- – “I HATE MY MOTHER SO MUCH I THINK ABOUT KILLING HER EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!!!”
- – “I HATE YOU. EVERYTHING BAD THAT’S EVER HAPPENED IN MY LIFE EVEN BEFORE I MET YOU, IS YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!”
There is a moment of great clarity when you realize that it isn’t and never was about you. Really. Suddenly, in a flash of knowing, you understand that the rage has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the out-of-control lunatic before you, foaming at the mouth, watery eyes bugged out, pulsing vein in his forehead, spitting in your face. You know this the moment the enamel on the ancient cast iron stove cleaves under the power of his fist. You surreptitiously glance upstairs, hoping your babies are still sleeping. The rage spins up, the arm flies out sweeping everything off the counter, mugs and canisters crashing to the floor in pieces. You will be late to work if you take the time to clean up the mess before you wake the babies and get them off to daycare on your way. You wait for the rage to exhaust itself, as it eventually always does. He has to leave to go to work, too.
“Daddy, why are you yelling at mommy?” Your nearly 4-year old is standing in the doorway; the 2-year old will be quick to follow. “ASK YOUR MOTHER. SHE KNOWS.” He grabs his keys and heads down the basement steps and out to the garage. The door slams, the babies are crying, the floor is littered with broken china, cold coffee and the contents of the canisters, which, thankfully, are metal and unbreakable. In a trance, you shoo the boys upstairs to get ready to go to daycare and later, preschool. You quickly change clothes, because the coffee stained your dress as it went flying, all the while making sure teeth are brushed, little faces washed, hair combed. You warn them not to go in the kitchen, they will get breakfast at the sitter; you zip them into their little jackets backward as you grab your own coat, purse and briefcase. You try to remember where the keys landed in the kitchen mess. Ready to go, you shepherd your babies out the front door and walk around to the back to the garage so they won’t have to navigate the kitchen disaster.
They are uncharacteristically silent as you drive, unhappy at being zipped in backwards to keep them from undressing. Why they do this is a mystery, but one you have no time to ponder because you’re already late for work. This is the first time they have witnessed daddy’s rage and they are understandably confused, afraid and sad. They require extra hugs and kisses as you drop them off, and repeated promises that you will be back for them after work if daddy doesn’t come. Your heart breaks as you speed to work. There are no tears. It’s 7:30am and you are already exhausted. You park your car, paste a smile on your face and chirp, “Good morning,” as you pour your coffee and head to your office.