(Victory Song for Forgetful Moms at Mid Life!)
Fiddle sticks! It happened AGAIN! It’s that thing I keep doing at mid-life. I know, I know. Guys do their thing: Extended golfing trips, new convertible sports cars that only seat two, weekends in Vegas where what happens there, stays there.
Not me. OH NO! I have another type of mid-life experience. It goes like this:
I have a grocery/supply/whatever list with a dozen or so things on it. I write it all down, in case I can’t remember ten or twelve things in a row anymore, like I used to when I used to play “My Grandfather Had a Store” when I was a kid.
I grab my purse and phone and try to get out the door. I realize I don’t have my keys in hand as I nearly lock myself out. Gahhhh! Where did I put the keys (again)?! Check key rack. Nada. Nothing but a spider, making a web.
I finally find them, and high tail it to Wal-Mart in order to hurry up and get the few items on the list. The goal here is to get in, get out, and get done before I get a case of anxiety since I still find myself shopping here even though I’m in mid-life.
Great! After a useless fishing expedition in the deep crevices of my ancient Wal-Mart couture handbag from three years ago, I realize my scribbled out list is still on the desk by my computer at my home.
I’ll just have to shop the old-fashioned way like I use to, and rely on nothing but my memory. After an arduous hour of playing forty-something CONCENTRATION with myself, I leave with probably 55% of what was most likely on my shopping list. $117.55 and seventy-five minutes later, I am safely outside the doors of this urban concentrated metropolis of shoppers-on- scooters and oxygen-enhancement devices. Please don’t call me out on this. I’m not critiquing the health status of others here; I’m only reporting what I see. And this sometimes stresses me. It’s my problem not yours.
And that’s when I have my moment. I’m standing outside in a sea of cars. A feeling of déjà vu washes over me and I realize I had this exact same experience almost a week ago, to the hour. I can’t remember where I parked my car. I mean I haven’t the foggiest. Did I park it near the McDonald’s entrance or the optometry and hair salon entrance? Or perhaps gardening?
A somewhat sexy sexagenarian gentleman exits his midnight blue Porsche Carrera. He seems oddly out of place with his mirrored aviators and smooth silver hair that recedes only a little. He looks like I do not: pulled together. I contemplate asking him for help, but think better of it. Too late. He pegs me faster than I can remember to hit the panic button on my key chain for moments such as these.
“You look lost!” he exclaims loudly. “Oh no, I’m just trying to get some exercise before the sunsets. I’m fine. Really!” I insist. “You sure about that?” Actually, I’m not sure, but what business of it is yours, I think.
See clearly, he’s already had his mid-life crisis and triumphed and come out the other side. A leggy blonde with a rockin’ hair style gets out about this time on the other side. She gives me a good once-over and I think to myself how she looks just like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Which also happens to be one of the most over-rated movies of all time, but I digress. Don’t hate her just because she’s beautiful I tell myself. So I don’t. After all, they’re getting out at Wal-Mart too for crying out loud. Perhaps they are in the throes of a severe financial setback. Maybe I’m just too judgmental.
I go back to the mission at hand. FINDING MY CAR!
A few more minutes go by. Perhaps even a half hour. It doesn’t matter because there by a faraway cart return, I spot it: The old Buick. Yes, the Gran Prix of Grandmotherly cars is awaiting its beloved owner to return. I feel a tinge of excitement in my step.
She’s still got it! I think to myself. Yessirree! The old mare is not ready for pasture just yet. The brain still kicks in and engages. It all floods back to me now when I see my car. Now I remember parking it here! I was sitting here and listened to talk radio for a good ten minutes or so and didn’t get out because someone from my hometown had gotten through. Oh how exciting for them I thought. They owned a restaurant and were talking of how the bad economy had affected their business and health care threatened it further. No kidding I thought. Now I remember!!! I got so immersed in their sad story, I totally forgot about my life for a moment!
See this is how moms all over the country experience mid-life everyday. We have jobs, and kids, and a million things on our plates. We worry about our finances, our expanding personal middles and how to stay afloat in a shrinking middle class. We think of our kids and all the ways they aren’t always living up to expectations and how we can’t magically fix things anymore for them. We worry about our aging husbands, and do they have enough mojo to work hard for maybe only another 20 to 30 years. If fate is kind, retirement in our eighties might be a possibility. We think about how we are over-extended and somehow not ever doing enough at all times for all the people we care about. We don’t feel old yet, but we do feel tired, and we look in the mirror and we don’t see the young sweet thing we once were and we miss her a bit. We remember we need to get a bottle of blonde before we leave in order to hide the gray.
Yes, we busy moms lose ourselves sometimes. It’s that magical mysterious moment when what happens in the Wal-Mart parking lot, stays in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The good news? We recover. We pick up our dignity in the same manner we once picked up our children’s ejected binky off the pavement. We dust ourselves off. We put our lipstick on in the rear view long after the Porsche man is out of sight. And we think to ourselves, the crisis of the moment, be it forgetfulness or wisftfulness, or any other possible catastrophe has passed. At least for now.
We put our car in gear and throttle it a bit. We crank up a tune at half-volume:
Yeah, baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
Well, I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
At your desire
I rush home with only half the things I needed to make tonight’s meatloaf at this half-way point in life. I smile because despite having a mom’s minor midlife crisis, life is still, well……good!