If you’re a middleaged woman and have teenage children, you may be in serious trouble. Please consider the following scenario, then read the questions carefully and answer to the best of your ability. Try not to panic until you’ve answered them all.
You know what you get when you get complacent? A kick in the ass, that’s what.
Say you love to sing – like, really love to sing – and you take a singing lesson every Tuesday and it’s the highlight of your week, and your singing teacher is a close friend, and you talk about show tunes and you sing show tunes and you introduce each other to new show tunes, and you get better at singing and you both get excited about that, and when you hear new songs on your Broadway radio station you get excited to tell your friend/singing teacher about them and maybe to work on them with her, and when friends ask, “Are you doing anything with your singing?” you say, “Not really, but I take lessons and do a couple recitals a year and I love it and that’s really all I need,” and you sing in the church choir but not consistently because you have a hard time committing to getting up early every Sunday but even that’s okay because you still have your singing lesson every week and it’s still the highlight of your week, so you don’t pursue singing in any other way, you don’t go out of your way to find other singing opportunities because your Tuesday singing totally fulfills you so you’re perfectly content and complacent with the way your singing life is proceeding… and so what happens then is that out of the blue you get an email from your friend that she is MOVING TO MAINE and that you won’t have her or your weekly lessons come May.
Learned an expensive lesson this week, people. Resolving to turn over a new leaf and actually cook, I went to the grocery store and shopped like a fiend for a week’s worth of meals.
Here’s my lesson up front: don’t plan meals for every night of the week, because as you know, hardly anything in a middleaged mom/wife/woman’s life goes exactly as planned (probably hardly anything in anyone’s life goes exactly as planned), and the food that doesn’t get cooked will sit around your kitchen being passive agressive. Let me explain.
I have edited and cut and rewritten and cut this stupid, stupid essay that I can’t look at it anymore. It started out with a great, fun idea (see headline and PS) but I managed to turn it into a piece with an overworked metaphor and a preachy tone that is annoying me, which means it is bound to be even worse for you. But whatever. Read it if you want. I wash my hands of the damn thing. (With all my editing and cutting, I refused to edit out the balloon metaphor, because the picture from UP is so pretty.)
As an adult in today’s world, and one who spends a fair (though not obscene) amount of time on social media, I have absorbed enough self-help phrases and 12-step slogans and feel-good mantras to last me this lifetime and at least much of my next (although maybe I’ll be evolved enough by then that I won’t need them).
I’m in a theater waiting for the show. My daughter is literally bouncing off her seat. To try to corral the excitement, which is beginning to annoy our neighbors (her bouncing is jiggling the entire row of seats and we’re getting death glares), I say, “Let’s play a game.”
Clearly, they’ve already driven me batshit crazy…
Ever find yourself so mixed up, emotionally, when with your kids that you’d like to unzip your skin and step quietly away rather than feel any more feelings? Of course you have. This type of emotional imbalance is just part of a mother’s world, I guess – and the ability to cause that imbalance is one of the tools our kids employ to drive us nuts while simultaneously filling us with feelings of love. If they didn’t fill us with so much joy, even during their most rotten moments, we would have no reason not to stab them with a gardening fork. So it is actually a survival skill of theirs.