Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You Never Know What You'll See With Night Vision Goggles

Wow.  What's up with the chick who wrote that last post? She sounds like a real downer.

So, uh, it turns out that when you turn 40, at least in my experience, no matter what kind of grand plans you have about 40 being the new 30 and kicking 40's ass, sometimes your body has other plans.  Can you say hormones gone haywire.  Good times.  Good times.

Let's cleanse the palate with funny story, shall we?  Tonight as we were watching America's Funniest Home Videos, I was reminded of the time we almost submitted a tape to the show. 

When Bubba was small, he was obsessed with trains, as many little boys are.  We fed that obsession with a steady diet of Thomas the Tank engine DVDs, The Polar Express, and his Polar Express train that he got for Christmas many years ago.

When we heard about the Polar Express train ride that you could take in the North Carolina mountains, we knew we had to do it.  You might be familiar with such things -- you go and get on the train, it goes about an hour in one direction while you have hot cocoa and listen to The Polar Express read over the intercom.  You stop in a quaint little town for about 30 minutes and then you head back down the track while Santa makes his way down the train visiting with all the kids and handing out jingle bells.  What's not to love about that?

Being relatively new parents, of course wehad  the obligatory video camera and because we had only one child we actually got it out and used it.  Poor Punkin, no video of her exists.

Anyhoo, we had a great time as we chugged down the tracks.  I taped Bubba looking out the window and drinking his hot chocolate.  There was a family across the aisle from us and while we didn't actually talk to them, we all smiled at each other in the friendly way that you do when you're sharing a pleasant experience with strangers.  Their kids were cute and we smiled at their happiness.  They returned the favor, obviously enjoying Bubba's joy at his first train ride.

As it turns out, our track went through a tunnel.  It was pitch black as we made we our way through and it was kind of cool to experience that total blackness.  On the way back down the track, Mr. Daddy had the bright idea to use the night vision lens on the video camera to video tape ourselves.

As we entered the tunnel, I flipped on the night vision switch.  Mr. Daddy and Bubba glowed back at me, both obviously blind in the complete darkeness.  I decided to pan around and see what else there was to see. 

I panned over to the family across the aisle and they WERE TOTALLY MAKING OUT!!  The dad had the daughter stiff armed away from them and the mom had her hand firmly on the little boy.  I don't know WHERE their other hands were, but they were GOING AT IT.

 I was so shocked that I quickly turned the camera off and a few seconds later we came back into daylight.  Mr. Daddy took one look at my face and my wide eyes and was like "What?"

"I'll have to tell you later," I managed to squeak out.  Needless to say, I couldn't make eye contact with the nice family across the aisle for the rest of the trip.   When we got to the car I rewound the tape and played it back for Mr. Daddy.  We both howled.

I would LOVE to have submitted that to AFV, but you have to have permission from the people in the video and there was NO way I was going to ask them that.

While it was very unexpected and gave me and Mr. Daddy a good laugh -- and still does lo these many years later -- you have to give that couple credit for finding some excitement in the most unlikely of places.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Toughest Job

Sometimes the tedium of motherhood feels like more than I can bear.  The constant hanging up of jackets and bookbags, tossed willy nilly as they come in the door.  The constant reminder to put dirty socks in the hamper, their simple refusal to rinse out the sink when they brush their teeth.  The dirty handprint on the light switch that nobody will claim as theirs, much less clean up.

I think these times are worse when I've had a weekend away.  I lived a sort of fantasy life this weekend, a life where I had a chance to be just Leandra.  Just me.  Not mom.  Not wife.  Not daughter, not sister.  Just me.   I hung out with some really cool people and I talked about books and movies and art and nature and politics and music.  As me.  Just Leandra. 

I did what I wanted to do.  I went where I wanted to go.

That's one of the things I've been struggling with since turning 40.   I've sort of forgotten what I like to do.  I've sort of forgotten how to be me.  There just doesn't feel like time to do all that the things that have to be done and all the things that I want to do.

I know it's just for a short time and the kids will be gone before I know it.  I know I need to cherish these moments.  And I do.  I know being a mom means making sacrifices.  I just didn't realize that what I would be sacrificing is me.