Do you ever look at something--be it the contents of your purse or your calendar or whatever you use to keep track of your days--and wonder, "Well...how did I get here?" (To quoth The Talking Heads.)
The other night Sweet Husband and I were having one of those rare, all-the-children-are-sleeping, whole-thought conversations, when he asked, "What's your least favorite thing about having kids?"
His least favorite thing was the whirlwind, the never getting a second to breathe. And while I sympathize with that, my answer was, "Not getting to work late."
That sounds like a stereotypical, American, workaholic answer, doesn't it?
But what I really meant was not being able to work an idea through in one sitting. Not being able to call and say, "I'll be late for dinner, I need to finish this thought before I come home." Not being able to sit and knit all weekend to get a sweater done. Not being able to get utterly absorbed in anything that takes longer than the break between feedings or a nap or the time the children can reasonably spend at school in a day.
I've always been a person with (too?) many pots on the stove, but pre-kids I could attend to one pot and then the next and then the next in a quite logical fashion. Now they're all sort of jumbled together in ten minute slices.
The contents of my purse--which spilled out onto the seat of my car this morning--hit me as the perfect metaphor. For the record, they included:
Notebook, wallet, draft of a brief, pattern for a baby parrot costume, notes re: baby parrot costumes, several pens, snotty Kleenex, the Kid's swim trunks, thermometer, pouch of lipstick/Chapstick, murder interview tape, two band-aids, knitted baby gift to be mailed, fun lenses for my iPhone camera, keys, phone charger plug, dry cleaning slip, candy wrapper, changing pad, ibuprofen, headphones.
That may seem like a normal "mom purse", and, indeed, it probably is. But, in that moment, all I could think was (for reals) "How did I get here?"
Not in a bad way--I do love this life we've built, most days--but just, literally, how and when did this all get into my purse? How did I become a person who needs all this stuff to get through the day's tasks on a random Tuesday?
And am I the only one who gets a little dizzy sometimes when staring at all the responsibilities I carry around in my handbag?