Last week I went with my sister to look at a house my parents were encouraging her to buy as her divorce approaches. My sister wasn’t very excited about the ‘cow place’ (it backs onto a pasture), and I had to agree with her. On Monday my mom took a plate of “Sorry!” cookies to the little old lady who lives at the cow place. Apparently the little old lady agreed with my mom (who heard from my sister) that I was “bombastic” when we were looking at the house.
Am I bombastic? (and does anybody know what that means? It’s not actually a synonym for obnoxious).
Look, all I said was that the floorplan was a little crappy, which it was, and that it’s kind of silly that they didn’t put in a master bathroom. Instead, a miniature pocket door connects the master bedroom to a miniature hall bathroom. That’s silly, right? And a major problem if you ever want to resell the cow place.
Since sellers are always completely candid.
When we were looking at the house, the little old lady told my sister that she really loves the floorplan (and the miniature bathroom), which would be nice, except the little old lady wouldn’t be trying to offload this crappy cow place house to move into her dream home in the next town over if she really “loved” this one. Am I right?
Of course I’m right.
Being right is such a burden when everyone around you wants you to go around whispering what you are right about, if they even want the benefit of all of your rightness. Which sometimes it turns out they do, because my sister decided to buy a different house that has an actual master bathroom. And no cows next door.
Mostly it’s enough to be right.
But sometimes I wonder if my parents think I’m kind of, well, annoying. I wonder if they ever looked at me and thought — this child is perfect. Did they ever want to stop all the clocks and announce to everyone that here is perfection. Here is more than we ever imagined coming from us?
But sometimes I feel a bit picked on.
I always knew that they would prefer me to be a little more quiet, a little more humble, a little less out-spoken, a little less critical, a little more nice.
Even though I’m a parent myself now.
I’m afraid Sally will remember that I told her ten times a day to stop screaming that high-pitched squeal in excitement whenever Daddy came home or Mommy gave you your book back or your sister walked by and looked at you. And Susan will remember that I put her in time-out for not helping to pick up the board games she dumped out all over the living room. And Spot will remember that I slapped her hand for pounding on the keyboard when Mommy was at the computer.
Will they wonder if I found them annoying?
Yesterday I saw Spot playing with Grandma’s dog, and as I looked at her round face and listened to her telling me repeatedly that Lindy was “a doggy,” I felt this warmth and pressure that wasn’t something I ate but felt like a thousand soft explosions of relief and hope and adoration. She is absolutely perfect.
Here is perfection.
Even though I had to change four of Spot’s toxic tar-poop diapers in one day and had to threaten Susan with Barbie-dismemberment if she wouldn’t throw her cantaloupe rinds in the trash right this minute, and even if Sally thinks it’s hilarious to say, “Mommy pooped in her diaper” in front of people I want to have think we’re normal.
Even though someday they’ll like boys.
Sometimes I sit and stare at Sally and Susan and Spot. Or I hold them on my lap and run my fingers over their baby-soft cheeks and tickle their smooth-squishy bellies and I feel this upswelling of wonder and almost panic. What will they remember? I want them to know: maybe you ARE annoying and like to ignore me and maybe I have to apologize for your loudness and stinkiness, but you are mine, and you are perfect.