When the Ogre Takes Over 11


Yesterday’s gone. Yesterday was decidedly NOT fun.

A series of unfortunate and insignificant monkey wrenches conspired to land me in bed, in my jammies for the better part of the day. Sadly, this was not languorous luxury. It was “the funk,” as we called it as summer camp. Normally, I am a fan of funk. Who isn’t? But not “The Funk.” I don’t want The Funk.

You know how this works. Mothers only get The Funk when their partners are traveling or when they have some big deadline at work or when the laundry is on broken hiatus. My dear, darling husband is not home to be a buffer of sanity, to take my hand as I dangle on the precipice of the edge of reason.

There’s only one choice on a day like that. You grit your teeth and you do it. You crawl off the sofa to brush your teeth, you cringe and hand over the remote, praying they find something they can agree on for ten minutes. You apologize a million times for not being able to limp out the door for the promised bowling excursion. You bite your tongue at the bickering. Yes, even your own.

For every day when the sprites of sibling joy sprinkle favor, when everyone has done at least one thing they want to do, there are as many days when the Ogre takes over. When Mom just can’t make everyone happy, no, not even for a little while. When no one gets what they want. When plans go horribly awry, as is their wont.

I tried to make up for it. I wanted to give the Ogre the night off. After a short, unrestful nap, we filled our water bottles and dumped scooters and roller blades into the car. We drove to the river, so we could burn some energy.

“It will be fun!” I said, unconvincingly. “You’ll love it,” I told them.

The Ogre does not like taking the day off. I watched the boys scooter off at speeds that made me nervous. I ground my jaw at the complaints of another child who skipped like the arm of a record player in the groove of a album: “It’s hot and I’m tired.”

“Tell me about it,” I mumbled to myself.

I tried to keep four kids from getting killed by the angry and territorial cyclists who always make me twitchy. Then I just settled in and made myself see the golden sun shining off the still surface of the Arkansas River. It was delightful and lovely and the ogre finally took the night off.

Ha ha. Just kidding.

Then one of the boys fell, busting open a great chasm in his face from which blood spurted effortlessly. The other boy got mad that we wouldn’t make it to the park and so he sulked and scooted off back toward the car. At this point, we were a mile and half from the car. Sweat fell in sheets from my forehead as I tried to figure out how to get the kids back to the car, fast, while he basically bled to death. (He didn’t bleed to death; he’s at his house as I type this, sucking down the giant milkshake I bought him.) On our trudge back to the car, I texted my friend who gave me good advice for which I repaid her by texting swears. My heel got a blister the size of a smaller Hawaiian island, which only made me curse the way my running schedule got all jacked up by The Funk.. I walked with one shoe, one bleeding kid, a pair of roller blades and a heaping portion of “I’m so sick of this,” back to the car.

I realized at home that the Ogre had stepped out for a bit. The house was cool and quiet and dark. The kids found a way to laugh at the crazy bad day we had (perhaps the giant milkshakes had something to do with that). As the day closed, I had hope when I could have despaired. Hope for a peaceful sleep, hope for a much better day tomorrow. Hope that despite my worst days as a mom, my children are pretty fantastic. Hope that there is always grace. That I get as many do overs as I get days. And maybe the Ogre will lose my address.