I'm lying on a big comfortable king-sized bed, wearing pretty pajamas with no
food stains or holes in them, and my hair is clean and there's no one banging on
the bedroom door screaming, "MOM!!!!" I'm sleeping...actual r.e.m....and no
alarms and no telephones and no dreams of any kind........and......
BLAMMO! Someone slams into the bedroom door with his shoulder to open it,
because, you know...those damn door handles...well, they're just a decorative
option. "Hunh?...get the glue out of the cupboard...I'll make dinner...huh? What?"
I sit up in bed.
"Mom! Ismail won't give Randa the remote control back and he's not even
watching t.v.!" whines Samiya.
"That is NOT true. I turned the t.v. on an hour ago and so it's my turn to have
the remote!" shouts Ismail from the living room.
"REMOTE! I LOVE YOU, REMOTE! T.V.! REMOTE! STUPID ISMAIL! CALL THE
POLICE! ISMAIL'S JAIL!" screams Randa from behind her tear-stained face with
stripes of skin where her eyebrows once were as she plucked vertical stripes
when she found my tweezers sometime last night.
I crawl back under the sheet and pull the pillow over my face. Will death not
come quicker than this? Why now? I just went to bed at 6am. What time is it?
My mind is a tornado of questions that 30 seconds ago didn't exist. "What was
I dreaming about?" I wonder. The shouts are getting louder and the mother's
intuition is starting to kick in. I throw back the sheet and sit up, place my
glasses on my face so that I can find the bathroom without crashing into
furniture and shove my feet into my slippers. With very old, fat, and exhausted
cat-like reflexes I throw a hand up to catch the fist of Ismail that is about to
pound down on Samiya's head as he shouts, "TATTLE-TALE!" I spin him about
and shove him toward his room.
"Back to your room, Mister! And don't come out until I call you!" I continue
shuffling to the bathroom. "And don't throw anything out of the room at her."
I hug Randa to calm her down. "And don't call her nasty names from in there
either!" I yell out as an afterthought. "Samiya. You're grounded from talking
at all for the next 20 minutes because you tattled and minded their business
instead of your own."
"But I...." she starts. She gets the morning stink eye from me. She takes a big
huffy breath and stomps off to her room and slams the door at me. Whatever.
I think about how much my fantasies have changed over the years as I brush
my teeth with the door locked and use my "maternal noise-cloaking device"
(M.N.C.D.) deep in my brain to tune out the fight that has begun between
Ismail and Hamo in their bedroom.
I used to fantasize about my husband and me running hand in hand on the
beach or being wealthy jetsetters, not to mention the sexual fantasies. Now I
fantasize about clean, hole-free pajamas and napping without interruption!!?
What the hell happened to me?
The M.N.C.D. is starting to jam due to piercing screams and four-letter words
being yelled by the boy in the headlock and crazy, macho self assurances are
being shouted by the one clutching the owner of the foul mouth, "YEAH!
WHATCHA GONNA DO NOW? I'M THE TOUGH GUY. NOT YOU! I'M THE MAN."
I spit and rinse and run my fingers through my graying hair (time for a touch up)
and take a deep breath before going to pry apart the warring teenage factions
and face the reality of my life: Motherhood sucks sometimes.
The Big Calm
3 hours ago