ya know, i could wax poetic about how wonderful, smart and handsome my boys are. i could fill this entire blog about why we call liam “mr. enthusiasm” or how he is off the charts smart. i could go on and on about his dreamy green eyes and the way he likes to cuddle up on me as if i was an old, broken-in leather recliner. or, this blog could easily be called “reasons why ronan rules” and would be filled with photos of him fearlessly dropping into the bowl at kensington skate park after having only been skateboarding 4 months (to the amazement of his adult peers). i could describe his beauty, the impossible blue of his eyes or his smile that will no doubt melt a thousand hearts.
but ya know, that’s not my thing. i will leave the bragging and the blind optimism to the mommy-blogs out there. i don’t want to read that crap and i doubt that you do either. it’s obvious that we all love our kids. undeniable that they are each the cutest, smartest, most amazing kids in the world. i just wanna vent about the reality of being a fulltime 45 year-old mom of 2 active young boys while simultaneously wading through perimenopause. some call me a housewife. not a very glamorous title, is it? but i am ok with that. i know that what i do every day is essential and i respect myself, even if no one else does. i would rather be present during my childrens’ youth (the good, the bad and the ugly) than pay someone else to do it.
does this “lifestyle choice” drive me to drink? yes, indeed it does.
summer means sun-up to sundown parenting the boys. our condo is great and we love every inch of its’ 1100 square feet. we are lucky to have a nice home in this expensive city. but we have no outdoor area to speak of. no backyard to send them out to run around in. when it’s hot, our apartment is like a terrarium with skylights that rudely do not open. we get irritable and must flee. most days we go out to seek and discover new skateboard parks in the lower mainland and all is well. but, should we want or need to stay indoors, evil rears its ugly head. the brothers can be toxic together. ronan is constantly calling names, trying to get liam’s goat and liam’s response is to opt for violent canadian retribution. we call him “the hulk”. there are many, many altercations in this house and some involve hair pulling, punching, attempted pillow suffocation, blunt force trauma, psychological warfare, fart espionage, ufc-style roundhouse kicks, favorittoy kidnapping and torture and the endless verbal banter. this may explain the dirty looks we receive from our neighbors … and why a double tanqueray and tonic sounds appealing by 2 pm…
all this domestic chaos brings me back to my youth when my older brothers kevin and mike would literally kick the living crap out of one another. oh, and they were both trained in karate by chuck norris (who used to hit on my mom at the neighboring gable house bowl, but that’s another post). when my bros. would get real, i would go into combat protection mode: #1 get the heavy beige dial phone and bring it into the closest room. #2 pull the phone under the bed and then shut the door. #3 get under the bed with the phone and call fr8-2265 (recalled by memory) and ask for my mom, joan wood, who was most likely in the lounge at the gable house bowling alley.
as i shuttered in fear waiting to hear my mom’s voice on the other end of the receiver, i could hear the bowling pins scattering in the background and the waitress “edie” taking orders for macaroni and cheese. i could almost smell the marlborough smoke that always filled the bowling alley and lounge. in my own home, i could hear my brothers cries of “faggot” and “junkie” and the muffled thump of a bare heel into a naked quadricep. my hope was to end the chaos and be safe to enjoy captain kangaroo again.
my mom would pick up the phone, sigh and say “fuck, ok, i’ll be home soon. stay under the bed lisa”. my brothers would never ever hurt me, but i was afraid of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. within 10 minutes, mom would pull up our anza avenue driveway in her champagne-colored 1978 mercury cougar and jerk to a sudden stop. that sound signaled freedom for me in that i could then leave my under bed world. i remember my mom saying many things to my brothers, upon seeing them in the embrace of war, which i now refer to as “joany-isms”. one popular one was “if you don’t knock it off, i’ll knock your heads together myself!”. she never did, but the threat was successful.
i used to think that was harsh, old-school, chicago-italian talk, but i have recently found myself breaking out the same joany-isms to my boys! it all makes so much sense now. it’s as though she was ahead of her time (not old-school). i feel that same blind rage/impotent frustration that she felt when my (her) boys are tearing into each other repeatedly. call it a tradition. a time-honored gift. the ability to call it like we see it and not hold back in the face of chaos. yes, it’s italian. its perimenopausal. its a mom on the outskirts of summer “vacation” with 2 boys, just trying to hang on until their bedtime (and hopefully avoid being on the news).
i am sure many of you are thinking that there are better ways to deal with this insanity. or that the insanity was brought on by my parental failure. perhaps you are right. you may be judging me, or better yet, you may be the mother of girls. that would be like comparing like comparing apples and oranges. unless your girls were raised by wolves and will be the future pink or chaz bono.
in my humble opinion, once kids are 7, it is not healthy for us (moms) to spend 24/7 with them… call me a heretic if you must. while you are at it, please ask your neighbor-mom or your own mom who is memory-challenged, who may be consistently sunny and upbeat, spewing out attachement parenting tips, to please either 1) share her “mothers’ little helpers” with you, 2) get real and spill the beans, or 3) shut the fuck up. this is a job and a serious one at that. it takes all you’ve got and some of what you may not even have (yet). we lose it during the summer or die trying not to. we are all doing the best we can and that, in itself, is a success.