Supermom Needs a Nap is a WIP and the follow-up to Supermom Breaks a Nail (available at amazon.com)
CHAPTER 1 -THAT PROUST
Perhaps you thought I’d finally cashed it all in and made off to Fiji and that grass hut of my dreams. No, I’m here – I haven’t left you. I tried, but on the morning of the flight I was hoping to stow away on, Nate’s assistant called and informed me the kids “accidentally” put the jelly in his briefcase again and could I maybe look into a new case with a lock. I answered her in what we’ll call Fijian.
I approach each day now with renew hope; my mantra is: today is the day I understand why I got myself into this mess. I no longer start my computer up first thing in the morning and attempt to organize my day. My therapist told me “an electronic infusion so early does not bode well for centering.” (I got my therapist with a double coupon that comes with a car wash per session.) I use her therapy-speak as my excuse but the fact is, looking at all of the reminders on my “To-Do List” just lets me know in advance how much of a failure I will be by the end of the day.
So now I wake up, I walk out to an empty, quiet kitchen, I chew on a big cup of coffee (the coffee maker was a wedding gift from one of Nate’s ex-girlfriends) and fondly pat the bottle of wine I intend to wash the day away with later.
See? I can look forward.Where to begin – I feel like I should catch you up on the last three years. Actually, I haven’t caught up, but perhaps if I start where I left off…you’ll eventually understand what I’m talking about.
Things have moved forward, despite all my efforts to the contrary. Tabby is 6 and Logan somehow made it to 8. They’ve both entered a magical age – “full-day school.” On the first day of kindergarten for Tabby, Nate and I stood in the line with the other parents who were alternating between taking photos and sobbing; we looked like the most emotionally unstable paparazzi ever assembled. As the children’s smiles began to turn downwards in fatigue and their parents slowly collapsed into shuddering puddles in need of a new purpose, I mapped out a route to the nearest spa in my head. The woman to my left, who I was fairly certain I had never met before, lowered her head onto my shoulder and said “I can’t imagine living without Proust.”
I excitedly replied, “No, I know! Or Keats or Plath or any of them… and now we have time to read them – isn’t it wonderful?”
She looked at me quizzically. “My son Proust,” she said pointing at a young boy who was chewing on the ponytail of the girl next to him.
“Oh,” I said, nudging Nate towards the gate, “that Proust.”
My children are finding their footing in life; which has less to do with their life’s path and more to do with trampling my feeble attempts at gardening. Tabby has found her voice; I don’t mean she speaks up for herself, I mean she sings… a lot… and loudly. She can take any subject from her lunch to the smell of her father’s feet and turn it into a two-hour madrigal.
Logan loses interest in a task almost as soon as he begins it, except for golf. One of Nate’s college buddies took Logan to the driving range and the next thing I knew, I was dodging flying golf balls as I try to make it down the hall. Although Logan stays focused, he’s not very good. At least once a visit to the golf course the course manager comes out to remind me that the players are not allowed to throw a ball just because they are unable to hit it – even after 30 minutes of trying. I don’t care; the golf course is the quietest place I’ve been in 8 years.
The kids do as well as can be expected in school. The teachers use words like “creative,” “enthusiastic” and “potential” but not words like “intelligent,” “studious” or “some form of comprehension.” Logan’s teachers put little notes on the bottom of his writing homework like Please indicate what language is spoken at home. I write back “Fijian.”
I don’t get notes on Tabby’s work; she turns everything into an oral assignment.
My dear friends Dawn and Gigi’s lives have changed as well. Gigi has gone back to work, by accident. She called into a local morning show to give them a tip for a stain the resident know-it-all was unsuccessfully trying to eliminate and was hired by the end of the call. She appears bi-monthly and on holidays in the That’s How Gigi Gets it Done segment of the Rising with Rach and Roy show.
Dawn and I watch it together.
That’s right, you heard me, Dawn and I watch it together. Guess who moved? I’ll give you a hint: it was Dawn. It helps having Dawn here; I need evidence that there’s someone actually worse at parenting than me and for her to move into my own backyard – well, you just can’t buy friendship like that. Dawn’s twins are the same age as Logan. Logan adores them, but that has a lot to do with the fact that the first time he went to their new house, they made some form of bomb with baking soda, Alka Seltzer and mineral water that took out the neighbor’s bird-bath without consulting any form of science; apparently this was just another page in their “hey, what does that do?” journals. But there is a new addition to Dawn’s family. She adopted a little girl. The process was long, thorough and occasionally heartbreaking but the result was Ava (named after Ava Gabor, of course, by a sister at the orphanage); Dawn and her husband are thrilled. In keeping with her name, Ava is a gorgeous little girl…but she does have one drawback:
She is some kind of freak genius child that both terrifies and excites us.
When Ava was 25 months old, she reorganized Dawn’s kitchen according to some magazine article Gertie, her nanny, had left open. And although Dawn won’t admit it, I’m convinced she lets the now four year old Ava balance her checkbook.
The Mothers keep threatening to move closer “now that the children need real parenting.” The Dads assure us they won’t, because they’re convinced the Bridge Club would collapse without them, followed shortly thereafter by civilization as they know it, so they have begun an Outreach Advice Program created solely for the benefit of my children. I can’t say I am always graceful about their show of concern; they once sent me an article on family nutrition and how to maintain mental balance through kale. I called them to give them a piece of my perfectly balanced mind, but I choked on my Twinkie as soon as they picked up and had to hang up to drink something. I spilled my wine calling them back, cursing as I hung up again so I could grab a towel. Then I fell asleep with the phone in my hand and I guess I hit redial at some point because they called me the next day to tell me all about the dirty phone calls they’d gotten the night before. I’m putting a scrapbook together of every letter, newspaper clipping and magazine article they send me, to serve as evidence at my trial.
Nate and I still work as a team, providing strength where the other is weak, lending support when one falters, filling a glass after the stupid kids knock it over. Nate works very hard and still excels as a dad and that still pisses me off. Sometimes I tell the kids that there are actually two Dads and that’s why he can get so much done. I can’t help but giggle when they say thing to Nate like “the other one dresses better.”
I have seen childless couples jet off to Barbados and still end the month with money left in their accounts. I watch moms take more than one child out of the house and return without anyone in tears. I stare in fascination at moms having a discussion in a restaurant with their children that does not involve gritted teeth, threats of deportation to some distant relative or an emergency martini order to the waiter. I know moms who go to book clubs because they have time to read and art classes because they have time to create something without using a single Lego™. I have heard rumors of moms who collect herbs from their gardens before the cat pees on them and who know what that one extra small burner on their stove is for.
I am none of those women.
My cape is a bit tattered and I couldn’t tell you what those stains on it are from. When I fly in to save the day, my hair’s a fright and the day’s pretty much lost anyway. My figure is not conducive to a leotard, but the boots still look fabulous. This is my world and my family and they’re on my watch. I’ll take my over-scheduled, under-financed, messy, un-glamorous world and defend it the best I can because I am Supermom.
And I Need a Nap.