You help me put her to sleep every night, Layla. Sometimes you assist using only your eyes, watching us march back and forth from the bathroom in a tantalizing game of procrastination. Tracing us with your eyes may not seem practically helpful but when I catch you in the corner of my eye it’s sort of like the feeling I get when I’m drunk around my parents – the holes of my filter grow smaller. I resist the penis joke to prevent their disappointment that I’m a thirty-one-year-old single-mom living in 800 square feet and still telling penis jokes. Similarly, I resist yelling to keep things peaceful. You’re easily upset, so I do my best to keep my cool. To my credit, I try to do this all the time, with or without you present, in the car, at the mall, wherever, but newsflash: Nora is three and I’m a single-mom. This means many days I am an unstable volcano of stress.
And as you know Nora is also unstable, a boundary-testing, innocent manipulator which means she is a shit-giver but doesn’t comprehend the impact of her shit-giving nor does she have the tools yet to control her shit-giving so if I’m being a patient and understanding mom I’d not spar with her. But despite our volatility you still respect us as your superiors. I think you perceive that Nora is your boss and I am the regional manager. When she tells you to SIT LAY DOWN KISS ME HUG ME you just do one of those three to appease her for a second knowing that when the big boss gets out of the bathroom I’m going to tell Nora to just give you the GD treat.
Anyway, what I want you to know is when my voice gets to that “Oh God she is about to explode” stage and you uncurl yourself from the couch and saunter to the bathroom hugging the walls until you’re safely in the bathtub, I am sorry. I thank you for still loving me even after I worry you. Some days your unconditional love, your wet nose against mine is the only thing that makes me feel like I’m not in this alone. And as a single-mom, your support is critical. I really need it, girl. If it didn’t give you disturbing amounts of explosive diarrhea, I’d feed you all the chicken scraps in the world.
With unconditional love and gratitude,