When I was younger I kept think that one day I would become this ‘adult.’ One day my hair would become straight and sleek and beautiful. One day I would be classy, poised, tactful, able to keep my mouth shut. One day my clothes would be perfect, well-matched, well-fitting, I would look ‘expensive.’ One day I would be organized, on time, all my ducks would be in that row that exists that you put them in, that row I can never seem to find.
As I’ve gotten older life has brought harbingers of adulthood. I’m married. I know what a pork tenderloin is. And I know how to use it. I have gone shopping and bought things only for other people. And the last nail in the coffin of adulthood: I have a child. By all cultures and nations definitions I am an adult. And you know what: my ducks are still all over the damn place.
I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up. And I’m grown up! Artist? Writer? Teacher? Coffee-shop owner? Baker? Butcher? Candlestick maker? Scott started teasing me because I had four blogs open on word the other day. He stopped when I shrieked, ‘that’s because I haven’t been able to complete a thought in four days!’
Taking on certain roles has made me have to be more organized, and in my own scattered way I have made some systems so that I don’t go crazy. Every Saturday, or Sunday, or sometime near the end of the week I look through the food we have in the pantry and freezer, ask Scott what he wants for dinner, make a meal plan, and then buy groceries. If what is on the list does not get bought snakes spontaneously sprout from my head and everything I look at turns to stone.
I have come up with ways to organize Emma’s stuff and get us out of the house in under ten minutes. All that stuff that we were given and assured was necessary for having a baby has a place where it is ‘away.’ Yes, the activity mat DOES go in the middle of the living room floor. I have ways to organize my classroom and lesson plans. Yes, the scribbled notes on the margins do count as planning. Yes, there’s that pile of papers in the corner, and I know exactly what’s in it. There may even be a pile in each corner.
I have noticed that having a baby has turned my inner monologue into scrambled eggs. I have also noticed that my mental word processor is now broken. I can think of what I want to say, but I can’t necessarily get it out of my mouth. I now know why mom’s often just over extend themselves to do it all on their own. Explaining things to someone who is trying to help you takes way too much effort. (That thing up there on the shelf, you know the thing in the cornery part!) The times where I have had to reel the snakes back into my skull and take a deep breath to explain something to my poor, deer caught in the headlights, what did they do to my wife, husband rather than exploding, and doing it myself are almost infinite.
My painting class is working on a project inspired by Marc Chagall. Consequently I have posters of his work up on half of my bulletin board. On the other half I have their completed work from a project based on Georgia O’Keefe. I have stalled out a few times on doing critiques because I haven’t known how to do them with high schoolers in a way that makes them talk about their art, think about their art, and keeps their wobbly little egos intact. I was making up a questionnaire for the O’Keefe project, occasionally I would glance up at the board as I thought through the questions. I finished printed them out and made ten copies. Then noticed I had proudly, in my signature font, entitled it Self Critique/Marc Chagall Project. A duck is out of line.
Now that I am an ‘adult’ I am still the person I have always been. I am still the 4th grader who loses her house keys every day and has to break in the house. (Consequently I always know where my keys are and am really good at breaking in houses.) I am still the high schooler who is unsure that the white jeans she bought were really a good choice. I am still the college student arriving two minutes late to class. My hair is still a curly uncontrollable mass. I think my clothes fit better than they used to, I have developed ways of keeping myself ‘organized.’ Maybe it’s time I just learned to accept it all….quack.