I am hunched over the sink, applying heavy pressure on my dishwashing brush to rub the burnt remains from the skillet; yet no matter how much or hard I scrub the dark coal like coating refuses to budge.
Frustrated, I search impatiently under the sink for scouring pads, hoping the extra abrasion will do the trick. All the while, I’m cursing myself for forgetting about the chicken stir fry on the burner when I ran to bring my middle son a cup of milk, and got distracted by the toy explosion on the carpet when my bare foot met the wrath of Lego Luke Skywalker.
My middle and oldest sons staring blankly at the television screen don’t even bat an eye in my direction as I yelp like a cat whose tail just got stepped on and hop carefully to the couch, avoiding the Lego Storm Troopers strategically scattered for optimal injury. As I plop down and clutch my foot tenderly, I hear my youngest cry accusingly, “You stepped on Luke!”
I’m raising such compassionate children.
Hobbling back toward the kitchen, my crushed tail between my legs, I heard my oldest son yell “Hungry” and smelled before I saw the dinner that would never be. And so I scrub, my hair falling in my face which I brush away unconsciously with hands I forget are wet.
Sighing heavily to myself, I push on, attacking the char with a vengeance while contemplating whether I should just give up and order a pizza or make it a breakfast for dinner night.
Of course I decide to make eggs; not allowing myself the comfort of easily solving a problem with a phone call. That would be weak and doesn’t work with the martyred status I have going on in my own head.
A thought bubbles to the surface as it does sometimes when I’m folding endless laundry, or negotiating with my children to do their homework, or scrubbing a pan, and I wonder, is this really me?
How did I get to be 40 something? Where did these children come from? Wait, I’m married? It wasn’t so long ago that I fluttered through my days carefree and open. There was youthful insecurity of course, and uncertainty, but my face glowed with freshness and my eyes twinkled with possibility.
I didn’t know exactly who I was back then, but I knew I could be somebody. Somebody smart, successful, important…something.
Yet, here I am.
I realize I’ve tainted the picture with my negative tone; that if I just cast a rainbow filter on the scene, I could make it look comical or at the very least just an average mom day. The right lighting shows off the best side of things. With good lighting you don’t see all the wrinkles.
It would help if one of my boys came in right now to give me a hug, just because. It happens sometimes.
But not today.
So it seems that besides the scrubbing, I’ve also got some ironing to do.