Just Kidding…(sort of.)
Panicked about my new change of address and six months pregnant, I wondered what in the hell I’d gotten myself into. The closest I came to speaking Norwegian was a lousy imitation of that Swedish chef on The Muppets…not to mention the fact that I’d never babysat a day in my life or changed a soiled diaper. Snow and darkness made me incredibly irritable, and even though I’d scoured the Junior League cookbook, I couldn’t find a stinkin’ recipe for that scrumptious Norse staple… fish balls. (Actually I had no interest in preparing those little buggers, I just wanted to know how the hell one goes about castrating a fish’s testicles.)
Sensing my nervousness, my new mother-in-law pulled me aside to give me some advice. Amidst the backdrop of mountains perpetually draped in snow, and local fisherman boring holes in the iced-over fjords for their supper, she said, “Living in Norway is quite simple. Be the best skier by day…and the prettiest woman by night.”
I froze…literally and figuratively, paralyzed in fear.
Needless to say the Norwegian experiment didn’t work out so well. Six years and two kids later I was back in Seattle, and soon learned that my previous idea of stress was to be totally redefined. Try being a single parent with a couple of kids who play every sport known to man. Now that’s pressure!
If you’ve ever lived in the Northwest and had children in soccer, I’m sure you spotted my rain soaked self watching three to five games a day as kids splattered mud up and down the field. I was the flask nipping menopausal mommy looking for a wet poncho contest.
The other dedicated parents huddled along the sidelines under golf umbrellas screaming encouragement to their drenched little warriors. Each time a player dribbled the ball down field, the umbrellas would rotate in unison like radar dishes tracking blips.
Somehow it seemed like it was always my turn to bring the snack. The ref would blow his halftime whistle and the thundering cleated hoofs of our scholarship hopefuls would tear across the field to prey on orange slices in a Serengeti Wildebeest stampede. More than once I’ve made a fashion statement sporting flung mutilated rinds hanging from my hair without feeling the added weight or other parents bringing it to my attention.
At one such joyous occasion, I overheard a couple discussing the day’s activities. The woman was barking orders like an air traffic controller at her flustered husband.
“I have to leave now to take Nick to his game in Bellevue. You wait here and when Lizzie is done, drop her at the next game in Renton. Don’t forget to grab Maggie at her lacrosse practice and deliver her to Susie’s house at three for the birthday party. They’re going roller-skating. The present and her skates are in the trunk. Don’t be late to pick her up. She still remembers the time you left her in Mukilteo and she spent the night clinging to a park bench. Remember to drop Lizzie off at the 4:30 ferry to Bainbridge Island, because her class is doing a production of the Sound of Music for senior citizens. Her lederhosen are in the trunk next to the skates. I’ll grab Nick at the game and deliver him to the end of the season pizza banquet. I’m in charge of trophies and awards or I’d have you do it. Don’t forget Maggie has a piano recital at 6 and she needs to practice. If you have a chance before the Bainbridge ferry, could you get Lizzy into the orthodontist so he can glue on the bracket from her braces she popped off in the first game? I’ll meet you at the piano recital. Try to get there early to save us seats and if you forget the camcorder again I’m cutting you off for another month!” And then she was off, like a Tasmanian devil, whirling her way up the slippery hill to her four-wheel drive vehicle.
While witnessing these priceless humanitarians dedicating their lives to offspring, it was quite obvious that the time for her meltdown was near. I suspect that when she caught her breath and oxygen levels stabilized, she found herself shaking uncontrollably, pleading for a Valium.
What has happened to us? In a rite of self-sacrifice are we so busy orchestrating children’s events that we have forgotten our own lives once held dreams and aspirations? I know each generation makes a vow to make things better for their children and give them more, but haven’t we tipped the scale a little too far? How are our kids going to top this?… I’m putting my money on robots and meds.
This Mother’s Day do yourself a favor, sit down, take a load off…and by all means don’t look at your Day Planner!