Tuesday night, Maya brought home a bunch of math homework. She hates math homework. I hate the barrier she puts up around her math homework, where she makes things so much more difficult than they need to be. She’s pretty good with the rest of her homework, but math, she simply does not want to do. She’s actually good at math, too, which makes it even more confusing for me that she dislikes doing the work so much. I was always good at it, and I liked it because I liked being good at it.
So she was adding fractions, looking for the lowest common denomonator, and she decided she was only going to do one page. I wanted her to do all 4 pages, but decided that 2 pages would be a good compromise, since she didn’t have to turn them ALL in today. She did one page, and stopped. I tried to help her, to show her how easy it can be, but she didn’t want to do it. She just sat and looked at me with this look that said, “You can’t make me. I am NOT doing any more homework tonight.” Let me just say, if there is one thing I hate more than homework, and the knowledge that she won’t be free from its grasp until she graduates from college, it’s that look on her face. I felt a RAGE building up inside me. I was SO angry, I wanted to rip her workbook into pieces and have her eat them, and then let her explain to her teachers that the work would soon be coming out in the form of shit. SO MAD. So I picked up her workbook, so that I could slam it shut and say something mean like, “FINE, DON’T DO YOUR WORK, I DON’T WANT TO HELP YOU ANYMORE!!!”, which is bad enough, but instead I picked up the workbook and THREW IT against the wall. She was scared. I could see it in her face. I didn’t care. I was still mad. I don’t even know what we said to each other after that, but soon she was crying, and I felt like a complete and utter turd. Boy, I suck. So I asked her if we could make up. We kissed, and she climbed into my lap, and we cuddled a bit. I told her I was ashamed that I had scared her. She told me she had been afraid that I would hit her. I told her the story about the time my mom was so mad at my brother and me that she wanted to pound us into the ground, and she took a jump rope outside and beat the side of the house with it, like someone flogging a carpet to get the dirt out, until her anger had dissapated. I remember that we felt like we had better well do whatever she had asked, and not get in her way any more THAT day. So I told Maya, if I ever got so mad that I wanted to hit her, I would just take a rope and hit the house, and she doesn’t have to worry. We cuddled some more. Then she did her homework.
My anger scared me, though. How could I be THAT mad at my little baby? Look at that face! (I know, this is 7 years ago, but she is still my baby..)