For all of you that think I have nothing to offer but rainbows and fluffy bunnies, this one is for you.
Came across this article today, detailing how pot tourism is ready to blow up in my home state of Colorado. First thought was “how do I schedule a tour?” No really, can I leave, say, now?
I am a reformed stoner. If you so much as said hello to me in my mid-twenties, you likely caught a contact high. It wasn’t just that I smoked pot regularly. I became one of those people for whom smoking pot became a lifestyle. I designated an entire room in my three room apartment to smoking pot. I named it “the smoking lounge” and displayed my bongs as if they were trophies. I road tripped from Colorado Springs to San Francisco for the purpose of buying a sweet leaf grinder. I made a travelling case for my hookah.
At some point, I climbed out of the fog long enough to realize that watching entire seasons of Family Guy while beading jewelry I would never wear did not constitute being productive. My smoking was affecting my health. I was overweight and had the cough of a twenty year smoker. On days when I could barely breath, I still smoked- heck, that’s just a good excuse to make a DIY gravity bong. Smoking was definitely zapping my motivation. Many invitations declined and events skipped due to being too high. And smoking certainly wasn’t helping me in the romance department. Most people do not consider the scent combination of pot smoke and Taco Bell to be an aphrodisiac. So, enough said, I gave it up and moved on to the life I have now.
But, I can’t help but look fondly back at those days sometimes. Particularly when my kids are once again fighting over who gets to hold the green light saber.
It’s not the pot I want. Ok, it’s the pot a little. I would love to smoke a joint, look through my vinyl for some hidden album I haven’t heard in years that happens to hit all the right notes, and finish up with polishing off some insanely decadent feast and not worrying about the calories.
But what I really miss is the freedom to do nothing and have that be doing something.
Today, I had about two hours of “free” time. Do I go for a run (the thing I should do) or do I go to a movie (the thing I want to do)? In the pot days, it was not a matter of which, only when. If I go to a movie now, I can run later (like I ran back then, ha). There is no “later” option. Later, I will be watching the kids or cooking dinner. Don’t feel like cooking? Go to a restaurant. Wrong again! Restaurant means convincing children to put on shoes, keeping them entertained so that they remain in their seats, praying I can somehow eat quickly enough to avoid a public meltdown, with me being the one possibly melting down. The run wins out. Not because it is what I want. Because it is what I have to do. That’s why so many parents annoyingly post about their fantastic workouts on Facebook. We have to. It’s all we’ve got.
I read this book awhile ago called Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. I bought into the promise that if I understood the real truth behind why I overate, I could stop doing it. The premise is that when you overeat, it has nothing to do with the food. If you examine what you are really hungering for (love, acceptance, less stress, etc.) you can find ways to fulfill that need and stop overeating.
Sounds good, right? And easy. That’s why it doesn’t work.
Tonight, I was putting away the remainder of our dinner into Tupperware containers. We had chicken tacos. On the counter is the leftover chicken, salsa, sour cream, cheese, tortillas, and chips. For a second, I wonder what a tortilla chip with sour cream would taste like. I’ve had the two together, but never just the two.
I hear that screeching call of “MMMMooooommmm” followed by the fake cry of a young child who is not really hurt, but wants my attention. I eat the chip. I know I am eating the chip to push aside the feeling of annoyance that is rising in my blood from hearing the word “Mom” followed by the wail of a kid for the thousandth time in the day. A few moments later, I eat a piece of Christmas chocolate after I completely lose it on my son and scream “why can’t you guys just be nice to each other! I’m sick of this!” He cries and I later hear him telling the cat about how I yelled at him. I feel like the worst mother in the world, but I do not complain to the cat.
Am I solving the problem when I eat the chip? Of course not. But what would? What is going to magically make me not annoyed at having to solve yet another miniscule problem that could be solved if my boys were just a little older? What is going to give me the patience or demeanor that has escaped me for thirty nine years?
The pot vacation is the promise that if I could somehow get away, get a break, the day to day annoyance would be better, or at the least, bareable. But that’s not how it works, does it? No matter how many date nights, or lunches with the girls, or pedicures, or long baths I get, it’s never enough. I feel like a ravenous consumer of babysitting, hungrily bidding my time until I can once again reasonably ask for two hours without kids. When my snowbird in-laws leave for their six month stint in another state, I spend the first couple of weeks alternating between crying and pep talks, wondering how I am going to function with limited free time dwindling down to none.
To feel that way is to feel terrible. Because I love my kids. I love being a mom more than anything I have ever done. Most of the time, I feel good at it. Every day, I give thanks to whatever force is out there for allowing me to have this life, for allowing me to mother these children. I am amazed by their wit and ingenuity. I find them far more intriguing than most adults and much better companions. I marvel at each accomplishment as if it is the key to the entire universe, because it often seems to be. Just last night, Kellen laughed so hard he cried. For the first time in his two years of life, he cracked himself up beyond belief. At what? He farted. I basked with pride at his awakening to a whole brand of humor.
My former life, my pot life. It was selfish, and easy, and all about being given exactly what I wanted at any given moment. It in no way prepared me to be a parent.
Tonight, as I read Liam his bedtime story, I contrasted the complexity of my new life with my former. The story was a Star Wars book that I hate. And I mean hate. It is some cheapy paperback that mimics an episode of the Clone Wars cartoon. It is poorly written, way too long, and does not seem to make a lot of sense. I would have never read this thing before, and now I have read it multiple times every day for the last two weeks. As my voice droaned reciting the words, reflecting my true feelings about this horrible book, I held Liam on my lap. My arm was wrapped around him, and he relaxed into my chest. His breathing became slower and his lids grew heavy. He fell asleep and for a few moments, I just held him, softly brushing my lips against his forehead.
That’s parenting. Messy, dizzying, frustrating, exhilarating, heart wrenching, exhausting, mesmerizing, and astounding. Keeping your head just above the water, keeping your body in motion long enough to get the glimpses of the most beautiful life you have ever known- and somehow, finding the strength and energy to enjoy it.