Just Heather

I am the worst daughter-in-law ever. I dutifully remembered to tell my mother about Stacia’s spring musical, but I neglected to tell any of her other grandparents. I most likely only told my mother because I was on the phone with her when the note came home from school.

It didn’t even dawn on me that I needed to inform anyone else until Mom called just now— from the road, on her way here for said musical—and asked who else was coming. Oops. My bad. Perhaps I can console myself with the fact that they saw the exact same musical last year, only she’ll be wearing orange instead of navy blue.

I’m pretty sure that would never in a million years fly with the mother-in-law, and I bet telling her it’s okay because I didn’t even remember to tell the in-laws I actually like would only make it worse. I repeat—I am the worst daughter-in-law. Ever.

Here’s hoping they sell DVDs again this year.

Earlier this week, I checked on the girls (two of mine and the extra I have 3 days a week) to find them playing school with Brenia’s desk. My friend’s little girl informed me that she was going to be a teacher when she grew up. A common goal for little kids-bossing around the other kids is such fun when it’s your turn to be teacher!

That statement was immediately followed by, “When Brenia grows up, she’s going to date a boy!”

I turn to find my middle child—decked out in full princess attire from the crown on her head to the glass slippers on her toes—grinning with a gleam in her eye. “Yep!” she agreed a bit too quickly.

We’re in so much trouble.

I love that she can’t tell time yet. It allows things like this to actually work:
Me: You don’t have to sleep, but you do have to lay in your bed until 3.
Her: I don’t want to lay in my bed until 3!
Me: I’m sorry. It is quiet time. You have to lay in your bed until 3.
Her: But I want to lay in my bed until 4!
Me: Okay!
Her: Thanks, Mommy.

Now, she will quietly count the minutes until she falls asleep, and I will sadly count the days until she knows that 4 is longer than 3. I’m such a mean mommy.

Alternate title: Lost.

That’s how I feel sometimes—like I’ve lost myself to this person people keep calling Mom. I’m no longer Heather—I’m Mrs. Sokol, Stacia’s Mom, Brenia’s Keeper, Lorelai’s Milk Jugs—but what about me? Am I still in there somewhere?

Last year’s piercings were a half-hearted attempt to reassert myself as an individual. I can do this because I want to. It was something that wasn’t wrapped up in my children, wasn’t dependent on s0meone else’s schedule or approval—it was all mine. Last week I died my hair red for the same reason. It almost turned out purple and I think I might have enjoyed that even more. It’s finally settled into an auburn of sorts. Clearly not natural, definitely unique—it’s all my own.

Next year, maybe I’ll get a tattoo—just kidding, Mom!

I feel like a caterpillar. I’ve spent the last 8 years cocooned in motherhood—nursing babies, changing diapers, cleaning bodily fluids, driving carpool, cheering at soccer games, filming musical performances—that I sort of got lost in there. I can’t even remember who I used to be or what it was I did. I know there was something—I didn’t spend my first 20 years waiting to be a mom. It just sort of happened.

I came out the other side completely transformed. My interests became their interests. My life became theirs. My happiness was suddenly dependent on the well-being of these little creatures who call me Mom. Yet, I don’t feel like a butterfly. I just feel lost. I keep searching for me. Waiting for things to go back to normal, whatever that may be.

Becoming a parent changes you. That much I knew going in. What I didn’t truly get was that the change is permanent! I think somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I’d get the kids in school and go back to being Just Heather. Except, I don’t know her anymore.

If I could just glimpse a few pieces of who I used to be, maybe I’ll finally see the beauty of it all.

Hi, my name is Lorelai. I’m a pacifierholic.

To the ever-growing list of things I never thought I’d say before I had children:

Get that out of your mouth—it’s been up Lorelai’s nose!