“Mommy, you suck,” - Nico Ferrandino, age 5 (9/1/2014)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or the most stressful. I haven’t quite decided yet.
The kids are back in school. Fall sports have begun. We are over committed and overwhelmed and it’s only just begun. When I say “it,” I mean all the fun, of course.
Oh, but of course.
John has volunteered to coach both Nico and Shaila’s soccer teams. Half the time, their practices are back to back and on different fields across town, so what I really mean is that John has volunteered me to also coach the soccer teams. He has also signed Nico up for flag football.
When I was so little, that I could hardly see above the kitchen table, I viewed the world as good. I believed that my parents could keep me safe and that if I did what I was supposed to do, that I would be alright. The world seemed to make sense and when I went to bed at night, I took comfort in the harmonious balance of good around me.
When my eyes could see over the table, or maybe sometime around then, my views started to change. I started to realize that you didn’t just get treated a certain way because you did the right thing. I started to realize that the way people saw each other dictated how they processed their actions. Two people could do the same thing, but the lenses people used could distort the actions of one of those people, especially if they didn’t like the look of that person.
Today’s post was written by a friend of mine, fellow blogger Sheryl Parbhoo, who you can find at Southern Life, Indian Wife. According to Sheryl, she is “born and bred in the South, I am as American as they come. My shoulders burn after 30 seconds in the sun, I love fast food, and the only language my ancestors ever spoke was Southern. I am also the wife of an Indian man, who is paradoxically as Indian and as American as they come. His arms turn black after 30 seconds in the sun, he loves fast food and his mom’s food, and speaks or understands five languages, including “Redneck.””
I asked Sheryl to come and bring her voice over to Masala Chica to share it with our readers over here. I hope you enjoy her authenticity as much as I do. Today she asks if any mom can have it all, inspired by Pepsi CEO Indrani Nooyi’s recent musings on the subject.
A few months ago, I was talking to my father on the phone. He asked me how I was doing and as I am programmed to do, I said, “I’m fine.” But he knew I was NOT fine and he pushed a little harder and asked me why I seemed so distracted and not like myself. Because apparently, I am usually a fine tuned and effervescent bubbly thing.
And so I told him about some things that were bothering me. Some uncertainties that had crept into my life which had made me doubt myself. I wouldn’t say that I was having a pity party for myself, but … ok, I actually WAS. It was pitiful how much self-pitying was happening at this really not fun party. To which I had invited nobody but myself. It felt only right to finally extend an invitation to my father.
I recently switched my therapist. The last one was nice enough, but I think that was partly it. She was way too nice. I want to leave therapy feeling challenged and introspective and not just have someone validate everything I say by nodding their head at me the whole time. I mean, it’s nice to have someone tell you you are right about everything, but that’s not therapy. That’s just friendship for hire.
And even my friends never tell me I am right about everything right away, so, as I scratch my head, I still wonder what you call therapy where you just talk to someone who tells you your shit doesn’t stink. I don’t know the technical term, but I think I can at least say it’s a big waste of my freaking time.
A few weeks ago, I read a post online that had gone viral called, “My Wife is Not the Same Woman I Married,” by blogger Matt Walsh. As with other posts of his which I have read, this one started with him getting angry at something a stranger in a grocery store said to him, which makes total sense because I love picking fights with people I don’t know next to the candy section of the checkout line.
It’s apparent to me that the way to become a viral blogger is to start by looking for material by starting fights at Target and Walgreen’s.
I read the post, because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. In it, he writes about his contempt for Americans who romanticize divorce and especially those who use the argument that people change. Yes, he agrees. People change and it is our responsibility to adapt to these changes if we have made a commitment in marriage.
As soon as I heard that recognizable buzz soar past my ears in the kitchen, I knew we had a fly in the house. This would not be a huge problem for most people but I become slightly obsessive when a fly is loose in the house, especially if it’s loud and keeps getting all up in my business.
This one was so loud and so big that Shaila announced she thought we had a bee in the house. Well, she didn’t really announce it. She screamed it at a decibel meant only for small animals. Perhaps the fly itself.
Nico saw the fly, however, and saw a pet. Dogless, catless, hamsterless, the poor guy just wants to catch a break and have a pet to love and call his own. I don’t blame the guy. I actually understand. I remember in the 2nd grade, we had to grow fruit flies at school and I begged my team to let me be the one to get to take the fruit flies home in their little container.
He always starts out his questions with that sing-song inflection in his little high pitched voice.
“We’re brown, right?”
He holds out his arms for my examination. I lean in to take a closer look.
Yup, still brown.
“Yes, honey. We are brown,” I say.
“I am dark brown. You are light brown,” he informs me.
I smile at the distinction and wonder what’s making him have this conversation with me at his close to, but not yet five years of age.
He goes on to tell me the colors of all his classmates. They make up quite a rainbow. Nico relays his observations in a matter of fact way. The different colors don’t seem to bother him or affect him – he just recognizes that they are there. I am thankful for that. I want him to applaud his differences and the differences of his classmates, but I don’t want him to feel like an anomaly in a sea of white faces. Being the only one that is different is hard and I remember my own questions at his age:
Today, I lost my shit.
Today, I spoke harshly to the kids.
Today, I wanted nothing more than to hide in my room.
Today, I lost my shit.
Let’s just say that today was NOT the easiest day.
I’d like to say that today is a complete exception. That it never happens. And that I have valid reasons that make it okay for me to lose my shit with my kids.
After all, they started it.
But there really are no excuses.
I’m 38 years old. My daughter is almost 7 and my son is almost 5. If I add their ages up and multiply it by three, their total age would still be younger than me.
I know, I’m shocked too that I can do the math.
My parents like to talk on the phone. A lot. I am not particularly a phone person. I keep my calls short and I prefer being with people face to face. My friends know I am not the best at returning messages. I mean, I DO. It’s just a question of when that might happen. Text me, and you’ll have your answer right away. Call me and you might be waiting till your pre-schooler enters middle school.
So I’m not a phone talker. Which means, I’m not the best phone caller. This really bugs the shit out of my folks. When my parents don’t hear from me for a few days, they will undoubtedly call me in Virginia all the way from New Jersey. They would call every day if they could, and sometimes they do, but they try to temper themselves a little bit and play it cool.