Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm a Survivor

My idea of a dream babysitter is one who e-mails out of the blue and says: "Hey! I'm available to watch your kids tomorrow night! Want to go on a spur-of-the-moment date?" Because yes, yes I do. I want to go on a date and rarely do. And better yet, I want to go on a spur-of-the moment date.

If I have to plan the date, I probably won't. Even if I do, I'll probably back out of it. I don't know why; I can't explain it. I'm such a spontaneity junkie that--even if we plan a trip six months out--I have to wait until the last minute to pack...just so the vacation feels a little like a surprise. If you tell me you're visiting three months ahead of time, I'll be found cleaning frantically the day of your arrival...just so it feels a little like a surprise that you're on your way.

And these kids, Man: they're trying to break me. Kids--at least in my experience--thrive on schedules and plans: ugh. Nothing makes me feel more like myself than a last-minute date (except Merle Haggard, but this post isn't about him)...even if we take the baby with us.

So imagine us on our last-minute date. I'm not wearing make-up, but I've showered and donned a white peasant blouse. We've decided to eat on the patio; the weather's perfect. I note a teensy farm smell as we sit down. I'm not troubled; I grew up on farms. Where's the farm near here?

Oh. It's in the pants of my baby.

Ok, ok. No big deal. I excuse myself and carry the baby to the minivan. Oh, too bad: he has a bit of poop on his outfit. It's alright; I have a diaper, wipes, and an extra outfit for him. But then I look down and see:

I have poop all over my white peasant blouse. I'm not talking a little bit. I'm talking a 4"x6" smear on the side, where I carried the baby on my hip, also a spot the size of a fifty-cent piece on the bottom front. I use all the remaining wipes to scrub at my shirt, but it's still mustard-colored (in 4"x6"- and fifty-cent-piece-sized spots). And I smell like a farm.

I put the clean baby back on my hip to hide the bigger spot and carry him to Jim, whose smile slowly fades as I point at my shirt. "I'm going to the bathroom," I whisper, and he nods.

I slink (along the wall, like a rat) to the bathroom. I'm in luck: it's a one-sink, one-toilet deal with a door that locks. Also, it has good-quality, colorless hand soap. I peel my white peasant shirt over my head and apply hand soap and cold water to the yellow spots, then hand wash over the sink. The spots come right out. I put my shirt back on and study my reflection. I smile and think how I much prefer wet, soap-smelling spots to yellow, farm-smelling ones.

So imagine us on our last-minute date, my white peasant blouse drying in the summer air. We're smiling and enjoying our time; I didn't flip out and ruin it. And I'm thankful, you know, for the test. I feel like a real mom. I've got Destiny's Child singing in my head. ((I'm a survivor (What?) / I'm goin'na make it (What?) / I will survive (What?) / Keep on survivin' (What?)))

There will be bread pudding with caramel sauce. A spark in his eye, his hand on my knee. Survivors, all of us.


  1. YOU ROCK!! I loved this story!

  2. You are the bravest woman I know. I haven't worn white pants or white shirts since I gave birth. Now that my son is 26 and living in his own home, I may be brave enough to take the risk. "Spontaneity junkie, " I love that name.

  3. YES YOU ARE!! and this is hilarious. Rock on, mama.

  4. I'm with Jamie, YOU ROCK! To slip that shirt right over your head and take action and come out with a smile and a ready to party face, YOU ROCK! I was holding my breath thinking, "Oh dang, she is going to shut this date right down right now!"

    Way to go Momma, way to go!