Boy Meets Sharpie She Lived in a Shoe

Wed 07 December 2016

Filed under misc

You wouldn’t think one kid with a Sharpie could derail a whole day, and I’d like to think that I was so fabulous that I could just handle the crises and roll on through into the rest of my amazing day. But the truth is that it blew all the energy right out of me, like a roadside bomb suddenly changed the course of events for what had started out as a perfectly ordinary day. Gather Pieces of my psyche now lay everywhere, a casualty to the sudden explosion of my reality because a child took a Sharpie to my house, drawing a center dividing line down the middle of my carpet and outlining his hand on the ottoman.

I felt disconnected, like I couldn’t really believe that I actually LIVED with people who did stuff like this. My head was full of white noise and random thoughts…Thank god the Sharpie was clearly running out of ink by the time he reached the carpet. I want my Mommy. How much longer will I have to wait until I can have a new couch in the same house as this kid? Will I have to move if the landlord sees the carpet. CAN it be cleaned? I don’t want to be here. Is a mini-coma an option?

As mothers, we are supposed to take things like this in our stride. I feel as though I never find my stride from one moment to the next. I struggle with it even more than I think I did with the first 3. Wasn’t it supposed to get easier? How much might I suck at this whole motherhood thing that this is still happening to my house? Why? WHY??

I can only say that the effort it took to show up and be a mother that day was indescribable, which seems to be developing into much of the unintentional theme for this summer. There are so many kids heading in so many different directions, I’m trying to rejoin the workforce and The Golf Pro is taking the point on his Dad’s recent health struggles and hospital stay. I will freely admit that The Girlfriends have been picking me up a lot lately. Picking me up out of my children, my frustration, my suffocations, my incredible resistance to the fact that I find myself the mother of young children well past the age that I thought I would be and that I am really trying to push through to an entirely different vision for my life as it enters it’s second (third?) act. I hope I give as good as I am getting when it comes my turn to be a part of the pit crew for them.

So, for a while, I lay there in shell-shocked resistance to the entire day and the children who demanded my presence and attention, trying to find a better head space, because the truth is that I’d rather be working on things that I know would produce a more immediate and satisfying result. Parenting offers so little of that at times. I may not even be around when the final review on my work with them gets submitted to the world. Talk about operating on a wing and a prayer sometimes.

I’m pretty sure that Grace lays somewhere in the acceptance that I’ve been ready to move into a different stage of my life for some time now and I just haven’t figured it all out, it’s just that I can’t find the way to be what I was before, to give of myself as a mother as wide openly as I did the first few times around, and this creates such enormous conflict in me, which is compounded by the self conscious thoughts, the hyper-awareness that these last two came to me in such a different way, and I don’t want them to feel unwanted in any way, but I am also in such a different place as a mother and so we won’t have the same relationship that I did with the first 4, who I just happened to carry myself, and I don’t want them to feel different, except that I am different now and they are different and the behavior of the atom is changed by the mere act of my observing it…and then a whole layer of craziness starts to underscore my already existing craziness.

And then after all that, I couldn’t get there anyway. So, I did what you do when you’re a mom, if you use the handbook that I do. I took Elizabeth Taylor’s advice; Poured myself a drink, put on some lipstick and pulled myself together. Although in this case it was more like took a shower, did my hair and make-up and pulled myself together. As I have long told the kids, the golden rule of motherhood is and has always been, You don’t have to want to do something to do it.

I want to say that I’m having a glorious summer of freedom and bliss with my children, but the truth is it’s all in flux, and I’m struggling to be ok with process rather than result, to blend the life I want to move into with the life I need to live. It’s an ongoing battle and I wish I had more natural style at it, but sometimes a little hair and make up can get you a step closer to pulling yourself together. Whatever works, right?

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