this isn’t me

by humanmama on December 16, 2013

It’s become my refrain.

“This isn’t me!” I say, upon being late somewhere with undone hair and wearing my rite-aid pseudo-Crocs instead of real shoes.

“This isn’t me,” I say, motioning to the interior of the van when someone sticks their head in to say hello at school pick-up.

“This isn’t ME!” I yell at the kids, and at Carpenter, when I look around the house and see that for the fortieth time today it’s a wreck and all I’ve done was clean.

Except, I’m getting this terrible feeling that it is me. Oh, that’s so hard to say, out loud. It is me. Right now, anyway. And I guess it’s okay to say I wish this wasn’t how I was living right now, but it really, actually, is. And it’s a time of life when a lot of parents I know feel like that.

“We used to go camping,” my friends might say, “But that was before, you know, before the kids.” Or, “We used to ski all the time! But we can’t take the baby, and no one wants to watch her/him/my cat with all the separation anxiety right now.” Or we used to travel. Or have hobbies. Or be clean. Or wear clothes that were designed within the last five years. Or even worse (if you are within the first two years of one of your kids’ life can I hear an AMEN?!), clothes that have some sort of bodily fluid on them. Or food. Or holes. Or maybe you’ve worn two mismatched shoes. Again. “This isn’t me!” you might say to your boss, or your friends. But it is.

So how on earth do we go around knowing that this might not be how we want to live but that it is how we’re living? I keep looking at the Dali Lama, with his happy smile. Or Nelson Mandela. And I think, maybe after these years of exile and strife I will emerge with a patient smile on my face. Maybe after all this suffering I’ll come away with grown kids who’ll come back to help me on the holidays and they’ll be absolutely stunned that my house remains clean 90% of the time, and that my hair is actually straight and brown and has no tangles and isn’t always greasy. I wonder if they’ll recognize me: by then they’ll probably be the ones upset. They’ll be saying, “but Mom! This just isn’t you.”photo(1)

And by then? It won’t matter. Because you’ll have that happy, jovial, patient, knowing smile. That comes from meditating and deep-breathing through 20 years of torture. And by then, you’ll know exactly who you are.

 

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