Yesterday, I took a few of the boys to the zoo. One of our first stops on our Sunday visit was to see the Kangaroo joeys. While it was “the bird thing” (an emu, displaced, or perhaps not) that captured the attention of the little boys, I am pretty sure Gabriel and I could have studied the curious patterns of the joeys for the extent of our stay.
“I’m sick of kangaroos.” Those words found a place deep in my brain and only emerge from time to time, and when the task at hand is daunting. She was four, almost five, and I was her teacher. She had strawberry hair that fell in wispy ringlets around her perfectly rosy cheeks, and a sprawling batch of freckles. Her eyes were sparkling, a crystal blue-green, and she was the most gloriously beautiful child that had ever, to that point, graced the earth. Of that, I was sure. Something puzzling, though, about this spritely being, was her behavior. It was spring time when she steamed off the bus and exclaimed those fateful words as she spotted the zoo animal toys that were on the carpet for afternoon play time.
I don’t think she was sick of kangaroos, specifically. I think she was just exhausted from the raging storm that continued, day after day, to barrage her insides, her outsides, and the walls around her. She was tired, and the kangaroos were the nearest victims.
It wasn’t the greatest string of days. It seems a walnut found its way into the gear shift mechanism of my van. It would be likely that I may have accidentally dropped an almond in the car, among other things, but I do not generally eat walnuts while driving (only in brownies, and usually not in vehicles). I guess I was a bit relieved when the theory was revealed: a squirrel probably did it. Somehow, that made me feel better about having to pay fifty dollars.
Sometimes, like tonight, I am sick of the relentless verbal rant that comes my way as the regular bearer of news such as “it’s time for your shower.” Believe me, I would rather not remind this child, or any of the others, to take a shower. I would just like to find a nicer way for them to not be so stinky, but I cannot come up with one. It’s not a battle worth fighting. It’s okay. Hit me up. I can take it (tears streaming: mine, not hers). I would rather not let her see my emotion, for she has a greater depth of grief than any one person should have to bear in a lifetime. None of this is up to me.
Looking at the aftermath of my six-year-old’s angst (overturned chair, broken seat, lego shrapnel waiting to wound the innocent person that walks across the dining room), I think that he, too, must certainly be sick of kangaroos.
As I wallow through the halls of self-pity on this not-really-all-that-dreadful evening, I remind myself that I really do have something of a charmed life. And I am grateful for the kangaroo joeys exhibit at the zoo, which reminded me of my little red-haired friend, and made me think that decades later, she certainly must have found her ticket out. I know my children will do the same. Until then, I will be okay to eat brownies while they yell at me.