When Did *I* Become the Grown Up in the Room?

Ladies and gentleman, I am thirty-five years old, have three small children, am married, and own a business with my mother. Yet somehow, when I stop and think about it, I am completely baffled by this turn of events. How have I been entrusted with the daily responsibility of keeping alive three babies? More importantly, how have I kept them alive so long?

I recall about three and a half years ago, I was giving a talk to a bunch of junior high girls for the Soroptimists (I am not one, but an acquaintance of mine was) at a local high school. All of a sudden, someone pulled the fire alarm and we had to evacuate the class room. I looked around for an adult to follow and then stopped short. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I was the adult. I had to make sure all the girls in my class met at the appropriate meeting point and then accompany them back to the classroom. What the what?

IT BLEW MY MIND.

How in the world did this happen? Who allowed this? To whom should I lodge a complaint?

I don’t know if it’s the Impostor Syndrome, the fact that I think I’m younger than I really am, or just complete denial of reality. But I find it so weird.

Does anyone else feel like this? That their view of themselves hasn’t quite caught up to reality yet?

I mean, I know I am a mother now. A grown up taking care of small children that are MINE (for reals) and that no one is coming to take away. I have responsibilities and I perform them (reasonably well). Yet STILL. It seems strange.

Granted, it is less surreal now than it was about four years ago when I was just about to have Cookie Monster. I wonder if that feeling of “Is this really my life?” will ever go away? Or whether at every stage in life I’ll still be somewhat surprised. I am reminded of these lyrics from the song, Once in a Lifetime.

You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

You may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house.”
You may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife.”

– Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

When I was younger and heard this song on the radio, I thought it was one of the stupidest things ever and hated the song. It made no sense to me. How could anyone not know their house or their wife? Plus, I thought the song sounded weird. Then, when I heard it in the trailer for the Nicolas Cage movie, The Family Man, and finally watched it, I started to like the song because it reminded me of the movie (which I really enjoyed). But it was only after I had Cookie Monster that I finally understood what the song was talking about.

I know. I was a little late to the party.

Now, I absolutely LOVE this song. It perfectly captures my bewilderment when I really stop and look at my life. I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d be a SAHM with three kids (and contemplating one, perhaps two, more). I thought I would be just like my own mother and work. After all, I turned out ok, right? RIGHT?

I remember a friend of mine telling me once her son was born, she knew that she was born to be his mother. She put on hold her career as an optometrist (a career she loved) and became a SAHM to three kids. When she told me this, I was stunned. I just couldn’t imagine someone giving up a career (temporarily, obviously) for a BABY.

I clearly lack imagination.

As soon as I saw Cookie Monster‘s squishy little face and huge dark eyes, I knew – just knew – that I was made to be his mother. Three kids later, I still know to the core of my being that being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me and that I don’t mind being a SAHM at all. In fact, I LOVE it. It is what I was born to do. I would rather do this than any other job (well, except perhaps the job where I get paid to lay around all day reading, watching TV, and stuffing my piehole with as much food as possible. Or as Hapa Papa would call it, “The Weekend.” As soon as Friday hits, I have a tendency to forget I’m a parent and force him to take care of our children solo.)

Anyhow, this is all just a rambling long post just to say that I can’t believe this is my life – but I am ever so grateful.

And with that, I leave you with the live version of Once in a Lifetime on YouTube since I can’t find the album version of this song.

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