It’s not a proud moment. It’s not something I’m happy about. It’s not something I can take back. Ever. Today was the day I lost my marbles. We all have those mornings where it is a struggle with the kids and you’d rather just crawl under a rock or blast them off into space on a rocket ship or use those tranquilizers like they use on the black bears to just calm everyone in the house down. This was one of those mornings. Breakfast was a struggle. The kids were fighting. The 8 year old clocked me in the head with a toy. It wasn’t working. The listening wasn’t working. The parenting wasn’t working. And that’s when I lost my marbles. Literally. Little red marbles. Lots of ’em.
I don’t know where these marbles came from. They’re the decorative ones you see in the home goods stores sitting in the plates or in the middle of the table. Those are the marbles I lost. Actually those are the marbles that caused me to lose it. The kids have taken to playing with the marbles recently. They line them up on the living room table and use them for whatever games they’re playing. For a couple of days there’s been a whole pile of those little, red, shiny marbles there. Today in the middle of a tough morning already, all of a sudden I started to hear a shower of thunks on the floor. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. The sound of things repeatedly hitting the hardwood floors. I knew they were the marbles. I ran in slow-motion like the movies and implored the 8 year old to “pickkkkkk themmmmmm uppppp”. I heard thunk, thunk, thunk, and then a cascade of the rest of them, thunkkkkkkkkkkkk with a cymbal crash. All those marbles hit the floor, they all went flying, they all scattered in every direction, and several went right for the marble-sized slats in the floor vents in the living room… Thunk thunk thunk went the echo as the little, red, shiny marbles went into the vent abyss. And that’s when I lost my marbles. I didn’t hit the kids. I didn’t trash the house. I did something that could be even worse. “Why’d you do that! Why didn’t you grab them”, I said. “Why are you acting like such an IDIOT!”. And in that instant it was done. The word was out there. I know she’ll never let me forget it. The word burned in her brain instantly. “Why,” I said. “I’m an idiot,” she said defiantly.
We cleaned up the marbles. I apologized for what I said. I also tried to explain why I said it. But the word was already spoken. I can never take it back. “You called me an idiot,” she said as she grabbed her stuff for school. And she was right. There was no defense for that. We don’t disparage the kids. It’s the number one rule in the house with the wife and I. And in a brief and unbelievable moment of parental frustration I broke the number one rule. The morning remained tense. I eventually hid the marbles. I hid all the marbles except for the ones I lost…the ones that now reside in the air vents. Every time the air goes in, I’ll hear the thunks in the vent and I’ll be reminded of the morning I called my daughter an idiot.
She shouldn’t have behaved that way. But why was I such an idiot.