My life, if viewed by a stranger, has what you might call (if you were being generous) a certain “sloppiness” factor to it. It wasn’t always this way.
Seven years ago, if you happened to drop by my house unexpectedly, I would most likely have fresh ciabatta bread and some lovely Brie to share with you, and a choice of (chilled) wines, which I would offer to you in a clean glass. You could sit on my (unstained, no-action-figures-lurking-beneath-the-cushions) couch and look out the (fingerprint-free) windows and enjoy the view of the freshly manicured (and not marred by oversized Crayola-colored plastic riding toys) yard. Ah, yes. I remember those days.
(The wine is still here, of course. We find it much cheaper to buy it by the case now.)
We could have a long (uninterrupted by crying/screaming/incessant pestering) conversation and actually find out a thing or two about each other, and what is going on in our respective lives. We would laugh, and we’d never once utter phrases like “potty accident” or “hopefully not lice again” or “fine motor skills” or “bites other children.” No. We would instead invoke such words as “vacation” and “Italy” and “boat” and “expensive shoes.”
You might tell me that my hair looked nice, and I might actually agree. Now if you told me my hair looked nice, I’d know you were lying.
If you looked in my (tiny) purse, you’d find lipstick and my wallet (with money inside!), and maybe movie tickets to a movie that my husband and I just saw the previous night. There would be no crackers, Bank of America lollipops, Pokemon cards, stray LEGO pieces, small rocks, dried-out markers, nor silly bands.
My standards (if you can even call them that anymore) have slipped. If you have ever heard the phrase “She let herself go,” rest assured, they are referring to me.
I didn’t mean to “let myself go” or let my house go or let my yard go or let my job go (Goodbye, United Airlines! I miss those trips to New Zealand!); everything just sort of let go for me. It was never a conscious decision.
First, with a newborn, sleep seemed more important than, say, doing laundry. The laundry will still be there in two hours, I’d rationalize, and I’m exhausted. (I'd hallucinate about laundry from time to time, thinking I'd already washed that load and folded it, only to find there was triple what I'd thought waiting for me.)
When I finally figured out how to put away all the Target purchases the same week I bought them (this was a huge improvement from just leaving the shampoo and kitty litter in bags next to the front door indefinitely), the second baby arrived. I look back on those several sleep-deprived months of having a (not-yet-potty-trained) toddler and a newborn, and really—it’s just a blur. How did I do it? This from a girl who NEEDS seven straight hours of sleep every night to be a coherent, functioning human being.
Today, if people come over, they see a different MOV, a more relaxed “sloppy” version. The bed is not made. There are dishes in the sink. Little piles of chaos (homework, toys, books, abandoned shoes) litter the landscape of every room.
And you know what? It’s okay. I don’t have to be perfect. (Queen Virgo has just stomped out the front door, disgusted.)
Oh, sure, I’d like to be perfect. I flip through the photo albums and I see a thousand pictures of my sons, smiling, laughing, growing, playing. There are about five photos of me. Why? Because I’m always afraid (rightly so) that I look like a mess. My hair is pulled back (yet again) into a ponytail and tucked under baseball hat, my outfit is wrinkled and hopelessly out-of-date, my shoes are worn. “Don’t take my picture!” I hear myself say to The Husband, over again. I don’t want to remember myself looking that way.
What do my sons remember? Will they remember the mess? That mommy looked fat that day? Or will they remember how much I loved them?
(“Memories Of Virgo-ness”)