Mommy Has Returned

>> Thursday, October 25, 2007

I’m not really here.

No. I’m outside. Away. Perhaps at some local library. Or the grocery store. Or work. But I’m not really writing in my bedroom at a makeshift workstation with the door locked and a pillow tucked behind my back while typing on my vanity table. No. Officially, Mommy has left the building.

That’s the story Michael is handing the girls, anyway. We’ll see if it works. I need time to do this writing thing, which has become a kind of mental addiction that keeps my head screwed on straight. Now, it seems, I begin to hyperventilate a little without my word fix, which is kind of how I used to feel all the time before writing regularly. So I must write. Because my mind/body needs it.

But there has been very little time to write over the last few days. Here’s what we do, in random, chaotic dis-order:

- answer many fire-related phone calls
- watch the news
- visit Grandma
- check local fire maps
- get a little work done
- call friends and family often
- find Magic Markers
- visit a friend in the hospital
- surf the internet
- watch Disney movies
- discover Moon Sand
- vow to hide Moon Sand when possible
- buy groceries
- chit chat with strangers about the fires
- prepare/consume food
- clean, clean, clean
- read to the girls
- buy pizza
- play with the girls
- yell at the girls
- hug the girls
- make silly faces with the girls
- put girls to bed
- watch MST movies
- put ourselves to bed
- remember how lucky we’ve got it
- repeat

So far we’re safe and very fortunate. We’re in the middle of fires to the North and South and as long as we stay inside, the air quality isn’t too bad. However, fire and smoke has made us all restless. We crave fresh air and grass beneath our feet and new faces and sweet, sweet routine.

“Mommy, is my Quiet Time over?”

“Oh, gosh, honey. I don’t know. See, we’re not used to having you guys during the week. If we did this more often, we’d have a routine. Both of us would know when Quiet Time begins and ends. Heck, we might even have Circle Time and Story Time. But since this doesn’t happen very often, we’re kind of winging it. Know what I mean?”

“Oh. Where’s the tape?”

Earlier I had a doctor’s appointment for my yearly check up. You know it’s bad when you’re happy to get away for a Pap Smear. After all, it was an excuse to be out, in the world, by myself, for an hour. Wahoo! And believe it or not, my doctor was just as happy to give me a Pap as I was to receive it. (Just hear me out...) Apparently, his cousin’s family was evacuated from their home and had moved in with him. They brought four young children, the complexities of marital relations, and a large dog.

“Yea,” he said. “The kids spilled maple syrup on the floor. I’m just not used to it.”

I chuckled as he snapped on his latex gloves and grabbed the lube.

“But of course we’re lucky we still have our homes and that our families are safe.”

“Oh, of course.”

In went the speculum...

But as soon as my exam was over, I wanted to be home. The air makes my throat scratchy, and Dang if I can’t stand to be away from the girls too long. It’s the same problem I have with vacations. My husband and I talk about taking vacations away from the girls, but I get an uneasy tightness in my stomach -- probably from some invisible umbilical chord that keeps me from straying to far. So we stay home. But within minutes of walking through the door, I’m inches from insanity once again.

Which proves to me that I am hopelessly and totally in love with my family, because only love would make me react that way, right?

But as they say, these are the problems you want to have. I’d rather be restless here at home than stranded in a shelter while my memories burn away. I’d rather go crazy with a little girl’s endless questions than struggle through her silence as she labors with asthma or excessive smoke inhalation. I’ll happily endure a little domestic irritation than endure the unthinkable -- the complete absence of it.

So I’m in my bedroom; here but not here; hoping an hour of this writing thing will restore my inner balance and help me achieve some needed perspective. I think it’s working. But for a little while longer, when I hear a kid cry in the distance, ask for the tape, or bemoan the injustice of not getting the blue Magic Marker, I’ll pretend it’s some other parent’s problem (yea, like my husband’s). Because right now I’m not here -- I’m at the library/store/work.

And when I go home (through the bedroom door), I’ll play with the girls, wear something tight (or short or both) for Michael, and give them all a big, big hug.

Looks like Mommy has returned.

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