And as it turns out, I still am an entertainer — maybe even more so now. Because being a good host isn’t always about putting on a good show. Sometimes, in a stage of life where everyone is running around with their hair on fire and often feeling overwhelmingly lonely, entertaining is about simply providing a time and place for a gathering, and giving permission for everyone to be a little bit of a mess by being a little bit of a mess yourself.
Me? Oh, ya know — same old, same old. I’m working a little more than I’d like — probably around a hundred or so hours a week. I mean, they want me to work more but I’m like, “No.” I draw the line at 110 hours. Like, that’s it. I’m on this project where I have to push this giant rock up a hill, and every time I get close to the top it rolls back down. Like, by design. I don’t know who scoped this thing. It’s fine, but whenever I ask the project manager what the end date is she bellows, “This is your eternity,” in this really low, spooky voice, which is totally not helpful.
So you wave that hand-stitched, hand-dyed, quilted, embroidered, bedazzled flag, my Pinterest Mom friend. And when you see that look on my face as I survey your bounty of homemade gloriousness, know that’s not judgment or criticism. That’s wonderment and pride in you for what you’ve made, as well as a big helping of gratitude for you sharing what you’ve made with me. Because you know damn well I’m taking a slice of that cake.
And you want to go on a road trip? Not sure if you need one pack and play or two? Heck, bring three. You’ve got room. Going to the grocery store? Go ahead, buy the 80-pack of toilet paper. No problem. And speaking of toilet paper, tired of stopping every 10 minutes because someone else has to pee? Or dealing with accidents because they couldn’t hold it until the next rest stop? Throw a little potty in the back and pull over when one of them needs to go. You just cut two hours off your travel time.
When they’re babies, it’s just plain old sleep deprivation. Nothing fancy, just a basic form of torture outlawed by the Geneva Convention yet somehow totally cool when perpetrated by a tiny human that looks marginally like you. Then as they get older, their torturing skills mature. It becomes less about brute force denial of sleep and more about finding psychological mechanisms for draining the joy out of the act of sleep.
The more I learn about app dating, though, the more I’m considering forcing you to go vegan, wear a helmet when you drive, and sleep in a hyperbaric chamber. If you recall, you were pretty solidly stuck with me already back when online dating was still for weirdos. Ours is an analog love story. Please, please, for the love of God, don’t make me go out there. I won’t survive.
I’m sorry that you have to sit on a counter with a baby bottle and a sippy cup that somehow has a wad of silly putty adhered to the side of it. You will likely meet your eventual demise at the greasy hands of a child. One of them will bumble across the kitchen holding you — full of milk — then trip on their own feet and send you flying to the tile floor. You will shatter and die, and they will not understand why their otherwise iron-souled mother will burst into tears.
But I want it. I want the little sayings. I want the comfort. I want them and I want them to make sense for MY world. So, I’d like to propose some rewrites to those old adages to make them more relevant to us, the ones in the sticky, smelly trenches. Us — the parents of young kids.