The other day (could've been yesterday or two weeks ago, I don't even care), I showed up to daycare to get my son, with no carseat. We own two, but I had neither of them. Don't worry, he's home now. I eventually got us both there (the same day, I think) with a loaner carseat from a dear friend who lived close by, and only inconvenienced 4 people in the process. Nice, low number...less than 5, so I can round down. See how I know math?
I used to be on top of things, I swear.
I was the one to count on in a crisis and to call on in a pinch. I started packing a week before a trip. I kept a daily to-do list, and actually marked all the stuff off each day. And if I was able to fit in tasks that weren't on the list? I put them on there, just so I could mark them off. I considered 5 minutes early to be on time and always planned for contingencies. Yeah, that girl: Little Miss Capable.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I've mentioned before that I suspect parenting teaches us way more about ourselves than about the kid(s) we're raising and I'm seeing that more and more in my own life, the further into the parenting game I get. Becoming a mom punched a big, ol' hole in my Capable persona and as much as I miss being on time places, the changes haven't been all bad.
I wince to admit that being so together all the time pretty much made me a smug jerk. I used to count approving glances at my Little Miss Capable antics like notches on a bedpost, secretly judging others who didn't have it quite as together as I did. I was impatient with mistakes, with missed deadlines, messes, helplessness, neediness and apologies. I swooped in to fill holes where I found them, deflecting grateful thanks with a smile and "I'm just glad I could help." Mary Poppins on an ego trip. Then, I gave birth to a squalling, 3 lb inconvenience (a story for a different day), and became the writhing mess of vulnerability I'd secretly scoffed at.
These days, I consider it a win if I only have to go back in the house twice to get something I forgot, if I'm late anywhere 15 minutes or less and if, when I leave the house, I remember to take the kid with me on the first try. I'm perpetually sleep deprived and everything is a mess. I have ground up Goldfish Crackers in every upholstered surface I own and dried chili on the floorboard of the backseat of my car from a spill that happened last October. My rationale for not cleaning it up when it happened? It was cold enough outside not to spoil and smell bad. Lucky for me and my future passengers, that calculated risk paid off. I've stopped apologizing for forgetting things or making mistakes. Well...that's not exactly true. I say sorry because it's rude not to, but I no longer feel bad, inside. Call me a sociopath, but I don't have enough hours in a day to beat myself up over something that happens so regularly. I've found that a blank look and a shrug covers a multitude of sins, or at least makes the other person so disgusted with me that they go away without a fight. Silence...score. Some days I'm just glad I remembered to brush my teeth and to put on underwear. Too far? After what I just admitted about saying sorry, would it mean anything to you if I apologize? M'kay. Moving on.
My son has turned my life upside down with his needs, his timeline, his bowel movements and his developing will. He always gets sick on weekdays. He's never in a hurry--he wants to take life in slowly, and if I don't let him, there will be blood. Probably mine. He doesn’t care that it looks bad for Mama to go to work with a peanut butter paw print on her butt--he's going in for that last hug anyway. And the pooping? I can't talk about it.
He's the most adorable wrench in the works that I could've ever imagined, which helps make the bitter pill of walking around like a mental patient in mismatched shoes, much easier to swallow. It's taking being a mom to humble me enough to make me human. I'm chock-full of vulnerability and I'm getting more okay with it by the day. And the most amazing thing? People are so nice to me, including all the ones who I was a secret jerk to AND the ones I regularly inconvenience; they cut me slack for peccadilloes large and small, and they do it because they get it. They were probably human well before I joined the team, so they already know that it isn't okay to let your strength in one area leave you without grace for others who show weakness in that same area. They know that the only acceptable responses to another's vulnerability are 1) grace, 2) a hug, and 3) indiscriminate bottles of wine, as needed.
I'm humbled daily by all the humans who look past my shortcomings and simply lend me a hand when they can, a hug when I need it and a chance to laugh at myself and not take it all so seriously. What gifts. I'm so glad I don't have to know how to live without them. So, if you're a human, too--in training or already broken in doesn't matter--and need someplace to shake off the mistakes you make all the time(s), stop on by. I'm home, unless I forgot an ingredient I needed for tonight's dinner again, in which case I'll be back in 10 minutes. (No, I'm not sorry). Get excited; there will be wine.