It’s lunchtime and I still haven’t showered from my morning run with Scarlet. Typical really. My life right now seems to be consumed by the boys’ new schedule. Basketball, tennis, music, more basketball, play-dates, karate, soccer… I am a firm believer in not over-scheduling, but one or two activities times four boys and I’m a taxi service who should also take stock out in the local Trader Joe’s market as I’m there every single day as well.
Last weekend was the worst. We all have jet-lag which translates into early mornings, very early, and early evenings. Sunrise-sunset kind of thing. Like farmers. I’d probably like being a farmer. Anyway…I think I had one schlep too many because I started the fatal discussion in my head that never ends well; What happened to my life?? What am I doing all day that awakens my mind, my soul?? Who am I becoming aside from a competent mother?? Is that enough?
And then to make matters worse, the dreaded memory overload happened shortly thereafter. Standing on a field shouting for my son to score a goal, I get a call from another mom. She tells me she is waiting at the park for me. I tell her she has the wrong number. She then insists I was suppose to pick up my son at the park. I tell her that I am at the park, watching the game – she’s got the wrong mother. She then puts my son on the phone.
I totally forgot that one of my other son’s needed collecting from another park. Mortified I squeak out a thank you as she offers to bring him home knowing she thinks I’m a bit of a whack job. We then race back to find my sweet nanny cooking dinner. Right. Back to order. Get books out. Say sorry to forgotten son. Then third son comes inside wearing his basketball uniform. I cast my eyes quickly upon him and sweetly think how little he looks in such a huge uniform. Uniform?? Basketball?? What time is it??? The clock reads 30 minutes late to his practice – a practice he’s been clearly waiting for all day. Shit. Forgot. Nanny leaves with him. I finish cooking. Deep breath. Back to calm. Books, spaghetti. I scream for the boys to come to dinner. Two show up at the counter. I continue screaming for the little one. No reply. I look outside. Nothing. I go upstairs. In the bathrooms. He’s not there. No one has seen him.
I run downstairs and see the front door is open. It’s now dark outside. “Where’s your little brother?!” I scream. Then a car pulls up and honks. I can’t see who’s inside. Could my little boy have gotten lost?? Who are these people honking?? Out pops a mom. I sort-of recognize her. “Hi Jennifer. Your little one is so cute. We’ve had the best time. He’s had ice cream, I hope that’s okay…” And that’s all I heard. My fourth son gets out of the car with chocolate smeared all over his face, happy as happy and we say our goodbyes to a mom I barely recognize and walk inside.
I shut the door and not know if I should laugh or cry. A play-date? Then I smell the burning. The pasta!! Seriously – is this seriously happening in one day? So much for competent mother. I’m so blaming this on jet-lag.
It’s now nearly the end of our first school week back with this crazy schedule and Husband returns this weekend. Life gets even more insane when he’s around, not in a bad way of course, but in a fifth son sort of way. His energy and chaos and busy-ness makes for a mad household. I obviously thrive on it otherwise I would have had a nervous breakdown some time ago, but I do fret when the memory goes. It’s a warning sign to start writing everything down, take on a bit less and breathe a bit more. Or there’s always alcohol!
By the way, the ‘transition’ back to LA was more like a moment of pause, almost in passing. I realized that I didn’t have to set up our lives here, start from scratch again and find our way. It was ready for us, just like how London embraced us over the holidays. My family still picked us up from the airport and my mom still bought a ludicrous amount of welcome-back-matzaball soup from Jerry’s, but within 48 hours, we were home.