(Cue harp music, center spotlight, pink gel filter)
As a mother, I exist to provide a safe harbor for my children. I am the rock fortress that keeps their lives joyful and comfortable. I am the still, quiet oasis of peace that radiates security and keeps the milk in the fridge and knows which way to cut the waffles. Some days I pause to see if there is a cartoon Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder as I flit about in the mornings, making it all look so effortless.
And on days like today, I can tell I’m really nailing it when Vivi asks, “Mama, do you have on clothes?” as we’re driving to school in the rain.
The kid had a point, but DAMN. I had been haranguing her with some version of “hurry up-get crackin’-weneedtogo-you’re going to have to walk yourself to the classroom” for 40 minutes. And perhaps I was still wearing pajama pants as she walked to the car, but I had grabbed a pair of real pants out of the dryer. I have STANDARDS.
So the answer was “Yes, honey, of course I have on clothes.” She goes, “Real clothes? Or pajama pants?” Kid doesn’t miss a trick. “Yes, sweetheart, I put on real pants because I’ll have to get out of the car to take Carlos to his classroom.” “Do you have on a real shirt or a pajama-y shirt?” LET IT GO, darling. And don’t ask about my shoes.
We whipped into the drop-off lane at 7:36. School starts at 7:40. She’s supposed to be in her seat, ready to learn, with her backpack stowed in her cubby and her magnetic frog placed beneath her lunch selection for the day. Good luck with that.
As I’m waiting my turn (and thinking that these pants shrunk in the dryer), I can’t help but notice the perky flock of mommies who flutter past our car. Each of them is carrying a reusable mug filled with organic, fair trade coffee. Everyone is dressed for Pilates, running, or hot yoga. Not a ruffled feather among them. Not a single eye booger.
I can’t help wondering how they find the time and the quiet center and the XS yoga pants. How the hell do they make a living and still have time for that much exercise and coffee? Seriously, there CANNOT be this many people supporting a family through pottery. Perhaps they run some kind of global distribution consortium for tiny yoga pants and they work out the staffing and shipping issues after Pilates. I don’t know.
At the kindergarten breakfast last week, G and I looked like the only people dressed to go to ordinary jobs afterwards. Everyone else was all Columbia performance vests, ironic hipster tees or pants with a multitude of pockets that would come in handy if you were organizing migrant labor or excavating a midden. And there we were, Windsor knots, wingtips, twin sets and pearls.
Then I realized. The age gap between me and most of the other kindergarten mothers is 15-20 years. No wonder I am sometimes asked, “Do your grandchildren go to school here?” Ouch. But on the other hand, at my advanced maternal age, real pants are just not optional.