When I became a mom, a strange thing happened at the hospital. Right after Tall was born and they weighed and measured him, the nurse approached me with some paperwork.
“What’s this?” I asked, drugged and groggy.
“Oh, just a little form we have all the new mothers sign. You are required by law to leave the Original You in the hospital when you take your new baby home.”
“Wait—what? I don’t understand.”
“You know—the Fun You? That one. I can walk her down to the third floor if you want, so you can feed the baby. But you cannot take the Original You home under any circumstances.”
I started to cry. I absolutely did not remember them talking about this on the hospital tour we went on with my Lamaze class. I liked the Original Me! Sure, she was a bit lazy and irresponsible at times, but who isn’t?
“New moms,” continued the nurse, who I was hating more by the minute, “always want the Original Me as a souvenir, but that’s just not our policy.”
“Nurse, what exactly am I supposed to do without Original Me?” I whimpered. “I need her.”
“Mrs. MOVetto, look at the bright side: you’ll have Revised You! Honestly, that is the better one to have. Look, why don’t you have a little strawberry jell-o with Original You, take a few pictures, and say goodbye? The sooner you get this over with, the better.”
Revised Me smiled. Revised Me and this damn delivery nurse were obviously in cahoots.
I’d been in labor for 14 hours. I was in no mood to argue.
As usual, The Husband was not standing up for me. In fact, he was snoring in the chair next to my bed.
“Fine.” Original Me got up and walked out the door. She didn’t even look back. Revised Me wished her luck finding the third floor.
Two days later, I brought my new baby home and was instantly relieved and thankful that the hospital made me bring Revised Me home instead of Original Me. Revised Me knew how to change diapers and make bottles. (Original Me wouldn't have been able to figure out how to turn on the dishwasher.) Revised Me could get by on four hours of sleep. (Original Me would've considered four hours a mere cat nap.) Revised Me always had plenty of film on hand to document all those special baby moments. (Original Me would've forgotten where she put the camera.)
Revised Me was efficient.
Things went well the first four months or so, with Revised Me virtually taking over my household. Then one afternoon after I had just laid the baby down for a nap, I heard a knock at the door. Revised Me was pissed off that whoever was knocking had ignored the “Baby Sleeping” sign posted clearly on the front door.
Of course it was Original Me standing there. She looked great. She was really skinny—a lot skinnier than Revised Me!—she looked rested, and (this was the thing that stood out the most) she didn’t smell like poop or baby spit-up.
“What are you doing here?” whispered Revised Me.
“I just came by to say hi.” She smiled wide, and I noticed she had lipstick on.
“Oh, uh, then come in.” This was getting more awkward by the minute. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“No, no, thanks anyway.” Original Me looked around at all the baby toys strewn about. “Hey, umm, is The Husband home?”
“I wanted to see The Husband.” She was absent-mindedly twirling her (clean) hair around her (manicured) finger. “I miss him.”
“He’s at work,” replied Revised Me.
“Well, I can wait. I got us a hotel room for the night.”
This was just like Original Me, traipsing in here to steal The Husband away. Lately I’d found The Husband looking longingly at old pictures of Original Me and saying wistfully, “Wow—you sure looked young.”
“He hates hotel rooms,” sneered Revised Me, “and it’s time for you to leave.”
“He LOVES hotel rooms,” grinned Original Me, “but I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that.”
I was getting the feeling that besides being incredibly brazen, Original Me was something else: rich.
I finally got Original Me to leave, but not before taking her old stilettos out of the hall closet (“It’s not like you ever use them,”), and she told me she’d call The Husband later.
When The Husband got home that night, I mentioned that Original Me had stopped by and gotten a hotel room for them. His eyes flickered bright for a moment, but then he gave Revised Me a weak hug and said,
“I’m too tired. Tell her to call Original Husband. He might have the energy to keep up with her.”
("Mentally On Vacation")