I just heard this statement as I stood at the stove making my umpteenth box of macaroni, for the umpteenth time, in my umpteenth year as a parent. I don’t know why now, why today, or why this box of macaroni but this statement meant something. It rang my proverbial bell and as little stars and cartoon birds circled my head like a halo, my own little life and all it’s possible lives flashed before me.
Who might I have been if I hadn’t been blessed and burdened with my kids?
I’d have traveled certainly. My feet constantly itch to move and be away. To just pick up and leave, it doesn’t matter where. Well, with the exception of Wal-Mart, Ikea, or the neighborhood bouncy house.
I’d have been an artist. Immersing myself in the deep and soul-enriching joy of creation. With the exception of creating anything with macaroni, pudding, white glue, or small cut-up pieces of drinking straws.
I’d have engaged the world as a woman, rather than a mother. A being whole and entire unto myself without additional human appendages–including any and all waste those appendages create, expel, and talk about, loudly, at random and inconvenient moments.
I’d have aged more gracefully, or maybe less–probably less, knowing me, but it would have been way more fun than the slow mudslide into this bi-monthly-at-home-hair-colouring-mustache-waxing-whisker-plucking-sexless-middle-agedness.
I’d have been a bad-ass anarchist. Wait, I am a semi-bad-ass anarchist (I occasionally park in the Teacher parking when I drop my kids off at school). I’d have drank more, smoked more, had more crazy, borderline illegal sex with more partners, had more tattoos, driven faster, taken more risks, and lived louder. And I’d certainly have eaten better. Rich, delicious, exotic, wild food–if I have to have one more pot of spaghetti with Prego, or smell one more over-boiled Maple Leaf weiner, I might actually eviscerate someone (and gleefully see if Gordon Ramsay can make me a tasty dish of adolescent entrails).
But, I got this life. I got two marriages, one good. I got 5 kids. I got gray hair, wrinkles, stretch marks, and a bad attitude. I got what I got. Now, have I done enough with it?
I’m not sure. There’s no threat of me winning Mother of the Year (you might already have sussed that out for yourself). And there’s absolutely no danger of me ever being nominated for Wife of the Year. But as I sit here, in the indoor playground from Hell, and watch my kids play, smile, laugh and wipe boogers on the obnoxious little bugger pushing past, I can’t help but think that if I haven’t made my life into everything it could or ought to have been, at least I have my teeth, I love my family, I can still laugh, even at 5-year old creeps with snot encrusted hair, and best of all, in Canada alcohol is completely legal.