An inaudible laugh that is small and weak escapes my lips. It is there to remind me that insanity comes in all shapes and sizes. I push it back down to the depths of wherever it came from because for now I have no time for such lunatics.
I wipe the non-existent dust off my pants, take a deep breath, and open the bathroom door. Sometimes I find myself hiding in that place just for a few moments solace. I tell myself that next time I will bring in scrubbing supplies to clean the dastardly habitat, but I never do.
“Maaaaama” the word clings to me and however much I adore the title, now, right here — I simply fear what my summoning is for. I slowly walk towards the call. “Sister peed her pants again.”
With each word burning into me I can feel the uprising of the insanity once more. It bubbles in a place I can’t quite reckon, yet I know it is there always with me, always ready.
The smell hits me as soon as it can, with a vengeance that seems to whisper menacingly in my ear about my failure as a potty trainer.
“I TRIED!” I want to shout to the world. To the people who have never had to deal with regression and the childless adults who look at me with sideways glances when I enter their vicinity smelling of stale urine.
“I TRIED!” Obviously not hard enough… The voice says. I do not let it say another word to me before I stuff it down to the dismal abyss of the same place I hide the insanity.
I scrub the pungent smell out of a stained carpet and think about how easy it would be to allow myself to fall over that teetering edge into the grips of madness.
I no longer daydream of mojitos and sunset beaches. Instead I find myself fantasizing of padded cream colored walls, the security of strait jackets and tranquilizers that deem fruity beverages child’s play by comparison.
The child walks up to me casually, she does not look to have ill will intentions but asks for a chocolaty treat in a singing kind of way. I tell her no, because dinner will soon be served. The look of pure loathing she fires back at me provides a tingle of dread throughout my body and I wonder, momentarily if she has the ability to shoot fire from her eyeballs.
The small human being then moves to turn away from me, but before she does, in a voice that is trifling and unnatural says, “I hate you Mama.”
A torrent of emotion sweeps through me.
Anger — that I have allowed these words to be spoken in my home. Sadness — despite my knowledge of her uneducated vocabulary.
And revenge. But how does one get revenge on a three year old that they love dearly?
My eyeballs quickly fill up with liquid, but again I push it back, deep down to the area I’ve sanctioned off for the insanity and the ominous voices in my head. I cannot let them see me cry. I am stronger, I am brave and I will fight on.
I tell the tiny one, who now runs around pant-less because she has soiled herself yet again to go spend some time in her bedroom. I explain why the words she has spit towards me are unacceptable in this home.
She pretends to hear me, but I see her gaze every now and again shift to shiny things around the room. Things that are undoubtedly more interesting than her crazed mother.
I want to move towards the bathroom, my asylum. I want to sit there and cry that ugly uninhibited kind of cry. I want to smuggle in the telephone and call husband who will make things better I am sure of it. But I do none of these things. I am Mother, I am strong.
So instead I think about the possibility of parenthood. Possibly at times everyone has these innate feelings of insanity.
These impractical notions that everyone they meet is judging them. That palpable sensation of underachievement.
There is a knock on the bathroom door. I don’t know when I made my way back to this place, but I find myself sitting on the toilet pretending to pee.
The children and husband walk in. They do not recoil when they see me sitting there and I realize that privacy has become a distant memory.
They hug me. They tell me they love me, and I know that they mean it. It is now that I cannot recall where it is that I’ve placed my troubles, and in its place I remember what the power of unrelenting love can do.
I hug them back, and I wonder why I am in the bathroom in the first place.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist