I've never been older than I am today, so I'm not sure how old I feel. In my brain, I think I'm still about 19 - defiant, nearly desperate for adventure. In my mind's eye, I'm about 22 - sometimes I see my body unplanned, like as a passerby, and I'm surprised by what I see. I see me smaller, brunettier, wallflowerier. And I'm tired, so tired, but generally I never say I feel old. Signs, though, are becoming more prevalent. I always thought of doctors as old, but my chiropractor can't be older than me by more than a few minutes at most. Today I was talking with a colleague who is two months out of graduate school - so I'm at a different set of circumstances, but I'm not that much older - six years, I think. And through the course of casual conversation while we were organizing a project together, she made me feel, for the first time, Old. Exhibit A: I mentioned I just bought several new pairs of pants because of all the training assignments I have coming up (we usually both wear jeans to work). Her response: "Can you go out in them? Because I HATE buying clothes just for work that I can't go out in, too..." Nightlife for her is 'going out,' and for me it's blogging on the couch in pajamas with a cup of tea. Exhibit B: she mentioned how weird she feels that the summer is ending and she's not returning to school; she's not trying to squeeze in all her plans before a semester starts. She doesn't have a cycle of work/vacation/work anymore. It's just work. Yeah, I remember that realization, too. The future stretches long, doesn't it? Exhibit C: This project we're about to start will go for over a year, and because of its nature we need to work in a pretty isolated area, one that is not equipped with permission for food and beverage or internet access or even telephones. She mentioned that the upside of assignments like this is that she tends to buy lots of new music to upload to her iPod. She said she hadn't seen me bring mine in yet (they're that ubiquitous). I had to tell her that I don't own one. Without exaggeration, she looked a little horrified. So then - I don't know why I did this, just trying to prove my Neanderthalness, I guess, I told her how my 50-something aunt just sent me an invitation to view her Facebook page. And, um, I don't have a Facebook account. I was amused, but I could see she was getting confused. Concerned? And then for some reason I told her I've never sent a text message before, either. Stamp my forehead and shove me in a dusty inter-office envelope: OLD. 19-year-old me would have a lot of fodder for mocking the me of today.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Sunday we three girls attended a birthday party while M had to spend a rare weekend day working. [Note that: I've been on my own with the girls since Sunday. And all three of us have been sick, and nobody's slept. Tired.] But let me just say, friends are people who hold your baby. Friends are people who notice the long-held-by-strangers baby is getting fussy, bring her to you, and then shush you back away, saying 'now that she's got her mommy fix, I'm sure she's fine. You've got your hands full. Go tend to your other one' and then make the 'fine' be true. And have I mentioned I'm tired? I showed up at daycare to pick up the girls, and I was feeling, to the core, run down. True friends are friends who say, 'we can watch your girls for 30 minutes while you take a catnap in your car, if you want.' Unfortunately L would melt-down from being too close to bedtime if I delayed our departure. And unfortunately E would lose her mind if other mommies approached her and offered their care without forewarning. But. You know how sometimes you're at the end of your tether, and an act of kindness is all it takes for you to lose your composure? Me: near tears collecting empty purple milk cups at daycare.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
The not-sleeping: that's what's doing me in. Last night E woke her sister up twice with her coughing fits and the subsequent tantrums. She'll only drink milk, which is the least helpful beverage in the world for curing the sleep-preventing phlegm monster. But I serve it to her, over and over, because she needs to drink. I even brought her a cup of milk at 2 in the morning last night. She drank the whole thing without stopping to breathe. Then, a little before 5, she started yelling for me. Mama! My tushie is VERY VERY PISHY! An entire extra beverage, and pishy, huh? No kidding. But that yelling woke L and although I didn't not condone what unfolded next, the fates declared nighttime OVER! and playtime COMMENCED! and have I mentioned I'm a little tired? (Incidentally: Like mother, like daughter. Neither girl is a deep sleeper. I wake easily, and they both do, too. It wasn't enough that E got my fine hair and L got my sticking-out ears? Genetics have a droll sense of humor.) So tonight, desperate, I asked E before bed yet again if she'd eat a spoonful of honey. And um, no, she said, yet again. So I asked her if she would eat a spoonful of maple syrup. Yes! It doesn't have the same medicinal properties, to my knowledge, but it should coat her throat somewhat, right? I knew it was a food that she would accept. (Does syrup count as food?) So: insane on my part to feed her sugar before bed, or maybe just maybe insanely clever? So far, no adverse affects, but there is much more night ahead of us. And I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier in the week (a little tired, maybe?), but tomorrow I'm buying chocolate soy milk. Or chocolate rice milk. Or both.
A prince among men.
M comes home tomorrow after red-eyeing it back East. He said to me: Just give me a list. I'll take care of the house and whatever else you need. Go to bed tonight and get some sleep. So he'll get the chocolate soy, and I feel unburdened from the laundry mountain in the living room and the dishes erector-set in the sink. Husband: thank goodness for you. And PLEASE don't miss your flight tonight.
The best things are worth waiting for.
'F' is for finally. And Finn! Welcome to the outside, little man! After more than 41 weeks, my girl turned into a mommy. You did it, and you did it great. And would you believe this: guess how I heard. She texted me. It's appalling how old the news was before I even glanced at my cell phone and realized I had a message. But then: I texted back. I sent my congratulations, and we had a few little exchanges. Not too many, because there are only so many red lights between work and home, and I'm a little slow with the text-typing. I got a few of the best details, and then I let her know I'll call in a couple of days. Conversing on the phone is so last-century, I know. I'm old skool like that. But: not old. Not nearly yet.