Parenting and family, served with a shot of vodka
After running errands last week, I cruised through my tree-lined suburb, sipping on a gigantic coffee, sunroof open, with my stereo blasting some 20-year-old hip-hop.
I was alone, for once. No tiny tyrants in the back seat shouting Taylor Swift song requests, or asking for pretzels, remnants of which will eventually become crushed all over the back seat.
My hair was blowing in the wind, I was jamming out, and for a moment, it reminded me of my past life. You know: A Lady Without Children.
I was a person who listened to unedited music really, really loud. Someone who wore fun earrings, because I wasn’t afraid they’d accidentally be ripped from my earlobes by a wee tot.
I wore lipstick because I had time to put it on. I went to lots of live music shows, and we didn’t have to pay a babysitter $18 an hour to leave the house.
But, there’s nothing to jolt you back to reality like pulling into your child’s school, realizing you’re still blaring Method Man from every window. I turned down my stereo and parked the mom-mobile, aka my Subaru Forester.
I was a little bit early for my volunteer shift, so I just sat there, staring at the kaliedoscope of autumn leaves — the very best part about living in New England, by the way — and chilled for a few.
There was a time I didn’t even want to have children. Like, the first 30+ years of my life, really. I’d see kids tantruming out in Target, look at their poor, stressed-out moms and think, “I am never, ever having kids.” And I meant it.
Somewhere along the way, I changed my mind.
Now I was about to volunteer in the lunchroom and see every, single child that goes to my son’s elementary school over the course of two hours. Man, how times change.
As I got out of my car and peered at the two empty car seats in back, though, I knew this is exactly where I was meant to be, literally and figuratively. Because damn if those two munchkins haven’t changed my life for the better.
Alone time is a thing of the past, and for the most part, I’ve traded in my fancy shoes for Toms. But I also get to color in My Little Pony coloring books with my daughter and read Shel Silverstein poems with my son.
We kick soccer balls in the back yard and have impromptu picnics in parks. We take turns making silly faces at the dinner table. We have the world’s best dance parties.
My daughter tells me I am her very best friend, and that I look beautiful, even when I feel like a ragamuffin.
My son gets off the bus every day, runs toward me, and gives me the biggest bear hug in the world before racing his neighbor friend back home to our yards. He draws me pictures and tells me he misses me when he’s at school.
Turns out, I love this life. Even with the occasional meltdown in Target… because all the other stuff that comes along with parenting blows my mind.
I just needed to be old enough to appreciate it. And Lord knows I am. I’m about to turn *cough cough* next month, and those candles are gonna set the spot on fire.
Better late than never.