“I don’t like fighting with you and the children.”
“I don’t like fighting with anyone.”
“Then why do you do the things you do? Why do you do things that will upset me?”
“Because I can’t live my life based on fear of upsetting someone if it’s something I believe in.”
The weekend is in full swing.
I find it important at this point to share that I am actually quite sick. I’ve been sick for weeks but since my constant hacking and coughing went unnoticed by everyone around me it seemed almost invisible to me also. I finally went, yesterday, to a doctor. “You have bacterial bronchitis.” She said, through my coughing fits that left me sweaty and shaking. She gave me some prescriptions, asked if I needed a work excuse and sent me on my way.
I said no to the work excuse of course since I’m not working my “real” job until next Friday and I should be better enough by then. But as I got home the reality sunk in.
Moms don’t get work excuses.
Last night, frustrated with the family and impending weekend I grabbed my gin and tonic, music, Epsom salts and headed upstairs declaring that I was “checking out for the night”. Bath drawn, candle lit, and music set to the “chill” station I prepared to soak away my misery. But there it was. Moms don’t get work excuses. My ears still listened for my children’s cries and even stark naked in the tub, fielded questions and solved problems for the children. My maternal guilt would not let me go. As the bath became cold I drained my hopes and headed back to my eternal job.
This morning I woke with new hope. The house was quiet, maybe it would be a pleasant day. Not even 15 minutes later I would realize my fate. This is my family, right now it sucks.
Whatever bacteria has infected my bronchials seems to feed on my patience. I was soon a crying mess and turned to my husband for support. “I can not handle this right now. Can you please take care of the children?” I put on some headphones and attempted to drown out my maternal guilt and children’s fighting voices.
My husband’s first instinct was to follow my lead. He put industrial strength noise canceling ear muffs on and went upstairs. This does not work when everyone is autistic. My son will still, at 7, bang his head repeatedly. He can’t be left upset. Fortunately, after a bit, he came back down and told me his plan for getting the children to clean their rooms. Shut them in their rooms until they get it done. I had previously declared that I was checked out so I turned up the music and pulled up Rachmaninov. The 2nd piano concerto. And then I turned it up some more.
I started on a task I hate: making laundry detergent. As I sliced the Fels Naptha into small enough pieces that they could fit in my mediocre Cuisinart vegetable chopper without burning up the motor I imagined my body getting sucked into the blender, whirled into a million pieces, swirling into the world of music in my brain.
The long lonely trumpet call in the middle of the first movement pulls me back into reality as I hear my son’s pleas for help cleaning his room. Fortunately though, the music goes on and I continue to rhythmically chop the soap.
The second movement of Rach’s 2nd is different. In my opinion, any good three movement piece will have a tumultuous first, a sad, sorry second and a third that seems to have reconciled. Beethoven’s “The Tempest ” is one of my favorites for that. The emotional sprawl in the beginning contrasted with a delicate “I’m so sorry I’ll never do it again” (but you know he will) of the second movement finished with proof that things just don’t change and it all comes back around is perfect. But like I said, Rach’s is different. The tragedy of the first movement is so clear and final. As the orchestra finished there was a period of ambient echo from their final chord that seemed to echo through my skull given the volume I was listening at. The second movement, however, is not asking for forgiveness. It knows it has done something horrible that can never be fixed. It has walked through a door into a new world. It is sad, lonely, scared, but hopeful. It gives me hope in its lonely search for something new.
As it finished, and I cleaned up my laundry soap making mess I decided that perhaps if I just went in to my son, who was sitting in a heap, defeated by himself, and put the headphones on him and asked him to listen he might be helped. I turned the volume down, of course, but by the time the third movement had finished and it had moved onto Variations on a Theme by Paganini he was back to cleaning.
My going in there, though, created an enemy. The conversation that opened this post commenced and the circle of fighting, unhappiness, stonewalling and blame will continue. At least until Monday, when we all become so busy with the week that we don’t see each other enough to fight.