Oh yeah – I know how you feel Sigourney…
One thing they never tell you before you have kids – is how your space, your room, your air, your thoughts ( even all the ones you havent even thought yet) – none of it will ever belong to you again. Never, ever.
Children start taking over even before they’re born. From the moment that diehard sperm battles through overwhelming Hunger Games type odds to be the lucky victor. From the moment that feverish creation party starts happening in your uterus – your very body is no longer your own. Especially if you’re the kind of woman who is lucky enough to puke for five months straight when you’re pregnant. And sink into the abyss of depression because you’re sick all day, everyday. Many times as I hovered over a bowl of vomit, alternately crying and cursing, I would refer to the speck of new life growing inside me, as “the alien…the parasite…” Even though I had knowingly, willingly chosen to grow a child – I quickly changed my mind once the puke took over. (If you’ve seen kick-butt Sigourney Weaver in the movie Alien, then you’ll know exactly how I felt about my alien.)
The joy only multiplies when they actually emerge from the chrysallis. You can never ever leave the house again without taking that baby with you. Without taking all that baby’s assorted ( but necessary) junk with you. When they’re bigger, you cant even take a shower or go to the bathroom without that child trailing after you. Standing outside the door wailing. Arguing. Telling tales on their sister. “Muuum, she won’t let me have a turn on the X-Box…muuuum…muuuum…can you hear me in there?” No, I’ve melted from the sheer misery of my existence and I’m swirling down the drain even as you speak. They sit beside you while you’re trying to read a book. Watching you. Breathing your air. Suffocating you with their very presence.
When they’re teenagers, they tend to stop following you about and instead they disappear into their rooms a lot – rooms which resemble pits of infernal darkness – but then your brain is consumed with worrying about them. Oh no, what if he has a girlfriend? Oh no, what if he never gets a girlfriend and is that loner that nobody likes? Oh no, what if she studies too much and never experiences life outside a textbook? Oh no, what if she never studies at all, fails everything, never gets a job and never leaves home ever? Is he sad/happy/depressed/contemplating shaving his hair off/ pondering the pros and cons of joining the Mongrel Mob? What does she REALLY mean when she stomps into her cave, snarling “I’m fine. Nothings wrong.” Children of any age, possess and consume you.
Which is why ‘me time’ is so important for a parent. Those moments when you run away. Hide in a closet and read. Go for a powerwalk just so you can get away from them.
Which is why my ideal Mother’s Day is having the Fab5 disappear for twelve hours.
Which is why I was so incredibly insulted when Big Son told me that “No, you can’t come downstairs and work out with me in the gym. I want to be alone.”
“Excuse me?! I want to train on the Bowflex machine and its too spooky in the garage by myself at night. I’ll workout while you’re there.”
“No, I don’t want you to. This is my me-time. My alone time. Time to myself. I need this.”
Is this child really trying to talk to me about his need for ALONE TIME? For ME-TIME? Is he deranged? He’s sixteen. Childless, job-less, flying solo, fancy free. And clearly clueless.
“Are you kidding me? You are too young to need ‘alone time’. Have you ever grown a baby? Has your body ever been invaded by parasitic creatures that then take over your life, your every waking and sleeping moment? I don’t think so. Is every minute of your day consumed by children pestering you for something?” And then I’m on a roll of epic proportions. “I gave you life.” (No matter how many times I say it, this child just doesnt get it.) “I wouldnt NEED to workout if it wasn’t for you and your siblings. I used to be beautiful once, until you all ruined me forever…blah blah.”
He listens. To his credit, he tries not to roll his eyes at me. But I know my words are going in one ear and out the other and its infuriating. I shriek, “You have not earned the right to crave ALONE TIME. Or ME-TIME, you hear me?”
I have decided. I am going to stalk this child to the ends of the earth. Harass him with attention. Suffocate him with my presence. He is not getting any alone-time, ever. Not on my watch. Damnit all.