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Some Weeks I’d Put Myself on a Milk carton

Remember when I told you I was done?  That feeling didn’t leave for a few days.  I was really done.  I was over all of it.  I just wanted to runaway.  I was texting a friend who was also done.  She said, “I want to become one of those women that people are shocked she just disappeared.”  I texted back, “But smart Mothers would know she just wanted out for a few days.  And those Moms would help her stay missing.  They’d form an Underground Railroad for Moms.”  And last week, I wanted to become the president.

During those kind of weeks, it seems like the media is full of stories about how you’re supposed to appreciate the chaos because one day it will be gone.  They freak you out by setting a scene of an unfathomable future.  The lovey blankets will be replaced by piles of arm pitty stained t-shirts.  The action figures will be swapped for devices linked to friends’ devices.  Conversations with a child nestled in your lap will be replaced by a teen with his head down saying, “yep. yep. yep.” who’s not really listening but texting his friend.  All these examples are supposed to whip you back to into Present Grateful Momma mode.  You’re supposed to run to your babies with open arms, “I love your snot covered face!  I love how you tantrum in the grocery!  It was so creative.  Of course we can look at the toy aisle again!  And this time I won’t pull out my phone once.  I adore your smart ass remarks about the simple chores!   No, thank you for not eating your dinner.  Please don’t let me down and refuse it again tomorrow night!  I just love you so much RIGHT NOW!”

Fuck the media.  I wasn’t buying their scare tactics.  I wanted the future.  And if you’re so brave or ballsy to say, “Don’t wish away  your life.”  Last week, I would have waited until I could give you the same stupid advice.  I’m patient.  I would have waited for years.  Oh your husband left you for his 22 year-old fitness instructor?  “Everything happens for a reason…” would have dripped out of my grinning mouth.

My desire to runaway wasn’t just kid-related.  It was simply being an adult and dealing with the nuisances of a family.  I left the towels in the wash twice.  I had to get creative with lunch packing three times even though lunch is rarely eaten.  I had deadlines.  I had to explain things that are supposed to be really simple.  And saying, “It is what it is” wasn’t acceptable.  I had to sucked it up and deal with a husband who needed to work overtime all week.  I had a mysterious smell in the basement that seemed to only show up when I was home and dwindled away when anyone else was around.  I stepped on my dozen-th Lego and then was asked for sympathy because someone else stepped on his first Lego of the week.  I spent Monday dealing with the remnants of said smell: sewer back-up (i.e. shit and piss).  I did the checkbook only to see a negative balance.  I spent a large chunk of time trying to not think about how a new job will affect our family.  I took a quick relaxing shower only to be Metallic Bomb’d (Metallic on the iPod cranked up and left in the bathroom seconds after I started the shower).  I spent days not sure what to do with my kid at home.  Put in very simple terms: I spent the week begrudgingly being an adult.

I just wanted to runaway.  And no cherished stuffed animal left in the kitchen was going to fix my attitude.  It was simply going to trip me and send me crashing into the dishwasher which needed to be filled again.

I really wanted a group of Moms to hide me out in their garage.  I’d show up with my hair in a knot and roots which needed  some attention.  I’d whisper, “Please” and she’d pour me a glass of wine and she’d give me her most special blanket: one without food stains.  I’d tell her, “I don’t need much.  Whatever they push away at dinner, I’ll take.”  And when she brought me a full plate of delicious food, I’d look her straight in the eye and say, “I appreciate this so much.  Thank you.”

You might think my desire to runaway ends with a deep hug from a 5-year-old or an “I love you” from an 8-year-old.  It doesn’t.  I’m sorry but let’s be honest, hugs and I-Love-You’s aren’t always magic.  Sometimes it’s just a squeeze and some words strung together.  I stayed because life is like that mysterious smell in our basement.  Somedays it has an air of funk and then randomly goes away.  And then sometimes it actual does explode with shit.

But you clean it up and get back to the good parts of life.

The part when your kid does eat dinner and surprises you with, “This cabbage is really good.  Thanks, Ma.”  The part when your kid admits, “I made a mistake when I said today was a ‘Bad Word’ (sucked = time-out).  Today was a really good day.”  The part when your husband cleans your car and doesn’t mention how messy it really was.  The part when the kids never get out of bed night.  The part when you bolt out of the house for dinner with friends.  The part when your kids let you sleep in because one can fix cereal.  The part when you get emails from readers saying, “Thank you for writing what I wish I could say.”  The part when you stop whining, “This is my life,” but you say it with pride.

I’m not running away this week.  And it wasn’t because I chose to look at the irritants fondly or told myself, “I will really miss this one day.”  Life sucked me back in.  Because even when it mysteriously smells like shit, I’m really proud and lucky to be here.

this oldie felt appropriate :: shit smiling back at me

  • Leah Donaldson - Sometimes I read your blog, and think is she spying on me. Erika is describing my life – can she see me….once again you have made me laugh on what was a shitty day. So thank you!May 1, 2013 – 12:13 pmReplyCancel

    • Irina - I am having one of those shitty days myself when everything that can go wrong does. Reading your story makes me feel better because there’s the real proof that we’re all in this together. Way to be honest! THANK YOU from all my heart!May 1, 2013 – 1:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Beckie - Erika i LOVE you for saying all this. For being real, honest, and painfully truthful about things. because some days a snot nosed kid is just a snot nosed kid, even if he’s your own 😉 and that’s ok.May 1, 2013 – 5:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Nina - Yesterday I spent half a night reading your blog. A lot of posts are like I could write myself, but never had right words. Thank you!May 1, 2013 – 5:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Life with Kaishon - I love everything about this post.
    Every single thing : )
    And that toilet paper roll?
    Awesome shot.May 1, 2013 – 9:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Life, unedited. Take one. | Felicia Chang Photography - […] Now please head over to Jessica Miller’s blog to check out her version of Let’s Get Real. And definitely take a moment to read this blog post from Erika Ray: Some weeks I’d put myself on a milk carton. […]May 9, 2013 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

  • Best of 2013 » Erika Ray Photography - […] I didn’t run away. […]December 27, 2013 – 9:26 amReplyCancel

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