September 20, 2007
it's the smiling on the package, it's the faces in the sand

Today was awful. It started off with the usual morning confusion, which was augmented by my continued cold, the Boy's slight depression and the extra stress of packing clothes for Blake's sleepover. (Why a sleepover? Because I had a counselling appointment today and the Boy had parent night.) We managed to get out the door without arguing, which was good.

This was instantly negated as soon as I walked into my parents' house. My mom immediately started in on the lunch bag I made for Blake: it didn't have a name on it (it did), it wasn't insulated (it was, with felt instead of thermal)…etc. Her whole manner was angry, impatient and quick to find fault. I got out of there as quickly as I could, again without getting drawn into an argument.

Cut to this afternoon. I show up for my appointment 15 minutes early and sit patiently in the waiting room, knitting away. At 4 p.m., the counsellor pops his head out and tells me that the appointment was for 3. (That means that I still have to pay him, and why he didn't check the room at any point, I don't know.) I walked off calmly enough, but started yelling "fuck!" over and over as soon as I was out the door. Crack 1.

Having all of this extra time on my hands, I called my parents' place and went over to see Blake. On the way over, I spent my time worrying if the Boy would blame me for missing my appointment and disrupting the reconciliation process. Good thoughts. When I got to my parents, my mom started in on me again. The main message was:

No matter what I said, the basic text never changed. Even my dad started to defend me, repeating what I said (that I'd paid a commitment fee and couldn't pull him out) and calling these problems "bumps". My dad never defends me. Even in my struggle to keep calm, I noticed it.

The best part was that through all of this, Blake refused to look at me, and only spoke to me when asked. His only emotion was to burst into tears when I tried to take my own teddy bear home. So I was a monster to him, too. Finally I left, bursting into tears in the car. Crack 2.

What exactly am I struggling so hard to do? My mom doesn't consider anything short of her standards acceptable, so I can never win. At school my son is still making messes in the bathroom, falling behind on his homework and getting timeouts for not paying attention (which I have to think that my mom didn't know about, because that certainly would have been ammunition). My husband had a hard time trusting me, still.

Who, exactly, am I keeping it together for?

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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*