There are these moments when your children are small, when they throw tantrums or vomit down the front of your white pantsuit… that you simply forgive and forget. The reason you do this is because 20 minutes later, that same day, their cheeks look like cherubs, they snuggle in your lap and tell you how much they love you, or they fall asleep and look like sunshine breaking through on a cloudy day. My point… little kids have a way of being beautiful after they’ve been monsters. So you keep loving them. You keep feeding them. You keep allowing them oxygen.
But, the darndest thing happens. The monsters just keep getting bigger. One morning you wake-up to find that a full-fledged teenager has rolled out of bed in your child’s room. No more cherub cheeks. No more sunshine. Nope. They’re always cloudy. They walk through the day with a rain cloud above their head and at any given time they can call lightning down to strike you where you stand if you happen to disagree with them, don’t hand them food, or dare I even whisper…. ask them to wash a cup.
Your natural instinct is to run from these beasts. To arm yourself with kitchen knives and a helmet. To sleep with your door locked, naturally wild beasts are nocturnal. They’ve lost their means to communicate, becoming grunting, glaring, eye-rolling zombies of the sweet angelic faces you can vaguely remember from their youth. From somewhere in the back of your mind, the words to an old song you know comes forth and smacks you with the truth, “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave….” oh dear Lord. I’m trapped.
I tiptoe through the house, daring wake the monsters. Let them sleep. Or meditate. Or whatever it is they are doing while they float 6 feet above their bed, pentagrams drawn on the floor. I have clean laundry. Dare I knock? I stand and throw it toward their bed, they’ll never notice anyway, as it mixes with the clean/dirty laundry already there.
I need a hero.