Being a mom has taught me things I never would have predicted. I can do things I never could before. I can get furious angry, crackling, seething, volcanically angry, and not show it. I can keep my face slack, my arms and legs at rest while this symphony of anger plays itself out against the inside of my skin. I never knew I could do that. I couldn't do that before there were children to protect. Something instinctual, I guess, ices me over, guards the children from my bitter ire. My voice comes out flat and altogether too quiet for three romping boys to hear. "Ok stop now. Stop now." Something small and invisible behind my iceface waves a frantic warning.
It's not failsafe. It's a brittle exterior. It's breakable. And when it breaks, I scream. And the children stop and regard me with wide eyes. Or they don't. They laugh, thinking I've joined in whatever game it is they're playing that has pushed me to this edge. And sometimes the screaming turns to music, I bellow, operatic: "Ev-erybody go to bed now-ow-ow-ow-ow." Until all the anger is dispersed and everyone is laughing.