Sunday, December 14, 2008

you know we'll have a good time then

We are eating dinner when the song comes on.  Harry Chapin's voice always makes me pause.  The cats in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon and as she's taken to doing more and more M inevitably asks what's this song about?

So we begin to explain, we stumble around a bit but finally get to the point. It wasn't quite as hard as explaining Coming into Los Angeles by Arlo Guthrie, what are keys mama, who is Mister Customs Man and why doesn't he like him mama....but we still muck around, partly or mostly because I fear what she might say and she does. She says exactly that. 

But mama, you are gone at work a lot.  Sometimes you come home late. I don't like it so is that like in the song and in that space a million puppies died and chocolate milk ran out forever. J's silent, he's not helping out with this one, he thinks I work too much too and besides this song was practically written for him and his dad and he kills him every time it plays.  

I tell her I am sorry, that I know it's hard understanding why I have to go to work every day and how one of the main reasons we are moving is to change this cycle we are forced to be on in order to make ends meet. I think of how so many families work 2 and 3 jobs and how some folks don't want to spend time with their kids but others truly cannot because they are working so hard to survive. And then I think of the precipice we are on and if we can make it work and if we can sustain it and realize once again everything we know to be true is about to change.


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24 comments:

Penny said...

"and in that space a million puppies died and chocolate milk ran out forever."

I know what it feels like to do that to your kid. Work, School or just some insensative remark.

It's awful.

But, Jen. You are living so wonderfully for your daughter and your family. It's always hard to balance and it's always going to hurt to leave them, but I am sure she loves you and more importantly knows that You love Her. And some day, she'll read you like we do and come to appreciate you in such a wonderful way.

I love this post. It really hit home, today. And, your perfect and beautiful line above brought tears to my eyes.

Love to you and yours!

motherbumper said...

Most of us are on the precipice right now, even if it isn't being acknowledged just yet by everyone. Change is needed and those of us who embrace and work with it, are more likely to succeed. And you will succeed, I know it.

wheelsonthebus said...

J doesn't want me to ever sing that song. due to the puppies and chocolate milk.

flutter said...

very soon you will all have your fill, then puppies will reanimate and chocolate milk will be available directly from the cow.

Bon said...

laughing at clever flutter. and so hopeful that this change, this courageous change, brings you what you hope for. and M too.

marymurtz said...

I hope you're able to get off that spinning wheel and reclaim your life and family. And when you figure out how, we'll all be reading so we can do it, too. This was an important post. Thank you.

Beck said...

Ouch.
When we made the decision to move back to Little Town, there was a lot of doubt - would we find work? where would we live? What would our day to day lives be like? But it's all worked out beautifully and making the committment to an enviroment that allows us to focus on our family has been the best choice we could have made. I think this might work out the same way for you too.

Anjali said...

Hang on, there, friend. You'll be there soon.

Anonymous said...

All you can do as a parent is do your best. I have a son that's 20 and one 9. I told my older son I do the things with your little brother that I wish I had done with you, then feel guilty I did. It's a vicious cycle this mom thing! Just know if you did your best it will be good enough.

painted maypole said...

i admire you for not simply falling to the ground and weeping at that moment.

that song always get me, too.

mamatulip said...

You're on the cusp of something big, something life changing...standing there, looking over the cliff...it's beautiful.

kgirl said...

We struggle with this on a daily basis.

Man, they sure know how to break your heart, don't they?

Momma to LG said...

It will be better soon!

On another hand, I thought you would love that Ash walks around singing that "Cats in the cradle" part because she heard it on Shrek 2. She loves that song.

Amanda said...

Perfectly imperfect are we.

She will find the threads of love, bliss and giving as she looks back. It's all there, in the jingle or at the office.

I stand in awe of you and relish the reminder you give to explain even though it shreds.

Kyla said...

Some night when it is time for me to go to school, KayTar clings to me and says, "Oh Mommy, but don't go, I will miss you so much. Don't go, because I love you to stay with me."

Janet said...

Kids have an uncanny ability to say the things that go right to the OOF.

QT said...

Oh M! You are right, it is ALL about to change for you three. In the best ways, methinks.

deezee said...

ah, the sting of innocent words from a child.

I barely worked until my son was four, and you know what, he has no memory of my staying home with him! Now I know a part resides within him, but still...

And yes, this will all be very different soon. Life, the rollercoaster...

Mad said...

"and in that space a million puppies died and chocolate milk ran out forever"

He, he.

Mine gives me the guilt gears every single day and I work 24 hours a week. If she had any idea what the world was like...

carrie said...

She'll understand soon enough friend.

Binky said...

I do not like that song, but I love this post.

PeterAtLarge said...

That song makes me cry every time I hear it. My sons' mother and I broke up when they were 5 and 7, and the boys grew up a thousand miles from me. I see them now, some forty years later, and know that there are ways they are quite like me, and many ways not at all. But the song still makes me weep for all the lost opportunities (mine!) while they were growing up. Thanks for making me cry again.

crazymumma said...

babe.

it has been forfuckingever and I finally get here and I read a sentence about puppies and chocolate milk and I just gotta say. Brilliant.

it shows really doesn't it, the power of music. Have you or J ever listened to the Johnny Cash version?

kills me every time.

Expatriate Chef said...

When I get worn from working so much and doing most the child care (nearly all for the first years) I think about this. I think, I am lucky, I will not have these regrets. I made changes, I found an exhausting balance in my life and hold onto it by a thread. I remember this when I am most tired and it keeps me in line. :)