Sunday, January 13, 2013

If You Give a Mom a Moment

The other night after the kids were in bed, I was debating what would be the first task completed in the quest of Accomplishing Stuff. If you give a mom a spare moment, she will run through all the dang things that need to be done – from getting out the ladder to change the light bulb, picking up the days-old, petrified pile of cat barf, removing the nail polish from the bathtub, etc. – so I got out the laptop, headed for the comfy chair, and checked Facebook instead (because I excel at procrastinating and Not Accomplishing Stuff).

And so began my night of pinball-itis. With the heat of the laptop warming my legs (so cozy!), I had a pithy exchange with a FB friend, which reminded me that I had some sugar-free chai mix remaining (she’d made it for me, hence the connection) and that I was very thirsty. As I headed for the stove to make the chai, a trip past the sink reminded me I needed to start the dishes. Opening the dishwasher to insert the tab revealed a thermos, which reminded me I needed to make the kids’ lunches for school the next day. In the refrigerator to get the mango for lunches, I recoiled in horror at the layer of YUCK in the produce bins. As I was cleaning out the fruits and vegetables, I came across my apple surplus, resulting from the random-apple-dessert that I’d been craving but never got around to actually making. Not wanting them to go to waste, I started a pot of applesauce on a Sunday night at 10 PM. Yummy smells in the kitchen always make me think of another friend, which came with the realization that it was her birthday that day and I FORGOT TO CALL (I’m such a jerk!!!).

A thought of birthdays and missed acknowledgements and guilt reminded me of my niece’s birthday in a few days, which meant I needed to get her present wrapped and ready to be mailed. While wrapping, I turned on some tunes since plenty of time still had to pass before four pounds of apples turned from solid to mush. A Violent Femmes-inspired dance party (to clarify, it was a party of exactly one) ensued and I decided that I probably needed to sort through my iTunes library and ditch the songs with the bad language, now that the kids listen to it. Combing through songs, I played a U2 medley, reminding me of a friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time. So I headed back to Facebook to send the friend a message and, a few hours later, again enjoying the heat of the laptop warming my legs, I was right where I began the night. And that’s when it hit me…I’m the cat with the cupcake!

For those not in “the know,” there’s a series of kid books by Laura Numeroff about a bunch of animals with ADD and bad eating habits. With titles like If You Give a Dog a Donut, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, If you Give a Pig a Pancake, etc., these books follow the meanderings of these animals as they bounce from thing to thing to thing, finally circling back to the first thing they started with.

The cat with the cupcake, for example, needs some sprinkles for his cupcake, resulting in a spill. The subsequent clean-up makes him hot so he ends up at the beach (a cat at the ocean! Who ever heard of such nonsense!), where he collects shells and other treasures and discovers he’s too weak to lift the bucket so he ends up at the gym, and then ends up in a karate class, at the park, at the lake (this is a very freakish cat, I’m just realizing, obsessed with water), on a carousel, at the science museum, and then back home. Once at home, sand spills out of his shoes, reminding him of the sprinkle spill, which reminds him that he wants a cupcake. Like I said, this is a cat with a bad diet and some serious ADHD.

So, as I realized my Family-Circus-style meandering path through the evening had brought me back to my beginning and that I was the cat (or dog, or moose, or pig) with the cupcake (or donut, or muffin, or pancake), I also realized I might have ADHD, but that’s fodder for another day. So, even though the light bulb didn’t get changed (again), and the cat barf got to continue to dry out (again), and the nail polish didn’t get removed from the bathtub (again), my circuitous journey through this particular evening was pretty successful, peppered with some minor Things Accomplished, a laugh that comes with self-discovery and a potential self-diagnosis to justify all my many distractions.