10-year-old: It’s probably a good thing you’re not going to my soccer game.
10-year-old: Then no one has to hear you cheer.
Me: But all the other parents cheer for your team.
10-year-old: Yeah? Well, they’re not my mom.
And with that she walked off to get a bottle of water from the cooler, while I stood there heartbroken, surrounded by the chatter of other parents.
What the fuck is wrong with you? I’ve had enough of your goddamn mood. Now get your shit together and treat me with respect, you jerk.
This is what I wanted to yell to her, but I didn’t.
Instead, her words crushed me down as they played over and over again in my head.
Me: You know, that was pretty rude what you just said. You need to use your words very carefully.
10-year-old [looks to the ground and mumbles]: Sorry.
She looked like a different creature from a minute ago. Her eyes wide, unsure of herself, unsure of the turmoil that was brewing inside of her.
I felt bad for her. I remember that age, that entire era of being irritated by everything my my parents did. I remember feeling like no one understood me. I remember feeling like no one cared.
We were all quiet for the car ride home, except for the eruption of laughter we couldn’t resist when the 8-year-old farted and he thought no one heard it.
“Mom – maybe I shouldn’t have yogurt for breakfast anymore.”
I looked back at the 10-year-old. How did I become enemy number one?
Carl, on the other hand, is the Messiah reincarnate. He can do no wrong. And I’m becoming more envious of his relationship with the 10-year-old.
If I remind her to put her clothes away, I get the go fuck yourself look. Carl says the same thing to her and she rushes to do it and he gets a hug afterward.
I feel like everything I do is all wrong when it comes to her. If I ask her what’s wrong, she rolls her eyes. If I don’t do something for her, I know she’s probably irritated that my energy goes to her brother or sister instead.
My parenting manual came in the wrong fucking language and the diagrams make no sense.
I miss those days when she was a toddler, when she would climb into my lap with her sippy cup in one hand and a handful of snacks in the other while we watched a cartoon and then a few minutes later, she would fall asleep holding my hand.