Have you ever tried to swim in blue jeans? During one of my six summers at a North Florida camp a lifeguard suggested a survival exercise. He instructed the small all-girls advanced swimming class to bring their blue jeans the next day and although we thought he was out of his mind, he was cute and twenty and we were all twelve and well...girls, so we weren't exactly an incredulous audience.
I sat in a line of ten or so girls on the side of the dock on the spring wearing my Bongo blue jeans and Keds sneakers listening to his instructions about using our pants as flotation devices. And on his command, we all stood up, held our noses, and jumped. It was cold. We giggled and squealed and I vividly remember worrying about boogers and how my hair looked (as if the lifeguard wasn't eight years older and wearing a stripe of neon pink Zinc-oxide on down his nose).
I was a heavy bag of cement. And I couldn't move my legs fast enough to keep my head from going under. Nobody close enough to grab onto and nothing to step on for that extra edge up to the surface. It's exactly the same feeling I get when motherhood hands me a crap day.
Because my list of things to do today was excruciatingly mundane, I decided to take a break from the torture of my domestic blues Tuesday to post about...well...my domestic blues. If I am more often shouting from the rooftops that I love being a mother and ever-loving the ups and downs of parenting my five point five year old daughter and still womb-residing son, well today is the antithesis of that proclamation. Bare with me.
Today I am swimming in blue jeans.
I'm impatient and selfish and hating the simplest of requests. Nothing is good enough for long enough to keep my head out of the cold loneliness and I'm just so tired of kicking my legs I could cry (or drown, if you're still caught up in the metaphor). My daughter even reminded me to smile during lunch.
The reality is as simple as this: I feel like all I am is a mother. I don't feel like a woman or a person even. I am simply the one meant to do what it takes to make other I people I live with safe, healthy, happy. On this day I don't enjoy ironing my husband's shirt. (Okay on NO day do I enjoy ironing my husband's shirts.) I don't enjoy cutting the crusts of a baloney sandwich for my daughter who THOUGHT she might enjoy something other than PBJ for once, but changed her mind as soon as the damn sandwich hit the plate. I'm missing my friends. If they're still my friends. Text messaging and facebook entries don't exactly a friendship keep. I miss Jed before he was my husband. When making him happy was as easy as showing up unexpectedly at his doorstep. Today making everyone happy feels like work. I feel like Rosie the robot today instead of Stephanie. Instead of me.
I'm trying to remember that motherhood is fickle. It's laughing until you pee your pants when an ice cream scoop falls out of its cone onto the car seat on one day and crying until you can't see straight when it happens the next. It's the same thing over and over with a new twist now and then to keep you from absolutely losing your mind.
But today it's hard. Harder.
on the young side of the old people now
3 hours ago