As a child, I derided my mother for being crazy. As an adult, I understand that her crazy is all my fault. I have two children and I slowly am losing my mind. I often find myself on the verge of insanity, yelling things like, “We do not hex our brother into a chicken!” Storing empty 9-by-13 inch pans in the freezer and wearing mismatching boots the grocery store. All of this and I only have two children.
I stress the number of my children because my mother had eight. And as a child, I was sure my mother should have been in a straitjacket. She confused our names and lost her shoes. Moments before leaving the house, she would send us scuttling about the house looking for her shoes. This happened so often, I started finding them in advance and holding onto them until the last minute, just to make her sweat it out. She frequently forgot to buy the right crackers and she never knew where my favorite shirt was. Was it in the laundry? In my drawer? Why couldn’t she tell me?
I was reminded of my mother’s insanity the day I signed my daughter up for ice skating lessons. She’s been begging to dance like an ice princess for months. So, two months before her third birthday, I signed her up. As I knelt by the table at the ice arena, filling out a form, my daughter danced and twirled, lunging out of my reach and laughing. The woman at the table politely chatted, asking my daughter’s name and telling me she was a lovely “spirited” child. Meanwhile, I scrutinized the form trying to come up with answers to mind-bending questions like, “When is your child’s birthday?”
I wrote down her correct birthday and scribbled in a number for her age. The woman at the table, glanced over my answers and frowned. “How old are you honey?” She asked my daughter. Ellis held up two fingers. “I 2!”
“Is she two?” The woman asked. I nodded. “Then, why did you answer 3?”
“I’m not lying to you,” I said. “I’m just really, really crazy.”
I’ve done this before. Once at the urgent care, when I hauled in a croupy toddler, the receptionist asked if we were new patients. “No, we’ve been coming here forever,” I said. So, she typed the birth date in again. Then, she politely asked if maybe I got something wrong? The year? Because my daughter didn’t look like she was 4. Perhaps her birth year was 2011?
“Yes, you are right,” I wanted to tell the girl. Of course you are right. I’ve forgotten one of the most important days of my life, the day I became a mom. It happened four to three years ago. I’m not sure. All I know is I can’t pee right and someone keeps licking my foot and telling me she is hungry.
Science tells me its sleep-deprivation. Older, wiser mothers just shake their head and call it “mom brain.” Whatever it is, we are calling this a form of crazy and I have it. Consequently, I owe my mom an apology, which I will do just as soon as she finds my favorite shirt.
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Lyz Lenz is a writer, mother of two, and hater of pants. You can email her at email@example.com or find her writing on LyzLenz.com.