“Not Fit to be Around”

“Come on, Dave.  Maybe we should go and leave mom alone.”  Says my ten-year-old son.  Which is the equivalent to being told “you aren’t fit to be around.”  Yikes. I just got served.

Not Fit to be Around – an expression stolen from a dear friend with a son three years older than mine.  She used to tell her son that he needed to go to his room til he was fit to be around… he’s 13 now, so I am guessing she still throws that one his way now and then.

I loved it.  I loved how the phrase ricocheted around in my mouth but was delivered with soft steely tones.  I stole it.  I used it.  And it was magic.  “Go to your room, you are not fit to be around,” was used for fatigue, frustration, irritable non-compliance and non-specific happiness failures.  This order was usually followed by muffled complaints from the misunderstood and unjustly contained 4-year-old.  Every once in a while I could make out a “She doesn’t know” or “They so mean”.   Funny thing was this wasn’t really punishment as much as a time out.  A break.  A Ctrl+Alt+Del.  The lad didn’t see it that way.  I’m sure we felt like Super-Parents.

After the rantings and ravings faded, we’d hear the door knob squeak and the voice “Mama? I’m fit to be around now.  Can I come out?”

Awwww. Many hugs and kisses followed.

Imagine my surprise when he found a nice way of saying  “Mom, you aren’t fit to be around.”  Worse, he was right.  Bear and his Bonus Dad happily skedaddled out of there while a fatigued, frustrated, irritable and non-compliant grown woman realized she needed a nap.  I’d had a non-specific happiness failure.

I kinda felt like muttering at them though the door about how they just don’t understand but all I felt for them was love and acceptance.  I wish I could remember what song was running through my head as I stood in our empty house – something sentimental and poignant, I’m sure.

Later, I turned the knob and let them know I was fit to be around.

Hugs and kisses followed.


About Elizabeth Bishop

Not quite wise enough yet to not yell under the avalanche.
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One Response to “Not Fit to be Around”

  1. Lauren Wilson says:

    EBish, I love it. You are a wonderful writer, keep it up!

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