It’s Going To Be One Messy Year

It’s Going To Be One Messy Year

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.  Here’s this week’s column:

Well, hello there, New Year you, who promises to be 12 months, 365 days, 8,766 hours, 525,948,766 of mess.

It’s not that I’m starting the year as a Negative Nelly. It’s actually more about being grateful for what and who I have, which leads to reality, which in my case, and perhaps yours, means accepting life is messy.

Anyone else ever notice that the more of your wishes come true, the messier your life gets?

I didn’t always used to be this way.  See, I used to be perfect.

Well, maybe not perfect, but as a long time single person with only one person to take care of, I had things pretty well buttoned up. My house was clean, my career was zooming, I had all sorts of time for friends and other family members. Oh, and the big one—I remembered everything I was supposed to.

Then, a couple of years ago all these lifelong wishes of mine starting coming true. Now, I have a husband and kids. And there is still all the other stuff I used to take such good care of: jobs, pets, other friends and family.

That’s when things got messy, when the really good stuff showed up.

How messy? For this week’s confession I offer up this wonderful moment: I forgot my kid the other day.

Forgot, as in dropped the ball, left her stranded in the dark, didn’t pick her up when I should’ve known I was supposed to. Yeah, that kind of forgot.

She has started playing on a new volleyball club team and I could’ve sworn I had the new carpool schedule down.

That is, until my husband got that phone call late Thursday night. “Were we supposed to pick up from volleyball tonight?” He asked as I was already half undressed and into my jammies.

“Shoot!” Well, I actually said something much worse that they won’t print in this family newspaper.

Our daughter was on the phone saying she and this other girl were the last ones left at the gym. “She says she tried to call you, but you didn’t answer your phone.”

Even better, I had my phone turned to vibrate.

Keep in mind, I didn’t just forget my kid. Someone else’s, as well. Someone I don’t even know since this is a new carpool.

That was a fun phone call to the other mom.  “Honestly, I don’t usually leave children stranded in the dark,” I heard myself explaining in the messiest of ways.

Who forgets their kids?

Please tell me you’ve forgotten yours at least once.

There were tears all right. No, not my daughter. She was unfazed.

The tears were mine. Who forgets their kids?

Somewhere in the land of TV talk show hosts, Facebook and the back of college alumni magazines there are a lot of perfect women living their lives. Huge careers, perfect children who have never been forgotten. They are training for a triathlon and I bet their houses are spotless. They must have signed up for the 48 hour day. I never saw that option when I went for the marriage license and signed the adoption papers.

Sometimes, I think I miss the perfect, those days when I had it all handled so well.

Then I remember that perfect was never ending and frankly, lonely.

That’s why I go into the new year thankful for my husband, kids, and yes, the mess. I’m going to screw up this year. You heard it here first.

“What are you writing your column about this week?” My daughter just asked as she peered over my shoulder.

“How I left you at volleyball. How I make a mess of so many things,” I shared.

She laughed for a minute thinking of that night. “You don’t mess up a lot,” she just said.  “You do a really good job.”

Oh my goodness. I could go on, but those sweet words, well, they made me a mess.

Messy: No doubt about it–aIt’s the new perfect.

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