Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Other Me

The following in no way means that I am less than 100% committed to my big, happy family. And heaven knows I would not trade this spectacularly fun, messy, whirlwind of a life for anything else.


Sometimes I venture precariously toward the edge of sanity. Well, venture may not be the best way to put it. Actually I am shoved toward that edge by those who love me most. I can't blame them since they have no idea what they are doing. Who knows why what makes me laugh one day may reduce me to Mommy-Not-So-Nice the very next.

Over the years I have learned to sense the edge. And I have discovered different ways to pull myself back to the mountaintop of happy modern motherhood. Sure, there is chocolate and exercise and reality TV to energize and distract me. There are fabulous devotional books, motivational videos and hilarious books about people who have also hung by their fingernails a time or two. All good. But I have a secret weapon.

She's my alter ego. The other me. The one who never married and never bore a child. The one who hit New York City in her 20s and rose quickly to a very comfortable lifestyle. (It just wouldn't be realistic if I said she rose all the way to the top, would it?)

I like to visit when I am feeling less than completely content in my real reality. It's very quiet in that apartment on the 39th floor. It's a loft with exposed brick, concrete floors, towering windows and no extra shoes on the floor. The books are arranged by color and dusted every week by the sweet and efficient housekeeper who also makes sure the baseboards stay clean. In every closet the hangers face the same direction and the guest room actually has room for a guest.

In my alternate reality it is usually evening after a very busy, very professionally fulfilling day. I return to my clean, quiet home and I click on HGTV. I've never even heard of "So Random" or the fact that there's an entire channel devoted to the NFL. I kick off my designer shoes and drop my designer bag onto my favorite white leather chair. I sift through interesting mail and wander into my spotless kitchen for a glass of water. The only thing on the counter is a bowl of limes. I cut one for my drink and settle down at my home office space to check my email and Facebook and maybe order something full price from My laptop actually has all of its keys.

It's quiet in here, I notice again. Even with the city noise and background television, it's just really quiet. And that moment -- poof! -- is always when I am ready to get back to the real me. That little vacation inside my own head is all I need.

I know who I could have been. And I know who I am. And though it might be a really close call some days, I know which one I like better.


  1. Do you have a camera in my house...or possibly a brain that is reading my thoughts? Because I could have written this, although not as well. Maybe it is because we are living in an area where we are below the normal income level and I have just spent yet another hour perusing the aisles of Whole Foods where I daydreamed about when it is just Darrell and I and spending 10.00 on hummus would not be legitimate child abuse, but I can totally get that wishing for order, solitude, and quiet does not make you love your crazy chaotic home any less. Plus, I am on a diet which always makes me more introspective (read psychotic). Well done.....especially loved the shout out to So version of hell includes that on a endless loop...and glitter.

  2. I totally get this.

    My alter-ego, however, is a long-haul trucker. I have a deep purple, glitter-painted rig that with a fully carpeted sleeper cab. And, yes, I have my own microwave in there.

    Ah, peace...

    ;-) Anna