I flew home from Utah on Sunday with my husband and toddler. The entire plane ride consisted of Pixie screaming and squirming and me resisting the urge to whip out the bomb I had hidden in my carry-on toothpaste. Instead, I pulled my usual grim face and clenched jaw the entire flight. As the flight was waiting to deplane, a sweet old lady worked her way down the isle to offer a kind word. "Don't get frustrated, she's a beautiful little girl," she said tenderly.
To these gracious words I snapped, "Thanks, I'll feel better in 20 years."
I immediately felt bad about scorning her kind words, but honestly, what else could I have said? She was just flat out wrong. Beauty had nothing to do with anything. But if I had been a good liar like she wanted I would have said:
You're right. An ugly crying baby is a living nightmare but a pretty one is sheer delight.
I was wrong to get frustrated. No good pregnant mother should ever care about being kicked in the bladder for two hours.
Your kind words have erased all the mental damage that this plane ride of hell has inflicted. Teach me the ways of peace, gracious master.
But honestly, I'm sick of people telling me not to get frustrated. Especially when they offer no physical help. If someone offers to watch my kid for the afternoon, I'm all grace and thanks. But most women just spew empty words like, "Try to enjoy it! They are only young for a little while."
Which I interpret to mean, "trust me, honey, it gets worse."
Pixie is a ticking time bomb. Growing up with 6 sisters, there was a point where 5 of us girls were between the ages of 12 and 18 and we all made a point to make our mom cry as frequently as possible. I know this tendency is in Pixie somewhere. The black hate that lies dormant waiting for that special day in her teens when she realizes that emotional battery is much more painful than physical. I don't blame her - it's inevitable.
When I was barely 12, I watched my older sisters tear my mom to shreds. I came to her conspiratorially one night and assured her that I wouldn't be a terrible teen and would always love her. Then 2 weeks after my 14th birthday, I felt strange feelings of angst and rebellion welling up despite my best intentions. I didn't want it to happen and fought against it as best as possible but resistance was futile. I was a teenager.
One particularly low moment was when I was 15. My dad was out of town and Mom was laid up in bed with a freshly broken ankle. She needed a lot of help and could hardly get out of bed. I remember going to her room, looking at her lying in her bed with glee and skipping out of the house to enjoy my week of freedom with my boyfriend. I didn't go near her room all week.
So unfortunately, I have it coming with Pixie. But hopefully in 20 years I will have forgotten all about it like most mothers seem to. And someday my memory of past tortures will be so fleabitten that I'll be the one offering moronic advice to strangers on airplanes. Some cycles just can't be broken.