As predictable as sleepless nights with a newborn…
As predictable as spring winds in Albuquerque…
As predictable as taxes on April 15 in the US…
That’s how predictable I am.
My sons are both nearly perfect physical replicas of their fathers, what people have called, ever since those weird Austin Powers movies, a “mini me.” But where Carter has some aspects of his father’s personality and some of mine, and mostly is his own self entirely, Jacob is temperamentally (nearly) identical to his dad, Robert.
Face-to-face with Jacob when he is angry at me, I am again the woman I was when I was married to Robert.
My God, how I hated that woman. Robert and I brought out the worst in each other; the extent to which we were mismatched would be comical if we had divorced before we had children. As it is, we did have children, and our story is almost all tragedy.
I want to leave that woman behind, the woman I was between 1990, when I met Robert, and 1997, when we divorced. I want to pretend that she was born of that ill-fated relationship, an anomaly, not, somehow, a part of me.
But, of course, she is me. Faced with Jacob’s angry words that mirror Robert’s, I feel those terrible/familiar feelings, respond in those terrible/familiar ways, become that woman I despise. I am so predictable, I want to tear out my hair and gouge my eyes so that I can feel something different than this shattering, crushing, smashing in my chest.
Jacob is my baby, the person who made me a mother. He is the flaxen-haired beauty who I called Tooter until he was three. On his first day of kindergarten, I arrived two hours early to pick him up and waited, anxiously, in the car for the final bell, and then did the same thing on his first day of middle school.
By his first day of high school, I had been uninvited from his day-to-day life.
Today, he hates me. Whether the hate is born of ordinary seventeen-ness or if it is a product of the fractures and battles in our family, he hates me. My fault, his fault, or nobody’s fault, he hates me.
I love him as much as I ever did, but this…
This hurts in my hair and my toenails and my mitochondrial DNA.