Somewhere out there, there are parents who never lose track of their kids. Those parents don’t impress me. They’re not my people. The parents who do impress me are the ones who, when they do lose track of their kids, are able to describe in detail what the kid is wearing, right down to the socks.
I couldn’t any more tell you what Evelyn was wearing this morning than I could tell you what she was thinking last week when she walked right past the bathroom to go pee outside. If I lost her, I’d be screwed. I couldn’t tell you what she was wearing. I couldn’t tell you if her birthmark is on her left or her right hip. The part of my brain that keeps track of those details atrophied when she was born. It disappeared along with my pelvic floor muscles.
Lottie would be easy enough to describe, even without specifics. I’d just tell someone to look for a little girl in a fancy dress and superhero shoes.
As for me, if the kids ever lose me in Costco — rather, if they fail to see me tuck and roll under the pajama table for a quick power nap — describing me to whoever they find to help will be a cinch.
“My Mom’s name is Melissa. She’s wearing a hooded jersey flannel she’s been in since 2014, and she looks like Charlize Theron. In Monster.”
“Oh yeah, I saw her,” they’d say. “She’s the one who took her baby out of the cart to make room for another cheesecake.”
The problem (there’s only one?) is that if I don’t get dressed immediately, I don’t get dressed at all. I walk downstairs in my pajamas to make coffee and let the dogs out, and suddenly I’m making breakfast, cleaning up the breakfast, packing lunches, packing snacks, filling water bottles, finding lost shoes, looking through the take home folders I should have looked through the night before, brushing hair, brushing teeth, wiping butts, changing diapers, listening for the school bus, waving for the school bus to please wait just a minute longer, forcing crying kids onto the school bus, buckling a 3-year-old and baby into the car, kenneling the puppy and finally taking a sip of that coffee. Next thing I know I’m getting out of the car to walk Lottie into preschool when I look down and remember I’m wearing Fila sweats and Crocs.
The worst part about this is that I’m still on the mail lists for my former favorite retailers, and they like to taunt me.
Talbots, (because if I’m going to look like I’m 60 I may as well dress like it) sends me catalogs with pictures like this.
“Get outside in terry shorts,” they say. “Take a carefree bike ride.”
Once upon a time, I liked to bike too. Probably in terry shorts. But now my carefree bike ride looks more like this.
I’m a pack mule. And pack mules don’t wear Talbots terry cloth shorts, they wear Fila sweats and Costco brand scuba jackets, because they need all the pockets. All the time. For all the snacks. This keeps the hands free for carrying all the bikes and scooters their kids swore they’d ride the while way themselves.
Someday I’ll get back into real clothes. Maybe even more than one outfit a week (no promises). But for now, I’m easy for my kids to identify. And that’s all that matters.
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