I don’t yell like my dad, those long tirades where his face would get red and the blood vessels by his right eye would bulge and flatten with his breaths, as if even the blood vessel wanted to retreat from his wrath at the slightest opportunity. If my dad was a cartoon, he’d have been drawn with a stomping foot and angry steam spurting from his ears.
No matter what happened during the day, my father would come into the bedroom and say prayers beside me. It did not matter if he told me I was an ungrateful little shit who thought the world revolved around her, he would tuck me in and ask G-d to protect me.
He’s doing the best he can, my mom would defend even though she did not condone his behavior. I know my dad had hefty obstacles making fatherhood more challenging and he gets hyper defensive when someone says comments on anything less than perfect that he did during my formative years.
As a mom of two, I have challenges as well that differ from those of my father, and those of my neighbor and well just about anyone else. All happy families are the same, but each one faces unique obstacles. I catch myself wanting to scream, and I try the deep breaths and counting hoping for my rage to seize. Lately, I’ve been dealing professionally with, well, non-professionals each of whom have a unique approach for crawling under my skin and irritating me more than any number of head lice would be able to. I want to yell. I want to scream. I want to run away, hang up the phone, remove myself, sever the relationship. But I don’t. So I breath in, count, wonder when I can use the kids, the babysitter, the telephone as an excuse to terminate our session.