the Ginger Menace
They always go bad. By bad I mean bananas. And by bananas I mean the nine of them that have been squatting in my freezer for the last five months. I feel like it’s a very Feng Shui thing to say, but they represented a pile of baking I had not done yet. The tumbling banana-lanche from the depths of the deep freeze could break a toe, so that also contributed to the sense of urgency. I decided the banana madness must stop, even if the craziness of life carried on around me.
There are lots of wonderful goings-on in my life, but it is also just the week it is. The Ginger Menace and I are coming up on year four since the passing of his other mum, and my wife. Whenever November 11th draws near I can feel my system trying to decide whether it is going to slump into atrophy or kick into a break-neck high gear. It is interesting how quickly I can bounce between the two.
The trick for me is always trying to be present, even in the face of a long to-do list (and a trip to Egypt around the corner). Take down the Halloween decorations, finish laundry, clean out basement, make blueberry pancakes for brunch, tidy up and defrost the nine bananas in my freezer. The Menace bounced along in his ginger way and helped or hindered appropriately. However before this burst of activity I had just been laying on the couch looking into my television screen playing the fireplace DVD and trying to breathe and relax as opposed to just go numb.
Whenever I experience sudden bouts of grief I worry how to deal with it while I parent. The kid has definitely been required to understand when mum needs compassion. Another one of those vital lessons to learn early on. Having a chronic illness is something that he is familiar with, on days where I have trouble with stairs, lifting, and I can’t play rough. When I remind him to be more gentle with me it sounds like I am teaching him to play nice with the cat.
Last year at the beginning of winter we were having trouble with the menace taking 1 million years to get dressed. He was slow at school, but he did it just fine for his daycare. With me sometimes he would average about 40 minutes. I knew that I had to desist with any…assistance. The universe seemed to know I needed incentive so I’d like to think that’s why I put my back out.
For a good couple of days I couldn’t even bend over to pick up the snowsuit lying on the ground. I waited for him to decide that getting dressed was better then having to explain to the teacher why he was late…again. It was an opportunity for me to release control and for him to gain some independence. It was also a good opportunity to learn compassion.
“You need to get dressed because mommy can’t help, I hurt myself”, I told him,
It felt good to acknowledge my daily struggles. However when it comes to trying not to cry too much in front of him, I have to say it’s a sad day when I am missing mamma so he knows that it is uncomfortable, but allowed. It feels more difficult to express and less concrete to explain. I have to remember that emotional and physical difficulties are exactly the same, and I need to be honest with him in a way that he can understand and appreciate.
So this is my lesson for this week, if you have physical or emotional difficulty as a parent and need to be catatonic, then make it work – read more books with your kids, watch movies, order in. Or put on some fast paced music, haul all nine bananas out of the fridge, and change the energy of the day. Either way anniversaries will pass, life will get back to normal, and you will both survive.
And make banana bread if it makes you feel better.
About the Author
Kelly Wilk is a freelance writer and a single mom to three-year-old, red-headed, Irish, Aries terror that now has his own blog. Follow us on PinkPlayMags' new queer parenting blog "The Ginger Menace" (www.pinkplaymags.com). She also has her very own grown up blog for days off called Brave. Creative. Me www.bravecreativeme.com. Illustration by: abwarriner