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ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Monday, May 23, 2011

All the weird stuff happens when you're sitting on the couch

We’ve lived in Mulletville Lite for just about one month. We still haven’t fully unpacked, but the house looks like it belongs to us and not to my father (or to my mother and father for that matter, when they lived here together in the early 1980s).

Look at this before and after!





(Oooooh, aaahhhhh).

There have been some funny moments, like when Junior announced, “I like living here. It’s like we live with Grandpa, but he’s never home.” There have been some strange moments, like when I ran into my third grade teacher in the CVS pharmacy. And of course there have been some sad moments—moments that zap me back to my parents’ divorce—but shit, everyone has a closet full of childhood schmegma, right?

Last night though, wow, something really, really strange happened. My mother was spending the night (don’t even get me started on what it must be like for her to sleep on the couch in a house that used to be hers). She was in the kitchen making dinner (see “don’t even get me started” comment). Junior and I were in the living room playing dinosaur invasion.

My mother called that dinner was ready and I swear, my brain forgot what decade it was. Like something out of Freaky Friday, I jumped into Junior’s head. I saw the world for one split second through Junior’s eyes. I felt what it was like to be young. To rely on my parents for everything, to trust them, to have faith that they would take care of me.

The worry was gone. The stress. The inhibition. I just was.

It was really fucking trippy, and it was really fucking beautiful.

Trying to describe a moment like that is kind of impossible. When I told Chuck about it, I sounded like someone coming down from a mushroom trip.

“The colors, dude! The cull-oooors.”

He said he got it but we both knew he was doing the obligatory nod/smile. That he experience what I did isn’t really the issue though. What I took away from that moment is this: We’ve whittled down parenthood to such uptight minutae. Such fretting and fixation. Helicoptering. Tiger Mommying. We’ve gotten so freaky about poop apps and mud boots. But really, it’s the trust that matters.

The biggest gift Chuck and I can give Junior and Diddlydoo right now is to take care of them and foster that sense of trust. It doesn’t matter whether or not naps are on time, whether teeth are perfectly brushed, whether vegetables are organic, or whether their poop is neon green.

(Fine, that matters but I’m not emailing my pediatrician a picture of it.)

Those things are miniscule specks in the bigger picture of what we give to our children when we let them know we will take care of them.

I’ve tried to reconnect to the out-of-body feeling I had, but I can’t get it back. I wish I could. I guess I could ask my mother to come over and make dinner again, and to call to us in hopes of recreating it. But some gifts are funny like that. They only yell for you once.

17 comments:

VandyJ said...

Oh to be back in the carefree time of childhood, even if for only a fleeting moment.

Small Town Mommy said...

Your nursery looks fabulous! It sounds like an amazing feeling, if even for a moment. I can't imagine losing all the stress and responsibility, even if only like that.

Sara said...

Sounds like you are getting into a nice rhythm of home. Those moments don't happen often, but yes, I want my kids to feel the security and safety that only a good home life can provide them.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

This gave me a chill. I want some of what you were having.

Pricilla said...

That is why they are called gifts.

tootertotz said...

I would pee my pants if something like that happened...b/c when I was a kid I thought it was great fun to pee my pants. So it would be perfect!

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift...that's why we call it the present. (Yeah, that means nothing in the whole context of your post but it's from the wise old tortoise in Kung Fu Panda and he flat out kicks ass, so there it is.)

Sparkling said...

as i told you once before, i live in the house i grew up in. and the house my mother grew up in. minus some scary wallpaper (pot bellied stoves in the kitchen, ships in the living room) and using a few rooms differently, there are still some things that will never change about this house. my mother doesn't like to come inside. think about it, she grew up here and then raised us here. what a mess her brain must be when she walks in! i love living where i grew up and i wonder if that sort of experience will ever happen to me. the only thing i do is sometimes think, as i'm running up to my old bedroom, that the hall before it will still have the same mirror it used to have. then i get up there and remember it's gone!

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Leanne said...

I hear you. Oh, and the baby's room? Very much an OOOOh. AAAAh moment. :)

Nicole Orriëns said...

Oooh and aah indeed! That's some tranformation you've got there.

momfever.blogspot.com

judemiller1 said...

Wonderful!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

I think I know that feeling you're talking about. I get it when I go visit my parents & stay at their house. I dont' have to do the laundry or spend any money, my mom does all the grocery shopping & cooking. I swear, no matter how old we get, we never get tired of being made to feel secure. Really! And our parents can make us feel that way no matter how old they/we are.

I feel so bad for kids who grow up in a family who don't get that feeling of security - you know, the ones whose parents aren't around a lot and they have to fend for themselves; kids whose parents fight bitterly and they don't know what's going to happen to them; etc. Sounds like you've just had another one of those famous parenting "a-ha!" moments.

Aren't they just a kick in the pants?!?!

SmartBear said...

First, the room looks awesome. Second, I am so happy for you that you had that little moment. Can I say I am a bit jealous too...? To have those memories. Awesome.
But again, I am in awe of your incredible verbage. Just when I thought there was only one use for the word schmegma. Seriously.
Best,
Tina

Jen said...

I had a similar experience not too long ago. My daughter was having a sleep over at our house but I had plans that night so I told her to ask her dad to come over and watch them (we've been divorced for 7 years). I didn't think he would but he did and came over early to cook dinner and hang out. So as I am getting ready to go out he is on the couch watching the news. As I grab my keys to head out the door he and the girls are sitting at the dinner table eating dinner, he in the chair he used to occupy years ago. I almost bent down and kissed him good bye. I've had babysitters over the years and my son is old enough to watch my daughter but this was the first time I went out and didn't worry about a thing back home, and I didn't make ten phone calls to make sure everything was ok. It was great, not as good as what you felt, I am sure, but pretty close.

Arnold said...

WARNING: DO NOT SEND YOUR MONEY TO ADT, YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING IN THE END. THIS CASE IS TOO OBVIOUS, THIS IS A QUICK START UP WITH THE INTENTION TO GET PEOPLES MONEY FAST AND THEN CLOSE DOWN. 1. THEY DO NOT HAVE A BUSINESS LOCATION! 2. THEY DO NOT HAVE A REGISTERED BUSINESS IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON IN THE USA! 3. THEY DO NOT MEET THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS WHICH MEANS THEY ARE OPERATING A PYRAMID SCHEME!

Jeanne said...

I'm sitting her smiling with tears in my eyes. This post perfectly melds your wonderful sense of humor with your ability to see more to life than most of us ever do.

I can always trust you for a bloggy good time.

Lady said...

Perfect description of "Home!"