Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mother Woman, Other Woman

Remember how, as a kid, it was almost impossible to think of your Mom and Dad as non-parent type people, with jobs, lives, and loves all different from those you knew?

It was sort of shocking to imagine your Dad kissing another woman, or your Mom cooking Sunday Pot Roast for another man. It seemed wrong and scary somehow...as if that other life could some day come back and reassert itself as the better choice. As if your very existence could be cancelled out by might have beens.

I had forgotten about that.

But of course, having our own children has a way of dredging up all kinds of things that have been lost. It's not only the innocence that leaves, us, but the fear as well. The Big Bad Wolf becomes just another archetypical storybook villain. We no longer believe there are monsters in the closet. And we forget to feel threatened by the other lives that our parents might have lived. Unfortunately, with this, comes the realization that they are not perfect or invinceable.

Perhaps that is what has really frightened us all along. Not the other lives, but the other selves. The non-parent selves, who were mortal, fallible....human.

Today Husband and I took the boys to see the Titanic Exhibit at the Civic Center. On our way back through downtown, we pointed out various places to the boys; places we had once frequented, worked, relaxed. Once upon a time we had both navigated those streets with familiarity and ablomb; nonplussed by the traffic, the drug dealers, the thoroughly ridiculous number of one way streets.

Now it makes us feel all uptight and touristy. Now we have to fake nonchalance.

Husband pointed out the impossibly tall building where he had begun his career. Impressed, the boys craned their necks upward, marvelling at the fact that they couldn't see the top from our vantage point directly below it on the street. They asked about the elevators, the bathrooms (one on every floor, we assured them) and the fire escape plan.

I pointed out the building where I had worked. It's completely mirrored and I explained to the boys that from the inside, it looks as if there are no walls at all. Well, not from my (former) office. It was hidden away in a dark and insignificant corner and smelled like a combination of perspiration and egg salad. But I got to look out those magical windows on my way to the bathroom.

Diminutive One asked me if the floors and ceilings were transparent too. At first this struck me as a thoroughly silly question. But I suppose, in buildings that must have seemed fantastic and surreal to him, transparent floors and ceilings were certainly not outside the realm of possibility. At 8, not much is.

I explained to him that no, of course they weren't. Because what if, above you, there were ladies who were wearing skirts?

At first he was puzzled. But then the dawning realization caused a blush to creep accross his freckled cheeks. Husband quipped that it might not be such a bad idea. The boys guffawed and then looked at me to see if I was going to take offense at such a ribald comment. I rolled my eyes heavenward and declined further comment. The three of them tittered in their shared maleness.

We stopped to lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse, where we had the novely of eating in an honest to goodness boxcar. Cramped, but charming.

And a good time was had by all.

Later that evening, while snuggled up in my bed, both of us with a book in hand, Diminutive One suddenly asked,

"Mom...Do you ever wish you still worked at that place?"

"No." I said emphatically. "I'm happy right here."

"But I don't flush the toilet."

"That's true. You don't."

"I'm always making a mess."

I nodded.

"Mmmmhmm."

"You probably didn't have to clean up poop and stuff at that job, huh?"

I wanted to tell him that there are are all kinds of shit in this world and that I had cleaned up more than my share in that sparkling glass walled prison. I wanted to tell him that poop doesn't matter to me, even though sometimes I stomp around and complain very loudly about it. I wanted to tell him that it was just a job, while he is my heart and my soul. I wanted to tell him that the job might have made me plenty of money, but he makes me a Mother.

I didn't of course. He wouldn't have understood. And besides, we weren't really talking about poop. Or Messes. We were talking about that other self he had glimpsed today; the Me before I was his Mother. We were talking about the other life; the one without him in it, the one he was worried I had maybe liked better.

And I remembered the fear of being cancelled out. Swallowed up. Erased. I remembered being afraid of "might have been".

"Babe...The day I got to quit that job and become a Mom was the happiest day of my life."

"Really?" he asked, concern still wrinkling the brow beneath his unruly curls.

"Really. I knew there would be poop and stuff, but I didn't care. I just wanted to be a Mom. And now I am."

And stuff. We've had a lot of "and stuff" lately. And it's been hard. But as I said those words, it occurred to me that I really and truly meant them. I wouldn't go back to my old life for anything. I couldn't imagine my life without "and stuff".

"Mom?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm going to flush the toilet from now on."

"Well that would be nice."

"And lift up the seat every time."

"Well, I do hate sitting in peedle puddles."

"And clean my room every day."

I cocked my head and raised one eyebrow at him. He giggled. Reassured, he snuggled in and closed his eyes.

After he was asleep, I stroked his hair and looked at him, and realized...I get to be invinceable for a few more years.

Whew.

18 Comments:

  • At 5:39 AM, Blogger jchevais said…

    Very touching. Loved it.

     
  • At 5:46 AM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    I remember very clearly the time when I started to realize that my parents (and teachers and ugh, even the nuns!) were real people with lives before me and outside of me and all that might entail. It was kind of awful to think about. After 52 years of marriage, I still can't even imagine my mom kissing another man.

     
  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Your son sounds so sweet and concerned! It is funny for kids to think of their parents having lives before them. Even I, who will be 40 in a few short months, was taken aback when I recently saw a photo of my mom with her boyfriend-before-my-dad. It really freaked me out to see the two of them together, nuzzling and raising glasses of wine to the camera.

     
  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger Rachelle said…

    Sheesh! Pass the tissue!

     
  • At 10:07 AM, Anonymous heather said…

    That was beautiful and real. Though there are times that I miss my old life (especially when I am cleaning up poop as a matter of fact) I wouldn't give up my SAHM position for an upgrade to one of those "magical" corner offices.

     
  • At 11:30 AM, Blogger Wendy said…

    Boy, I needed this post today. There is a lot of "and stuff" going on around here, too. It does get to be too much sometimes.

    However, I totally agree.

     
  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    When my daughter reaches that age when she starts asking these tough questions, can I call you to ask for advice? Please? You always seem to know just what to say.

    Now, I must go and ponder the existence of the "peedle puddle".

     
  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    At WHAT age do they get this caring and thoughtful exactly. Heh.

    (So sweet B.A.!)

     
  • At 6:31 PM, Anonymous kim.kim said…

    I think being a full time mother would have been the best job in the world too.

    I can see why your blog is so popular.

    Your family sounds adorable.

     
  • At 7:54 PM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    'I get to be invincible for a few more years.' Yes. Exactly. Hang on to these days wherein all the shit in the world is *on the outside*, and all the little shits on the inside are totally manageable.

     
  • At 8:34 PM, Blogger Day said…

    Thank you! This made me smile.

     
  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger Sandra said…

    This made my day. It really did. He has such a sweet, empathetic side to him ... children learn what they say. You are doing a good job.

     
  • At 7:14 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    "But I don't flush the toilet."

    Oh, that is priceless. What a great post.

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger deb said…

    What I'm starting to realize now, slowly, ever so slowly, is that my children are people. Who knew? I had a hard time wrapping my head around my own parents as people and now my children are turning into people. Will it never end?
    The conversation you had with him at bedtime, those are the times that make it all worthwhile. Thanks for making remember.

     
  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger jen said…

    this was truly beautiful. i know a woman who refused to talk about her work or anything unrelated to family around her children...it seems sad to me...because she isn't really giving them a chance to know her as anything other than a mom.

    lovely post.

     
  • At 11:04 PM, Blogger In the Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    Love, love, love your words of wisdom. Every time.

     
  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger Mamma said…

    You just take me along with your words every time.

    I still go to those big buildings on the weekdays, but I'd take the poop at home any day.

     
  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I think you should make me cry more.
    What a sweetheart you are raising.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home