Sometimes I just feel like I don't fit in as a mom. I'm too awkward or too late or too something and that this is what keeps me forever on the fringe of a mom community.
This week the weather was so warm, I started taking Sasha to a local park to swing and play in the toddler area. I noticed moms connecting with each other, talking and laughing, and I wondered how those moms became friends. No one asked me how old my baby was or where I lived or what I did and I had no idea how to go about starting a conversation with moms who seemed so engaged with each other already. Essentially I felt unnoticed. Until I fell.
There is a toy at the park, or rather several of them, and I don't know what they're called but they are atop these bouncy springs and the animal or car or dinosaur seems to rock forward and back. I saw several moms putting babies about Sasha's age on these creatures and I thought it looked like fun but worried that Sasha might fall off. So I had the great idea to put him on it and then get on behind him to hold him safe. Well you know where this is going. As soon as I sat down, the horse ( I think it was a horse) pitched straight back sending me down on my butt.
Now I had everyone's attention. Moms who minutes earlier were not able to tear themselves away from their conversations even to see their children knocking other children off the swings suddenly all turned with a gasp as I hit the ground. All clearly wondered: would she catch the baby? And when I did there was a collective sigh of relief and then the eyes still on me. Will she be able to get up? The answer was that I could barely move. I'd landed on my sacrum, a sore spot with me, ever since I broke it several years back. My sacrum normally looks like something from a dinosaur not a woman; I could only imagine what was going on at this point. What it felt like was that my legs were suspended from nothing. There was no support and so no step was easy. But I stood up and smiled and brushed myself off and no one came forward to say anything. The show was over. I slipped back to the car and finally took a breath.
It was then that I decided to try to make it to the impromptu gathering of my mom's group at 5pm. I needed to reassure myself that there are moms that I connect with and that like me at least a little and so despite the fact that Sash probably needed another nap, we'd been out all day and he hadn't napped on me, I hoped a cat nap in the car would do and headed out. By the time I entered the house and saw a few friendly faces, I was relieved. Sasha seemed happy to encounter his baby pals and for the time I felt reassured and welcome. We snacked a bit and then Sasha started his usual wandering around exploring Olga's private belongings, instead of hanging out with the babies, and inevitably I was crawling all over after him and not participating in any dialogue with the other moms. It didn't take long for him to make it clear that he needed to get home and soon.
When I arrived back at the homestead, Aaron asked me what was all over my face. I looked at myself in the mirror only to see chocolate all over my chin. Before Sasha and I made our way to the park, I'd stopped for chocolate gelati. I need to explain that whenever I eat ice cream with Aaron, he always treats me like a young child and wipes my face and I am always extremely indignant and tell him that he should leave me alone. Apparently he is correct. I am a slob and don't realize it. I immediately called my friend Kristine (known also as the FC Mom), who was at this little gathering, and asked her why she didn't tell me that I had something on my face. To which she replied, "We were trying to be tactful. We thought it was some kind of bloody scar." Yikes. A bloody scar. Then she added: "I don't know why I thought that since I saw you so many times this week and you didn't have any kind of a cut." She laughed. "Sorry about that." I was so embarassed. What a day.
So the next morning was Kristine's son Quinton's birthday party, and I was determined to be tidy and orderly and converse and have a good time while Sasha played, if not with, then near his group. Sasha, of course, woke up extremely grumpy and then fell asleep on the ride over and I was afraid to wake him because he will not stand for that, and so I was 45 minutes late. The street was lined with cars and I could hear gleeful voices as we walked up the path. I hate coming late to events. I am always self-conscious about barging in but I hoped to ease my way in graciously. We said our hellos to Kristine and the birthday boy and then I entered the living room.
Sasha and I had been there several times already that week, so he was pretty familiar with all of the toys and quickly scooted into the mix. As soon as he realized there was food, he began to go to various moms and try to get someone to feed him their bagel and hummus. I asked one of the moms to watch him while I gathered him something to eat.
Kristine and I chatted while I fixed a plate and then I started to step once again over the child proof gate--the very same gate I had stepped over all week. "Are you sure you can do that?" she asked as she moved toward me. "I did it a hundred times this week, " I said just as I launched straight into the air. I know that I wasn't actually suspended, that in fact, I hit the floor hard and quickly but for a second, I believe I looked down to notice that I would not be landing on any of the babies and also to look back at Kristine, whose eyes had grown very wide. I crashed directly onto my left hip bone. Now I had hardly been able to move when I woke up from the previous injury to my back the afternoon before so I was convinced that I might need a hip brace to get up. But before I could even think about this, I was focused on the very loud exclamations of the moms around me. Moms I knew from our group, and moms that were friends of Kristine's from other venues. And then I was drawn to the fact that I had spilled my drink all over their carpet and furniture and a few of the moms and naturally myself and that I had not only tripped over the gate but had actually torn the whole thing from the wall.
Now I had to jump up and pretend that I was not in excruciating pain and reassure everyone that I was just fine and then rush to try to clean up. I was beyond ashamed as I mopped up my mess with Kristine's husband, Corey, diligently helping me. When I finally went back into the kitchen to apologize to Kristine for the tenth time she started to laugh. "Wow, if there was any tension in that room before, you certainly broke it." She continued to laugh and I almost laughed but I still couldn't breath. Had I really just done that? I couldn't believe it.
I slipped through the kitchen and into the hall and stepped over a still standing child gate (how did I dare) and tried to hide at the other end of the living room as far from my deed as possible. Sash was busy playing and hadn't noticed a thing. As I watched Corey look for his power tools to reattach the gate to the wall, I wanted to sink into the carpet and disappear. I only started to relax when a young girl of nearly five fell over the other gate and spilled her drink all over a chair and end table. She turned to me and said, "These gates are just terrible." No kidding.
So the party went on and I ignored that I was soaking wet and hoped that the other moms had started to forget about my wild entrance. The party seemed to break up quickly soon after and I was left waiting for Aaron to pick me up. He had dropped me off to run an errand and was to be back at the party's scheduled conclusion. He wasn't. Sash and I were hanging out in Kristine's living room with Kristine and Quinton breastfeeding when Corey entered and said, "Everyone's gone?" Nope. Not me. Still here just in time for Sasha to throw up all over Quinton's Thomas the Train couch. I once again raced for the paper towels. When Aaron finally arrived and I told him the story, I thought at first he didn't believe me. "Oh no, I can picture it all right."
Kristine was laughing. "I think I might have grabbed your shoe when you were trying to go over the gate," she said. "I wish you'd offered that up in front of the whole party," I replied. "Well maybe I didn't," she said. "I really can't remember." I then shared the story with Kristine, Corey and Aaron about falling off the toy at the park and Kristine laughed again. I had avoided telling Aaron about it as I feared he might think me a danger to our son. Kristine later told me I should have my own talk show. I guess that would be for misfit moms. Anyone want in?