Eating Cake Alone

Life: I can have it all. But it will probably kill me.

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Mine is obviously the elaborate castle. The bottom is GARBAGE.

My castle is clearly better. Look at the pathetic attempt beneath my clearly superior piece. Stop crying, I told them. WHAT DO THEY KNOW ABOUT SACRIFICE? I kneeled on acorns until my knees bleed. I bent little fingers, pulled them off chalk one by one, to secure the last green piece. I’M STRONGER. AND I WANT IT MORE. I spent an hour creating important elaborate details- throwing curious and excited toddlers out of my way. Screaming at them to do their own castles. They wanted to add a giraffe on the top of the castle for Gods sakes. A GIRAFFE. There are no giraffes here. I told them they were all dead to me. Go collect leaves or something if you can’t cut it in this chalk game. Not everyone is a winner. Maybe that will teach them to compete with me.

These women need to be stopped. You know which ones I am talking about- Those mothers that are always on time for everything. They have the correct equipment for whatever PRECIOUS activity they are taking PRECIOUS photos of. They know when their next dentist appointment is. Or where they live. Or if they are wearing pants or not.  I hate you. I’ve decided that you’ve been put on this planet to make me feel bad about myself and it’s working. Every time you reach into your perfectly compartmentalized purse and pull out an organic, dye-free fruit snack, my soul dies a little. I’m the one dramatically stirring around receipts and cheerios at the bottom of my bag, like some sort of purse witch with a cauldron of mistakes. I consider it a victory when I finally find a fuzzy, discolored mint to feed them. I know I’m having a good day if I can stop and look around and say- wait, no one is screaming. Happy Monday everyone! **Author notes it’s Tuesday upon editing. Screw you for knowing what day of the week it is.

“Go to target,” my inner voice said. “What’s the big deal,” they repeated (yes, there are a few voices now). What people without young children need to know is- I haven’t been to the bathroom alone since my first child was born. I am chronically dehydrated, and as I lift a quivering cup to my mouth for necessary hydration, a child screams and throws themselves to the ground, holding child protective services documents clenched in their tiny fist. How do they know I was thirsty-how did they know how to print documents? It doesn’t matter. Also, veteran mothers who once had little children, and now have older children… I mean this in the most lovingly, sleep deprived way: Go fuck yourself. Your patient wisdom, coupled with the gentle gift of hindsight only makes me want to pull clumps of my hair out and slap it onto the counter in front on you. Use this as evidence when I’m committed. Please. Please commit me.

It’s societies fault that I mustered the courage to go to Target. To the pregnant lady in the parking lot, sauntering by with her shopping cart piled high full of Baby Genius promises and the same EXACT giraffe rattle everyone has, I deeply apologize for what you saw. I can explain. Just as you waddled by us getting out of the truck and offered my Happy Singy infant a smile, all you could see was me hanging half way out of the truck, and onto the concrete- screaming at my toddler, “ONE MORE TIME YOU LICK MY SHOE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. ONE MORE TIME.” Her saunter turned into a wobbly jog to her car. In my defense, my child is licking the BOTTOM of my shoe. Not the side. Please take a moment to internalize for a second that I felt the need to specify what SIDE of my fucking shoe was inappropriate to lick so you understand what’s happening in my mommy head. Simultaneously, with one foot solidly wedged between my older kids mouth, I am attempting  to cut Ms. Happy Singy out of her car seat straps, who although can’t even walk, managed to wrap herself up in her seatbelt during the shoe incident so elaborately, you’d think our truck was a projectile aimed for Mars. Meanwhile, in the panic of being a mom in the world of entirely too much information, I’m trying to avoid undercooked foods, uterus melting mosquitos and vaccines that will make my child walk in circles for their rest of their life. So what does my kid do? Lick my shoe. Full disclosure, I have no I idea how long she was licking it for. None.

We had finally made it into the store, and my children briefly entertained while playing with cat toys (Yes, this shit it all true). When somewhere around the yams is where my toddler decided she was a seagull. Yes, the ocean flying bird, the seagull. We moved from shoe licking in the parking lot to being a seagull. I don’t make the rules; I’m just trying to have us all survive. So in the quiet, cantaloupe squeezing section of the Target produce department my child performed her impression of a seagull. Cucumbers were dropped, cart pushers stopped in the tracks, people whispered questions in the distance. My toddler squawked the most jolting and disturbing noise you have ever heard. If you made sound effects for Japanese cult horror films, you would have had a moment of reflection as to how impressive this noise was. Ms. Happy Singy made a tiny version of the sound and they were both delighted. And you know what I thought- screw it. My child is a seagull. This is happening. I can be supportive or tell her she’s an asshole. So I chose to be supportive. I looked at both my daughters lovingly, leaned over and said, “That was beautiful. You are a beautiful and amazing seagull.” I pinched their little faces and pet their little beaks and told them I couldn’t believe I had pet seagulls. Screw you shoppers, my kids are imaginative. You’re all fucking birds now, deal with it.

We eventually pushed our way to the cash register and found ourselves far back in line. Dead last in a never-ending line of impatient people behind others opening credit card accounts, complaining about the bananas, price checking appliances with items they found for less in a Malaysian store using child labor. It was at this moment, something within me changed. Quieted. I felt this overwhelming sense of peace, being there with my girls, even in this cramped space with strangers. Everyone was elbowing each other, anxious and unfriendly- trying to edge their way to the front. I leaned over at my beautiful daughters, who stared up at me with those wide exploring blue eyes. I smiled and whispered sweetly to them, “Let me hear my beautiful seagulls again.”

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

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Eating Cake Alone

Life: I can have it all. But it will probably kill me.

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