Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day: or someone save me from these maniacs I birthed

I’ll be honest and share that not only have I no flipping idea what Labor Day commemorates, but I’m so uninterested that I’m not even going to google it now.

I’ll continue being honest and say that I DO, however, understand what Labor is, and have, ever since I went through the most literal definition of it five and a half years ago. That labor took about nineteen hours, and at the end of it, I had one stunning, spectacular specimen of boyhood. If necessary – and let’s thank God its not – I’d totally endure an hour or two of that labor every day to have my boy and girl with me, snuggled tight for bedtime stories. Hell, I’d even go through transition daily if necessary, as long as I could have an epidural with it. These kids are worth it.

But, I’ll pursue this honesty policy further and tell you that the work it takes to mother them literally boggles my mind. I’m not precisely certain what it means to ”boggle” a mind but if it entails shooting pain in the brain between the eyes and a throbbing in the lobes, well, that’s what I’ve got these last two weeks of summer.

Summer was NEVER this long when I was a kid. No friggin’ way. These summers get more and more endless every year, and more intense, The kids get bigger, the apartment gets smaller, the temperature gets hotter and the kids get bored-er and whiny-er than ever before in history.

My kids have been out of school for only two and a half months but since camp ended at the beginning of August, every day has felt like a week. Since we got back from Italy, every day has seemed like a friggin’ month. I can only guess that tomorrow and the Thursday and Friday which we have off for the Jewish Holidays will feel like a year. A really cranky year.

And I know it’s not just me. Every mother I’ve run into this past week has echoed these sentiments exactly, even the ones who are exquisitely composed and never lose it with their kids. I have a friend who is a psychologist and has three kids whom she treats with the utmost respect, even when she’s disciplining them. After I see her and her kids, I think to myself, “Why can’t I be more like THAT?” One time, her phone accidentally called my phone and left a super-long message which was just the sound of footsteps and her sweet voice talking to the kids as they walked to somebody’s birthday party. And I listened to the WHOLE thing, for almost 10 minutes, hoping that I’d catch this mom screaming bloody murder or calling the kids “shitty little brats” or something, anything, which would make me feel better. She was impeccable, the whole time. It was wildly demoralizing.

But over the weekend, I ran into her in the playground and she said to me, “I am gonna kill these kids! They’ve been like animals. I can’t wait til they go back to school.”

I have loved having whole days with the kids so we can go to the museum, and check out the new fancy playground on the Lower East Side and get bento boxes for lunch. It’s been swell. But I’ll tell you one thing: this Wednesday, it will be with a heart full of joy that I escort Primo to his first day of school. Kids need to learn. And parents need a freaking break.

Happy Labor Day, and even happier End-of-Labors Wedneday.