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If you are able to go to the bathroom today without it being a circus event, don’t take it for granted.
I’m in a place in my life right now where everything is a problem, particularly trips to the bathroom. Children toddle after me, play in my makeup drawer, and stretch my prescription glasses to oblivion when I am indisposed. So if you’re reading this post while sitting on the toilet in peace … BE GRATEFUL, IS ALL I’M SAYIN’.
In this particular season, which seems infinitesimal, it’s hard to find time to write or maintain and build friendships. It’s hard to keep food in the house. It’s hard to strike a balance every day and not ignore my children.
Sometimes I wish everyone would just go away so I could do yoga in our living room, because surely a few sun salutations would make everything seem more manageable, right?! Yogis are such relaxed people.
Other relaxed people:
1. Marijuana farmers and consumers.
3. That guy “Chubs” on Pawn Star.
4. Robbie Hobbs.
My husband, the aforementioned Robbie Hobbs, is extremely supportive of my writing. He is truly my biggest cheerleader, and I can’t say enough how vital he is to any success I’ve had or will see in the future. I definitely need him by my side, and he’s there … until he runs out of his favorite boxers. Then he’s all, “Where are all my boxers?! What do you do all day?!” (Note: asking this question never ends well.)
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT I DO ALL DAY, MOTHERF*CKER.
I drag three kids to an allergist appointment and, due to an unfortunate series of events, never wish to call the allergist, think of the allergist, or show my face at the allergist’s office again.
I feel like a terrible mother multiple times per day, because apparently women are wired to self-loathe and self-question and over-think everything to the point of exhaustion. My kid knows the words to that song?! I’m a terrible mother. My kid tried to fight a nurse?! I’m a terrible mother. Eggo waffles are processed in a factory?! I’m a terrible mother. I have varicose veins there? I’m a terrible mother.
I didn’t say it had to make sense. Just shut up.
I patch up thumbs when they get smashed in doors. I untangle cords. I help build block towers and break up fights when the tower is inevitably knocked down.
I remind that we do not bite.
And finally, I give our little boys graham crackers to eat for their afternoon snack and I send them outside. I pat myself on the back for having the foresight to serve crumbly crackers outside and not inside, thus avoiding the extra work of sweeping the kitchen.
I then hear an inordinate amount of noises that I can’t quite identify. I allow it to continue for longer than I should, because I am unable to muster the will to stand.
Eventually, the noise level increases and I get up to investigate. I hear myself yelling something that I never imagined saying to anyone, ever: “OH MY GOD, DID YOU SHOVE GRAHAM CRACKERS UP YOUR BUTT?!”
The answer is yes, he definitely did.
My middle child, underwear filled with pulverized crackers, was gleefully throwing crumbs at his older brother and yelling “BOOTY CRUMBS!” as they laughed hysterically.
“They’re crammed really far up there,” my oldest offered helpfully.
Indeed, they were.
Next time anyone anywhere in any situation asks me, “What do you do all day?” I’m going to look them in the eye and say *cram crackers.
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An injured bird has been flapping around our yard for two days. We would have captured it yesterday (when Robbie was home) and get it to someone who could help it, but it disappeared, so we continued about our business. Today the boys found the bird and were trying to catch it when I realized what was happening and explained the bird was hurt and they were scaring away what life it had left.
LET’S HELP IT! They yelled.
HOW CAN WE HELP IT! They shouted.
Like I’ve said before, handling normal life circumstances is a whole different experience when you have small children talking loudly at you while you try to think. I spent about an hour trying to figure out the best course of action, during which I forced myself to carefully pick up the bird and put it in a pot … which I then proceeded to carry around with me.
I called Robbie because that’s what I do now. I used to be the kind of woman who handled stuff on her own and then called him after the fact to tell him how it went. But now I’m the woman who can’t make sound decisions because children are jumping up and down yelling things like, HEY, BIRDIE! YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE! RIGHT? RIGHT BIRDIE? DON’T DIE! and asking questions about life and death.
In the end, I fell back on what I was raised to do and told the boys we were going to pray for the bird.
Maverick reverently whispered a beautiful prayer before we went inside for lunch. I explained over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that if we took it to a vet, they would probably just put the bird to sleep. Maverick nodded like he understood. A little while later, he disappeared to his room. When he came back, he said “I was just in my room putting all my birds to sleep. Shhhh … they’re all tucked in.” Which is when I realized that I never properly explained what put to sleep actually meant.
Sometimes I snap out of my fog and realize that there are adults who somehow manage to do things the right way. They send birth announcements, follow etiquette, bring food when appropriate, say and do the right things, visit the dentist regularly … and then there is me. I often feel lonely in my corner of irresponsibility, wedged somewhere between moms who smoke meth in their bathrooms, and moms who have their manicurist on speed dial. I’m here in the middle with the other cracked-heel-skinned women who don’t have a primary care physician, I suppose.
This weekend I went to my parent’s house to help organize a few things, and my mom pulled a white garbage bag out of a cardboard box full of random items. “What’s that?” I asked. And then I saw the three items of clothing inside: a white eyelet shirt, a floral skirt with the same eyelet running through it, and some kind of gown. It’s her wedding dress. She cut it up after they married and made clothes out of it because she’s that kind of practical. And I thought, okay, so this is clearly where I get it from. After my wedding I had my gown preserved in an attempt to be a real grown up. My preserved gown is now safe in its box.
In a black garbage bag.
In a closet.
It just makes me laugh that both my mother and I had our dresses (or what’s left of them) in a garbage bag, in a closet. Robbie tells me I can’t ever think my mother is ridiculous because I’m very much like her. And you know, I don’t mind. I think she’s pretty great.
Tonight I walked into the bathroom to find Maverick gnawing the heads and hands off of action figures. “I’m playing a game where they’re supposed to be hurt,” he said, as I gathered tiny hands and heads and threw them into the garbage can.
“Oh, and Mommy? The cowboy lost his hands and then he went down that tube in the back of the toilet tank.”
May he rest in peace.