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Just when you think you have it together…

August 4, 2011

You’ve paid off most of your credit card debt, you’ve graduated college and those student loans aren’t so terrifying, you haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in a year, you chose the salad over the chicken fried steak, your child knows how to say, and knows the meaning of, paleontology.

You think you have it together because there is only one empty pack of cigarettes in your car and you paid your cable bill on time. You’ve finally learned how to set a DVR to record re-runs of Friends while you’re at pilates (occasionally, but it will record every week without fail) and you’ve perfected the preparation of at least one meal and fifteen cocktails. Your children don’t scream when you put them to bed anymore and they don’t try to break out the back door when they wake up before you. This is progress, you think to yourself, this is what it feels like to have my shit together.

Everything seems to be sunnier, shinier and full of more energy, and you’ve finally accepted your oddly protrudent thigh bone joints and stretch marks on your arse. You’ve accepted that you’re never going to use your degree, retain your head of hair or convince your child that crayons don’t go in their ears.

On the morning that you wake up and realize all of these things, the world is more welcoming, more genuine and more alive. You wake up your children for preschool by gently rubbing their warm, soft backs and whispering their names. You dress them in clothing that matches and your daughter has finally learned which shoe goes on which foot. Your son’s curls are lying against his smooth forehead angelically and no one spills anything at breakfast. It is like walking about your morning with ear buds playing particularly driving and poignant music from film soundtracks. You look at your darling angels and realize that one day, they won’t be so small.

As you drive them to school, you listen to NPR and soak up your morning’s dose of knowledge as the kids talk to each other in the back seat. They start to scream at each other, but that’s ok. No one is perfect, right? You only had to pull over on the side of the free way once to make them stop fighting.

A good day.

You’re all right with your twelve year old car, your somewhat ratty tee shirt and jeans and slip on moccasins. Your hair isn’t actually brushed, but its pulled up in a rather young-ish, boho look, but your skin looks more clear than usual and that makes up for it.

Just when you think you have it together, the Mom from Planet Xenon pulls into the parking lot.

It will be ok, you affirm, unstrapping your children from their seats. They look different in this light- one of her pig tails has come loose, leaving her lopsided, his nose is running and crusting around his nostrils. They have bits of chex stuck to their bottoms from the corpses of snack crumbs past from their car seats.

It will be all right. You have it together.

Your son up and smacks your daughter across the nose, resulting in a hysterical fit in the parking lot. You sneak a glance; Mom from Planet Xenon is serenely opening the door to her late model Lexus SUV, light classical music riding on the cool air blowing from inside the cabin. Her three children, named after cities, get out of the car. The oldest, four year old Paris, with neat dark hair and pink tennis shoes. Her next is two year old Brooklyn, dressed in blue and white checked overalls and carrying a small scrap of satin fabric. The newborn, tiny six-week-old Geneva, is in her little bucket seat, contentedly puzzling over her tiny, perfect fingers.

Your children have been reduced to a brawl in the parking lot. You pull them apart and begin to drag them inside the school, much to their protests. At the sign in sheet, you encounter the Mom from Planet Xenon again and her mutant children standing silently and calmly with her as she writes the time of drop off in a neat, precise script. Your children are trying to squeeze under a desk and your daughter has possibly hidden her shoes.

Mother from Planet Xenon is looking crisp and refreshed and ready to go back to work from her maternity leave. Her hair is dark, thick and lusterous, falling over her shoulders. Her black poplin cotton dress for the office is a wrap dress, good for just after the baby is born and you haven’t lost the weight yet. She has, her tidy waist encircled by a thin red belt.

And, you’ve forgotten your daughter’s permission slip and your son’s extra underwear.

Just when you think you have it together…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. kelly permalink
    August 4, 2011 4:13 pm

    Trust me, your children will be much better adjusted and greater model citizens than the children of the Mother from Planet Xenon. You give them the greatest gift of all every day. Your love. So really you DO have it all together! You’re a great mom.

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