It’s a beautiful sun-shiny morning. I can tell because there’s a hint of blue sky coming through the little space in the kitchen window that isn’t covered by the dishes stacked higher than my head in the sink (I’m 5’1”, but that’s still quite a dirty-dish landmark.)
The stack of dishes with rotting food crust is but a hint of the kitchen landscape which lays beyond.
I have been violated. This kitchen chaos has been done TO me. I have been victimized by inconsiderate, prepubescent arseholes.
I could go outside and enjoy my morning coffee with the sun on my back – at least until the coffee makes me poo – but I have decided instead to sit here at the kitchen table to maintain my anger for a really good blow-up when the perpetrators rise from their beds.
But wait! I am an advanced spiritual teacher, a minted 'transformational coach'. I could've easily donned a saffron robe, and planted myself at a high elevation somewhere in Tibet or other uber-transcendent place like the ones you see in the movies and stuff. But that's the beginner class - where you get to hang out with people just like you, and have no decisions to make because there's only, like, one restaurant, one hairstyle, one outfit, and no spouses or kids.
Probably did that schizzle lifetimes ago - just after the one where I was a fruit fly who drown in a bottle of Shiraz.
But This. THIS is the gauntlet of spiritual growth. Right here in this horror show kitchen, at this black, pressed-board IKEA table, in the dust of tormenting, I-am-a-victim, thought-storm. So I will remain here, for the good of humanity, to see if there’s a message for the world.
Lucia (my middle kid) had a friend sleep over last night. Usually this is not an extraordinary event since our house seems to serve as the neighborhood hostel wherever we live. Last night was a hostel-christening – the first sleep over at our 9th new house in 13 years.
The rookie got the rules when she crossed the threshold:
“Ok sister, there’s a couple of things that you need to know."
(This is the part where my kids start looking for somewhere to hide, but feel obligated to stand by in support of rookie.)
"Number 1 - When you’re in my house you become one of my kids, and you will be treated as one. That means you get to be loved and adored, laugh at my jokes, watch me do ridiculous things, eat really good food; that ALSO means I get to yell at you if you do something stupid that I yell at my kids for. Got it?"
(wide-eyed, rookie nodding.)
“Number 2 - I don’t like children, so you won’t be treated like one. Don’t ask me for anything, get it yourself. That way you don’t have to be worried about being polite, and I don’t have to waste time getting sh*t for you. Our house is your house, act like it."
“Number 3 - Everything has a start, middle, and end.”
"The end being CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF, and must be completed before moving on to the next task. And since you are now one of my kids, if you don’t help you will be… redirected – and it gets louder every time. Right girls?"
(My kids nod, and Lucia gives an emphatic “yeeeahhh!”)
“That’s all for now, I don’t want to overwhelm you. Got it?"
(Nervous laughter and nodding by all.)
“Good. Now go play or eat something your not supposed to or whatever.”
The kitchen-hangover I walked into this morning was evidence that they had wiped their butts with the “end” bit of rule number 3.
I MEAN. It was like Betty Crocker’s Pantry came over for dinner last night and had a dysenteric blow-out.
I didn’t even know that we HAD some of the ingredients that had pooled and hardened on the counter-tops.
What’s this?! Cornstarch mixed with baking soda and pan searing flour and what…molasses?
The evening fun began with a “smoothie challenge.”
Which translates to: write the name of every condiment that could possibly exist (don’t forget fish sauce. Fantastic in Sunday morning Bloody Mary’s, copied that from a restaurant called SNOOZE. Snooze is this restaurant in Boulder, Colorado that makes THE best “Bancock Bloody,” which not only tastes great, it makes you snicker when you order it: “Uh, yes, I’ll have the Bloody Bang-Cock.”… anyway. Oh hello, you still there? I must have gotten distracted after the last parenthesis. Here’s another so I can move on).
So yeah, write condiment names down on tiny pieces of paper, ball them up, take turns picking them at random, then act surprised and grossed-out when you have to add them to milk and yogurt. Then when you’re done, everybody takes a sip and dramatically dashes for the back yard with their hand over their mouth to spit and dry heave.
What really gets me about this one is that they do it one-at-a-time. Like,
“For the love of God, did THAT look unpleasant! So who’s next!?”
So that’s fun. But it gets even better!
They must have thought that since it’s all food-related, it wasn’t “the end,” And when the smoothie-challenge was over, they rolled right on into the next activity:
“MAKE UP YOUR OWN 3-INGREDIENT-BAKERY-CHALLENGE!”
Kudos to the inspiration, f*ck yous to the bedlam (I HATE food in bed... well mostly).
Three kids X 6 ingredients (3 for practice + 3 for real), combined in arbitrary amounts (the one thing that they didn’t dirty was measuring-utensils), placed in random bake wear, with no consideration that even liquidy dough e x p a n d s when it’s baked, even at random temperatures.
They must have lost interest in the endeavor while waiting for their turn with the stove, and rule number 3 was lost in the 53rd viewing of some episode of Austin and Alley.
As I sit here vomiting my frustration all over the blank page, and laughing as I go… picturing their delightfully-crazed faces, remembering their maniacal giggles, and flour-powdered hair, something has happened to ‘the victim,’ and the thinking that goes with it.
The mom without ‘control’ over her kids has morphed into… laid-back, heroic, fun-enabler. Rather than this pile-of-shit being evidence of there being something wrong with me, it has become evidence of my awesomeness.
Fifteen minutes ago I was ready to pounce on the first fresh face that came into the kitchen with flour-powdered dread locks with my
“THOU HAST INSULTED THE HOLY END” lecture.
Now, I am the coolest mom eVER, and have a chance to salvage ‘the end’ by making it fun… or at least educational, as we see if we can get up to infinity by counting the dishes as we clean them.
Same kitchen. Same mess. Same reality.
Different story. Different experience.
You can just do the hokey-pokey of thinking and stewing about something until you turn yourself around (good luck with that).
Or do nothing. Just wait for the flour-dust to settle so the fairy dust can magically turn the bull into a unicorn. And end up loving your kids, your process, and your messy kitchen, as evidence of your awesomeness.