Hello, again

The phone rang, right before Christmas, or maybe it was shortly after. The number displayed on Caller ID did not appear to be an obvious telemarketing ploy, so I picked up. ‘Hello,’ a recorded voice greeted me. And, the specifics elude me now, but the gist was this: WordPress was calling to remind me I had a blog. Not because they missed my writing – naturally, they wanted money. But it made me chuckle nonetheless.

Of course my mother had taken to reminding me occasionally that I hadn’t blogged for some time, but a phone call? From WordPress?

It was precisely the motivating factor I needed to rush to the computer six weeks later, and offer up my credit card details. Thus, having spent $47.88 for the privilege of Idontknowwhat here I am.

And really, all I can offer by way of explanation for my unintentional hiatus, and as insight into my nearly constant state of mind: parenting. Or, ‘why did nobody tell me this was how it would be.’

Perhaps you are a mother (no implication of gender here) with young children and you’re thinking to yourself ‘I just need to hang on until the last kid is in school, then it will be easy street!’

And that’s fine if that’s what is getting you through days of having to wipe butts and eat chocolate behind closed doors. But it is a complete and total fabrication lie and though, if I told you this to your face you would probably think ‘oh that’s just you, my kids are different,’ I will go ahead and post it to the interwebs so I can feel like I at least tried to warn you.

These in-school, butt-wiping children are a thing of beauty, make no mistake. Like a few nights ago, I was cutting up not-so-young Percy’s food for some reason and it reminded me that it had been an extremely long time since I cut up people’s food. Or changed a diaper. Or fought with someone about getting into a carseat. Or spent fifteen minutes getting someone dressed so they could go outside and play in the snow only to come back five minutes later because they were too cold.

I also have not hired a babysitter in recent memory, because the Gort is nearly 13 and can semi-manage his younger brothers for a couple of hours as long as I’m willing to field at least 3 phone calls – one from each boy expressing his unhappiness with the management or the entertainment or the lack of food or the subordinates.

But these perks don’t come for free. Unfortunately. ‘Big kids, big problems’ you might have heard the saying from people with children past the preschool stage. Which I’ve basically taken to mean: when the boys were little it felt like my main job was to keep them alive. But as they get older there is an undeniable realization that I am dealing with adults-in-training and maybe it’s amusing that they hide oranges in their dresser drawers, but could this be a sign of bigger problems afoot?

Will whatever issue we are dealing with today result in their incarceration or drug addiction down the line? (If I had one of those embedded tweet icons I could put it here so you could conveniently tweet this faux deep thought.)

Not really.

But kind of.

Of course I don’t (necessarily) think my children hiding oranges in their dresser drawers will result in their eventual incarceration, but I am unable to use more egregious examples to better illustrate my point. Another downside of raising bigger kids – you can no longer speak as candidly as you once did.

Whereas it was once amusing, even expected, to regale your friends and family with outlandish toddler tales, talking about your ‘older’ kids is akin to stepping into a field laden with hidden landmines. Privacy! Others’ opinions of them! Having to hear about it when they’re 25 and in therapy ‘because of you’.

Thus this stretch of parenting has turned out to be unexpectedly isolating, especially when compounded by the calendrical reality of suddenly spending weeknights and weekends shuttling children to activities and cheering them on at sports events. These days, the majority of my socializing is done from the inside of my van, waving (really, just nodding) at a friend going the opposite direction in her minivan.

But it’s not all doom and gloom chez Johnson. We are doing our best to retain our senses of humor amidst the hormonal upheaval of adolescence and the omnipresent three-boy drama that threatens to undo us. I was chatting with the Gort before bed a couple of nights ago, trying to the greatest mom who ever lived, inspiring him with my Tami Taylor-esque wisdom. He seemed neither irritated (praise hands) nor particularly impressed. ‘You don’t seem inspired by this,’ I remarked, ‘I am sharing all this wisdom with you, I am literally barfing wisdom all over you here, and you’re just lying there, uninspired.’

I couldn’t help but think the term ‘barfing wisdom’ was perhaps not one being used by the majority of mothers out there.

These are the words that will come back to haunt me at Thanksgiving 2029.

PS. Did you know, mother-of-small-people, that ‘older children’ don’t go to bed at 7:00pm? Or 8, or even 9 on most nights? Those precious quiet hours you are enjoying after the kids go to bed? To read, or watch Netflix, write blogs about your kids or go out with your similarly stationed friends? ‘Say goodbye to these!’

3 thoughts on “Hello, again

  1. All so, so true! Especially the privacy thing. Ugh. I used to get mad at my mom for talking about me to her friends and I vowed I’d never do that to my kids. Alas, I got in trouble for it from my 11-year-old recently.


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