Friday, November 04, 2005

Over-extensionated

When my son was little, I worked at least one job all the time and went to school. He attended a chi-chi day school, where he was always the poorest kid in class with the youngest mother and the crappiest car in the afternoon car line. I would show up for school parties, rushing and breathless from literally running from the car to get there on time, and I would step into the classroom and then remember that I was supposed to have brought napkins or something. Something I hadn't brought, anyway. And there would always be these other mothers who had personalized old cigar boxes for each child or baked minimuffins with each kid's initials on them or brought a pony for every kid in the class. It wasn't just that they were rich. Although they were. They just seemed to manage better all the way around. Their houses and cars were clean all the time. They didn't forget to bring napkins. I thought that, being older and generally more together as a human being this time around, I would be more like those mothers I so envied back then. I'm not. Although I had intended to keep regular letters to my daughter, I haven't. I haven't even compiled her lifebook yet, and now we're on our way to another daughter whose photos and mementoes likely will be stored in a box instead of an album where they could do her some good. I haven't published a book, or even worked on that goal seriously. And my house is never clean, EVER. I mean, it's not health-department dirty or anything. It's not like my mom's house. But everyone in our family seems completely incapable of regular daily maintenance. Am I just missing some DNA fragment that other people take for granted? I know I've had a lot on my plate these last 18 months or so, what with the cancer and the mom dying and the chemotherapy and the traveling to China to adopt my daughter and the hurricane and the home destruction and the other hurricanes and... It's easy to tell myself that falling short of my own expectations (or, more accurately at this point, fantasies) is just a byproduct of some seriously bad and demanding circumstances. But that's just not true. The bad circumstances have just highlighted what a really tentative clutch I had on everything to begin with. Now, I'm going to go wash my hair for the first time in four days.

3 Comments:

Blogger Maggirat said...

I (and most of my friends) feel your pain. Last August, Mike & I were invited to his friends' house to barbecue. I said I'd bring--oh no, cerebral flatulence--you know, the red wine punch with fruit and stuff. Anyway. I didn't get around to making it, but most of MY friends are like that too, and they would not only roll with it, but, frankly, expect this sort of thing from me. Well, I must never flake out like this again. I don't expect to be invited back. Oops.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

cut yourself some slack
breathe in a little more of His grace

You are loved :) remember that!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Bad Alice said...

Boy, can I relate to the part about showing up breathless to the chi chi school's event where all the perfectly groomed mothers have come bearing homemade gifts in homemade goodie bags.

The photos remain unposted in albums, the baby books are partial, my house is always teetering on the edge of chaos. I'm always utterly disastisfied with my lack of organizational skills. I would have failed home ec.

Boy have you had a lot to do, and you've worked HARD. Grieving, healing, loving--it's hard work.

12:58 PM  

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