Forever Being First
Today I ponder—will my life be like this for the next seven years, until Michael goes to college or somewhere else? It’s been like this for the past five years. Here’s what it looks like as of today: I’m sick, my kids are home with me (school didn’t work out as of February, so kids are home with me), and I have to go to the doctor. Kids have to come.
We’re in the waiting room for a very brief time before they come and get me. Michael has a book that he’s reading and Mason wants to look at it while Michael reads. Michael won’t let him. I am sick, so I don’t even engage in their dispute (sometimes I engage and sometimes not). They can work it out. Michael picks up a newspaper that’s on the chair next to him, finds the comics, and hands it to Mason. Neither kid is very content and continues with this strategic exchange. I’m stuck between heading back, as the nurse has called me already and is patiently watching me, and trying to keep my children from scrapping in this very quiet waiting area filled with the elderly. Finally, I just say, “Stay here, I’m going back.”
Guess what? I totally pretend, as I follow the nurse to a small, isolated, plush waiting room without my children, that I’m at a spa. The fake plastic breast totally ruins my fantasy, as does the throat swab and questions about my medication. So much for a fantasy spa break.
When I emerge from my spa, I mean my time with the doctor, Michael greets me with big crocodile tears and tight hugs and restraint as I try to look at Mason. Turns out that the paper Michael gave to Mason was today’s paper. And guess what? Michael hasn’t read that paper yet. Guess what else? Michael started to have a major freakout while I was back getting my throat swabbed because he wasn’t first at reading the comics.
“Sweetheart, I see how upset you are, and I’m so sorry for that, but you may not control my body.” That kid can’t hear me; he’s too far gone. His brain train is derailed and I’m in it. I’m sick, I feel horrible, I need to go to the grocery store, I have a prescription to pick up, and I’ve got this going-to-be-eleven-next-week kid freaking out. He’s blaming his brother, he’s yelling at me, and I just don’t know what to do.
He runs out of the doctor’s office ahead of us, which I approve. I feel like I have no choice really. Mason looks a bit out-of-it, which isn’t surprising. He just accepted an unexpected landmine that his brother so generously handed to him.
Michael and I get into this not-very-kind exchange on the way home because I’m so done, y’all. I’m done being blamed for his OCD brain thing. I’m done watching my younger son get blamed for reading something that Michael handed to him—really—that’s gotta suck.
Stick a big ole fork into me, I’m done. I drive straight home, once again feeling like a complete failure at helping my son and getting my life “done” (food for the house and my meds). Big fat sigh.
Being first still includes getting in and out of all doors first, getting dressed first, being done eating first, and apparently reading the comics first. I do not understand OCD, but I live it. And I wonder, will this be forever?
Great empathy. Just reading this today and I hope you are at least over your illness by now,