Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Did I Get Here?

I recently pulled into a spot in the Target parking lot, hung up my phone and thought: "How the hell did I get here?" This was not a metaphysical question. At that moment, I had no memory of driving there, who it was I had just been speaking to, and no bloody idea what I was there to buy.

You may ask yourself: "Had she been drinking?" A very good question! But sadly, no. Besides, I would never drink and drive. They say texting and driving is almost as bad. And I would never do that either. Unless I was at a red light. Or in really bad traffic. Because that is texting and stopping. And therefore doesn't count. Safety first, people. But I digress...

What explanation do I have for this moment of amnesia in the Target parking lot? I have none. My father describes the years when his children were young as "The Blur". So that's where I was - deep in the Blur. My father is a somewhat inconsistent source of wisdom on parenting issues, but he hit the nail squarely on the head with this one. I am on a 24 hour cycle of waking, sleeping, nursing, napping, cooking, cleaning, wiping, folding, dropping off, picking up and putting away. And it never, ever ends. I was once a very smart person. I was 2 semesters into a Doctorate when I had my first kid. Now, I am a moron. That's what The Blur has done to me.

Its not just my (questionably sane) family, either. My friend has three girls that were born within four years of each other, during which time her husband was frequently deployed. She is totally together, beautiful and smart. She is also completely into her kids, who adore her. When I asked her what her youngest was like as a baby, she just looked at me, blinking. "I have no idea," she said "You don't think I remember any of that, do you? 2003-2006 is basically just a stretch of unpleasant fuzziness with a lot of diapers thrown in." The Blur got her, too.

Let us establish consensus on a few points. First, The Blur is real. Second, it is coming for you. Third, sooner or later it will get you. Should you wonder if this eventuality has already come to pass, here is a handy checklist. If any of the following remind you of yourself, its too late - you're in The Blur:

  • You open the fridge and stare at its contents. You try to remember what you need. You see that you have a cup of black coffee in your hand and think gleefully: "Ahh.. yes... Milk!" Later, when you see one of your children staring vacantly at the open refrigerator, you yell at them to close the door before they cool the whole damn house.
  • You think you returned an important phone call. You suddenly think, maybe I didn't. Maybe I am just remembering that I was supposed to. You check your cell phone's call log to find no record of any call. You sigh, dial the remarkably familiar number to hear the voice of the receptionist you just spoke with. On your home phone. You quickly hang up before speaking.
  • You and your spouse are finally alone in a quiet house at 9:45 pm. You have a conversation consisting entirely of one-syllable words (i.e. "Good day?" or "Paid Sprint?") and grunts ("Mmm hmm") . Also, nodding. Then one of you falls asleep.
  • You hear one of the little terror suspects bleating from the back seat: "Mooooommm, what are we doing here? We're supposed to be at praaaactice not my schooool!" and realize that your subconscious drove you to the wrong place as you mentally planned how to fit six hours of work into the twenty minutes you will have at home. Now you are late. Panic ensues.
  • Tuning out the chattering of little monkeys, you relax for a moment. You look at your beautiful daughter, smile and say: "So, how was school today? Did Miss Brown substitute for you again?", all the while congratulating yourself that you are so in touch with what's happening in her class. She looks concerned and answers: "Um... Mommy, you already asked me that. Twice."
  • You find yourself in the Target parking lot, wondering how did I get here? Why am I here? Who was that on the phone? What's my name? Where's my tail? (Thankfully, cell phones are useful sources of historical information and I found a list in my pocket that said - Target: flour, half and half, cat litter, wine).
Since I am clearly trapped in The Blur for the foreseeable future, I see no other course of action but to try and enjoy it. I have tried and failed to retrieve some of my former intellectual sharpness, for example the ability to remember my home phone number. In a given week, I might have one good day. But with that mental clarity comes a self-awareness that can be painful. A bit like a long look in the mirror, in blaring natural sunlight, with a bad hangover. Then comes the metaphysical question: "Oh. My. Gawd. How did I get here?"
So, I choose to embrace The Blur - perhaps its the Universe trying to make this phase of my life easier. Why fight it? Its temporary. Someday I might be smart again, maybe. I will be able to think complex thoughts or construct a sentence or read books intended for adults. But until then... Bring on the size XL glass of wine every night! Make it two! Facebook? Oh hell yes. Real Housewives of New Jersey? Thank you very much, I will. People Magazine, US Weekly and other IQ-sucking publications? You betcha. Twilight saga? Bring it. Team Edward, people. No shame. You know what Blur, I might even miss you when you're gone.

25 comments:

  1. Team Jacob all the way! Thank goodness for Twilight and other "lite" lit, otherwise all I would read would be recipes!

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  2. It's so refreshing to read about someone else going through the same things. I love that y'all are not scared to say what we as moms go through on a daily basis. Team Edward all the way!

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  3. Ha...Too funny. Last week we were having dinner with a group of friends (all of whom have children age 5 and under). As I was sitting there watching the herd of children running from one room to the next, amazed at how fast they can move when I'm not trying to make it to an appointment on time, I thought to myself, "Where's the baby? Who has the baby?" I look down to discover I'm wearing my uddercover and my daughter is attatched to my boob underneath it. "oh...there she is." Awesome.

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    1. Oh, thank you for being real! I laughed so hard that I cried!

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    2. Haha I have one of those. Walking into Walmart with family. I turn and see the hub and son but not my daughter. I look around on the edge of panic and ask, "Where's the baby?" Silent stares from both of them. I look down and find my daughter, who is also staring at me. She's not only standing up against me, but I have a hand resting on each of her shoulders.

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  4. Edward changed my life - he's my happy space. My 2-year-old has a custom made t-shirt "Team Edward (coz mommy thinks he's real)." I don't recall getting to daycare most days... or when my son is with his dad I have forgotten and gone to pick him up, arriving at daycare and looking like an idiot... blur!

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  5. I actually just paid a late fee on my car registration, because I tried it once, got an error message, and that was enough for my brain to remember going to the DMV web site. Done! Cross that off the list!

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  6. HAHAHAHAHA... what?

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  7. I was referred to this entry from your Sweet Spot entry. I am no where near the Sweet Spot. The Sweet Spot is a mythical creature that can only be seen by women who have time for magical things like make up and hair dryers. I am so deep in The Blur that I was looking for my cell phone this one time before I had to leave for a very important thingy. I was looking for ten minutes before I realized it was IN MY POCKET.

    But I do think that The Blur has glimpses of Sweet Spots.

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    1. Me too, me too... I have more and more moments when The Blur recedes and Sweet Spot moments happen with my loves, ages 2 & 4... but if someone asks me on Monday how my weekend was, I have no idea and wrack my brain for a snippet of what the hell happened two days ago. Kind of frightening, and sometimes makes me want to look up early onset Alzheimers on webmd...

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    2. too funny--i was frantically searching for my phone too, until i asked my husband if he had seen it, and he pointed out that i was currently talking to him on it . . . oy.
      but yes, it does get better, and the sweet spot seems like the sun on a partly cloudy day now, periodically breaking through to give me hope. hang in there!

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    3. So good to know I'm not the only one who was scared of having early alzheimers!!

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  8. Amen, Sister.... you NAILED it.

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  9. I came here from the Sweet Spot entry too. My kids are 9 and almost 7 now. I'm in the sweet spot and loving it. I remember The Blur, as much as anyone can remember the blur. The first 6 months of my 2nd child's life I frequently describe as a blur. And really, it stretched a good 2 years. Then another 2 years that is slightly less blurry but still more misery than anything else. Now I work from home with my kids here and they don't bother me. We listen to Harry Potter together at bed time, then we say goodnight and they sleep all night in their own beds. They unload the dishwasher, and feed the cats, and say funny and cool things that amuse me. IT EXISTS. I promise.

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  10. I am glad to know that I am not the only one. One day last week I drove past my sons daycare. I guess I was going to take him to work with me. I realized what I was doing and turned around. I thought to myself what am I doing.

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  11. Yep. Came here from The Sweet Spot. Mine are 7, 5, and 2. I know the sweet spot is out there--- just over the horizon. In the meantime, I watch my husband throw his dirty socks in the toilet instead of the hamper and say things like, "We have more paper towels. They're in the ...(rack my brain for the word garage, can't find it, panics) ... You know, the car hole." But every once in a while, the house is quiet and when ago go off to investigate, I find them sitting together, drawing or playing a game or the bigger ones are reading to the little one. It's a mini-sweet spot. Anyway, great blog!

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    1. Car hole! Love it! I come up with crazy approximations all the time, and my husband looks at me confused. I just end up saying, you know what I mean!

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  12. OMG. Thank you for this. I have had a hellish couple of days with my 1 and 4 year olds and I actually had it in me to crack up while reading this. I didn't even know that a smile, much less a laugh was still left in me with how these kids have been driving me crazy with their screaming, crying and mess-making. Thank you for writing both these pieces and for giving some perspective on this looong journey called parenting!

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  13. ah i needed this. im soooooo deep in the blur and some idiot (me) decided that now is a great time for my dh AND i to start nursing school. our kids are 5, almost 3, 1.5....and im worried im pregnant again. oh Lord help me. but then i have these flashes that scare me that its all moving too fast. i try to just breathe most days and get through til the end.
    ok. enough rambling. i love this blog!

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  14. Oh Honeys...I wish I could tell you it gets better! Mine are 26, 21, 19 and 11 and I still live in The Blur. The Sweet Spot is as fictional as the Hundred Acre Wood!

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    1. Maybe you just have shitty kids?

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  15. Your post made me giggle. I love the words of wisdom from your father about the blur. My oldest is 19 and my youngest is 9, so far, I'm still in the blur. I hope it ends when the youngest is out of high school and I can get back to remembering what I walked into that room for or what I needed from the grocery store once I get there and realize I left the list at home. Ugh. I always say that each kid sucks some of my memory right out of me and so far, that theory is proving to be true. At least we all seem to be in the same boat, so we can all sympathize when none of us can remember anything!! Great post!!

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  16. Oy geez, I got here from the sweet spot, too. I must admit I started crying reading the first paragraph, "someone else feels this way, too!!" Thank you! I'm only 3 months into our first LO, know we want more, but sometimes am frightened of this haziness I now know is the blur lasting indefinitely...

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  17. I also found my way here via the "sweet spot" post. I am living somewhere between the two. I have 4 year old twin girls. Parents of twins everywhere I went for the first four years would ask (in line at Target, for example), "Are they twins?" When I would take a second to nod yes and try to smile encouragingly, they would ALWAYS say, "I have twins, too. They are 4 (or 5 or 25) now. It gets better at 4. I promise!" So now I see moms struggling with two babies and I do the same thing. Some of them give me a look of desperation and say, "Four? They are only 6 mos. We hoped it got better at 1!" and I promise that every day gets a little easier. I feel like I missed out on a lot of those "sweet spots" trying to juggle two at once and just survive. I know many twin moms who relish every moment of it, but I've only been able to relax and enjoy it the last couple of years. LOL! But I do wish they didn't grow and change so fast...with two at once there were less moments to spend time individually with each one and I hate that. Thanks so much for voicing what I'm living!

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