We took the girls and the larger, more cooperative dog to play in the snow today. Mt. Hood is a bright white mountainous background presence as we go about our daily business here in Oregon, and the girls have been staring longingly at its brilliant glistening snowiness. So Mark and I promised them yesterday that we would go sledding today. Maj and Kallan woke up this morning excited and bouncy and ready to go, and I woke up as I always do – looking for ways to get out of whatever I have unwisely promised to do before noon.
Do the rest of you like mornings? I hate them, every single day.
But the girls were insistent and impatient to get going, so Mark and I gulped down our coffee, organized some sandwiches and bottled water, threw all of our snow gear in the car, tossed in Persie the Labrador, and headed out. It’s a beautiful drive – not quite 90 minutes from our driveway to the snow-park parking lot. The girls were in a very good mood, excited about going sledding, and thrilled to see snow. Persie the dog was clueless, but happy to be included.
A happy family pulled into the parking lot. A happy family parked the car. But then a switch was somehow thrown in the head of one of the happy family members, and that member’s head then exploded in a mist of rage and frustration and fury. Nothing like having your older daughter burst into flames to make your day a little brighter.
It was all too stupid to believe, and it all happened very quickly, but it somehow seemed to come down to:
a) Maj’s belief that I was purposely opening the front door of the car while she was changing in order to reveal her naked butt to passers-by.
b) Maj’s fury that everyone except Maj had to visit the bathroom before sledding.
c) Maj’s insane anger that the scarf she had packed was a decorative silken scarf not designed to provide one bit of warmth.
d) Maj’s crazed insistence that I help her with her gloves immediately or be declared the worst mother in the world.
And the final killing blow:
e) The fact that the rest of us giggled as she threw herself back into the car, spitting and spinning and hissing with emotion.
So I told Mark and Kallan to go ahead while Maj and I took a little time to calm down. I grabbed my sandwich and told Maj I was going to stand outside the car with Persie and eat my sandwich while she took a few moments to regroup. Eating the sandwich accomplished two things: it gave me something to do while Maj flung herself noisily about the car, and it emptied out a Ziploc baggie for Persie poo collection. Somehow, I had forgotten to grab the doggy-bags on our way out of the house.
Anyway, the minivan was literally rocking back and forth with Maj’s emotional tumbling, and because we had scored the parking spot closest to the entrance of the park, I got a lot of weird looks from passers-by. Plus, we had the awesome good fortune to be parked right next to a group of men and women practicing to be search and rescue workers on Mt. Hood. They were gathered in a circle not 10 feet from me listening to a lecture from their leader about safety on the mountain. They were very curious about the screams coming from my car as I nonchalantly stood outside with my dog and ate my sandwich.
There was a lot of incoherent animalistic bellowing, and I wish there was some way to fully communicate to you the power of the hatred in her voice. She could hardly breathe, she was so angry. Most of her words were garbled with emotion, but a few hateful hissing things floated clear as a bell over the snow:
WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE SOMEONE’S MOTHER IF YOU WERE PLANNING ON TREATING THEM THIS WAY?
YOU’RE EATING YOUR SANDWICH NOW? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? IT’S NOT LUNCHTIME — LATER, YOU’LL BE HUNGRY AND YOU’RE JUST GOING TO STEAL ALL OF OUR SANDWICHES LATER LIKE THE BIG PIG THAT YOU ARE!
YOU’RE MEAN AND EVIL! YOU CAN’T HOLD ME CAPTIVE IN THE CAR LIKE A PRISONER!
YOU CAN’T TREAT ME LIKE A SLAVE! I’M COMING OUT! I AM OPENING UP THIS SLIDING DOOR!
Audible giggling from the rescuers as tiny beautiful Maj stepped out of the car all haughty and angry to demand that I hurry up and take her to where her sister was sledding. I don’t think any of them could believe that all of that anger and rage and volume had come from such a small adorable person. I looked down at Maj as she testily poked one gloved hand into my stomach to get me to move. “Not yet,” I said as casually as I could manage, holding up the last bits of my sandwich, “I want to finish my sandwich first.”
“Mother,” she said, with hatred and evil dripping from her tongue, “It’s called walking and eating. At the same time. You should try it sometime. It’s AMAZING.”
Some tiny part of me thinks she is utterly hilarious when she gets this way. But I did want to actually make it out onto the mountain to go sledding, so I kept as straight a face as I could and just reached past her to re-open the minivan’s sliding door. “Back in the car, Maj. You are not ready to join the rest of us yet.”
After another ten minutes she ran out of steam and emerged again, quieter and calmer. She apologized, we talked, she apologized again, we hugged, and then she ran off with her sled as though nothing had happened. I stared after her as she ran happily away, and then looked down at the dog. “You ready, Persie?”
Not quite. First we had to use that sandwich bag.
Sometimes she just explodes (Maj, I mean, not Persie).