When I come in from work today I find Bridget flung across her bed scribbling furiously on a yellow legal pad.
She’s using a thick, black Sharpie. Her handwriting is frenetic, disturbed. I can distinguish the words “mommy” and “jerk.”
I’ve just been informed by my babysitter that Bridget’s mad at me because I missed a school event this morning. Shit. Me:”Hi honey, what’re you writing?”
Bridget throws herself over the paper, hiding it as though it were pearls before swine. She scowls up at me. Huge tears well in her blueberry eyes. Drip drip drip.
|These are eyes you don’t want to disappoint|
Bridget: “Today was the Spring Sing, Mommy…”
Me: “I know, but remember I said I couldn’t come?”
B: “And everyone’s mommy came in the whole school, but you.”
M: “I highly doubt EVERY mommy came…”
B: “And I was in the front row and I had a line. I was the only one in B9 to have a line.”
M: “What was the line?”
B: “‘Welcome to the Spring Sing.’ Before I knew you weren’t there I said it like this (excited voice), ‘Welcome to the Spring Sing!’ But after I knew you weren’t there I said it like this, (Eyeore voice) ‘Welcome to the spring sing.’ And you could barely hear my voice because it was a very tiny whisper.
M: “That must have been so disappointing, but remember when I threw the Harry Potter party for your birthday and I hand-labelled all the candy in our very own Honeydukes sweet shop?”
B: “And there was a huge line of parents coming in the door for the Spring Sing and they kept coming and they weren’t you and they kept coming and I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to see my mommy any minute,’ and I kept looking and looking …”
M: “And remember how I conducted the Potions class in the backyard and how I was Professor McGonegal and I was sweating in my robes and pointy hat?”
B: “And then there were less and less parents in the line and then they closed the door to the auditorium, and I thought, ‘Don’t close it, my mommy’s not here yet.'”
M: “And then, and then, remember when I officiated the Quidditch match in our backyard and I got hit by some bludgers, but I just kept going?”
B: “And then I realized my mommy wasn’t coming … and so I barely sang because all the other mommies were looking only at their kids and not at me…”
M: “And, and, and remember when I refereed Girls-Under-8 soccer and had to wear those grandpa shorts and knee socks and I almost came to blows with that mean mommy coach that kept yelling at your team?”
B: “And I tried to get the other mommies to look at me, but why would they look at me when they were there for their own kids? Of course they were going to look at their own kids …”
A silent beat.
M: “Your daddy didn’t go either.”
B: “Mom. Come on! He does what you tell him.”
Shit. Drip drip drip.
M: “What do I have to do?”
M: “I could probably do th..”
B: “And a movie. In your bed. While you give me tickles.”
M: “I won’t watch Yogi Bear again, I just won’t do it!”
B: “How about Hop?”
M: James Marsden kept smiling with those big, fat, big wolf teeth when the bunnies were pooping jelly beans and his eyes were all vacant and crazy and it was kind of embarrassing … to watch?
Silent cold stare from Bridget. Mildly sociopathic.
M: How about Fantastic Mr. Fox?”
M: “But I’ve seen that twice al…”
B: “Thank you, mommy. I love you! ... even if you didn’t come to the Spring Sing.”