Sunday, May 22, 2016

Straight Shooter

It has been so long since I last blogged that I was worried I wouldn't remember my password this morning. December 15. The last time I posted. I am confused and troubled by this. It would be easy to say that I have been too busy to write, that I have finally succumb to the frenzy of two children. And while life is indeed different than it was a year ago, my silence is much less about the lack of hours in the day and much more about my overwhelming sense of confusion as to why in the WORLD we decided to have another kid.

Don't get me wrong, I love Clara in a way I never thought possible. She is sweet, and easy, and the perfect little person to round out our family. Morgan loves her fiercely, and is quick to correct my parenting on just about every level. In fact, Morgan is quick to correct me on just about everything these days. She is seven going on 17, confident that she knows more than me on issues ranging from weekly spelling lists to whether I accurately assessed her eye rolling when I told her to go fold her laundry. We are cut from the same cloth. God help us all.

Last weekend, after what I thought was a lovely family outing, Morgan began chatting from the backseat. For those of you who have (or have survived) a seven year old, they are masters of randomness. They can literally talk for hours without having a single compulsion to connect their thoughts into any sort of cohesive sentence. I get daily updates on recess drama, interspersed with hot lunch reviews, and in-depth analyses of the newest addition to her rock collection. And while I love all of this, I don't always feel compelled to listen particularly closely to every.single.detail. Imagine my surprise when the following conversation began to unfold:

"Dad, you know you don't have to do everything Mom says, right?"

"I'm sorry, what?" I shared a sideways glance with David from the front seat, trying not to react. Because you KNOW I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what was coming next.

"It's just that you don't always have to do what she tells you to. You know you're not her butler, right?" Yes, you read that correctly. Butler.

"Morgan, your Mom and I have a system, one that works well for us." I could see the little beads of sweat forming on David's forehead. Yeah, we have a system. One that involves me constantly reminding David that spending three hours organizing his tools in the garage is NOT the same as picking up the house.

"But Mom is telling you what to do all of the time. Like 'David, I told you to do this. And David, I asked you to do that.' Mom is always saying what has to get done."

At this point, Morgan launched into a lengthy and shockingly accurate role play of the interactions at our house. There was no malice in what she was saying, just her simple observations of the world as she sees it. Oh, but it stung. David and I work hard not to bicker in front of our kids, and we have developed a system that generally involves me dictating guiding our daily decisions. But it works for us. Well, at least I thought it did.

Morgan finished her reenactment, complete with hand gestures and horrifying voice inflections. And when she was done, she leaned forward, pulling on the back of my seat as she craned her neck to look me in the eye. With her brown eyes, big as plates, she met my gaze.

"Any questions?"

I looked away, not wanting her to see the tears that were welling. I shook my head, and she leaned back into her seat, quite smug with her insight. I sat in silence for a moment, unsure of what to do next. In my heart I wanted to explain to her the complexities of adult relationships; I wanted her to understand that David and I have a relationship that involves lots of lists and lots of reminders and that it really does work for us. But she doesn't give a shit about that, she just sees that I am bossy. And maybe I am.

David loves to remind me of my greatest strength and biggest weakness; I am the person who says what everyone else is thinking. Looks like I'm not the only one.