When I had my babies and I was thrust into this strange world of breastfeeding and losing sleep and diapering, I was hyper-aware I was a parent. Why is she crying? Should a belly button look like that? How do I get her to be less jaundiced? There were other signs along the way that pointed to parenthood like my 2 year old daughter throwing such an epic tantrum in a bookstore that my husband had to carry her out. While all eyes were on this screaming, writhing child, a small alligator in his arms, I was suddenly very busy paying for my books, not paying attention to that poor man with the crazy child. So, I knew I was a mom. It just took me a while to feel like a mom. And enjoy being a mom.
This past summer I entered another level of parenthood, where I was caught in the middle of Supermom and One Of The Most Disgusting People On The Planet. My kids and I were in a dressing room where I was trying on a bunch of clothes. There was a sale and a long line up of people outside the changing area. I had 2 tops to go. Ben is squirming on the bench. “Mommy, I have to pee.”
I sigh, “Of course you do.” Ben had just downed his lemonade from Starbucks. Nobody can drink sugar like he can. “Can you wait? Or do you have to go, like, now?”
“I can’t wait. I have to peeee.” He’s hopping. This is serious. There isn’t a public bathroom in the store and the nearest bathroom is a few stores down. I can’t go back to that line-up, and these tops are so cute and cheap! What do I do?
Now he’s hopping with his legs crossed. He’s not going to make it. Out of the corner of my eye I spy the empty Starbucks cup. I pop off the lid. “Ben, look at me.”
Annie breathes, “Nooo.”
“Oh yes. Okay, Ben, you’re going to pee in this cup. Annie, turn around.”
I tell Ben to be careful and be quiet. No one needs to know we have just turned this dressing room into a bathroom stall. Ben doesn’t bat an eye, like peeing in a cup in a dressing room happens all the time. He was about to burst. It was the cup or the floor. He didn’t care. Annie is in the corner muttering, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
I stifle a giggle and keep calm. “Sometimes you just have to make do. We made do.” Am I really trying to make this a teachable moment? About what, exactly? “Don’t tell anyone.”
I cautiously put the lid back on the cup, and heads held high, we make our way outside to a garbage can. But, before we step outside I place those cute tops on the counter (priorities!) and tell the cashier I will be right back to pay for them. That was a huge mom moment for me, mortified and proud of myself all at once. A mom thinking fast. A mom holding a cup of pee.
I used to feel as though I was wearing motherhood or maybe it was that it was wearing me, and it didn’t quite fit. Someone else could do this better. Someone was doing this better. With each year motherhood went deeper, settling into my bones. This year I’ve given the changing body talk, talked about winning and losing with grace, and shared moments with my kids that I can’t measure, can’t sum up in a facebook status. I get frustrated and shrill and annoyed, but right alongside that are pride and surprise and joy. I’ve decided Motherhood is all mixed up, not easily defined, and I’m just happy to be here right in the middle of it all.
in Reese Eggs
I love this time of year where chocolate bars are turned into eggs and everything is so much cuter to eat.