Monday, October 3, 2011
Ready Or Not.
The husband and I went to a great party. Fabulous food, flowing wine, great company. At dinner we were seated next to a couple we didn't know. We got chatting. We talked about our hosts and how we knew them. We touched on our various home countries, travel, weather, current events - the usual. Eventually we got around to occupations.
"So, what is it you do?" asked my new friend.
I don't like this question because I don't know how to answer it. I was an occupational therapist for over 20 years - maybe I will be again, but not currently. I write and people read it - does that make me a writer? I am a SAHM which I know to be a full time job but I find it comes with pre-conceived notions. Declaring all three seems excessive (paranoid? desperate?) If I say one - which one? I decide to own my SAHMotherhood.
"Oooh! You don't strike me a that."
Is that a compliment? I'm not sure. It's true that I am dressed up and fully made up - not a sweat pant or pony tail in sight. It's also true that we have been talking for an hour and my children have not been mentioned.
"Let me ask you this," says the woman "how do you know when you're ready?"
I've been asked this before. It makes me laugh that I look like I can answer this question with any kind of authority.
"You can't - you just have to do it." I say
"But you seem like you have it down." she states.
Why? Because I am out of my house? Because there is no obvious sign of kid emission on my clothes? That's the trick of parenting - you have to appear to have it together.
Take last night as an example. As I made dinner the eight year old asked if she could write a thank you card to a helpful friend. She sat at the desk and drew for a while.
"How do you spell 'help' Mama?"
"Too fast Mama! Slower."
"H - got it?"
"E - got it?"
"H-e-l-p - help - OK?"
"What comes after the h?"
"OK - H-e-f-p, right?
(Am I being punk'd?)
"No - there's no f. Sound it out - hellllllp."
"MOM!!! you're confusing me!"
"H-e-l-p, H-E-L-P. HELP. (Now a actual request not a spelling lesson.) Do you have it now?"
"Never mind I just wrote thanks."
Dinner is now a bowl full of frustration and high blood pressure, which I will serve with an encouraging smile. Dessert will be 'don't worry - you're just learning' pie.
There's no getting ready for it. You love them so fiercely it hurts and yet often you want to be very far away from them.
They make you mad, sad and a little crazy on a daily basis. Their behavior makes you want to pull your hair out and tantrum in public places. You would kill for them, die for them and give the last of anything you have for them but you might also want to sell them on Ebay for $5 somedays.
You will go out again but they will always be on your mind even if not on the tip of your tongue. You will have a life unrecognizable from the one you had before but, for the most part, you will be really, really happy about that. You can't get ready you just have to take the leap.