Challenging Valentine

You know it’s going to be a challenging day when your five year-old, your five year-old BOY, looks at you in your outfit as you are about to walk out the door and go to a birthday party and says:

“Did you sleep in those clothes?”

And when you ask: “Does it look like I slept in this?” and he responds, yes it does.

Just put on your seatbelt because it’s going to be a wild one. And even though you stop and put on some mascara,

You know that a little mascara, even some brow pencil is on par with spitting into the wind on a day like today.

Important note: I did not, nor do I ever, sleep in my clothes.( I might eat cereal for dinner sometimes; Or leave dirty dishes in the sink—OK,OK! And on the counter– for 12 to 24 hours; or not put away clean laundry, for a week; or ignore the piles of mail for…a long time; But I do not sleep in my clothes.)

So, back to the arc of the day: mascara application and hustle off to the birthday party. You have been warned by the host family that parking will be atrocious because of a street fair close by. As you are circling, you see pretty mom/friend #1(She really is a friend so I can’t spit any invective. She is even the creative director of an ultra cool ad firm in the city. Even with all that, she is lovely and real.) She looking adorable and glowing in skinny jeans and cute white blouse(I can’t remember when I had the courage to wear a white blouse without a heavily embroidered jacket or sweater on top.) I ask her to take K while I look for a spot. K trots off and immediately starts holding hands with F, Pretty Mom/friends’ son.

At the party, I cheer up and forget the sleeping-in-my-clothes comment. Even though all the other parents look fabulous and completely un-rumpled, I love getting to chat with the them and comparing notes about every little thing. The party is at a gym, the kids have a blast running, bouncing, swinging, zipping. K goes on a zip line and I hear him tell the gym teacher: “I want to go really, really, really fast.” I am secretly delighted that he has fun with speed and a bit of danger. He gives me the thumbs up and so does, F who is going on the zip line after K. I notice everyone is having a great time. Another secret pleasure: witnessing and analyzing why a party is so successful. This one was top notch.

After the party, I get a sitter and take my car in for it’s regular tune up. Yet another secret: I bring my computer and I know the ‘car work’ is cover for me to write for hours in a café and a walk or a run.


After daydreaming about being running and running fast enough to keep up with all my pretty mom friends in a 10K race, I settle into my decaf mocha. I am just opening my SPC file on my handy laptop, I get a call from the car place. It turns out the car has ‘issues’. When I say ‘issues’ I mean, a cracked drive belt and a leaking fuel pump among other nefarious things.

These are kind of important problems.

So important it will cost me $800.

At this point while I didn’t, I now feel like I slept in my clothes. Because I don’t have $800. I will make about that much money in the coming week when I run my summer camp for a group of kids. But the camp is at my friend’s house. She lives 15 miles away, across a bridge. Therefore, I need my car fixed to drive to make the money so I can pay for my car to be fixed.

I close my computer and waste my precious babysitting time and money on renting a car and battling my way through traffic to get home.  While driving, I try not to cry and get the rental car all snotty. Later K tells me he likes the rental car better than our car. I show tremendous restraint and do NOT say many things, one being, “when you can afford to shell out $800 for repairs for our car, you can say whatever you want, but right now, shut up.”

That evening while K is in the tub and I’m getting ready for bed. Getting into proper PJs, mind you. I’m pulling my ponytail out and K looks up and says, “I love your hair, Mama.”


“Actually, mama, I love every single part of you.”

And I, in my flannel PJ bottoms and grubby T-shirt with a hefty, flabby muffin top, decide to believe him and feel beautiful.

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  1. June 20, 2011
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