It's such a tricky word.
Something is wrong.
Usually when something is broken it is easy to tell by looking at it what is wrong.
Not always, mind you, but often.
Mama Kat's prompt today includes this question. She answered it in a way I could have. Her garbage disposal. Mine, too! (I hate mine, but I need my 2-part sink. For real.)
But tonight, as I get my daughter into the shower and feel a sigh of relief exit my body, I think of other things.
She came home today with another "yellow," and if you don't know what that means that's okay. I didn't really know, either. Not at first.
Initially I took it hard. But then I let it go. She brought them home, I walked her through it. My husband and I discussed what was happening, why she was moving from green (which is good) to yellow (which is not as good, not awful, but not green). She explained. Talking. Playing. Simple things a five-year-old does.
The entire first month she brought home green beehives. She set us up. Our expectations rose. We swelled with pride. Our little girl knew how to behave in kindergarten. Hooray! My sigh of relief could be heard across the state.
Then a yellow. Disappointment set in, but it was still new. Or maybe less new? Less exciting? Less motivating? Less to enjoy and focus on? Ah, whatever. What's a yellow really? No big deal.
And then again. Okay. I can handle this. But I wish I knew what was happening. The teacher explained that sometimes they get them at the end of the day, with no time to get back to green. Ah, so that must be it, I thought. She's acting up as the day goes on. We talked it over. Again. And again. Please try, we said. Please try to behave. Listen to your teachers. Do your work. Please try.
And she said she would. She will. She did.
And then it happened again. But not once, not twice, a third time? What? What was happening here? Why is my child acting out? Is she bored? Antsy? Problematic? Talking is one thing, but I can't tell yet whether that is why she is ending up on yellow. Could that be it? She takes after me, I suppose. I talk too much, too. Is it too soon for my five-year-old to start her own blog?
Maybe I'm taking it personally. I'm definitely overreacting. I'm sad. I shed tears. She makes ME feel better. That's backwards. Isn't it? Am *I* broken?
And then I think too hard. Where did we go wrong? What did we do? What didn't we do?
My husband and I look at each other across the dinner table, questions in our eyes.
Tonight she counted by twos for him. Then fives. Who is this kid, anyway?
We're screwed, I mouthed to him. He laughed. So did I. I had to. What else am I supposed to do? Laugh or cry? Both? Both.
What's broken? ... I ask myself. We ask each other.
We (she and I) watched a clip together of this weekend's Comedy Central - Night of Too Many Stars for Autism. She sat on my lap, quietly, watching. 'That's Katy Perry," she whispered. Tears streamed down as I explained why the little girl was screaming, yelling. What was wrong.
I felt so blessed.
I lay beside her tonight. Watched her face light up as our cat Angel climbed up on her belly and went right up to her and practically kissed her good night. Tears slid down my cheeks in the dark. I wiped them away silently. I couldn't let her see me cry three times in one day. Three times. What was wrong with me, anyway?
Broken. It's an interesting word, isn't it?