Weed the garden. Bake the bread. Clean the bathrooms. Call the insurance company. Pick the peas. Register the kids in another day camp. Pay the bills. Make that appointment for family pictures. Practise reading with Lars. Look into singing lessons for Sophie. Book in with the dog groomers. Write the column that’s due tomorrow. Water the plants. Sneak in a workout. Cook a delicious dinner. Support your family. Make sure everyone is happy and healthy. Unearth new and inventive ways to get the kids to eat broccoli.
Smile through all of it.
Do you ever feel like you have stumbled into a life that cannot be yours? I look back at the Lindsay I knew 10 years ago and the changes that have occurred since then never cease to astound me.
Yes, I, your local family columnist, was one of those people who said they’d never have kids — you know the ones. The “I wouldn’t bring children into this horrid and cruel world” kind of people. I was self-seeking and sporadic and erratically eccentric. And never in a thousand worlds of dancing pandas would I have thought that in a mere 10 years I’d be having a near nervous breakdown over a few toys strewn messily about in my living room.
On the same token, never, ever, would I have thought that the mention of dollar days at the No Frills would send me into an exhilarated tizzy.
Back then I don’t believe I even knew what side of town the grocery store was located on.
All I needed was a gas station hoagie or a pub with a mediocre appy platter.
It makes me wonder how I got here.
How did I end up with this life of waking up long before the sun shines and mentally creating to-do lists of all the menial must-do’s to get done that day? Much like the above list I have shaped for your reading enjoyment today.
I know I’m beginning to sound like a bit of a Debbie Downer, this is going somewhere I promise. …
It was a few days ago and I was feeling this same kind of melancholy in a major way. Now maybe I’m some sort of freak and am the only parent on the face of the planet who sometimes wonders what a different existence would have been like, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not alone on this one.
I was thinking about the “before” me and revelling in the awesome adventures I use to have when I was a solo gal.
Meanwhile, I was cleaning up dog puke on the one piece of carpet we have left in our house as the children literally leapfrogged over my body pushing my head into the stinking stew of puke.
They had just come in from outside and apparently it had slipped their minds that we weren’t living in the 18th century and they tracked the mud and gunk from the sodden yard all over my kitchen floor. As I was yelling at them to clean it up, I spooked the dog, which possessed him to run out the door and under the deck.
There I left him because he was literally the last thing I could worry about at the time.
But then I remembered the gate was broken and he could have easily escaped.
It is an odd day when you have a kitchen floor filled with mud, your dinner is burning in the oven — you know this because the smoke alarm is sounding for the entire neighborhood the hear — you are wearing dog vomit in replacement of rouge and yet you are still smiling like a bloody doofus because you’ve just realized that your husband fixed the fence without you remembering.
It was this simple/weird moment that made me realize I didn’t want that life I lived so many years ago.
Life now can be hectic and messy and sometimes downright nasty, but the people who share this existence with me are purely irreplaceable.
Of course, I will keep those old memories close to me, perhaps to bring to mind in the tough times when there is bodily excrete involved, but I have something now that means so much more.
Never again will I be that solo gal, and as Lars and Sophie sit at the table drawing me, “I’m sorry” pictures and Jamie is sitting at his desk working away on whatever it is he is working at, I realize that never again would I want to be.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.