Mother grows a horn

2010-05-10 00:00

I HAVE a pimple between my eyes. Large. Red. Resistant to make-up and just beneath the line of my fringe.

But it is not this that spoils my morning. It’s that morning rush which is always controlled neatly between very thick lines of time and which, when there is an unexpected miniscule event that we didn’t account for, tumbles into havoc.

Last-minute signing of homework diaries. Suddenly need R22,50 in cash to put in an envelope for school for something that was meant to be paid last week. Weather’s turned cold and winter school jersey too small. One black school shoe lost.

And my daughter’s being particularly difficult about her particularly difficult hair this morning. Last-minute poos when the car’s engine is already running. All on the same morning.

The price you pay for a mother who is generally patient is that when you stuff up the morning routine spectacularly, you’re not going to listen to Radio 5, or the new Green Day CD. You are going to listen to Mum having rant. An endless, tiring, extremely boring rant. It is so boring that the mother in question wants to stop the car right there and put herself out on the pavement.

“I can’t understand why you can’t just give me your homework diary to sign in my hands when you’re done with your homework.”

“Well, if you’re not going to put your shoes directly into your bag after putting on your rugby boots, how do you think they’re going to get there? This is your third pair of shoes this year!”

Shame, it’s not even his fault it’s his third pair of shoes. His feet are on a runaway train to men’s size 13 at the moment. Can’t someone invent growing shoes?

“Leave your bloody hair. It’s fine. Would you rather have a little curl on your forehead or be late for school.”

Mum’s mouth is on a runaway roll. The children are mute. I am rolling, rolling, rolling down the road towards complete and utter self-annihilation with my stupid, pointless ranting. I know I’m doing it, but I can’t stop. Blah, blah, blah. Eventually, I just switch my own ears off and tune into Mozart in my brain while my mouth continues its uncontrolled and pointless stupidity.

We pull in at the school gates and the cup that was overflowing is suddenly empty.

“So, what are you guys looking forward to today?”

They stare at me mutely.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “I’m sorry. Sorry sorry sorry. I love you guys. You’re fab kids. I’m just having a mad moment. I don’t want you to have a horrible day because I’m having a bad moment.”

My daughter says: “That pimple looks like a unicorn on your face.”

My son says: “I think you mean it looks like a unicorn’s horn.”

We laugh.

I leave them, switch on Leonard Cohen and listen to his youthful voice sing: “Like a beast, with his horn.”

Beast. That’s more like it. I am so unmagical, so unmythical, so whingy and whiney this morning. I am a beast. I check out my pimple in the rearview mirror. Yikes. It’s grown.

I smile at myself. The Mother As Beast. I think I have a new idea for a poem.

— Parent

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