Today was Middle Child's "Mother's Tea."
Mother's Day and I have issues. The Narcissist had a way of ruining all holidays when I was growing up, reminding everyone how we were letting her down, and so naturally a holiday all about her was extra-awful.
The first-grade teacher put out a call for photos of students with their moms. I didn't have one of me and Middly, and had to take a quick snap early one morning. Me in my work-shirt, trying to smile without showing any teeth, Middly puffy from recent sleep. I looked at that picture and hated everything about it. I looked at it and saw everything wrong with my life.
Last night was rough. Things actually went downhill some more, and I ended up drinking quite a bit and crying quite a bit more. I woke up hung over and feeling brittle, irritable. I forbade Hotter to speak to me. I stomped around and made plans to slaughter a chicken, because there's nothing much left in the freezer.
Then I remembered about the tea. I didn't want to go. I didn't want people to see my missing front tooth. I didn't want to ruin Middly's event by being shy and sad and grubby and grim. I felt thoroughly sorry for myself. And then I thought about The Narcissist, and how her feeling that she deserved so much better than her life including me always came to the forefront, and was ashamed. I think part of why I'm so very down when I'm down is that at my very worst I remind myself of her. And well, fuck that.
I thought about Middle Child, and how excited he was, and asked myself, what do little boys want from their mothers? They want them to be pretty and happy and carefree. And I set about making myself at least look that way. I scrubbed as much of the dirt as would come out out of my cracked hands and painted my nails. I put on a lacy shirt and a flowered skirt, even though my tits have gotten too big for the shirt and I had to sew myself into it. I pinned my hair back and cut rosebuds from the bush out front to put in it, because Middly sometimes talks about "fancy ladies wif flowers in dere hair." I put on my makeup, which required using a mirror, and just tried not to look at my goddamn tooth. And I put on my party shoes and drove to the elementary school.
The tea was very sweet. Middly ushered me proudly to his desk and pulled out the chair for me. The children served us crudites and cookies, tea in little plastic tumblers. They sang us songs. Ours wasn't the only last-minute-looking picture in the slideshow. My necklace from Middly matched my skirt:
On the wall was a bulletin board covered with articles the children had written about their moms. I remembered Middly interviewing me one time when I was hot and tired and grouchy, asking me questions, and I forget what I said, but this is what he wrote:
My mom is the best. My mom works a lot and she misses us, but she is still a good mom to me, Big Child, and Little Child. She loves us no matter how tired she is. My mom will not give up. She is strong and she has a big heart.
After the tea, the special education teacher and the classroom teacher took me aside to tell me that since he started ADD meds Middly has completely caught up to his peers. There is no more talk of him being held back; he doesn't even need to go to summer school. The reading specialist dropped in to tell me that Middly is one of the dearest children she has ever worked with: he is just such a joy, I cried when he reached his goals to stop working with me every week, she said. We all had a little weepfest.
I am still Not Running My Mouth On The Innernet about myself, but I had to come on here and brag about my kid. He works so hard, and loves me so much, and I don't see HIM moping around feeling sorry for himself. Way to shake me out of my funk, kid. Your mom will not give up.