Yesterday, as I attempted to prep and dress five kids for a park trip, I was confronted by what I wrongly interpereted as a chicken-or-the-egg type question:
Mag: “How was the first person born?”
Mommy: “You mean the first person ever?”
Mag: (with trepidation) “Ye-es…”
Mommy: “Well, there are a couple of different theories about that,”
(Insert frantic pause as Mommy seeks reasonable way to outline the plot of “Inherit the Wind” to an eleven-year-old who likely wouldn’t recognize Gene Kelly if he were wearing a name tag. Or Spencer Tracy, for that matter.
Or Dick York. Possibly Dick York – Mommy refuses to even imagine a generation so much younger than herself it’s been entirely without “Bewitched.”)
Mag: “It’s just that almost everbody thinks that Michelle Obama was the first lady. But I think she was just the first lady to marry a president and live at the White House.”
Ouch. Suddenly forgetting all about the Scopes Monkey Trial, I’m all “coulda had a V8”
(Our family’s alternate theory, and eventual consesus, as to the origin of man, as posed by Jr: dinosaurs pooped out cavemen – it still makes more sense than the Michelle Obama theory; do we not know anyone older than the First Lady, the mere knowledge of whom’s existence would blow that idea out of the water immediately? )
Then this morning, and I apologize in advance for the stark change of pace here, I had a very different kind of moment. A PTSD kind of moment.
Things were routine; I brushed my teeth, picked out clothes, got dressed. Normal stuff. I stood in the mirror doing the requisite morning Weight And General Appearance Assessment. I rated fairly well, due largely to the fact that we had guests last night, so I had, at some point, been made-up, and in lesser part to my lowered weekend standards. As I turned to walk away, a scar caught my eye. This particular scar, unlike many of mine, is recent. I know its source (cooking), it’s not particularly large or dark, and it will eventually fade. All of these things qualify as departures from the majority of my scars.
I was immediately transported back I time to childhood. A vague memory of my mother teasing me about being so careful. Saying she was a little disappointed that I’d never been hurt. I understood then, but the point has since been driven home with the evolution of technology that has robbed my own children of normal childlike behavior, and the subsequent bruises and scrapes. When I was a kid, books and an avid love of reading kept me from those experiences. Now FruitNinja keeps my little ones from them (at least for an hour a day, weekends only).
And so, this morning, on my linoleum bathroom floor, I quietly cried. My arms are particularly scarred, but I don noticeable marks on my face, legs, hands, and feet. Possibly other places, too, as it seems like all too often I discover another, sources unknown.
My scars, much like the foolishly garish tattoos I got in my foolishly garish youth, have become so a part of what I see that they have become invisible to me. I no longer notice them, even the Frankenstein-like lines up and down my outer forearms, or the giant valley climbing up the crook of my left elbow, so deep and dark that most folks assume it’s part of a nearby tattoo.
But today, each one inspired terrifying memories of their creation. And while some were acquired all-of-the-sudden, and some required careful and repeated abuse to manifest, each has countless thoughts, fears, regrets, and even out-and-out horrors associated with it. And, oh, what have I done to my mother, who never meant for me to scar myself like this.
And as I gently heaved with the weight of my breath, something popped into my head:
“THIS JUST IN: EVE CLEARED ON ALL CHARGES; MICHELLE OBAMA ACCUSED OF PERPETRATING ORIGNIAL SIN!”
And like I tell our youngest, Bear, it’s hard to cry through laughter.
Am I the only one?