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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Something's Missing

Indulge me for a moment if you don't mind.  Imagine you are the mother of three children.  You have had a very busy week and have a lot on your mind.   Your three year old son has not put weight on his injured leg or walked for the past four days.  Which means you have carried him everywhere.  Up the stairs, down the stairs, to the bathroom, to the car, in from the car... everywhere.  And since you wrote a post about how fast your kids are growing up and how much you miss their baby-ness, of course your darling son has reverted to acting like a baby.  He uses baby talk and has crying fits because you dared to put carrots on his plate.  You are so tired.  

You scheduled a dentist appointment for your twin girls on a day you knew your son would be in school.  But since he hasn't been able to walk, you can't send him to school.  So you pile all three kids in the mini-van and head to the dentist.   Of course your children's dentist is in San Francisco since that is were you lived two years ago.  Now you live in the suburbs so it will take at least 30 minutes to get there, possibly longer depending on traffic.  Parking at the dentist is pretty much nonexistent, so you need to tack on extra 15 minutes in order to find a parking space. 

You are feeling lucky when after just one trip around the block you spot someone pulling out and you are only about a half of block from the dentist office.   The spot is a little tight and your bumper is slightly blocking someone's driveway.  But your late, so you go with it.

You're hoping to get in, get their teeth cleaned and get out so you can get the girls back to school in time for an assembly.  Of course you have to hold your son on your lap the whole time because he won't stand up.  Your arms ache from carrying him around.  The girls need x-rays and fluoride and your son wants to share his pretzels with the office dog.   The dentist wants to chit chat about loose teeth and flossing.  You finally get everyone their new toothbrushes, stickers and toys.  You write the dentist a check while holding your three year old son and make your next appointment.  

As you're walking to the car you have a sinking feeling in your stomach for some reason.  You reach the spot where your car should be and there is no mini-van, but a gardening company truck instead.  You walk a little further down the block pushing the alarm button on your keychain which makes the car honk it's horn, just to be sure you aren't looking in the wrong place.  You hear nothing.

You panic and assume your car was towed.  There is no way you will get the girls to the assembly on time.  You call your husband who works in San Francisco and he agrees to come and rescue you.  The kids are hungry and asking a million questions.  Your husband picks you up and you head across town to the tow yard to bail out your car.   When you finally get to the tow yard, they do not have your mini-van.  After spending 20 minutes on the phone with the department of parking and traffic, you realize that your mini-van was not towed and is not on it's way to the tow yard.

Now your kids are really hungry and cranky and you they've overheard you and your husband use several swear words.  You come to the realization that your car was stolen.  Stolen along with your daughters backpacks, three car seats, your travel coffee mug, several DVDs, a PlasmaCar, a couple of empty juice boxes, countless smashed goldfish crackers and your favorite sweater.  You start crying and the kids start crying.  Your husband calls your insurance company.

You all get back in the car and head to the police station to file a report.  On the way there, you send out a quick Twitter about your stolen car and your lovely friends send you sympathy and love over the internet.  You try to entertain your starving kids while your husband fills out a police report.   Your non-walking three year old son is getting heavier and crankier by the minute.  You have a headache and your arms feel like they are going to fall off.

Before you head for home and try to rent a car, you and your husband decide to drive back across town to the scene of the crime just to be sure your mini-van is not there.  As you turn the corner onto the street you were parked on, your heart drops as you see the tail end of a silver mini-van with a familiar dent on the passenger side.  It's just a few cars down from where you stopped looking for it earlier.  Your husband looks at you like you are a complete idiot and thankfully doesn't say what you know he is thinking.  Your famished kids cheer and practically kiss the car they thought was gone forever.


I am sure I will be able to laugh at the story someday, but not today.  Today I am emotionally drained and pissed off.  I'm pissed off at myself.  I feel so stupid.  I have been unable to keep get my act together ever since school started.  I can't keep anything straight.  It's not the big things, it's all the little things I have running around in my head that make me feel overwhelmed.  When is the ballet tuition due?  Whose library books are due on Wednesday and whose are due on Thursday?  How much milk is left in the fridge, do we have fabric softener or toilet paper at home?  What gift should I buy for the birthday party this weekend and when will I have time to buy it?  What time is our soccer game and is it our turn to bring snacks?  Do we have everything we need for Halloween?  When is the gift wrap fundraiser money due?  

It's the details that are kicking my @ss.  I look around me and see women who seem to have it all under control.  They are well dressed and turn in their forms on time.  They have time to work out and return e-mails.   Why is it that I can't seem to find a system that works for me and my family?  How did I get so distracted that I could not find my own mini-van and reported it stolen???   Why do I feel like I am functioning with half a brain?  What am I missing?

I don't expect answers to any of these questions.  I am just so frustrated with myself.  Maybe I will be able to get my act together by Christmas break.  Hopefully I won't "lose" my car again... or one of my children.


Marinka said...

I'm so sorry! At least the people who stole your car brought it back, although they should have parked it in the same place where they found it.

Seriously, no one really "has it together". Some people are just better at faking it, imo.

Melissa said...

Oh, sweetie, do I feel your pain. I'd like to say that I've been there, but that would imply that I've left.

You are so right when you say it is about the details. I'm trying to keep all of the little plates spinning, that I sometimes forget about the BIG things. Which totally sucks and usually costs us money.

And yeah, I agree with Markina (and who doesn't agree with Marinka btw because she exudes cool), that some are better at faking it than others. But I still swear at them...

AMomTwoBoys said...

Oh, dear.

This probably will only serve to make you feel worse, but that's totally something I would do.

I'm glad you got your car "back."

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I completely understand. I feel like this all the time. I feel like everything is always a mess and I'm lucky if I make it to work with pants on.

But I think I usually end up focusing on what you say in your last line. You didn't lose a child. There is always a worse case scenario. And I'll take confusion and frustration (and sometimes borderline dementia) over true tragedy any day!

So what if my house is always a disaster and I barely remember to brush my hair? My kids don't care if I'm winning any world's best homemaker contests. I've finally stopped sending in my applications. It's never going to happen.

But everyone is safe and generally happy, and healthy enough for people who will only eat cheese on bread. So at the end of the day, I figure that life is pretty good. Or at least it could be worse.

Tracey said...

I so hear you, and salute you for not laughing at it today, but knowing you will someday.

It is the ass-kicking details that get you (and me!) every flipping time.

I hate it. :)

Amy in Ohio said...

I great big cyber hug for you. I've lost my car many a time, usually at Target.

You just need a much louder alarm! Heck, the ones on my street at 3am break the freakin' sound barrier. What the heck?

Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

You so hit the nail on the head.

It is the many little things which are the killer. I was trying to decide which of my many little "losing it" anecdotes to tell, but I can't choose. I never mislaid a car, but if I can't trump you for quality, I bet I make it up in quantity ;-)

Robin said...

Oh wow, you didn't just have a bad day, you had a whole month's worth of bad days gang up on you all at once.

Take heart, no one else is any more together than you, they've just had more practice covering it up. We ALL have days where it all goes to hell.

Sending over a nice big cyber-margarita, sounds like you could use one.

daydreamymama said...

Seriously, you're not alone, and it's not you. It's motherhood, it's crazy modern life. And we all look at other women who seem to have it all together, but the thing is they probably don't, they're just dropping different balls than we are that day.
My son, by the way, also three, had a knee injury and didn't walk for over a week. He weighs forty-two pounds. It was crazy and awful (I blogged about it of course), but it ended, thank god, and the memory fades quickly.

PsychMamma said...

Hugs, hugs, hugs!!! What a horrible day! I completely understand where you're coming from. Ask hubby what he's thinking about, and he says "nothing" (and it's true) or something like "Whatever happened to Hamburglar and Grimace?" My brain? Seems to be going a mile a minute, and I hate feeling "scattered." I SOOOO want to just get away somewhere and shut off my brain for a while.

I feel your pain and think we both need to escape to a tropical island or spa resort somewhere. Sigh.

Hang in there! {More hugs!}

Jessi said...

I have to agree with Marinka. They aren't more together they just fake it better.

Funny you should mentioned the feeling scatterbrained. I just posted something for that very same reason.


Anonymous said...

I have felt so many of those same emotions lately.

At least you have your favorite sweater back.

heartatpreschool said...

I'm trying to think of a good song for your day, but somehow "Had a Bad Day" just isn't cutting it.

You must have been dying when you realized that your car was still there! OMG!

As I hope you realize by now, you are no alone. No Mom has it together. We've just got good days, and we've got bad days.



Maggie May said...

i'm with you. mom of three here, and distracted to a terrifying degree!
troops, rally!

Maura said...

I am SO buying you a very big drink when we get together.

I have none of your stresses in my life, so I can only tell you I sympathize because I hate feeling scattered, too.

It WILL get better, though.

anymommy said...

What a horrible afternoon. Hugs. I know how you are feeling, but it's not you. Before I even had kids, I once thought my car was stolen at the airport, called the police, etc. I was on the wrong floor of the garage. I really think when you get tired and overwhelmed, you just stop functioning properly.

And, Marinka and others are dead on. Some moms just fake it well. Think of the stress they put themselves under looking so falsely perfect!

heartatpreschool said...

Also, if it makes you feel any better, my hairdresser (no kids) who parks in the city all the time has called a cab to drive him around and look for his car on more than one occassion, because he can't remember where he parked it.

Mama Ginger Tree said...

You all have helped me so much! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am almost able to laugh at it.

Marinka: You know how much I love you. Don't change. Am I freaking you out?

Melissa: It's nice to know I'm not alone.

AMomTwoBoys: That actually makes me feel better!

Kate: Please wear pants to work.

Tracey: I adore you. I really do.

AmyInOhio: You always make me laugh.

Sophie: Solidarity sister.

Robin: Thanks for the margarita! Cheers!

Daydreamy Mama: That seriously made me feel so much better. I was starting to get really worried about my son and his leg. I'm glad to know I am not the only one who has had to carry a three year old around for a week.

PsychMamma: Hilarious! We moms keep so much information in our brains it's crazy really. I'll take you up on the spa vacation any day. I know we'd have a blast.

Jesse: Again, so nice to know I am not alone!

Insta-Mom: I love that sweater.

Heart at Preschool: I totally know how mom feels now. And that is hilarious about your hairdresser!

Maggie May: I guess we'll just soldier on and hope to get our brains back when the kids fly the coop.

Maura: Yes, yes, yes. I'll take that drink.

AnyMommy; You are the best. I got nothin' but love for you.

Anonymous said...

Jumping in late just to throw some more support your way. There's a reason that the super-rich have armies of assistants. Its because the human brain isn't meant to just remember all the crap of daily life. Originally all we had to remember was which end of the spear was the business end, stay away from fire and saber tooth tigers, and which cave was home.

I hope that you're feeling better. We all go through this and you're not alone.

Lish said...

Kir - There are days I can barely even take care of my cat. That's when I wonder how my friends with kids do it.

I was pissed off the other day at a friend of mine and texted him that fact. An hour later I received a text from him that said why are you pissed? My answer back was - that was an hour ago. You expect me to remember?