Motherhood happens. And for all of its wonderful perks, it makes us as cool as a big, purple, singing dinosaur – you know – ‘from our imagination.’ |
Shortly after my third child was born, I was running errands garbed in my standard weekend wear (striped socks, easy-care pull-on black pants, a red sweater with appliqué felt kittens). I stopped at a crosswalk to allow a young woman to cross the street. She wore a three-quarter length black leather jacket, high-heeled Italian boots and a two-ply cashmere sweater. In her hand was a $4.00 latte. I grew dejected as I watched her Madison Avenue hair float along behind her. I used to be that woman. I was determined to become her again.
When I returned home, I pulled my teenage son into the mudroom.
“Look,” I said. “I want you to gather your friends and bring them
to the house. Get rid of everything that isn’t cool.” My son put
his hand up in the air and waited. We would have exchanged a
secret sort of handshake thing, but I didn’t know what I was
supposed to do. He let it pass and started speed dialing his
“Code red. This is a code red!” he yelled into the phone.
That night, my husband returned from work and entered a newly
redecorated home circa 1991 p.k. (pre kids). His four-year-old son
greeted him at the door dressed head to toe in black.
“Konnichiwa,” he said to his dad. Wearing a black lace bra on the
outside of my shirt, I handed my startled husband a blueberry
Mojito cocktail. Pakistani music blasted throughout the house. We
walked into the living room where the television had been replaced
with a microphone stand highlighted by a single, stark spotlight.
“Where’s the TV?” he wanted to know.
Our six-year-old walked into the room, wearing ripped designer jeans and an Andy Warhol t-shirt. “No TV tonight, Daddy. It’s open mike night.” He
proceeded to recite Dr. Seuss in hip-hop style while the rest of us
dined on peanut butter and jelly-infused risotto laced with
chocolate truffle oil and deep fried limes.
My husband asked me what the #@!* was going on.
I started to cry. I told him about the hip people who still roam earth, and that they have things called "conversations" and
"opinions." I told him I had been in denial. The Wiggles have
never been on the cover of Vanity Fair. Young girls do not want to
grow up so they can shop for clearance items at J.C. Penney.
My husband nodded, wiped away my tears and held me. He would
support our hip campaign. “There, there, my little Puccini opera,”
he said. “Stop crying, and tomorrow night we will drink Lapsung
Souchong tea and watch Marlene Dietrich movies.” I hugged him
ecstatically then went to read e.e. cummings to the cat.
The next morning, my husband walked into the kitchen where his four-year-old munched on cereal. “Konnichiwa,” he said to his son.
“Daddy, Japanese is so yesterday,” the little one replied.
“What’s hip now?” the baffled father wanted to know.
“1970s suburban America. Would you like some Captain Crunch?”
“Yes, THANK God, yes,” he said.