THAT Family

So we were THAT family last weekend.

And not the, “Wow, you are all so well mannered and neat and clean and nice you all are…”


We were the other ones.

Child #2 wanted a monkey puppet at a local school fair. The $10 purchase of said monkey was deemed inappropriate as with 5 kids under 9 in tow – you can do the math of the budget blow out on monkeys.

And in so many of such parenting scenarios, there is someone to lay down the love and someone to lay down the law.

Good cop. Bad cop.

The response from the middle red child when she was told there there would be no monkey could be heard beyond the donation buckets at the entrance of the said fair. Unusual for Dad to don the bad cop hat. Must have added to the blow.

Middle red turned purple on the face, her eyes began to swell and her signature hair – matted into a combination of sweat, saliva and snot – flailed around her crushed soul. Her whole body consumed as a violent vehicle for her rage.

She was dragged upside down, held by her feet and splayed against her father’s back. Scratching the back of his thighs. Wailing into her wildness.

With the silent stares of horrified onlookers, a gentle elderly lady smelling of strawberries who I fondly hope was called Pearl asked, “would a mint help?”


Once back to the car, contorted and broken, she lay in the dust. For me to scoop her up. She hated the world. And everyone in it.

Including me.

Stroking her matted hair while trying to sooth her soul, I whispered,”You and I can have some one on one time with me and the coins you have.” Whether it was the touch, the voice, or simply time for the wild heart to rest. She agreed.

A date set for Tuesday.

I was good cop.

We set off, child #2 and I, on Tuesday. Alone together for the first time in over 4 years. We ventured via a closed down Smiggle shop to a large brand toy shop across the road.

43 minutes and 6 laps of the Toy Shop, new barbie was hand. In the cafe later for hot chocolates, memories of tantrums dissolved. Our scattered energies instinctively re-uniting into the divine oneness.

Less than 3 hours later, the purplefaced, matted hair wild child returned. I can’t remember the trigger. So inconsequential. There were no onlookers. Just an angry child who hated the world.

Including me.

Think hip openers, savasana and metta mindfulness.

Tears for Fears sang,”There’s a room where the light won’t find you.”

I have tried to make life a little easier for my fiery middle child. I’ve laid down the love and the law. I’ve been good cop and bad cop.

But no matter what light I shine, she can’t see it. And she won’t until she turns the switch on herself. And while I may think my light, my wisdom, my lessons are the way. They are actually not for her.

They are for me.

When I fell into bed Tuesday night, I found her note. She had scrawled, “I hate you mum.”

But she knows that we will be “holding hands ’til the walls come tumbling down. When they do, I’ll be right behind you.”

Everybody wants to rule the world.



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