Sunday, December 6, 2009

Working Blue

Some nights, I just don’t know what to write about. I have thoughts rolling around in my head all day like rocks, getting smoother and smoother with each lap they make. By the time I sit down to work it all out on paper, as it were, they’ve been ground so much that there’s not really anything to grasp and make stick. (How’s that for mixed metaphors?) Basically, I’ll have spent all day phrasing sentences in my head, thinking of ways to improve the thought, and by the time I’m ready to write, they’re so “improved” that I can’t even remember what they were in the first place and how they got into my head.

So that doesn’t work well.

Other nights, I figure I’ll just do some cute anecdotal thing the kids said or did. Like how, while driving to school the other day, Harrison saw one of those inflatable Santas in a yard, but it was daylight so it was deflated. He looked at it and said, “Look Mommy! There’s Santa!” And then, almost as an afterthought, “He’s dead.” But then I think, ‘Good grief, how much of this I Have the Cutest Kids crap can people take?’ And then I think to myself, ‘Well, I’ve only got, like, three or four regular readers. Who cares if I offend them with my kids’ winning ways?’

And so then on some nights, I think, ‘Hey, I’ve only got three or four readers, none of whom are even my parents, so why am I being so [expletive] pristine all the time?’ And then I start thinking of the most vulgar things I could say. All the cuss words I don’t ever say when the kids are around because I want them to be better than I am, but that as soon as they go to visit my parents I spend the entire time saying. Insulting things. That sort of stuff. And I almost go down that path.

But I stop, because, well, I don’t know why I stop. I’m not sure if I’m afraid of offending someone and having awkwardness because of it (it’s happened…), or if I’m afraid of the Thought Police coming into my home and taking me away because I’m not doing my part to keep the airwaves (ether?) clean for our children. Maybe I have delusions of grandeur that I’m just “above all that mess.”

Maybe I’m worried that someone at work will read this and it will come back to haunt me? Maybe I’m worried that my kids will read this some day and that they will think less of me?

I don’t know.

I know that I recognize private voice and public voice. As a teacher, I’m often restrained from saying things that I really want to say, that really need to be said, because I could get fired for doing so. Cussing, that sort of thing. I understand that, as the adult in my room, I should be the one who is more mature, who should be able to control myself so that the kids have a good example. I know that the way I talk with my husband and my closest friends when in confined quarters is entirely different from the way I talk to these same people in public. That’s certainly a lesson I’m trying to instill in my students and, to a much greater effect, my children.

But sometimes, it gets tiring being the adult. It gets exhausting not ever saying the things that rattle around in my head, banging against each other, wearing away edges until it is as smooth as my baby daughter’s bum. Sometimes, I want to say things that I want to say and screw the rest of the world.


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