Free To Be Me

Today I dropped both boys off at school for the first time.

I thought this day would never come.

This school year from 9 to noon, well really from 9:20ish counting drop off till 11:45ish counting pick up, so for 2 hours and 25 minutes from Monday till Friday I am free. No, wait, Freudian slip there, I will have free time. Yes, that is what I meant to say…

So what did I do with my first glorious 2 hours and 25 minutes? Climbed into my car, blasted Morning Edition, and headed to Wegmans, of course. I floated through that grocery store with authority, unencumbered by whining or screaming or begging children. I heard a child have a meltdown several aisles over and a tingling feeling of peace spread through my limbs. Because that was not my child, god damn it. If my child was having a meltdown at that exact moment I was blissfully unaware. For 2 hours and 25 minutes 5 days a week if my kids have tantrums it is someone else’s problem. I am free.

Yes, free to inspect the labels of the organic quinoa until I found the one labeled “fair trade”. Free to pick out my heirloom tomatoes to be used in a Smitten Kitchen recipe in a few days. Free to dither over the sushi selection, hand on the shrimp tempura until I remembered hearing on NPR that shrimp imported from Thailand is literally full of shit-I grabbed the veggie roll insead. Free to ogle the gorgeous young man who works in dairy, the one who was definitely born after I started menstruating, who therefore could technically be my son (You know who I mean, Jenny M). Free to grab organic chicken breasts and conventional pork loin even though I know that conventional pork is raised in a horrifyingly inhumane way and slaughtered in filth (thank you, Whole Foods Market training). But one must draw the line somewhere and it turns out that $15.99 a pound is that arbitrary line for me. Free to hoist the 24 pack of Yuengling below my cart without navigating a curtain of skinny and bruised boy legs. Yuengling because it is the same price as Bud without being Bud. And it sure as hell is not Pabst. We might be hipsters. But we know who we are, and we are not THOSE hipsters, no we are not.

Content, I loaded the car and realized I was ravenous because yet again there wasn’t time for me to eat this morning. Back at home I fried up two farmers market eggs, nuked a leftover homemade veggie burger, and draped it all with a slice of New York State cheddar while wearing a cheap reproduction Return of the Jedi t-shirt from Old Navy, and the organic cotton hoodie that I coveted while working at Whole Foods (Back then it was more than $100. Even with the team member discount it was too rich for my blood.) but scored for $10 at our local natural foods market.

I am a walking talking motherfucking cliché.

Been thinking about it since our little get together last Saturday night. You know, the one where we ate local beef burgers, a kale and quinoa salad, organic chicken sausage, and those delicious veggie burgers. We might as well have been in Brooklyn.

A couple of us were chatting about a group of folks that one of us work with-folks that are much more typical of this party heavy, sports focused college town. A group of folks that are not “our people”. “Yeah,” I said, “But they are probably all at a party laughing at our flannel shirt and skinny jeans wearing selves.”  I looked around the room as I said it-I do believe that all 5 of the men here were, in fact, wearing flannel.

So yes, I’m the super liberal, overeducated, tattooed, local/organic unless it’s too expensive or inconvenient eating, NPR listening, homemade food making, broke ass, lecher when it comes to beautiful young men, hypocritical, stay at home mom, wife of a college professor.

Like I said, a cliché.

Go ahead and make fun of me. I can take it. Because here’s the amazing thing about being 36. I kind of dig who I am right now. And I no longer give a flying fuck about what people think of me. I’ve got a kick-ass husband. I’ve got two kids who crack me up everyday. And all of the sudden I have an extra 12+ hours a week that are all mine. Watch out motherfucker. Life is looking pretty good right now.

boys first day

First day of school for both boys!

dont eat playdoh

This kid. This is the look he gave me when I told him to stop eating play-doh. The only time he came near crying when I dropped him off at school today was when I tried to stop his playing for half a sec so I could grab a hug. He is going to be just fine out there in the big bad world.

backyard fun

Backyard shenanigans.

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19 thoughts on “Free To Be Me

  1. All those things you laid out in a row as reasons why you are a cliche? They made me like you a whole lot. Go on with yo’ bad self, and NEVER stop ogling yummy strangers in the dairy section.

  2. Karen,
    “I kind of dig who I am right now.”
    ^That’s exactly it. I wouldn’t go back, although I do not regret the path that brought me to where I am… And admitting one is pretty happy with one’s life is pretty sweet, cliché or not.
    Enjoy, K.
    Le Clown

  3. “Free to hoist the 24 pack of Yuengling below my cart without navigating a curtain of skinny and bruised boy legs.”

    Fantastic imagery, this. We are all cliches, but we can’t all write like you did in this post. Great stuff.

    • Do you know how I knew that? The college NPR station is the only one I can get to play in the bathroom. And I can’t take a shower without hearing the dulcet tones of Morning Edition. Only NPR station I’ve ever listened to that does local sports. So my head is filled with useless facts like we are 0-2 and last year we also started the season 0-2 and this week’s game is the first home game and WHO THE HELL AM I? xoxoxo

  4. Right there with you in more ways than one. It IS nice to realize these are the good times. And if having hipster-ish tendencies is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Love your writing!

  5. I’ve been thinking alot about this post since I first read it. And then today I bought more than i could carry at whole foods when all I meant I get was mirin and apples. All that to say I’m with you on this walking cliche and fucking fine with it 🙂

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