Tears of a Clown.
At some point during this past weekend both of my children told me that they “were leaving”. My son came and stood in my closet, looked around and said; “can I borrow one of your bags?” I asked why he needed it and he told me that he was leaving.
When I asked why, he left the room and went upstairs only to return with half of his hanging clothes in his arms. I must admit that I had to turn my back for a minute because I was laughing and I was still not clear as to whether or not he was just goofing around.
This went on for the next 20 minutes or so. He would declare his intention to leave, I would ask why? What had happened? He would go back up stairs and return with more clothes.
Now I have to provide a little background at this point, his morning did start off pretty horribly:
he turned on some part of one of the Star Wars movies
he was informed that I was taking him and his sister to see a movie
he played a video game and played with his sister and I helped them clean their rooms
he got dressed and played some more
he was informed that the movie started at 2:40, and it was now 12:00 noon
he melted into a puddle of “I can not possibly wait two whole hours before you take me to the movies and buy me food you would not normally feed me”
At some point during this absolute horror show of parental neglect and obvious abuse, my daughter chimed in and tried to make him feel better about his time in purgatory – the waiting!
That was it! That was the last straw, for him to be quieted by a 4 year old was more than he could take and THAT ladies and gentlemen was why he had to leave. Wait….it is because….
“Ingrid sometimes annoys me”
That was the answer he gave me after I followed him around the house begging for justification for his desire to leave us all and join the circus. Because his sister sometimes annoyed him, my god, will the injustice of life give him no rest?
This of course resulted in hurt feelings. My daughter was upset to think that her brother would actually leave because of her! This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me, the mother in search of a reason to make a point, to teach a lesson, to share my wisdom, to address the topic of family love and forgiveness. There have been many times after all that I wanted to leave and join the circus and I know that my husband has gone so far as to send for a DVD on tight rope and trapeze for beginners. We have all at some point wanted to run away.
I looked at my son and asked him if he had any idea how miserable I would be if he left. He looked at me. I asked him if he knew how much Daddy and Ingrid would miss him. He looked at me. I asked him if he know how much Piper, our Corgi, and Duke our cat that sleeps with him every night would miss him. He burst into tears! It is always the animals that evoke the tears.
Anyway, we sat down and talked it all out and I explained that families are pretty likely to annoy each other because we spend so much time together, but that the love that we have for each other gives us the strength we need to stay. To not run away. To not join the circus. To not seek legal advice. Love makes us stay.
When you think that you have had enough, when you are sure that one more moment of psychotic behavior from another family member will force you to do the unthinkable and bail, you remember that it is this same person , this crazy collection which you have opted to share your life with that in the end give your life meaning. It is this group of nuts that make you feel normal and who love you so much in return that they put up with you. What if we were able to find it in ourselves to remember that all the time? How about if we treated every day and every moment with the happy heart that decided NOT to join the circus and more with the happy heart that learned of someone’s decision to stay?
Maybe the craziness of a family would be less crazy if we did a better job of remembering how much effort it can take sometimes to stay, for all of us.