Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sarah's Movie

This one time I went down to Texas to visit my friend Al, and we had big plans to make a movie to celebrate our friend Sarah's birthday.  We've all been friends since middle school, so the more ridiculous this movie was, the more appropriate it felt in a way.

It is very ridiculous.


Happy Birthday Sarah!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons.  It's the sort of mundane thing a mom has to organize and do that terrifies me.

I am afraid I am going to sign up for the wrong thing, and show up at the wrong time, and that my kids will have all the wrong things, and that everyone will look at me and know that I have no idea what I'm doing, that all along I've just been faking it, this job called "mom" that I try to do every day.

So I signed them up, Hallie, Hanna, and Heather.  We have been largely unsuccessful with swimming lesson ventures in the past, for various reasons, but now we had a membership at the Y and I was going to just hold my breath, cross my fingers, and fling money at the people there hoping they would make everything right.

I got an email reminding me to sign up, and as I had completely forgotten about the deadline and knowing that these classes fill up fast I jumped out of my chair and ran straight past go without collecting $200 dollars and started filling out the forms to sign them up.

The classes all had names like "Pike" "Perch" "Polliwog" "Eel" "Minnow" and they all had descriptions that were supposed to be super helpful and clear about which class your child should be in.

I was all sweaty and nervous, probably started a nail biting habit after a lifetime of avoiding one, and then my credit card was out of my wallet and my screen said "congratulations!" and they were in and it was done.

All I had to do now was remember which class each child was in, and what time their various lessons were at, and make sure to not forget. Don't forget. Get them there. With all their stuff. And everything they need. And the baby too.

We showed up on the first day and my stomach was full of more nerves than I had the time I played my flute in church for the first time.  My kids held tightly to my hands as we crossed the parking lot and looked up at me with wide eyes wondering why I was shaking so hard.

We got there twenty minutes early, of course, because I am paranoid. And we sat. And we sat. Waiting, waiting, waiting. My girls are mostly good at this because I am typically freakishly early to things like this because I am terrified of being late.  When you walk in late to things like this, all the other parents and swim teachers look at you and they know.  They know that you are a failure at all things Mom.

Finally it was ten minutes past time for their lesson to start and I was gathering my courage to do what had to be done: confront someone about what was going on, and trying very hard to convince myself that I had not been the one to make the mistake. I checked my email confirmation once, twice, checked it a third time, then kept it loaded on my phone to show the person that I was right, and the lessons should have started ten minutes earlier.

"Hi, um so my girls are here for their swimming lessons, and I was just wondering why they haven't started yet?" I tried to sound like a Mom Who Knows, and not like Mom Who Always Gets Things Wrong.

"Oh, well the lessons don't start until 4:30" she answered me sweetly, fresh faced, pleasant looking young girl that she was.

I refused to be daunted. I was going to see this all the way through. I had to be right, it said right there on my tiny little screen.  "It says right here on my reciept that it starts at four, so..." I tried not to look smug, because it's not her fault that I was finally right for once in my life in this kind of situation.

She stepped closer to me and looked at my phone. "Well, yes but you are signed up at the other YMCA." 

And then my confidence shattered, my shoulders drooped and so did my voice, "Of course, right."

We left the pool my girls asking a million questions that I had to answer, and repeat my answers, over and over the whole drive home.  The other YMCA was too far away and we never would have made it in time for them to catch any part of their lessons.

The time for the next child's lesson rolled around and I vowed that this time I would do everything right. I would not mess up this time.  Certainly it was a matter of just getting all my ducks in a row and then not letting those poor little ducks wander off.  This was Heather's lesson, and Heather's lesson was a parent accompanied one, meaning I got to get in the water with Heather. Fun, fun!  We got ready and hopped in the car, me and all my ducks.

We got to the other Y, the right Y, and had everyone settled and ready to go, and commenced the waiting, because of course I was 20 minutes early again.  Another mom helped me figure out the towel situation, which was different at this Y from ours, and her little boy and Heather talked and found out that they had many common interests.  The mom and I stood on either side of our respective children, not talking but comfortable with the silence. I was in my swimming suit, feeling grateful that middle school was so far behind me and I didn't have to feel weird being the only non-child in a suit.  The other mom was dressed in a classy outfit, with her hair nicely styled.  We smiled politely at each other at random intervals.

The swimming teachers began to come out to the pool area and I took a deep breath.  This was the moment I had been waiting for.  Heather's teacher approached and we began to follow.  Then she looked at the boy Heather had been talking to and asked if he was the other kid in her class.  The mom said yes. My heart fell to my shoes.  If he was the other kid in the class, then the mom should have been in a suit, but she wasn't, and clearly that meant I was wrong again and I shouldn't be in a suit and awesome, just awesome.  Suddenly it did feel like middle school again and I was the kid that always thought I knew the right answer and never actually did and why can't I just go home now and bury my face in my pillow?

But then the other mom's face got this pinched look on it, and the teacher asked if she had a swimming suit.  The mom's face lost a little color and the teacher explained that this was a lesson for parent and child.  And then instead of feeling gloaty, or smug, or relieved, I just felt normal.  Like maybe, just maybe, this thing of being confused and in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong things happens to all of us, even the best of us, from time to time.

It made me feel like maybe I'm not a failure overall as a mom as long as I keep showing up, keep trying, keep putting on a brave face and calmly explaining to my children that mommy is sorry but she got confused again and let's just see what we can figure out to do better tomorrow.

I can do that.  I've been doing it for years now.  And maybe I never will figure it out, and maybe I always will be occasionally confused, but maybe that's ok.  Maybe there's another mom in the corner of the room somewhere that feels a little more normal about her own moments when she sees me having mine.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

On Being Tired

I sleep through the night, and then I wake up and I feel so tired, and in my head I feel fuzzy and foggy as if maybe, am I still asleep?

I lay down and take a nap and I wonder if I am resting, or if I am just ruining any chance of getting a good night's sleep that night, and so I toss and I turn and all I can think about is that I am so tired.

And I wonder when this cycle will end.

But it is spring and today there was sunshine and warmth followed by a thunderstorm complete with lightning and big fat raindrops hurled through the sky at the roof and pinging at the windows, and I thought maybe I can wake up.

Tomorrow is a new day, and maybe tomorrow I will wake from this living dream.

Sometimes I think, the sooner I go to sleep, the sooner it will be tomorrow and I can test my theory for a new and better tomorrow.

And so, good night.