My poor 10-year old boy. I took him for a haircut today. I do respect his desire to have long hair, but once or twice a year, I insist on a trim–and he concurs, until he is perched in the barber’s chair. Then his face reflects his terror and his shock that cutting hair shortens the length of said hair. His blond long bangs are now clipped to his eyebrows and he has no need to flip his head to see. He hates this. Honestly, I didn’t intend for it to be as short at it is (though it’s not very short at all). It does look much better, though. He will not be happy until it’s long enough to put in a pony tail on the top of his blond head.
Meanwhile, my 5-year old slammed her middle finger in the door this morning when she closed it for emphasis. I told her that’s what you get for slamming doors at me. I also said to her today (while running errands), “You are making me sorry that I brought you!” and she said, “Well, you are making me sorry that I like you!”
While I was out running errands with the non-stop-talking 5-year old, my boys were all home alone for a short time. In that time period, one of the 14-year olds grabbed a handful of the 10-year old’s hair (prior to the haircut) and yanked it hard five times. The 10-year old had annoyed the usually annoying 14-year old and thus, the hair-pulling.
When I returned home to pick up the 14-year old to take him to Costco to have his glasses repaired and adjusted, my husband informed me of this hair-pulling incident. The hair-puller was sent to his room to consider an adequate punishment and that’s when I took the 10-year old for a haircut. (Which took forever because we go to a walk-in barbershop where it’s first-come, first-served. We waited for an older gentleman to be finished, then for a soldier to have his head shaved with a straight razor.)
I delivered the sad, shorn 10-year old home, picked up the 14-year old (all the while, the 5 year old is with me, chatting away) for a quick trip to Costco. On the way, he moaned to me about how awful his punishment is (cleaning the front and back yards tomorrow and not being allowed to play video games) . . . he clearly missed the point. Oh, and while I was gone, the 14-year olds got into a fight: one 14-year old annoyed the other until his brother grabbed his head and bumped it into the couch. Apparently, I’m raising juvenile delinquents or future WWE wrestlers. The kid experienced karma, though he didn’t recognize it even though it bumped him in the head–he did to his brother what his other brother did to him.
I despair that they will ever learn.
Meanwhile, I talked to my mother yesterday on the phone for quite a while. She is a mess, watching my grandmother die. My grandmother’s been mostly unresponsive the last week, not drinking or eating at all, but roused when one of her sons arrived in town (from Tennessee) to see her. She wanted to drink coffee with him. Her 102nd birthday is Monday. By then, her five children will all be in town . . . originally to celebrate her birthday, but now we will all gather around as she prepares to leave this world for the next. I wonder if I will ever see all these relatives again, all together.
My family will probably go tomorrow night to see everyone, though my mom cautioned me that seeing Grandma might be too much for the younger children. I’ll have to see. I’ve been very open with them, letting them know that Great-Grandma is dying.
And so it seems an odd juxtaposition that today I saw daffodils blooming everywhere, a signal of the world coming back to life just as my grandmother leaves this life. She loved flowers, always had a yard blooming with them.
As if all this wasn’t enough, I am leaving town again next Wednesday to attend (for the second year) a writing conference near Santa Cruz. I feel tremendously guilty for going, especially since I flew to New York last week. I’ve also had so little time to devote to writing that I feel like less of a writer this year than I did last year.
However, I do remember how refreshed I felt last year after the conference, how full of inspiration and hope I was, and how I loved the silence of the Redwood forest. I will set aside my guilt and open myself up to whatever the experience has to give me. (Also? After spending the day with my bickering children, the guilt is outweighed by desperation to get away from them . . . which makes me feel guilty.)