It was a good day. Sunny and warm. Birds chirping, tulips blooming. The Baby and I had had a fun morning walk on the Danforth; we played at Withrow park, shopped for vegetables at the open market, and enjoyed the charm of our colourful neighbourhood on a luscious spring day.
3:45 arrived and, with high spirits, the Baby and I eagerly ran to the bus stop to collect the Boy and Girl. I was excited to see them – after a school day away from them, I miss their smells, noise and warmth. This is usually my favourite time of day.
But not this day. The Boy got off the bus red-faced and sweaty. He ran up to me and started to yell, “Why does [the Girl] have more playdates than me? You always do stuff for her. Never for me. It’s not fair. You’re not fair. ” Crying and yelling, he continued to list off the many ways in which his sister was favoured. Obviously, some conversation had taken place on the bus of which I was unaware.
The other parents were staring, and I was so embarassed. How could he talk to me this way? How could he humiliate me in front of my peers? Tears welled up in my eyes, and a deep, burning pain swirled inside of me. The resentment that usually lurks quietly within began to seep to the surface – as much as I didn’t want it to.
Outwardly, I was paralysed with anger and hurt, but inside I was screaming: “THIS IS WHY I GAVE UP MY CAREER? MY INDEPENDENCE? MY OWN ACTIVE, THRIVING, PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE??”
For this. So I could be screamed at. At a bus stop.
I quelled my inner raging monster and we went home. I talked to the Boy about why he was feeling so unfairly treated, and asked the Girl what went on on the Bus to cause such fury. The episode sorted itself out. But I was not okay. I was shaken, disturbed.
The tremors of that day linger. Is this the right choice for me? Am I the kind of person who should be at home? I thought I was, but now I’m having doubts. I don’t want to end up resentful and angry. I don’t want to blame anyone else for the decisions, I made unilaterally about my own life. I’m hurting because, yes, I do have expectations in return for the decision I made to be at home. I want respect, courtesy, some scant indication of appreciation.
The Boy is 7. I know that it was nothing but an angry outburst, and he’s long forgotten it. But, that doesn’t change the impact.