It was a misty persistent rain falling on our heads as my sons and I departed from swim practice. It was after 9:00 p.m. I was exhausted, it was a long day of work and I was spent after spending an hour and half in a pool coaching sixteen swimmers ranging in age from six to eight.
As we were making our way to the car, we literally had to avoid many many puddles, evidence that it must have poured as we were in the steamy hot suffocating pool. Boys, hell really anyone no matter the age cannot resist puddles. Who really can? They can be fun. Can being the operative word. When you’re exhausted, already wet and just want to get home to jump into your comfy cozies, not so much fun.
Before I could blurt out what I was thinking: Don’t you dare go near those puddles! my oldest son leaped like a frog and landed two feet in an enormous puddle that splashed me from head-to-toe.
Without thinking I yelled “You’re an asshole!”
The grimy street water dripped down my hair, face and my jacket but what was worse was the feeling of pure disgust that washed over me.
I just called my 9 year old an asshole. What kind of animal am I?
I gingerly turned my head thankful to find that we were alone; I then peered over my left shoulder to face the music and look at my son square in the eye. I really thought I would find him sobbing, ya see my eldest is extremely sensitive (like his mom, however this was clearly not my most sensitive moment.) I was afraid I damaged him more and this would be the focus of yet another therapy session. Before our eyes formally met I heard belly laughing from him and my six year old – I was relieved. We continued to the car, me still mortified hanging my head as I sulked and slid into the drivers seat very wet and very embarrassed of myself.
Before I started the car I immediately texted my sister: “I just called my son an asshole”. I relayed the story as fast as my big thumbs would allow and within minutes I had a plan to try and rectify this situation – I took the advice of my sister – I was to apologize to my son and let him know that I didn’t think he was an asshole but that his actions well were well: ‘asshole-ish’. I also, tried to explain what ‘asshole’ means, it seemed that my explanation fell as flat as my Jewish mans ass.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I started my song and dance: I apologized profusely, I went into how I was tired, how I shouldn’t have reacted that way, that we really need to think before we speak because we can hurt people’s feelings, and reiterated how deeply sorry I was for calling him that and it was really his behavior that I was referring to.
The car went silent. A deafening and scary silence. I lost him. I talked too much. He hates me. I convinced myself that this would be the focus of his very first therapy session. Feeling terrible, I continued to navigate the dark streets unsure if I should turn on the radio to break the silence when my nine year old blurted out:
“My second grade teacher was an asshole”
Wow. I sat there stunned and thought to myself –“well, I guess my explanation was accurate.”