Black Tuesday (or, Mommy had a Meltdown)

     It’s funny, isn’t it, how little, unrelated events can combine and conspire against you?  How a simple task–for example, returning a shirt to Kohl’s–can take an ordinary day and turn it into so much smoking rubble.

     I won’t pretend I was at my finest this morning.  Monday night ended on a rather sour note, but I tried very hard to move on and have a good day today.  Matt, the kids and I went to run a couple of errands, and we went in Kohl’s while we were out.  Evelyn, who rarely ever shows interest in toys or books, saw a little Toy Story book set.  She loves the movies, and she was enthralled by the books in their handy little box (with a handle and everything) and immediately picked them up and smiled.  It didn’t cost much, so of course I was going to buy it for her.  All I ever buy her is clothes.  That’s all anyone ever buys her, because she doesn’t really care about anything else.  (She doesn’t care about the clothes, either, but she has to have them.) 

     Meanwhile, my son (who is eleven, if you don’t know) picked up some sort of toy car and said, “I’m getting this.”  I said, “No, you’re not.”  Ian wasn’t happy.  He wanted the car.  I told him no again, and I was fighting not to be irritable with him.  Then he said, “Then why does she get to have something?”

     Now, a good mother, a special  mother, would have taken this golden opportunity to teach the child, to tell him that he had so much and was so fortunate to have all that he did, and calmly and quietly call the matter closed.  Mother has spoken.

     Have you seen the title of my blog?

     Of all of the things about myself that I don’t like, the most despicable thing, the thing I hate the most, is how I have to battle hurt by dishing out more hurt–a childish, spiteful defense mechanism that I’ve had my whole life.  All of my frustration, my bitterness, my anger, and yes, my pain, boiled right to the surface.  I naturally have acid in my mouth, the kind that burns, and sometimes it splashes out.  Poor old Ian got it today.

     I didn’t make a scene in Kohl’s.  What I did do was tell him to put the car back right now.  When he came stomping back (and oh! how that look on his face and that stomping gate just ran all over me) I grabbed his arm and leaned to his ear and said, “What did we buy Evelyn when we were buying all of those clothes last week? Or the big pirate ship? How about your cell phone, or your iPod, or your DSI, or any of the other stuff she can’t play with? You don’t give a crap about her when everything is being done for you, which is all of the time! Now she can’t have a Toy Story book?”  I then turned my back on him and walked away.  But I wasn’t finished–oh no, not me, mother of the year. 

     I know I had a right to say something to him–his attitude and his behavior were out of line.  I just couldn’t be satisfied with that, though, because for whatever reason, all of that crap that lies in wait, hiding in the various nooks and crannies of my mind, popped out like some horrid Jack-in-the-box from hell.  Evelyn–who is ten, and by all rights should be interested in toys, dolls, cell phones, iPods, and video games–isn’t interested in any of those things, and can’t operate them.  Maybe she never will.  And it breaks my heart–crushes the soul right of me sometimes, a hideous weight of despair and anger that never really goes away.  None of that is Ian’s fault, but I saw him through a red haze today, and I lashed out at him.  I cold shouldered him, because I know he can’t stand that, I know it hurts his feelings, and I wanted to hurt his feelings.  I told him in the van I thought he was the most spoiled, selfish, ungrateful child I had ever seen.  I told him he should be ashamed.

     The shame, though, lies only with me.  He is only an eleven-year-old kid who wanted a toy car.  When Evelyn’s problems came to the forefront all of those years ago, I swore I wouldn’t make him lead the life of a disabled child because his sister was disabled.  I grew up as the sister of a disabled child, and it’s hard.  I remember distinctly feeling at times that it was always about Mindy, never about me, that I didn’t matter as much.  I felt punished for being normal, like I didn’t have a right to have a normal, happy life because Mindy didn’t have one.  I know that wasn’t the reality of it, it was just how I felt.  Ian would never feel that way.


     Raising a child with special needs is a challenge, a subject that fills many books, but raising their siblings can be infinitely more complicated and precarious.  You’re always on the razor edge, ready to fall.  Today I fell.

     Thankfully, Ian is a much better person than I am.  Later, when we were alone, he said, “I’m sorry for being such a jerk today in Kohl’s.”  The last of the fire went out.  I said, “No, Ian, I’m sorry for being such a jerk today in Kohl’s.”  Things are okay with us, like always, but I hate what happened.  I hate that person–that spiteful, hurtful person–and I have no idea why I can’t remember how much I hate her when I feel her coming to the surface.  All of this crap belongs to me, not Evelyn or Ian or Mindy or Matt, but they are the ones who suffer for it.  Thank heavens they love me enough to tolerate it, and forgive me.  I don’t deserve it.  Today was absolutely a not so special day.

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16 Comments on "Black Tuesday (or, Mommy had a Meltdown)"

  1. Colleen Towner
    14/06/2011 at 10:49 pm Permalink

    Kids who grow up with perfect parents have more problems in the real world, I think. He’s old enough to experience that you are real, you have pain, and that you had a moment you would be prefer to edit on the nanny-cam. But the true beauty of the experience was the acknowledgement that you wish it had played out differently. You were REAL. A kid who grow up in a real family… Imperfect yet functional, grows up with a much better grasp of reality, human nature, self love and foregiveness. I personally make mistakes all the time if only to demonstrate that good people make mistakes. When he makes a mistake, he’ll be much more likely to willingly look at how he might do better next time. That is an extraordinary talent gift… And marks a very special person. Well done, my friend.

  2. Keli
    14/06/2011 at 10:51 pm Permalink

    Wow. I think I would have done the same thing in your position. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    I’m following you back, GFC and twitter.

  3. Geoff Heeter
    15/06/2011 at 8:46 am Permalink

    Well know, you are so far from normal and we are all better off for it. I can’t count the times I have witnessed that scenario explode in public, screaming parents and sobbing children, embarrassing ourselves (I mean themselves) in public. Thank you for sharing your pain, making ours easier. You may have wished for normal but you got so much more.

  4. malia
    15/06/2011 at 8:52 am Permalink

    Hello! Newest follower from Hop a Little Tuesday… would love for you to consider following me back. xo Malia

  5. Selena
    15/06/2011 at 10:41 am Permalink

    If I could only tell you the absurd amount of guilt that I have for all the times that I lost my shit on Lila when she was just doing what normal kids do, I would probably feel better. But this is your blog and I just want you to know that you’re not a bad mother because of this. You’re normal. And you’re human.

    Kids are assholes sometimes and we often don’t know when to stop. WE just accidentally cross the line from being rightfully angry and trying to make a point into being an asshole and taking OUR OWN issues out on them. I always worry that it will be the thing that Lila spends years of therapy trying to get over.

    Luckily, it is unlikely he will remember this specific incident.

  6. Janice
    15/06/2011 at 2:00 pm Permalink

    I’m afraid one day Ian will pull out a notebook and start listing my transgressions. Everything is always the mother’s fault, right? Boy, isn’t that going to be a thick notebook!

  7. Sarah
    16/06/2011 at 1:58 am Permalink

    I was sad at the title of your blog but now that I have read your post I think I get it. This was a really honest post which makes me appreciate your blog, honesty is hard to come by.

    I am stopping by from the I ♥ Blogging hop, thank you for joining our hop!

  8. Pamela
    16/06/2011 at 12:02 pm Permalink

    I love how our kids see the real us and just love us all the same. I love being a mother but I’ve certainly had some “not so stellar” moments.

    May your day be polar opposite from yesterdays!

    I’m here (and following) from It’s Almost Friday.


  9. Bonni
    16/06/2011 at 8:35 pm Permalink

    So sorry for your painful, crappy day. The situations that I’ve dealt with may be different, but I’m pretty sure that I know what you’re feeling. It really stinks. I’m ALWAYS glad that God gives me a next day. I always have hope that things will be better, and they almost always are. I guess if I were a perfect parent, my children wouldn’t see their need for a Savior.

  10. Karina
    16/06/2011 at 8:36 pm Permalink

    Came by to return the love and follow back!! Happy to be your newest follower 🙂


  11. Lisa
    16/06/2011 at 10:33 pm Permalink


    Stopping by from the Thirsty Thurs. blog hop and I’m so glad I did! I’m now following…you have a really great blog here. I hope you realize the courage it took to write this post. You opened yourself to all kinds of potential criticism and yet you laid it all on the table. I admire that!

    Also, don’t try to beat yourself up too much about what happens. We all have moments like this as parents. Hang in there! *hugs*


  12. Lindsay
    17/06/2011 at 10:51 am Permalink

    You’re not the only mother to have this sort of meltdown. It’s tough to teach them that not EVERYONE get something EVERY time we go out… then the guilt sets in.
    When I was a single mom, living on a meagre budget, these conversations were especially hard… and I found myself apologizing all the time to the boys.
    I’m so glad that you were both able to apologize and move on.
    Hang in there… {{hugs}}

  13. April
    17/06/2011 at 11:17 am Permalink

    Hi! Thank you for following my blog! I am returning the favor. Have a Sweet Week!

    A Mommy’s Sweet Blog Design
    Join us every Friday for our Blog Hop!

    Review and Giveaway Blog Directory
    If you feature Reviews and Giveaways come add your blog here!

  14. Tracy
    17/06/2011 at 5:55 pm Permalink

    I have days like this too. Doesn’t make me feel any better that others have them or that my son always accepts my apologies. It’s really tough, especially when we battle the demons from our childhood, or if we have to deal with a disability in the family, as you do. Hang in there. At least we’re able to say we’re sorry. No one in my family of origin ever did.

    Stumbled this post, by the way.


  15. lindy
    17/06/2011 at 8:07 pm Permalink

    Hi, I’m here from Stumble Me Friday! Hope you can share the love! 😛
    (Getting Lost in the Storm)

  16. Runnermom-jen
    18/06/2011 at 5:10 pm Permalink

    I love your honesty. I love that you both apologized to each other…and I guarantee you’ll remember it a lot longer than he will.

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