Monday, August 23, 2010

"Brain? What does he mean by my brain?"

You know, the friends I can wear my PJs in front of? Well, not so long ago we had them over for dinner. While they were there (and shortly after they left) I reflected on how different life with babies really is (no more late night movies! no more hanging out whenever!) But that is a story for a different day.

On this particular evening, I was picking up the toys the babies had Mine! Mine!-d over (already with the mine-mines?!) when suddenly my childhood flashed before my eyes. THE standing rule when visiting other people’s houses was “help clean up”. When we were little, this consisted of picking up toys. Later, in my teens, it consisted of doing dishes. On this point, Mom was non-negotiable. Perhaps this is why, as I picked up C’s “dudes” and other toys, my mouth tasted sour at the fact that I was cleaning up alone after my PJ-accepting friends had gone.

Fast forward less than a week later: Friday night at my sister’s house. I played games with the fam damily, then my babe put on his crankypants and cut our evening short. In the car after we left, he promptly fell asleep and in the quietude of the front seat my mind was left to wander. Straight back to my sister’s house it went, thinking on the trail of disorder and disarray we had left: stuffed animals on her floor, a crumpled Last Word card, a plastic green cup on the new table next to another stuffed animal – all used in an attempt to distract from and delay the missed-bedtime blues. In my rush to keep my kid happy, get out in one piece, and not leave anything behind, I had totally forgotten the cardinal rule of my youth. Justlikethat. I had bad-feeling double jeopardy – the kind where you feel bad about two related situations all at once. I felt bad about the destruction at my sister’s house, and about having it stick in my craw that my friends didn’t help pick up at my house. I had been on the receiving and the giving end and I now understood both completely.

And here’s the secret I learned from all this: LIFE Happens. As parents of young children, we do our best. Sometimes we score a win and sometimes we stand there staring blankly, there but not really there, our brain having gone off and left us without so much as putting up a Vacancy sign as a warning. All we can do is hope our friends and family “get it” and overlook our momentary lapses in reason/sudden loss of brain function.

(Btw, T, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry about all the stuffed animals. And I really really hope that banging green cup didn’t dent your new table. )

[Title quote is from "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"]

1 comment:

Jen said...

it happens to the best of us! plus there are certain times i would rather clean it up myself. like if a kid is screaming, take said kid home I can handle the mess. or if the kids rooms are clean when friends come and they take stuff out and I know that if i have my kids do it themselves it will get put back right as opposed to having friends do it and it gets put where ever. leading to a disaster next time my kids want to find that one toy!

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