I'm afraid I might kill someone.
This is not good.
Especially since I started off the day feeling rather good-mom-ish since, before 10 a.m., I packed my girls (and lunches that I made for them) into the minivan to go to the Please Touch Museum in Philly--one of those interactive kids museums where they can play in water and climb in race cars and pretend they work at McDonalds by hammering on a working cash register that will inspire them to be cashiers when they grow up. (Or, at least, when I was four, that's what I told my mom I wanted to be when I grew up).
Blair spies a machine. It's a back-hoe, bright gold-yellow and everything, where you can maneuver these little levers to pick up plastic, multicolored balls, move your balls, then dump your balls. This machine...using this machine...becomes the goal of her life. If she doesn't get to do it right now, she will not be able to go on. She informs me of this, then takes off in a sprint, running up the steps to the platform where the machine is, cutting ahead of about nine other kids who are in a line waiting for the machine, certain that they, too, will cease to have a reason to live if they do not play with this thing immediately.
"Blair, you have to wait in line," I say, smiling at the other moms in that "Don't worry...I know the rules" kind of way, despite the fact that Blair's reaction to my words would make them suspect I'd just told her she would never see her father again. Still, she waits. We wait. It takes approximately 47 hours to get to the front of the line. But, we make it. Blair stands at the bottom of the steps, waiting her turn. Beaming.
Then, he arrives. No, he doesn't arrive...he swoops in like a jackal, clawing up the steps, pushing people out of his way. He was big. And tall. I swear he had to have been at least 6 years old. Blair cowered away from him like he was a shark.
And that's when I felt it--the mama bear. Rising up, fast, like a geyser in my blood full of fury and hell. My skin seems to expand, puffing up from muscles and thick blue veins that are popping out of me, making me want to lean down to this kid, my eyes green and shaking, and whisper, "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Except, it's too late.
"You need to wait in line," I say to the kid with so much acid in my voice I'm sure any spit from my mouth landing on him would sizzle his skin. I think about roaring. I want to roar. Roaring seems appropriate, somehow. But I don't. The kid moves. Blair gets her turn. All is well in the world.
But I can't quite decide what this means. Am I a good mom for wanting to protect my child? But, at the same time, am I a bad mom--a bad human--for feeling that I was just one roar away from pulling apart a six-year-old, limb from limb?