Down The Rabbit Hole Part Two

“Mom, do these break?” Jack asks.

“Yes, everything breaks” I say.

“Is this delicate? How can this break?” Fiona asks.

“If you hit it with a hammer, or if I run over it with my car it will break” I say.

I tried to put only non-breakable ornaments on the tree. That’s what I told the kids and my husband as I doled out the small handful of ornaments to put on the tree this year. But I meant non-glass, really. I just found the cute little wooden bunny with a string that makes his legs and arms go up and down on the floor. I bent down and picked it up, one of his ear’s barley hanging on. Now it’s on the table next to a wooden x-mas tree ornament that was already broken. The beautiful, tall, wooden nut crackers lasted one day. I had to epoxy their swords and hats back on and remove them from reach.

I imagine my son stomping or throwing the ornaments. My daughter would just accidently drop it, probably trying to keep it from her brother as he chases and taunts her. Sometimes I think my son is a truly devious person. That scares me, and I chalk his behavior off to a phase. I try to find creative ways to discipline him. It’s so difficult because there’s many times he acts like he isn’t listening at all or is totally defiant. I think most of the time he’s sweet and loving and fun to be with. Sort of. Sometimes. Is this normal with boys? Under the table where he sits is a sea of crumbs and garbage. I just swept yesterday. I talk about picking up garbage and not throwing stuff on the floor, but I look around and it’s littered. I found an old stiff sandwich on the floor, and it feels like I just broke my back cleaning, organizing, purging this whole house.  It looks like a bomb went off.

Around my small spot where I write there are the two broken ornaments, a stack of books, on the top, “Dinosaur Bones And What they Tell Us”, jenga blocks, a wooden Noah’s Ark boat, a magnifying glass, a Christmas stocking, a toy electric guitar, a dirty plate and fork with a little wooden turtle,-part of Noah’s Ark, and a glass of Malbec that I just poured myself.

It’s overwhelming, the only choices I have are to ignore the mess, constantly pick up, or a combination of the two. I am teaching my children to pick up and help, but like I said, Fiona is a more reliable helper. Jack’s like a tornado, he constantly gets into things.

Yesterday I took a bath. I was so tired and sore and depressed. Fiona played on the floor with her horses. Jack stayed upstairs and watched T.V. I was worried about him, worried he would eat all the Cheetos, leave the fridge open, strangle himself with the blind cord by climbing on the table and falling off, cut himself with a knife on accident trying to cut open a pomegranate, or try to open a mini Baileys and drink it and love it and drink more. Because he saw me buy a sample pack and he wants to taste one so bad. They are kind of hard to open but Jacks strong. I put them up high, but I’m sure Jack could figure out how to get them if he wanted.

Fiona is wonderful, but I have fears concerning her too. We were at the Mall the other day, I was drinking a coffee and the kids were playing. A man sat by us and started to stare at Fiona. I tried to make eye contact with him, acknowledge him, try to figure out what his deal was. He kept staring at her, so we moved. He followed us and found another seat where he could stare at Fiona. Some shoppers came over and said,

“That man is staring at your daughter”

“I know, he’s creeping me out” I said.

We kept moving spots and he kept following us staring at Fiona. The same shoppers came over a second time and told me they had called security. I said Thank You. Once security got near us the man slinked away, heading towards the exit area.

I felt so creeped out. Then yesterday I got off the freeway on my way to pick up Fiona at school and I saw the same man at the exit. It was a coincidence I’m sure, but it was really creepy to see him again.

I’ve just come off a very busy couple of years, very productive. I have a twitch on my forehead and feel run down with no escape route. I am starting my next project, getting back into my second book, but I just finished my residency and am in a group show. I finished taking my Signing Exact English webinars, I’ve been doing  for two years. I’m pretty good at sign now, I never would have believed I could learn sign language. It’s been very beneficial for me as a mom of a hard of hearing daughter. I am blown away I kept it up and never missed many classes. It surprises me, now that Wednesdays come, and I don’t have my class I am astonished I kept it up for so long because by 5:00PM I am completely wiped out. I just want to go to bed. I can’t believe the work I’ve done in my studio. I’ve been very productive.

I recently disappointed several people during the same week. This very rarely happens to me. There are some people that are always mad at me, I feel. Some people I make mad. But people are hardly ever mad at me to the point they say things about me, my character. I won’t divulge the words, because that would give those words power- but they did hurt, and if I told you the stories, I think you would understand. As my twitch twitches faster.

Nothing like red wine, Bay Trees and a sunny day. I understand people getting hurt by something we do or having opinions about personal things. When I got my hair chopped off and went back to my natural color, which includes grey, a few family members said they didn’t like it, or it was too short. Even though I know my haircut was amazing and looked great on me. I am constantly feeling inadequate because of those comments. I wonder if I’m too thin skinned? Maybe I invite the criticism. It comes from all sides, I criticize myself, my kids criticize me, especially Jack, and now I’ve been criticized by allies. I’ve criticized people before. I’ve talked behind people’s backs, talked bad about people. I guess it’s all just human nature. It doesn’t make things any easier.

It’s been so long since I’ve written. I really feel under water. I feel the worlds problems are my own and my house is a complete disaster and I never feel rested.  

But after a shower and some time in the studio, maybe I will feel better? But then the kids will be home and the sun will go down. And there’s so much to do. And everyone’s mad at me because I never do enough. Shit, what can I do.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist