mardi, octobre 24, 2006
I know I should be writing about the political scene (two weeks until the barbarians bring down Rome!), pontificating on latest diatribe of the atheist Richard Dawkins (his brand of what one reviewer termed "nihilistic Darwinism" may be too erudite for me-I barely understood the reviewer's critique), or talking trash about football. I seem to be stuck in "family mode" these days, so you need to go elsewhere for your excitement. The kids had dinner with their dad, as they usually do on Mondays, and I picked them up in the parking lot of the diner where we often meet for this ritual. There's something really tawdry about a divorcing couple exchanging children in a public place. The only reason their dad and I do it this way is because it is often easier than trekking the extra 20 minutes to the other person's house-but it still reminds me of the dissolution of our family, and my responsibility in that. Possibly it's salutary to feel the lash of guilt now and then, because we are always being warned about the horrible effects of divorce on children, and ours seem to be navigating relatively well. The only obvious effect of this low rent rendezvous place on the children is that they almost always seem to want to play the "claw", the hook which, much more often than one would think, has picked up stuffed animals and dropped them into a chute for Sian or Colin to bring back to our home. One of them, a blue and white animal of uncertain gender, creed, race, or country of origin sits on my bed, a present from Colin. Last night, conscious of the time, I refused to allow them money or time to attempt to beat the claw, and we drove home. No sooner did we arrive but Sian declared she was very hungry, and sat down to a salad sandwich (I know her dad feeds her). Colin needed to do his reading. The problem was that by the time Sian had eaten and Colin done his 20 minutes of reading the time had crept by 9:00. When Colin came into Sian's room to have a chat with her as I was attempting to get her to turn off the lights, I lost my temper and walked out, threatening them with the worst punishment in our little family-that I would not stay with them when they went to sleep. No entreaty swayed me, cruel creature that I am. Skulking in my tent like Achilles, I looked across the hall. There was Sian, on Colin's bed, reading him a story before he went to sleep. Softened by this domestic scene, I went back in to give them bedtime hug-forgiveness all around. It was only this afternoon that I discovered that the whole scene had been staged for my benefit by Sian and Colin in hope that I would relent of my ill behavior and sit with them while they went to sleep. Laughing merrily as we wended our way back from her school, Sian said they had expected their scheme to work because: "You are such a sap, Mom!" Since we were our way to Dairy Queen, I have to admit she is probably correct. I can't figure out why I don't feel repentant myself.