Mornings at my house are crazy.
Get this. Do that. Where is my black bra? Who stole it? Can you tell him/her to shut the hell up. I just stepped in cat barf. Can you drive me to the train? Or the bus? I’m lazy, and I don’t feel like walking that one extra block. And why do you always have to make oatmeal for breakfast? Eggs would be nice every once in a while.
Getting my daughter straightened away is my biggest challenge. This is how it works:
She stays in bed until about an hour before her bus is scheduled to leave. She then gets up and spends the next fifty-nine and a half minutes beautifying herself in the bathroom – hair, clothes, makeup, hair, different clothes, more makeup, hair – you get the idea. Then she comes downstairs with thirty seconds to spare and announces, “I’m gonna miss my bus. Can I get a ride?” It is not really a question – more of a command – directed straight at me. As if my husband would ever fall for her crap. Besides, he’s usually gone by seven. It is now 8:30 a.m.
To which I reply, “Why didn’t you get up earlier so this wouldn’t happen?”
And she says all “your heart is going to break when I tell you this” – “I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. It must be my teenage hormones. So I thought I’d sleep as long as possible so I’d be alert in class. You DO want me to be alert in class, don’t you? Or are you a monster?” Even as a little girl, she was a handful.
Jesus, I am not a monster, so I say, “Of course, I want you to be alert in…”
She cuts me off. “And I haven’t even had time to make my breakfast. You DO want me to have breakfast, don’t you? Weren’t you saying that people who don’t eat breakfast often end up with eating disorders?”
And I say all “I’m going to wring your neck if you say another word” – “Just hurry up then. I’ve got stuff to do.” And then I go upstairs to get ready.
Now, this is where the real duplicity comes in. See, she brings her breakfast with her in the car. And like me, it is always the exact same thing – a piece of toast with peanut butter, an apple, and a cup of herbal tea.
As she juggles her bag, her coat, and all the food, I am thinking – A little time management would’ve prevented this. Instead, I say, “Did you remember to bring a lunch?” Sure, she eats breakfast, but in her quest to stay slim and trim and Victoria’s Secret model-esque (I thought I taught her better than this), she often neglects her other meals, or she simply brings the ever-filling five to six small chunks of watermelon and a few crackers.
“Yeah,” she answers, which really means, I don’t need to hear your rant about health and fitness. One million times over the years has been more than enough.
Driving down the street, I revel in the fact that it is a fairly nice day outside. Other children – seven-year-olds – seem to be walking to their bus stop just fine. After the first block – as I shift from first to second gear at the stop sign – the tea spills all over my daughter’s lap, and I’m thinking – This happens every single morning. For someone as smart as you are – you got the English award back in grade eight, so what if that was four years ago, you couldn’t have gone too far down the shitter since then – you must be able to put two and two together and figure out that drinking a full cup of tea in a standard shift car isn’t the best idea in the world. Instead I say, “Oh dear. Did you get burned?”
“Don’t,” she scowls at me. “Just don’t.” This means, I don’t want to fucking hear I told you so.
Ten minutes later, we arrive at her school. She opens the door to get out, and I’m thinking, Free at last. Instead I say, “Have a great day.” And I mean it. Of course, I want her to have a great day. I still DO feel “free at last”.
Standing up, she brushes off her pants, slings her bag over her shoulder, grabs her coat, and then tosses her tea cup onto the floor of my car – my already filthy car – along with the apple core and some small piece of scrunched up paper. I think it’s a gum wrapper. Yes, it is gum wrapper. The little bit of tea that’s left spills out onto the mat. “Bye,” she grumbles, turning to head to class.
“Bye,” I say, sighing deeply. Morning accomplished.