Photographs are beautiful, and there is so much chaos that goes on that isn’t as beautiful. Sometimes the beauty of photographs reminds me what to cherish, and sometimes it feels like a lie.
Rosie had to go a friend’s house after an hour and a half of baking so we were rushing, and Jack was in a mood and I was exhausted, but we did it, we made four kinds of holiday cookies this year.
Sometimes when Jack’s in a mood he gets critical and voices his complaints and criticisms. Sometimes it’s smart criticism, and sometimes it’s just mean. So much the opposite of Rosie, who has always thought, perhaps too much, of how her words will hit another’s heart.
He was chattering away, clearly anxious, unsettled, who knows why, while we were decorating our cookies. Courtney you definitely cut the hole on your icing bag too big. You really put too many sprinkles on that cookie, Courtney.
It’s not nice to criticize someone else’s work like that without being asked, I told him, but while I said it I was walking up to him from behind and went to push him kickbox-style with the ball of my foot for emphasis. Because I was annoyed, and because I knew he would laugh at the jolt. He doesn’t get under my skin like some people can — I can sense with him that most of what he does that bothers me comes from a place that isn’t too deeply scarred; he’s just being a kid.
But as my foot went toward his back, Joon’s head got in the way — she was trying her best to get a cookie — and then she was in the dining room rubbing her mouth with her paw. I was crushed. My Joonie, and I had just hurt her. All my heart ventricles opened up and I was on the floor with her.
Look she’s scared of you now. You made her scared of you. That was Jack, and he was wrong, she was next to me and accepting the love. Dogs are forgiving. Humans not so much.
Cool it, Jack. Because this part of him has been growing, the critic inside of him that comes from some insecurity, some need for power, or some fear maybe. He is growing ever-thoughtful and sensitive and his energy is enviable and he’s clearly very smart, but there are moments where these pieces of him come to the surface that bother me — because I have so little control over him, because he’s not mine, because he’s in my house and I love him and can only half-parent him. Standing over the most colorful frosting, we talk about words and bratty behavior and being sensitive to other people. He quiets for a brief moment, then he begins to rattle on again, this time without harm.
Of course Joon’s fine, and my heart is receptive to her in this way that I hadn’t felt for a few weeks — I’m so ready to see her beauty and goodness and spirit now.
And the cookies are delicious, though she didn’t get any.
And obviously, does it even need to be said, there is no such thing as too many sprinkles. Though we all felt pretty sick to our stomachs and colorful in the mouth with the stained sugar by the end of the night.