After Busy BZ and the baby go to sleep and the toys are put away and the dishwasher is emptied and everything is reset and ready for the next day, I make a decision about what to do with my last hour or two of the day. You might think I’d relish this time, but instead I feel paralyzed. After a day with a baby on my boob and toddler in my face, what should I do for myself? I could go to the gym or dust off my yoga mat, or maybe I could read or write. Usually, just the thought of these activities makes me tired. So, most nights you’ll find me finishing a regrettable season of some show Hulu with a cup of tea (or sometimes wine) and a jar of M&Ms.
The move from NY to TX has not been an easy one. I’ve never minded moving before, but then again, I’ve never moved pregnant or with a kid. Almost a year later, BZ has finally stopped talking about NY. This a relief and heartbreaking at the same time. “Remember that house with the red door?” she’d ask from time to time referring to our old house. “We can go back there,” she’d add, continuing to play happily, emotionally ruining me for rest of the day, kick-starting my inevitable M&M consumption. Now, it’s fading. She’s forgetting our friends there and the house and those first two years and I feel alone remembering all of it so brightly. Cue the M&Ms…
Maybe the most important detail of all this, is that I can’t eat the M&Ms out in the open. A three-year-old tracks my movements all day long and she’s fluent in candy consumption. From across the room, she distinguishes the sound of a rustling bag of M&Ms from something less interesting. If they’re on my breath, she will call me out and remind me to share. So, I pop candy into my mouth at intervals when she turns her head, careful to keep it quiet, chugging tea to wash down the scent. The compromising method of consumption doesn’t boost morale.
To this day, my mom stores bags M&Ms in the laundry room. Growing up, I never stopped to think about how strange it was for the candy to take its seat next to Costco sized jugs of Tide and dryer sheets, but now it couldn’t be more clear… Laundry room candy is a last vestige from her days of concealing M&Ms from ME. Like mother, like daughter…I guess it’s my turn to find my moments of peace and chocolate alongside the fresh sheets and underwear.
Our family is moving yet again. It sucks. Thankfully, this time we’re headed to Ohio to be close to family and M&Ms are small and easy to pack. Still, all this moving has made adult-ing at 33 feel more challenging than it did at 30. I thought I’d already organized most of life’s “big picture” pieces like a job, house, good friends, baby, etc. While reinventing yourself at 20 is exciting, after thirty it’s just exhausting. I suppose that moving forces you to find the core of your identity because it strips away so many of your surroundings. Motherhood is also transformative and challenges identity…basically, I’m like the hollow shell that’s lost her chocolate filling and peanut. Or perhaps, I’m the solid candy center missing her colorful candy coating? Only Mars knows. For now, I’m taking baby steps when it comes to planning and focusing on the two little girls who have become my world. One thing is certain — I’ll be spending plenty of time in the laundry room.