Monday, September 13, 2010

132. Puppet

I vaguely remember what my life was like when I, MOV, was in control of my schedule. I kept my word, showed up to things I'd promised to attend, called people back in a timely manner, returned emails within a few hours, and occasionally went to the gym. In sum, I had a life.

I WAS ALWAYS ON TIME TO EVERYTHING. As a former flight attendant, time was of the utmost importance in my life (as we liked to joke in the Crew Lounge, if you are 5 minutes late, the jetway door is already shut and your airplane has taken off—literally; start looking for a new job, because you just got fired). I became obsessively early.

Six and a half years ago, I found myself thrown violently into a different life, a life ruled by a very short, noisy, demanding person—a person who (inconveniently) spoke not a word of English. He chose to communicate in a primitive way with grunts, cries, and sometimes laughter (in retrospect, I think it might have been the “mocking” kind of laughter). Additionally, he somehow never looked at his watch to determine when he was hungry or tired or happy or sick. It was HIS schedule, not mine.

Two years after that, another noisy interloper joined the ranks, and he had his own ideas about schedules (namely, that they were stupid). We threw all our clocks in the trash. I’m no longer a puppet to United Airlines; I’m a puppet to my sons.

Time morphs in strange ways when you are a mother. It bends and contracts and stretches, never when you want it to. The magic of Christmas morning? over in 2 seconds. Waiting for someone to finish pooping? 45 minutes. Brothers entertaining themselves quietly by drawing? 3 minutes (max). Waiting to pick someone up from swimming lessons when it is 110 degrees out? 4 hours. Being able to fit in the adorable and super-expensive hand-knit airplane sweater? 1 day. Brushing their teeth when you are late and have to leave right-now-this-second? 20 minutes.

The irony is not lost on me that when I say, “Hurry hurry hurry!” to them, it is not for something I necessarily want (like a massage or a sample sale at Barney’s); no. This Hurry Business is so they can get to their soccer game or their playdate or their art camp. All the activities are now kid-centric.

How did this happen I find myself wondering as I distribute juice boxes to thirsty children while standing in the playground for a group playdate on a random Friday afternoon from 4 to 6 PM. When did I downgrade from Pinot Grigio to apple juice? (That’s right, not even my happy hour is mine anymore.) Why are my conversations about Curious George movies instead of George Clooney flicks? (and why have I memorized the prices, release dates, and availability of all StarWars Lego sets?)

It has become abundantly clear to me that I need to reclaim some special MOV time, time that belongs to me and me alone. I would like to officially announce that everyone needs to leave me alone every day from 2—3:30 AM. Thank you.

(“Monologue Of Virtue”)

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