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Challenge: WHO are you?

I Haven't Always Been

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I recently overhead the young people at the office discussing their plans for St. Patrick's Day. Some of them mentioned friends who would be waking up at 5:30 a.m. to start a day of indulgent revelry. Just hearing this made me feel very tired and a little nauseous. But mostly confused.

WHY WOULD ANYONE GET UP AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN TO TEND TO A SCREAMING CHILD WHO HAS WOKEN UP AND DISCOVERED THAT HIS PAJAMA SHIRT HAS BECOME UNBUTTONED?!

(Written in all caps because I felt like shouting.)

I don't understand the choices that these young people make, because I am not a young person. I am a slightly-older person with slightly-older person responsibilities.

But I haven't always been.

Yesterday I forgot to send Max to school with Wolfie, despite several email blasts from his teacher reminding parents that their children's good behavior had earned them an ice cream party with their favorite stuffed animals. I still don't quite understand how I managed to forget this because, oh yeah, I AM ALSO ONE OF THE HOMEROOM PARENTS WHO HELPS TO PLAN THE EVENTS!! I am forgetful these days.

But I haven't always been.

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A few months ago I ran around the house frantically looking for my keys, only to be told (by a 4-year-old) that I must have put them in the car already because the car is running. I am distracted these days.

But I haven't always been.

Currently I lose patience too quickly with my husband, BECAUSE-I-FEEL-TIRED-ALL-OF-THE-TIME-AND-THE-KIDS-MAKE-ME-CRAZY-AND-HE-IS-THE-EASIEST-PERSON-TO-TAKE-IT-OUT-ON. I am cranky and moody and not always pleasant to be around.

But I haven't always been.

While it would be completely misleading to say that I was ever laid-back, there was a time — not too long ago — when I was calmer. More rational. Less prone to psychotic episodes. I didn't raise my voice or wag my finger in someone's face with such frequency. I would stay up late with my husband, drinking wine and playing Boggle. I was spontaneous. Less likely to cry at the Folgers Coffee commercial where the adult son surprises his mother by coming home for Christmas. I could see a sink full of dirty dishes or a pile of unfolded laundry without dying a little inside from anxiety.

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In a previous life, I was an attorney who wore suits that actually fit. And there was not a single stain on them. Now, I am an attorney who takes her cell phone into meetings in case daycare calls to report that a child of hers has bitten another child of hers, or worse, someone else's. In a previous life, I was someone who loved finding new restaurants or trying new recipes. Now, I'm generally too tired to leave the house unless it's on fire. And my meals consist of whatever dinosaur-shaped, ketchup-slathered food the boys have left on their plates. In a previous life, I dreamed about taking my future children on all kinds of adventurous day trips. Now, I refuse to go anywhere in public with all three of them.

I am forgetful, irritable, anxious, distractible, emotionally volatile and impatient. I am a mother.

I haven't always been.

But I am so grateful to be now.

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