Lessons in Self Discovery

Two weeks in.

Two weeks that I have dropped off all three children in front of the school.

Two weeks that I have had no pint-sized companion next to me, asking for the car buggy at the store (are those things not THE WORST to maneuver down the aisle?), asking me to peel an orange, following me to the bathroom, or reporting to me every bathroom activity that THEY themselves have completed.

You know what’s the worst?

When I flip on the TV, because I cannot…I CANNOT, sit in a quiet house, and I scroll through the channels and I see the listing for Paw Patrol or Team Umizoomi or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It’s almost physical the tug I feel at my heartstrings.

Oh dear Lord. They all said it would go by so fast.

And there were days where I felt pretty sure that the Mommy Assignment that had been delivered to me was surely not from Heaven but rather from Hell. (Don’t lie. You’ve thought it too.)

But all of a sudden, those years spent watching the animated Disney cartoons, or NickJr shows (and y’all, I remember when it was called NOGGIN)…they are GONE.

Oh they still watch Disney. But now it’s the tween shows where Every. Single. Character. has their own album or music video out. (Seriously. If we could put an end to that, that’d be awesome. Not EVERYONE needs to be auto-tuned and Pro-Tool-ed to death. Make it stop.)

Now, I can sit on the couch and catch up on all those New Girl episodes that I haven’t seen (“I HAVE touched glitter in the last 24 hours!…And I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. It freaks me out.”).

And I can eat lunch without sharing it. I can go to the bathroom and not have someone freak out every time I close the door.

Literally. Every single time I enter the bathroom and close the door, doesn’t matter what I’m doing, someone has some life-threatening emergency that is neither life-threatening nor an emergency.

In fact, right now…at this very moment, I am sitting in a Barnes and Noble typing this, and although I find it extremely unsettling how loudly people talk on their phones about their personal problems while in a public place, there is no one asking anything of me in this moment.

I could go browse the books, after I take a side-trip to the bathroom of course because I drank a venti…wait for it…Pumpkin Spice Latte, and there wouldn’t be anyone to throw themselves down on the ground and roll around and shout how they are “never going to love me ever again” because I won’t buy them a toy.

And while I’m at it….why does Barnes and Noble even sell toys? Can we stick to books and movies, please? It makes the life of a parent who just wants to swing by and pick up a book on parenting the strong-willed, thrice exceptional, gifted yet learning disabled child and their complex emotional and nutritional needs so much easier than having to wrestle little Tommy off the floor because he can’t have that $200 Lego set of Battlestar Galactica. I’m just saying.

But y’all. Can I let you in on a little secret?

I’m sad. And scared.

I’m sad with a side of remorse for all the times I wish I’d given just a little bit more effort to relishing all those times I snuggled with a toddler on the couch who wanted to watch a show that I could not even keep my eyes open for.

I’m sad that they grew so fast, yet so slow all at the same time.

I’m sad that I don’t have any reason to visit the baby/toddler aisle at Target or even Publix anymore. There was nothing like bagging up 154 tiny glass jars of baby food and carrying them, clinking and double bagged, into the house and wonder how the heck I was ever going to find space in the pantry to put all of those precious little containers of baby nutrition.

Do they even make jarred baby food now? I don’t even know. It seems like everything they sell these days is all “Here little baby. Take this squeeze bag of pureed kale, beets, rutabagas, and organic mangoes and squirt it in your mouth yourself.”

Anyway…I’m scared.

I’m scared because my existence revolved solely around being the mommy 24-7. And while I still spend ridiculous amounts of time transporting them in the car to and from and suffering through the tears and hand cramps and eraser hole ridden papers of homework….and the lunch packing and the lunch buying and the breakfast making and the uniform washing and the sock finding and the backpack packing of having three in “for real” school, I also have several hours in the day that I need to fill.

It’s like I’m having to relearn everything about myself. And IT IS OVERWHELMING.

It’s a new season here in the Parris house. And I’m desperately seeking and searching what my days should look like now. Where should my time and effort go to before the kids arrive home? Am I being lazy if I just sit around and watch 6 straight episodes of Andy Griffith? (My heart says no on that one. It’s good parenting technique research. Andy was a pretty good dad, I think.)

For now, I can tell you this…what I have learned TODAY, Friday, August 29th, 2014…

Hanging out at a Barnes and Noble Starbucks “cafe” trying to think and write? Yeah…that ain’t happening. People sit way too close to me trying to hog the outlets and I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about the two groups of ladies that have discussed everything about their neighbors super loud. And…the dude to my left claims he’s only sent one email in his life, can’t figure out how to log on to the Wifi, and has repeatedly asked the barista for tech support like she’s behind the Genius Bar at Apple. I can tell she wants to be all, “Dude. I gots some mochas to make. Take a class.”

Oh…and there’s another guy here…I call him Exasperated Man. He sighs REALLY loud about every two minutes. He alternates his sighs with knuckle cracking.

And it is DRIVING ME BONKERS. I’ve got to get out of here. Maybe run by the non-fiction section and pick up book on dealing with high maintenance people who make rude noises, hog outlets, have no personal space, or sense of other people’s time.

Yep. I’m learning more and more about myself everyday.

I’ll call today a success.



  1. Tawn says

    Annette, such great insight in such a short time. You will find many things that you will enjoy doing during “your” time and you will enjoy your “mom” time so much more.