~"Mothers are all slightly insane"~ J.D. Salinger
When we first moved to this town (almost eight years ago) I was pregnant with Zoe- Lily was two, Oscar four and Sam was seven. My life was pretty much filled with diapers...PBS kids..and..diapers. There wasn't any time to go out and be social...unless you count the supermarket-but who in their right mind is going to approach a woman with four very young kids clinging to various parts of a shopping cart singing or making train noises at the top of their lungs? (That was my trick to shopping with all of them-if we could pretend to be a train..or sing something we all knew-it kept us all focused-shopping was done quickly-and no one freaked out) I'm guessing that we looked pretty terrifying..with all our "choo-choo's and "Shake it up babies"..I think that for ANY parent who stays at home, the early years are lonely-only you are so busy just trying pick up Lego's(that magically reappear within moments) and clothes and bits of cheerios you don't realize it.. You don't realize how...well... weird you have become. That is, until you start making your way back into adult society.
Oh it isn't like I was cutting peoples meat or wiping their faces. It is more like I had forgotten how to have a regular conversation. Now in general, my brain has always been one to run in a million different directions at once. Verbally discussing politics while thinking about shoes and chickens..and whether or not vampires are real. Once you add kids to your life (whether in your head or outside the bathroom door-they are ALWAYS with you) all bets are off.(at least until they start getting older-and you spend more time in the world outside your home) Maybe it is just me...but when I emerged from the padded room of stay at home parenting-I had such a hard time making non children related small talk.
"Hi Kathleen, how are you?"
"Sorry-I was thinking that I can't forget to pick up peanut butter..I'm good how are you?"..
I have to say that most of the people I spoke to were very nice...understanding even- as I slowly worked my way back into adult society. I figured that since most of them were parents-they knew where I was coming from-understood even. So life went on..
Last year, Zoe started school full time. (HOORAY!!) I was back. I finally had time to do some things on my own. What a difference! I was able to get more involved in the world. Which is a wonderful thing.(except that I somehow wound up becoming a Girl Scout leader..how that happened I really don't know-but it deserves its own post) I started making real connections with people. I have even made a few lovely friends. These are all (except for scouts) good things..I'm out more..I talk a lot more..I'm involved. From time to time I get questions about my kids..about autism and all things autism related. I'm actually quite happy to discuss it. It's part of our lives-no big deal...Until one day..I had a parent tell me about how their child was suspected of being on the spectrum. Knowing their child I said "They remind me a lot of my Sam." In which the parent replied "Oh no..they aren't THAT bad."...Excuse me? Unfortunately, my snappy come back side wasn't functioning that day-so I let it go..(Because really-comparing their child to my Sam- who is so incredibly loved by students and teachers.. cares deeply about his friends and the world.. is a talented artist and storyteller-AND is on the honor roll- WAS A COMPLIMENT) But it made me realize something..Something I hadn't thought of.. to some people-we are THAT family..and I am THAT mother. You know, the one people speak of in hushed and at times reverent tones.."wow, she does such a great job with her kids" "She really has her hands full with those kids-I don't know how she does it." all the while thinking "I'm glad it's not me!" Holy crap!
I don't want to be THAT mother! No! Ewwwwwwwwww! I mean honestly..I'm just a regular mother. Really. There are no "God thought you were extra special so he gave you those kids" yucky platitudes..nor is there any "God doesn't give you any more than you can handle" tripe. Believe me-there are days when I want to run away from home-just like any other parent. Days where my kids drive me up the wall..and days where I can not seem to get enough of them because they are that wonderful. We are a regular family No better and certainly no less than anyone else. We just sometimes do things a little differently. But, I guess to some people-different is scary. Which is a shame..Because when I look at my kids..our family..I find my self overwhelmed by how much I love them. Sometimes I will reach over to hug them and my feet...they leave the ground. THAT is the kind of mother that I am and THOSE are the children that I have. I really couldn't ask for more..well....maybe a place to put all of their millions of cards,,,chocolate would be nice too.
|My Mothers day gifts this year.|