Strollers at the Zoo

It’s been a hell of a life lately. The boy has been busting his ass in therapy and it paid off; he is now officially almost 3 years old, literally and figuratively. No more delays. Still a lot of quirks and a sprinkle of jackass here and a dash of OCD there. But overall, his therapists, teachers, and parents couldn’t be more proud of his stunning success.

The husband is now officially an extern for 4 months at a lovely hospital. He bust his ass at school and made it. Now he has a real job, sort of. We just have to make it to February, and he is done. An accomplishment that I couldn’t describe to you in any language, on any blog, on any planet. Too big.

Now, that leaves me. Yeah. Well, I was up to my ears in diarrhea today, since the boy had been on some strong antibiotics and insisted on eating more than his share of fried onions. You know, the kind you put on that gross green bean casserole? I coughed so hard this morning I peed myself. My eyebrows are now very similar in shape and form to Larry King’s. Only I don’t have a desk and microphone to hide them behind. I had a dinner today that consisted of a lot of bacon and red meat. My job and firm have both positioned themselves beautifully in between the 6th and 7th level of hell, and I have acne behind my ears. I suppose that I could be grateful that I don’t have it on my face, but they hurt. Obviously you can tell by now I am in the mood for some self-reflection.

It’s October here in the midwest, and all signs point to family togetherness, pumpkin farms, carving, and moms in nice jeans and boots wearing crisp shirts with fashionable scarves, holding their equally fashionable child in one hand while lovingly embracing a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in the other. They have already taken their wonderful fall family pictures, and their homes are filled with Febreze Fall Amish Acorn Apple Pie Cashmere Scented Decorative Shades and they used all of their coupons at Michael’s Crafts to construct an aerodynamically politically correct black widow spider to sit on their porch with their whimsical jack o’ lanterns. In the meantime, I just tossed the last of last Christmas’ candle because it got too dusty and I am fairly certain there is a real spider living in the boy’s play kitchen. Hell, I can’t keep my own kitchen clean, now I have two to clean? And one of them doesn’t even have real running water? And besides, these festivities of which I speak aren’t really ever a success for me and the family anyway. Why you ask?

My husband is kind of tightly wound. He just as well would not go anywhere if he doesn’t know what’s in store. He himmed and hawwed for a good two weeks when I said I wanted to take the boy the zoo. Knowing him as I do, I finally got the bottom of his hesitance. He was worried about the stroller. He didn’t know if there was a spot to put your stroller when you went indoors, so he just plain ol’ thinks we shouldn’t go. Yes. That is what I chose, quite deliberately, to marry into. And trust me, every second of my life with him is pretty much exactly the same. I will go anywhere, do anything and try it all. But this is the life I chose, and part of the special nature of my relationship and marriage is seeing his eyes kind of light up when he ends up having fun doing something he is forced to do. Example: he was petrified, and I mean petrified to go to Mexico with me; until that is, he realized he could have two plates of food and all of the beers he wanted because it was all-inclusive and the trip was paid off months before. Now he wants to live there.

However, one doesn’t realize how complacent one becomes until that very personality that you have become accustomed to gets handed down genetically to your offspring. Which leads me to the boy. He looks like me through and through. But he is very much his father’s child. Actually, given all of his issues and delays, it kind of leads me to think his father had his own undiagnosed and ignored issues as a youngster himself. In fact, I know it now. The boy isn’t a sheer joy to take anywhere. I mean, he isn’t a hunchback or anything. He doesn’t wreck the place like a crackhead. But it took a long time before we could figure out where we could take him, and which one of his quirks would wreak havoc on our time out. Just when he became socially pleasant to be around and we dropped our guard….it happened.

He became his father.

He is picky about where we go. He flat-out refuses to try certain things. A simple day out doing something fun, and productive, and “normal” becomes an earth shattering disappointment. There are tears, and tantrums, and regret that we even stepped out of the house. And that is just from my husband. Ha. But really. I get angry and disappointed because he isn’t laughing and running and enjoying himself like all of the other kids. And my husband is saying “we shoulda…(insert plan B) or we shouldn’t have (insert leave the house here.) And all that is left is me. Mad at a 2.5 year old because he can’t enjoy himself, and mad at his dad for being who he is, and mad at myself for not thinking about the power of genetics when I allowed myself to fall in love with a roughneck at a biker bar 14 or so years ago.

Mostly, this is about my expectations and how they are just too high at the moment. I have socially awkward people who need my love and sense of humor. Because that really is the only thing that I have going for me right this second. And I don’t want the boy to grow up with that kind of anvil in his gut. Something inside of him stopping him from doing things because his brain can’t sort out what the outcome will be. The good news is that the husband doesn’t want him to turn out like him either. See? He recognizes. That’s all that I can ask for in life.

As for me. I need to figure out what I can do on my own. For myself. I need to figure out where I can find my own sense of who I really am on the inside. I need the cash to get my brows done. These two socially inept nut jobs need me. And besides, the boy didn’t totally become his dad. He memorizes music like no ones business. He fixates on certain cool songs and his face is full of sheer enjoyment and thought when he sees someone singing something he likes. He is also pretty hilarious. He has a bit of my genes too. And I shouldn’t let you think I am perfect either. This kid has a huge chance of becoming kind of a slut, a little crazy, a drunk, or a Republican. Yes, we have a little bit of everything on my side.

Mostly though, I just want him to be his own set of genes. Make his own decisions about what he likes and how he lives. I don’t want him to be a slave to his genes, or his environment. I want him to breathe deeply, smile, and not worry about strollers at the zoo.



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