Four Letter Word
I was raised to be polite, ladylike. I put a napkin in my lap when I sit down to dinner. I cover my nose when I sneeze. I don't talk with my mouth full. But I swear like a sailor's daughter. I swear like it's going out of style. I swear like it's a lifeline to a the person I used to be; a link to my past, to a girl too shy to raise her hand or say her own name.
I swear because it helps me to be brave and if any word this year is mine that's it: BRAVE.
My expression of self, my identify has crashed head on with the mother. Not a mother, or just mother, but the mother. It's the one inside me, the one I pull out and brush off when my toddler pours a whole bag of chips on the floor and I hear his full name cross my lips. She's stepped up and taken over, armed with a wet wipe and a clean diaper.
I never thought I had it in me.
Little pitchers have ears. A saying passed from mother to daughter, something I find myself repeating silently as my toddler throws his hands in the air and says, "oh shit!"
I stub my toe and yell, "Jesus Christ!" I get cut off in traffic and, "You asshole!" fills the interior of my car, and I can tell you exactly the number of fucks I give on any given day. Zero. Until I hear something in a tiny high voice with the hint of a lisp that might be my toddler swearing black and blue.
There is a time and place. That's something my parents tried very hard to beat into my brain. Something I gladly ignored and revolted against while I was younger. But now I look down at the little person who is only so tall (almost hip height) and I try desperately to turn shit into sugar and fuck into frack.
It's an uphill battle.
Until then I walk around with a coffee mug that proclaims and is unabashedly enthusiastic about the goals for the day. I'll only have a problem once my toddler learns to read.