Finding myself in the Middle East

Monday, May 2, 2011


It all starts off so well in my head. I am, after all, a giving person, a loving person, and I would do just about anything to make someone smile. So of course I could be patient with Princess today. I am patience. I am the soul of patience.

It all goes down hill from there around thirty nanoseconds after she wakes up. Because thirty nanoseconds after she wakes up is precisely when I am up. Woken up, rather. "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiima!"

"ghahab," says I pulling hair out of my mouth.

"Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiima, Princess hit me!"

"I didn't even! Coco-pop hit me first!"

"No, no! I didn't!"

"Cuz she made a funny noise!"

"Cuz she has the baby!"

"I had the baby first!"

I stumble to the bathroom, and she pounds on the door. I stalk out and give her the death glare. This is accomplished by focusing tired, bloodshot eyes on the victim. It helps if the hair is in a frightening tower of tangle and if you really, really have to go to the bathroom. It adds sincerity to the glare.

The morning ends with my nerves frayed, and one or both of them crying.And I? I feel like a failure.

Start the morning right, Outdoorsman tells me. Start by smiling at her and wishing her a good morning. Start by giving her a hug.

It's just so hard, sometimes, I tell him, to hug a porcupine. A porcupine with the energy of one of those tiny little dogs who run around and smash into walls. A porcupine who rolls her eyes at me and looks at me, waiting for me to let her down.

It's me, I know. It's something in me that tenses up when she walks up to me, when I should be projecting a sea of calm. It's something in me, something despicable, that wants not to be bothered, wants everything to fall into place while I while away time at the computer, existing as an observer instead of a participant. There is something in me that clashes with her strong will to control things, her lust for life and living while I, uncomprehending, just want another cup of coffee and a conversation about the state of the world. I watch. She lives. She runs into me, barrels into me, demands hands-on participation and understanding while I am perfectly content to stand in the sidelines with a pad of paper and a pen.

I am a writer, an actress. I mimic, I write what I see. She is not. She is so real, so alive, so glowing with potential, we are like two magnets with oposite forces, falling away from each other at a touch.

My darling, sweet, brilliant, overwhelming child. I know that I am supposed to teach you, but maybe we can figure this out together. Teach me to embrace you without us both bruising each other. Teach me to understand you in your lust, your need to be.

There is enough room for both of us here. There is enough room in our hearts for both of us.

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