It’s Sunday morning
and I’m reaching to my depths to remember a time when someone sitting in my chair at the kitchen table would have reduced me to indignant, angry tears.
I’m trying to not be angry with a five-year-old who is crying into her cheese and crackers because her little brother is sitting in the wrong chair. I’m also trying to not be angry with her for, first, covering the entire couch with cracker crumbs, before being asked to please take her snack to the table.
I’m trying to remember how unfair it feels when all you want is a snack, and everyone keeps telling you what to do.
I’m trying to remember those bubbling emotions when everything is so unfair, and everyone is so against me, and all I want is a couple of pieces of cheese and a funny cartoon on the TV.
Where is the lesson for this formerly quiet Sunday morning? Is the lesson for me? To be more empathetic with a child who has had a busy weekend and will be having a very busy week to come? Is it for her? To learn that listening often begets calm? That flexibility can earn you a more peaceful snack?
So many things I’m trying to remember about being five, but the one thing that stands out from those days is how that snack would stick in my throat as I tried to eat and not cry at the same time. How hard it was to swallow both my crackers and my pride while struggling to come to terms with whatever indescretion had befallen me.
I look at my sweet girl and think about how young she is to be accosted with feelings of how unfair life can be. Especially on a Sunday morning. And regardless of the fact that those feelings are spurned on by cheese and crackers and little brothers and kitchen chairs instead of bigger, worldlier things.
It’s hard to be five. It’s hard to have two brothers. And I hope if I tell her these things enough that, while it doesn’t give her a pass for decimating a snack all over the couch, it does give her a sense that I’m on her side, after all. I’m on everyone’s side. I’m on the side of “Where did the quiet Sunday go, and how do we get it back?” and “Life can be hard, but at least you still get to eat all that cheese.”
What was it like when I was five? What was it like to be just realizing how big the world was around me? To be conscious of all the unfairness I would have to swallow just to get to eat my cheese?
I’m trying to remember. I think I can remember. I want to remember.
And in the meantime I also want a couch that is not covered with crumbs and a five-year-old who is not screaming on a quiet Sunday morning.
It’s not too much to ask. Is it?