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A Day In The Life

6 a.m. I get up. Unwillingly. I get ready
for the day, make a grocery list, pack Maddie’s bag, prep
their breakfasts, and go to wake up the girls.

6:30 a.m. I start the wake-up process. This takes half an hour,
from “I’m not ready to wake up!” to coming down
for breakfast. Maddie gets out of bed only with the promise of some
maple sugar for her oatmeal.

7 a.m. I finish cooking the oatmeal and dish it up to two
unenthusiastic girls. They eat, we do hair, wrestle on shoes, and
head out the door.

7:45 a.m. I drop Maddie off at school and stay until the bell rings
– as I’ve promised Maddie I will do. Even though
she’s inside and would never know.

8 a.m. Cora and I read Puss In Boots twice and play four
rounds of Puppy Bingo. Cora wins every time.

8:30 a.m. Cora and I head to the grocery
store. Cora pushes her own mini-cart, and is very picky about which
items will go in. We debate some products and work our way through
the store. Cora needs to go poopy, and frets the entire time that
someone will steal her grocery cart while it’s parked outside
the bathroom. I reassure her that it’s not so as I stand with
one hand over the electric eye and one hand over my ear, so I
won’t hear Cora go poopy – another worry of hers.

9:30 a.m. We drive home. Cora elects to stay in the car while I
unload the groceries – “It’s so much work”
– and put away the cold items, leaving the rest for later.

10 a.m. We hit the Container Store. I’m organizing a few
rooms for my church so I spend a blissful forty-five minutes
talking through storage options with an equally enthusiastic
employee. It’s a good thing I love organizing – this is
the equivalent of a spa day for me. Cora has a wonderful time
sorting all the containers on a shelf by size, much to the delight
of the employees.

11 a.m. Cora and I return home and begin making a big batch of
muffins to freeze for school mornings. The first batch will be
tomorrow’s bribe for Maddie to get her out of bed in the
morning. As we bake we eat lunch, put away the dry groceries, and
take a break to read Puss In Boots two more times.

1 p.m. Cora goes upstairs for her quiet time, kicked off by a fifth
reading of Puss In Boots. During her alone time, I get
dinner made and laid out for Brian to assemble that night, clean
out the fridge, take out the stinky trash, and pack my bag for work
that night.

2:30 p.m. Cora and I head out to pick up Maddie at school. We walk
back home, snuggle on the couch and read books together for almost
an hour. The girls beg to ride scooters to the park and I relent,
insisting we’ll only be there for five minutes so I’ll
have time to get ready for work.

4:35 p.m. We make it home from the park only five minutes late, but
Maddie’s in full meltdown mode. I give her way less attention
than she deserves and rush upstairs to get my show makeup on,
giving it way less attention than it deserves.

5 p.m. I come downstairs and say good-bye to the girls. They stare
at me suspiciously, not used to me looking, well, nice. Cora sniffs
me like a wild dog. “Are you wearing makeup?” Maddie
asks accusingly. I toss the reins to Brian and run out the door.

5:59 p.m. I walk into the theatre for a one-night performance of a
friend’s script. I am new to the theatre scene in this city
and feel shy and hesitant, aware of my out-of-town-ness competing
with my mommy-ness to expose me as a complete impostor. I do miss
the stage, though, and take a deep breath when I walk into the
theatre. I see two of the few friends I do have here.
“Jen!” one shouts delightedly, moving towards me. I
move into the midst of the whirlwind, blissfully content: I am
recognized. I am known. I am wanted. And that is enough.

6:30 p.m. I am sitting onstage next to one of the top ten
Shakespearean actors in the country, chatting about our scene
together and playing the “who do we both know” game. I
am holding my own, I think, and doing a reasonable job passing as a
real live theatre professional. I’m back, baby, I think, as I
congratulate myself. “Hey, do you have a pencil? I need to
mark that change down,” Mr. Shakespeare Man says.
“YES!” I exclaim, and open my purse.

Cora’s spare diaper falls out on the stage.

Mr. Shakespeare Man stares at it, nostrils flaring delicately as if
picturing the diaper already used. “Hey, listen, just because
I’ve got a pull-up in my purse doesn’t mean that I
don’t got game,” I joke. He looks at me, blinks slowly,
murmurs something polite and turns to talk to the person sitting
next to him.

Well, it was fun feeling cool while it lasted.

8:30 p.m. The show is under way and I’m rocking my small
part. The cast is asked to mingle with the audience during
intermission, and since I’m fast approaching the point at
which I usually crash for the night, I hit concessions for some
peanut M&Ms. And older woman behind me recognizes me, leans in,
pats me comfortingly on the shoulder and beams maternally,
“You’re doing so well!” The mommy in me
appreciates her silently for that “good job!” she just
handed out, as I assemble a gracious “thank you so
much” and grab my candy.

11 p.m. The show is over, meet-and-greet finished, and I’ve
had a fantastic time. The cast stands around, energized and ready
to start the evening. “Anyone want to walk to the pub up the
street?” someone suggests. I sneak a look at the time: I have
to get up in seven hours. I offer nebulous regrets and walk out
with the cast.

A rather cute 19-year-old boy was in the show, and I could see
he’d been glancing at me through the night. Let’s be
honest, these moments don’t come that frequently, and I was
flattered. As we walk out to the parking lot he strides behind me
and sees me stop in front of my mom-mobile of a mini-van. His face
cracks open as his paradigm shifts and I am hastily shuffled to a
different category.

Well, it was fun feeling hot while it lasted.

11:30 p.m. I come home, prepare Maddie’s lunch for the next
day, clean out her back-pack, and make tomorrow’s to-do list.
Falling asleep on my feet, I head into the girls’ room for
the requisite snuggles.

In Maddie’s room I stretch out on her bed. She sighs,
“Mommy,” and rolls into me, melting bonelessly against
me. I stroke her hair and rest, motionless, a few moments before
moving into Cora’s room.

Cora says nothing when I climb into bed next to her; she simply
attaches onto me like a leach and begins rubbing my hair on her
face, her feet swishing mindlessly back and forth the way they do
when she’s happy. I lean into the midst of her whirlwind,
blissfully content.

I am recognized. I am known. I am wanted. And that is enough.


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