I'm so tired.
This is nothing new; I've been tired as long as I can remember. In fact, I recall babysitting for a friend's little girl years before I had one of my own. She looked at me and asked, "Are you tired?" "Yes," I admitted. "I know why," she asserted confidently. "Because you're a grownup. All grownups are tired."
What is true about grownups is particularly so about mothers. No surprise, since we burn the candles at both ends. (They would need to invent a candle with multiple wicks to really do the metaphor justice.) Pretty much from the time my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. until I fall into bed sixteen or seventeen hours later, I'm working. Taking care of everything and everyone. I am woman, hear me yawn.
But, that's not why I'm tired today.
I'm tired, exhausted really, of being the bad guy. The evil queen, the wicked witch, the perpetual rain on my daughter's parade.
It's particularly tiresome because it wasn't always like this. There was a time when I was the best part of her day. She was happy when I woke her in the morning; she was thrilled when I picked her up at daycare. We snuggled, we played games, we read books. I know she doesn't remember, and wouldn't believe me now (Oy vey, she wouldn't believe me!) if I tried to tell her, but I was the love of her life.
How did I become public enemy number one?
Here is a long — but, by no means complete — list of my offenses:
I caught her going online after hours.
Actually, my husband caught her; I was already asleep because I was fighting a nasty cold. Of course, he wasn't sure what the rules were or how to deal with it, so I had to be the heavy the next day. Stricter parental controls on the computer do not a popular mother make.
I force her to drink milk with her otherwise protein-free breakfast.
In my defense, I have offered other solutions: eggs, yogurt, cheese. I even borrowed a friend's strategy and suggested chicken noodle soup. But, no go. My daughter voices her daily dairy outrage each morning with dramatic, loud and over-exaggerated gagging sounds.
I put all her dressage tests in a folder on her desk.
Did I throw them away? No, of course not! I thought having them all in one place would solve two problems. She would be able to find them, and I wouldn't shudder every time I walked by her messy desk. Apparently, I was wrong. And, in the laws of my daughter, ignorance is no excuse.
I will not drive 250 miles (each way) so she can have an afternoon with her camp friends.
This particular offense seems unusually unfair. Three weeks ago, our whole family headed down to New York so she could participate in a little reunion just like this. One girl, however, lives on the west coast and couldn't make it. She happens to be visiting next week and my daughter simply doesn't understand why we can't go down again. Let's see ... Because this is the only weekend free we have in two months because of back-to-back horse shows? Or maybe because we're still bailing out our basement from a recent flood? My daughter may "need" to see her friends. But the grownups really really need a weekend here.
And, it isn't as though I'm looking forward to rest and relaxation. This weekend that has become so contentious in our household will most certainly leave me even more ... you guessed it. Tired.
There are many other examples. Apparently, I am an unrepentant serial offender who cannot be rehabilitated. I should just embrace my inner criminal. I am an arch villainess worthy of a Disney princess movie. "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the meanest mother of all?" That would be moi.
My best friend once warned me that, at this age at least, "If they like you, you're not doing your job." No wonder I'm so tired.
I'm doing my job.