Sunday, May 2, 2010

Kill Joy

That was just about the last thing a relative said to Jack last night as we were leaving a family bar mitzvah. It was just about the only thing she said to him all night and she was right. He was a kill joy. He whined, complained, begged to leave, painfully sobbed for most of the night. He refused to hang out with other kids I found for him. Wouldn't dance. Wouldn't get involved in anything other than sit next to me with a miserable expression on his face. So, instead of catching up with cousins, some of whom I hadn't seen since I was a kid, I spent the night soothing, cajoling, comforting, arguing. By the end I was livid and as he hunched over, in the fancy country club lobby, saying that when he most needs me I'm not there for him, he was right. I resent like hell when other people do that to me and here I was, not a shred of niceness left in my body.

He had been a trooper, even agreeing to go. Iz was at a sleepover party and so it was just him and strangers, basically his worst nightmare. Jack isn't good at new social situations. It takes months for him to feel comfortable somewhere an here I was throwing him off the deep end into sugar crazed kids, running rampant, music blaring so loudly you couldn't talk, total mayhem.

Deep down I guess I knew it would be a disaster.

It didn't start there. We got to the hotel almost 2 hours later than we had planned so there was no hang out time. His baseball game lasted 45 minutes longer than I realized. We stopped at Best Buy and Target to pick up phone chargers. Jon and I had our first fight of the night about how I could be so stupid as to buy something other than what he said. He didn't believe me when I told him 4 peple at Best Buy said they longer carry what he was looking for. And then, at Target, he continued ranting until he couldn't find it there either.

We stopped by my parent's room for a quick hello and the scrambled to get dressed. That's when I discovered Jack had no pants. I had ironed his at home, along with his shirt and my dress but they weren't there. So, as I scrambled to figure something out I started to panic.

And was met with silence.

And then shouts. Accusations. A firewall of blame slammed me against the wall until I finally broke down in tears. Yes, I made a mistake, but instead of even a silent pat in the hand or a work together to fix things attitude, I got guilt laden shit about how irresponsible I am.

I google mapped Old Navy, found a replacement pair of black dress slacks Jack slipped into in the car, and continued on. The arguing somewhat abated but by that point I was already ready to go home. Jack, who gets stoic at the times, must have been too.

We walked into a throbbing wall of lights, music, blinking necklaces, frantic energy. Long gone are the days adults have a place at these things. The hired dancers were on from the beginning and made sure kids (not mine though) were engaged at every moment.

Jack tried. I tried. It had been a long, not particularly easy day and he just wanted to go home. I don't blame him. But, we couldn't and it spiraled out of control.

I spoke to hardly anyone. I felt lost, out of place, disjointed. I too knew almost no one in a room of tightly knit people. Jon and I argued most of the evening, about Jack, about my lack of appropriate parenting, about how irresponsible I get. At one point I said we would never go to an affair like this again. He berated me in public, disgust contorting his face, for saying something so outlandish. On the drive home he said exactly the same thing, claiming not to have understood what I meant.

Which brings me to kill joy. As I struggled for an entire night, it would have been a relief, a blessing, a gift for someone to come to my rescue. Perhaps this person could have talked to Jack for 5 minutes, tried to engage him, humor him, be there for him. But she didn't. She judged and the second we got into our car he burst into tears, Jon started yelling again and I wished beyond wishing that I could disappear.

But, I couldn't. I can't. So here we are in a hotel in NJ. I have another overbooked day ahead of me. I don't know how I'll survive this one.

It's not going to be easy. Or pretty. Or remotely ok.


Anonymous said...

OMG- I hope today was better my friend!!! Janie

Ann's Rants said...

I am so sorry for your disastrous night, but I am still stuck on

"hired dancers"

Holy. Moly.

quin browne said...

I, too, have a son who doesn't do well in those situations, who has to grow into a place a group. And, I, who will chat with anyone I meet, cannot do a normal thing when faced with the same.

You are a mom, a human, a good person. This, too, shall pass.. it will just be tough until it does.


I'm moving back to NYC, you can call on me when I do to step in and let you breathe.