Over the last few weeks I’ve struggled with an external ear infection. I was functional, but there were moments I felt dizzy and gross. It was during one of those dizzy gross fits that Polar Bear informed me that his life is ruined by the existence of all his siblings who only make life harder. He then shared that nobody in the world has to work as hard as he does. This all came about because all the younger kids were in bed and he was washing dishes (while watching television with me.)
As I sat nursing Sweet Pea, feeling dizzy, exhausted, and nauseous, the following is what I wanted to say.
"Oh, cry me a river. Do tell me all about your awful life where your mother and father love each other, everyone is mostly healthy, nobody threatens your safety, we have plenty of food, a big beautiful house, more than enough adequate clothing, great educational materials, two video game systems, two televisions, a yard to play in, a safe neighborhood, a big RV, air conditioning, clean water, more toys than we need, and pets who serve no purpose except to be our companions.
Cry me a big ole crocodile filled river and tell me all about your sad, overworked existence in this country where we have the right to bear arms, vote, disagree with the government, worship openly, marry whoever we like (so long as they aren't too related), have as many or as few children as we like, and work in whatever field we choose.
I'll write a letter to Compassion International, maybe they can find a sponsor to improve your life.
I’ll hire professional mourners to accompany your Ode to the Difficult Life.
Now, pack up your pricey school books, darlin'. I'm tossing you in our big white van. You can sit right next to the car seat that cost as much as it does to feed, clothe and educate one Indonesian child for six months. We are going to drive on some beautifully paved, toll-free roads to the air-conditioned mall where our great health insurance will completely cover your appointment with a real licensed optometrist.
Why do you need to see the optometrist? I’d like him to check and make sure you aren't actually that near-sighted."
I have no real concern that Polar Bear resents his siblings. He was simply tired and feeling overworked and underappreciated. I get that and I knew what he really needed in that moment.
Here’s what I actually told him, “I love you. Thank you for your help, please go to bed now.”
Sometimes you are a good mom because of what you don’t say at the wrong time.