It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I almost forget how. Almost. But as Oscar Wilde (or maybe it was General McArthur, no wait, I think it was Rocky Balboa…..oh, forget it!) once said, “You can’t keep a good man down.” Of course, none of them were the mother of 5, with a full time job, a bad attitude, an inability to pay bills on time, an increasing struggle with unruly facial hair, and the looming terror of a long, slow preteen filled summer, so what they know about a “good man” wouldn’t fit in a hot dog bun.
And hot dog buns are all my family are likely to see for the next few months is someone else in this family doesn’t take control of the kitchen! I so badly want to be good at this mother/wife/happy housekeeper thing, but after 26 years trying my hand at it, you know, dabbling here and there, I think it’s time to admit defeat! I really and truly am an epic underachiever.
And there’s no one to blame but myself.
It’s a sad admission. But true. However, (let me say that again more emphatically) HOWEVER, there are significant extenuating circumstances. And those? Bad decision making.
It all comes down to bad decision making (you might have already cottoned on to that little flaw in my make up by noting my inability to pay bills on time–clearly it takes me somewhat longer to make the connections!) But it isn’t my monumentally questionable decisions that I need to discuss, it’s where they’ve landed me…and by landed me I mean stranded me.
Ever since I gave birth to my first child, a beautiful bouncing baby boy, more than 26 years ago, I’ve been straddling worlds. I was 20 when he was born (stop gasping! I know I was young. Refer back to previous mention of bad decision making). I was standing with one foot firmly planted in motherhood and the other dangling somewhere in footloose fantasies of my friends. I would sit, on a Saturday night, in my little basement apartment, feeding chicken noodle soup and playing this little piggy with my little piggy knowing that my friends were out at parties and night clubs. They were going to school, doing homework, sleeping late. I was going to playgroup, doing dishes, and not sleeping at all.
Then at 28, with 3 kids and a failed marriage in tow, I went back to university and my contortionist routine changed. I sat in classes, drank coffee, and did projects with kids little more than half my age. I thought I was cool. Funny, sarcastic, erudite: a regular Ellen Degeneres. They thought I was old. This was made abundantly clear one night whe I was sitting in the university bar with a bunch of people in my program, having a beer and listening to a band (don’t worry! the kids were with their Father! I did’t leave the little ankle biters to fend for themselves! That time at least.). I was really having fun: laughing, flirting, imbibing, and feeling entirely free when a girl (when I say girl I mean Girl! She was probably wondering if her Dad was there yet to pick her up to make it home in time for curfew!) turned to me and said, “Don’t you feel old hanging out with us?” All I could say was, “Ummmmmmmmmmm. I do now.”
Time passes, kids grow, and I fall in love. I meet the best, kindest guy on the planet and for some reason (silly man!) he kinda likes me back. We buy a house, get pregnant, get married (yes I know those seem out of order….stop paying such close attention!) and suddenly I’m straddling different worlds again. I have an infant (a really cute non-sleeping one again) and teenagers. I attend playgroups and I’m too old to be one of the cool moms (that suggests that there was once a time I was a cool mom. I choose to leave that possibility open, thankyouverymuch.). I meet old friends for a glass of wine and they’re horrified at the spit up on my blouse and the faint scent of baby poop that surrounds me.
And now. Now that my kids are grown and growing. Now that I am finally seeing the light at the end of my perpetually spread-eagled tunnel, now that I’m not always the only mom or the youngest mom or the oldest mom, life throws me a beautiful, breath taking curve ball: my oldest son, my lovely, lovely Jonah, has made me a Granny. I’m a grandmother. A grandmother.
I’m a GRANDMOTHER! Aaaaaaaaand, I have a 10-year old.
Shit. This straddle nearly dislocated a hip!
So, because of a decision I made 27 years ago (and one I thank my luck stars for, though it wasn’t the easy one: I always just have to be a little difficult!) I’ll spend my life straddling worlds: always with one foot in one world and one foot in the other. I’m never just one woman. Never just a girl, or just a mother, or just a crone. I’m always a little of each. It’s a strange place to exist: it’s a little scary and a little lonely sometimes.
But, there are perks (if not perk-y anymore!): if I’m too old to jump on the trampoline with my 10 and 12-year olds (at least without bladder protection undergarments–you try squeezing 5 human beings out of your body and see where your bladder ends up! Somewhere around your inner thighs, with mine I expect) at least I’m still young enough to hold my precious, priceless grandson steady as I twerk without breaking a hip.