Friday was a very long day at the Johnson home. For whatever reason (Thursday’s hot dogs, lack of sleep, bubblegum ice cream or twenty million mosquito bites) the boys were exceedingly cranky and nothing transpired without the accompaniment of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
When I arrived in the kitchen in the morning, I found the Gort crying. About a pen. A pen that had been stepped upon and subsequently broken. By the professor. Our oldest wailed about this (cheap, blue, plastic) pen and demanded that we buy him a new pen. Despite the fact that we have something like four hundred and twenty pens lying around our house.
You want a pen? How about ten!
The boy was not soothed by my attempts at placating him which means, short of hopping in the car-van and driving to Michaels to get a replica of the deceased pen, his crying would not cease. And I had not yet had any coffee.
‘You realize there are children in this world who don’t have any pens,’ I tried the only remaining parental weapon in my arsenal. Which, admittedly, was a somewhat pathetic weapon. I really didn’t think I would be the kind of parent who stooped to cliches.
But I also didn’t think I’d go three years without sleeping for more than five consecutive hours.
And now that I think of it, maybe I overstated. Maybe every child in this world does have a pen. Or at least some sort of writing utensil. I’m pretty sure those little kids in Africa are running around with old Bic pens. But I couldn’t very well say that to my oldest: ‘On second thought, every child does have a pen, so you should continue crying while holding up your defunct writing instrument.’
A few hours later, the Gort and I were in my room. Where I was trying to find my way through the piles of folded laundry. And the collection of dustbunnies. And the jewelry that had been taken from my dresser drawers and dumped onto the dresser and my nightstand. By my second oldest spawn.
I started with the jewelry, doing my best to sort through the mess; to return the bracelets and necklaces to their original containers. It was a disaster and things appeared to be missing. (Like the pair of diamond earrings the Gort disposed of when he was around eighteen months old.) I can be relatively accepting of destruction wreaked by my boys….when it occurs in isolated incidences. But when one incidence follows another…and another in a very short span of time…..I feel a teensy bit resentful.
And, before I know it, teensy resentments multiply into a big pile of resentment and I explode. Friday was an explosion day as I muttered choice words about them touching my stuff and losing it and how they were never, ever allowed to go into my room ever again.
My oldest had put his head down on the bed, seemingly tired of listening to me rant. About something that wasn’t even his fault.
As I shoved bracelets and necklaces back into brightly colored jewelry bags, he looked up at me. ‘You know mom, there are moms in this world who don’t have any jewelry.’