Monday, January 23, 2012

Promises, Promises

I hate disappointing my kids.

Ethan is all aggression, calling me a liar when I have to backpedal on an agreement, undo a plan; telling me next time he's going to make me pinkie-swear and if I break THAT promise I then owe him a million trillion dollars. But it's Jake that breaks my heart again and again.

I had promised we'd go to the movies together, just he and I, this past weekend. Two weeks ago we had finally seen the Muppet Movie, and I have been walking around singing the very catchy "Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?" in my head ever since.

Jake loves movies, lives for movies. But Ethan and I both had been laid low sick on Friday and were recovering slowly over the weekend.

Dan, as nearly always, worked all day Sunday, and I just didn't have it in me. Didn't have what it takes to hustle up a playdate to fob Ethan off on, to get out the door with Jake and Ethan, dropping Ethan off, head down to the movies with Jake then pick Ethan up afterward and hope the timing wasn't off, and oh my god, feed the kids, too and get them to bed early enough for school the next morning.

But Jake, being Jake, just didn't understand, even though I explained and explained and explained. Even though I let him watch hours and hours more TV on Sunday than usual, come 4, 5, 6 pm, come bedtime, he just kept asking "Can we go to the movies, Mom? Are we going to the movies, now, Mom?" in this small plaintive voice.

He didn't have to say "But you'd PROMISED!" the way his blatant, brazen brother would have. The movies are his magic and I had dangled it in front of him then snatched it away.  And because it wasn't Ethan's own disappointment he was able to keep perspective. Too much in fact; was scornful of his brother in the guise of being helpful:

"Jacob, Mom is not feeling well, she can't take you to the movies, you'll go next week.  So stop bugging her. It's just the movies, no big deal. Star Wars 3D doesn't even open for 2 more weeks, anyway."

Ethan was happy as a clam to lounge around all day in PJs with the resident screen police too tired for any real rule enforcement.

But Jacob? My sweet Jacob? "Moovies Mommy, I want to go to the moooooovies."

"Next week, my love, next week, OK?"

Please, gods of autism and head colds, don't let me break my promise.

Just Write

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