By Holly Rizzuto Palker of hollyrizzutopalker.com
I am a mom. A wife. A friend. A daughter. A teacher. A writer. I try to be so many things to so many people that when I stop to think, I sometimes come up feeling like I am nothing much to anyone. My life is full.
“Do you think I could have Alzheimer’s?” I ask my family and friends when I show up a day late for a kid’s birthday party, again. I’ve keyed a wrong date into my iCalendar. At least I show up (that isn’t always even the case). My loved ones say, “No way, your life is full. Stop worrying.” Then I wonder if maybe this is just what pre-menopause or adult ADD feels like. My life is full.
The First Child
Life was less complicated ten years ago before my first child was born when I rocked a paper calendar. Weekends were filled with brunches, walks in the park and time alone at the gym.
Then she came into the world and it all changed. I was flipped upside down. Every single day I tried to be a good mom, but it was hard. The nights were long and the days even longer as I tried to navigate her infancy and fill the paper calendar with appointments because I was so scared to be alone with a baby. I only garnered self-worth if I accomplished things. So, I filled our days with visits to Grandma, trips to Target and play dates rather than just savoring the time with her, and all of a sudden she’s a tween.
Now, I long to say the right thing to her when she comes home from school sad because she’s had a bad day. But the truth is that sometimes I can’t because I just want to have quiet time and a cappuccino. I’m exhausted. I know that soon, she will only ask her friends for advice, and then I’ll have the time for relaxation. I wonder — will I still want my alone time if I can actually have it? My life is full.
The Second Child
With my son’s birth also came the birth of the iPhone. In his early years, the phone was a means of escape for me. My son exhausted me more than I could’ve ever imagined. From the moment he gained mobility, his mouth and body both moved quicker than mine could ever hope to follow. So much of the time I tuned him out just to survive.
As I chased my son around, distracted by the many emails, Facebook posts, and appointments that cluttered the phone, I found it was near impossible to stay afloat. I missed that ease of the paper calendar, or maybe I just missed the fact that I had so much less to fill my days back with the first child.
Today I wonder if I have lost control because my phone allows me to do so many things that my brain just can’t keep up. Or is it because I’m ten years older with more responsibilities and cloudier in my synapses? Steve Jobs – you were an evil man. Because of you, I (like a clown), juggle my life away.
When I put the phone down, I realize that my son has so many interesting things to say. If I would take the time to listen to his words, I would be clued into the workings of a curious mind. But then I’d never get out of the house in the morning because getting him dressed still is, like the song says, to throw a whirling dervish out of whirl. My life is full.
The Third Child
My youngest baby joined us recently. I thought that she was lucky enough to be born to a seasoned mom. One who ‘gets it.’ But, the truth is that she hasn’t reaped the benefits of my wisdom because she isn’t really a baby at all. She has somehow grown magnificently into toddlerhood without me even realizing it. I can see through my misty lens her fleeting, little baby curls giving way to big-girl-length tresses, her gibberish words forming into real ones. Blah blah is banana. I never knew what she was saying, and now it so clear. I want to yell — no, to scream — out at her, “Wait, please slow down.”
I force myself to pretend with her, blow bubbles and to be mindful of these moments because I know how quickly it goes. But her toddlerhood has brought something new to distract me: the advent of middle age. Hormones – you are worse than lice. I can’t focus. I don’t recognize my body and mind anymore. I beg of you, peer moms, to clue me in on the secret that you possess which allows you to keep your lives glued together. I need to know what I’m missing that will allow me to stay fit, relaxed and on top of things because I’m struggling here. My life is full.
All Three Children
I pack my day so full that it nearly busts at the seams. I run from school drop-off, to the gym, to write, to lunch volunteer, to food shopping, to after school activities, and once the end of the day draws near, I can barely speak, let alone read bedtime stories.
I’m lucky because my three children long, all of them still, for me to lie in bed with them, wrapped in cuddles and reading those stories. I’m grateful that I’m still in this phase of life. So many nights as I lie with them, though, my mind drifts away, too busy with pressing thoughts to appreciate moment, when I know I should. I get angry with myself when I wish away the time so I can get back to my phone or computer and check my email and Facebook status likes. The tug-o-war of knowledge versus reality is sometimes too great to handle. My life is full.
Here we are, children, in a rare sweet moment, playing in the yard, all three of us, and my phone has just dinged with a text that is likely pressing. Wait, it’s the alarm I’ve set telling me I must get you to soccer practice and me to the grocery store. I beg of you, little ones, hold on just a moment and we will continue where we left off tomorrow. Air kisses. Another day.
I am a mom. A wife. A friend. A daughter. A teacher. A writer. I am many wonderful things to many people. My life is full.
This post was originally published on hollyrizzutopalker.com
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