Got a phone call this week from a librarian; she reminded me wearily of an audiobook we had checked out over a month ago. It’s due. It’s been a month. Good people return their books on time, missy.
“Oh my word, of course, yes! I will return it tomorrow. I am a good person! I AM!”
Madame Disdainful: “There’s a two dollar late fee. Bring cash.”
“Of course!! I’ll bring THREE dollars! A donation! I am a good person! Super Good!!”
And the scurrying began to locate The Book. Also, I needed to locate my self worth because I just do NOT have late fees. Nary an overdue anything, until, oh, well you know…
I had kids.
There’s just one small problem. Our house seems to have eaten the audio book. Um. And, it’s gonna cost us 72 dollars to replace it.
Holy budget, Batman.
Also, there’s this:
I cannot find our hide-a-key. It’s somewhere in our house, again. It’s probably snuggling up with the love of its life, the Audio book That Should Have Its Own Payment Plan.
A strange noise has started emanating from my car. Not a really serious sound or anything, no grinding or smoke, so probably nothing. It just makes the noise (a sort of sputter-wheeze) whenever the car is, you know, running.
Today, I have HAD it. I am not feeling this, missing key and wonky car. And YOU, blingy Audio book that is all upper east side, you just need to stop taunting me with your disappearing act. I need everything in this house (or parked outside of it) to start BEHAVING now.
I mean NOW. (The Mom Voice paired with a cocked eyebrow seals it. )
The day passes along and it doesn’t seem that anyone, inanimate or not, is actually listening to me. Escalade driving, fully loaded Audio book has probably left the premises for the Hamptons. My keys, rejected and alone, are siding with the car and giving up on life. And me?
I am Ticked. Off.
Muttering now, and stomping a bit (muttering and stomping do help, mind you), I am cleaning my sons’ closet. This involves maneuvering around the Jenga game that is Fall Clothes and Some Weird Toy Bits. I am not really sure why I chose to attempt this most frustrating task on the planet when already I have the mental fortitude of someone in a Breaking Bad episode. The muttering has increased in volume and realize I am, rather tersely, having a “meeting” with God. (“Meeting” with the hooked “quotation marks” fingers is the “word” my “husband” and I use with our boys when really, we are, you know, “arguing” or “snarking it out with each other” because “please, stop being such a big fat pain.”)
I get to start the meeting. And here are some introductory statements:
“You know… I really don’t need this right now. We are BROKE. Broken down brokety BROKE. I am TIRED OUT (God listens better when I give him the old caps routine, I am pretty sure. In fact, I am rather surprised Jesus never attempted caps in the bible. I mean, come on. Don’t you think the Sermon on the Mount would have a bit more “umph” with some caps? Even, dare I say it, BOLD FACE ALL CAPPED ARIAL FONT? Maybe would have upped your “likes” Jesus; I’m just sayin.)
Back to me.
“I’m TIRED OUT. This stupid (gasps from the play room. They heard the “S” word) YES I SAID ‘STUPID‘ CUZ IT’S TRUE. DON’T EVEN.” This is followed by some fervent whispering from the train room and loud scooting over to the far side of the room. I sigh heavily and continue,
“Yes, uh- huh, I said ‘STUPID’ situation with the book and all… come ON. I can’t work like this! It’s enough I have to, like, wake UP every morning and maintain, (flurried gesturing now) THIS, and keep two, heck who are we kidding, THREE other human males alive, so can’t we just have a bit of a break from riff-raffy situations like Audio books that are LIVING A BIT BEYOND THEIR MEANS? Great cupcakes, this is not acceptable.”
Here’s where I get a bit shrill. Just a bit: “I WAS TRYING TO EDUCATE MYSELF! IT WAS A GOOD BOOK! I THINK THE AUTHOR WAS ON OUR SIDE! A TEAM PLAYER! THIS. JUST. ISN’T. FAIR!”
A good start, all in all.
I am stuffing my hand in one of my fifteen diaper bags, trying to figure out if for some reason Little Blingy Audio Book maybe now wants kids and so has decided to cuddle up with some stray diapers and a linty paci. I have, for all intents and purposes, gotten sorely off task and lost my ever-loving mind. 72 DOLLARS ARE LOLLING ABOUT SOMEWHERE IN MY HOUUUUUSE. I was working up to a full octane Pathetic Festival.
I do have those. Pathetic Fests. Next time I’ll advertise better and you can come. Bring a blanket and hunker down. They’re intense. They’re sorta like the Lilith Fair, just as hormonal; just as angry. *
So it’s at this point in the meeting I find the toy in the diaper bag. It’s just a red plastic play phone. I bought it for the blonde one over four years ago. In fact, it was one of his first toys and he loved it, as did the redhead. The yellow buttons rang and beeped and buzzed! It fit just so in their fat fists! It spoke!
See, the phone had a recording device, and you could press and record. And then, with a box of Fall clothes falling in over your shoes and your four years later children in the next room bashing at each other with matchbox cars, you can start to cry and laugh.
“Mommah?. Up?? Up? UP??”
My blonde one, he’s talking to me. He would flap his arms and laugh, waiting to be flown up in my arms. I would place his fuzzy head just under my chin, and we would play itsy bitsy spider. The hands would grasp at me fierce and soft. His feet fit warmly in the palm of my hands. And he would laugh because my lap, my arms around him, that was all and enough and amazing. Full. Grateful.
Full of Grace.
Well. Thank You. And You didn’t even have to use all caps.
*Lilith Fair attendees – don’t be mad. I love the Indigo Girls just as much as you do.