both knew he needed a lift. I had shared my stubborn gene 16 years ago, we threw it between us for a couple of hours. I washed the floor, he hovered, I cleaned the bathroom and waited, he got ready for work, ignored me, then rushed out of the door with not enough time to get to work. My husband saw my worry, sighed, picked up the car keys and went to find him.
I want to be the parent, the example, but when I should have risen above the petty I swam in it and did not explain my wound and how to fix it.
I am lying down on the floor with my ear pushed hard to the wood. I can hear the washing machine, it’s efforts are muffled, they sound like the engine in the belly of a ship. I can hear the thump of my heart, the groan of the boards. I can hear a rhythmic footstep and the familiar sound of metal clinking. My dog joins me. I look into his eyes and can not make out any pupils. He blinks and moves, closing one eye he looks back. I stare into the brown which looks like a planet and wonder if he can sense my failure. I can hear his tail thumping through my body. He loves me, even though I am a bad non-rock parent and sees only a pack member who is tired.
I want to be the perfect parent, I want my children to respect and love me. I want to be their inspiration.
I do not want them to think that they should never be like me when they are parents. I want to be perfect but that is impossible. I have to be me. I have to accept that this is the best I can do for today.
The washing machine has stopped and I can not hear anything more through the floor. My hip hurts, the dog is asleep. There are no signs, no messages, no hooves, just me and my thoughts. Tomorrow I will be the rock again but today I must listen to my failures.
My husband comes home, he has a bag holding a tub of ice cream. He asks why my ear is red. He tells me that our son was sitting at the bus stop, trying to work out the timetable. He tells me that our son had called me. I look at my phone and see three missed calls. I feel bad, but today was the best I could do. This was me.
To my children. Being perfect is a falsehood. Do not compare, you only ever see a small part of someone else.