Things That Used to Be


This is a two year old ramble that I came across. Maybe you already read it. I am sure I did, since I actually wrote it, but I didn't even remember. So maybe you forgot too...

Seven year old rockstar: Aspen. The pantsless wonder. No matter how many pairs of jeans I buy her, without fail, every morning it is the same pitiful cry that she has no pants. Finally, after what seems like hours of endless back and forth trans-story hollering, she emerges downstairs with what appear to be more holes than clothing on her bottom half. How can such a small child make such large holes? Or sometimes it’s a whisp of tulle vaguely masked in the guise of a tutu, over the remnants of what must have been once a pair of tights, but have obviously lived through one too many easter egg hunts before they crawled out of Grandma Donna’s basement and into Aspen’s undie drawer. The odd swirls of grass stains and mud and what is questionably some sort of melted candy can almost pass for tie dye. But not quite. Every few days I go upstairs to the wreck that is a bedroom and see if I can find something for her to wear before I am overtaken by the chaos. I can usually retrieve two or three pairs of at least semi clean pants off of the floor from underneath Kizzie’s pee-chee collection or a contraband stack of cups that have been missing from the kitchen for three months. I stuff as many salvageable articles of clothing as I can in her drawers and reemerge for air. This is the child that I swore would never walk out my door: The one who goes to school with a rat’s nest on the back of her head exactly where her pillow was stuck when she woke up that morning. The one with last night’s chocolate ice cream high on her cheekbone, obviously from the rim when one licks the bottom of the bowl, still worn proudly on the bus the next day. The child that I wake up in the middle of the night in a panicked sweat about, realizing that it has been at least two weeks since I last asked her if she has showered lately. It breaks my heart at times, because she’s such a pretty little thing, even with her missing teeth and raggedy clothes, to know that people look at her and shed a little tear for her sad parentlessness. This poor child. I remember in my early days of parenting, when everything would be sunlight and roses and my children would always have combed hair and color coordinated outfits. Now my youngest is conveniently coordinated with all of the furniture, draperies and the 8 foot braided rag rug on my living room floor. And she did it herself. I couldn’t be prouder. All the ideals of the fairy tale life that I was to have… The shining princesses and dreamy castle like home that is now a silly jerry rigged little hovel that Halle delights in because of it’s similarity to the Weasley’s Bourough, if you will excuse the HP reference. I have relinquished all visions of sparkling windows and fluffy pillows and bury my head in the cleanest bedding I can find to catch enough sleep so I can face another day of missing the mark. Days like this when I have a head cold and feel like I can’t pull my brain out of the fire safe that it’s locked in are extra hard. Just getting out of bed at 6 20 something to get the girls on the bus is confusing. Getting clothes on myself and remembering where I am supposed to be is extra tricky. Yesterday I was standing in a store staring blankly at an aisle of something, when slowly I turned my head to see a clock on the wall come rushing up at my face and crowing loudly at me that it was 20 minutes after I was supposed to be at work. In the five minutes it took me to process this reality, I think I must have stumbled out of the store (hopefully with no unpurchased items, but I don’t remember) and called one of my supervisors. I must have made up a semi-passable excuse because nobody yelled at me later. These are days when my kids are lucky that they get to eat, if I remember dinner. In this case it was apples and peanut butter and popcorn, which they gallantly made themselves when they realized I was a total basketcase and probably not gonna get around to feeding them until the next morning sometime. They are troopers, these girls. They don’t have the worst life ever, but it isn’t cake. I watch the younger ones eat up any one on one attention they can find and feel bad that the hours I have to give to them are poor quality and unfocused. But they’re doing alright. They have their little niches and they keep plugging away. And so do I. and we keep on forging our little world of mayhem and color. And Aspen still has no pants. 

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