Most working mothers eagerly await the 2-3 week vacations they are given each year. I’m lucky. I have about 180 days off each year and since becoming a mom, I’ve started to dread each and every one of them. Not because I don’t want to spend time with my precocious, gorgeous 21-month-old girl. But because I constantly get the feeling that I’m about to bore my child to death. She’s what you’d call fun. Wild. At Gymboree she’s the one who can’t sit still on that damn parachute for a damn thirty-second parachute ride. She puts stuffed cats on her head and calls them her “cat hats.” No, no one in my family taught her that. Because we—me—unlike her—are not fun. I don’t know what to do to fill up so many hours with her. After playing house and pretending her markers are people who can knock on doors…after throwing a ball to her and watching her miss…and miss again…after hours of reading books (awesome and easy) and coloring (I color, she watches and then tries to break all the crayons in two), what does one do to keep up the momentum?
So that’s my dirty secret—the one I hope to hell she never finds out about when she gets older. If she discovers I once stood on stage in a bra for 20 seconds, so be it. That was for the sake of art and, at 19, probably for some other reasons that had more to do with a lack of dignity and self-respect than they did fun. But let her not find out that I had a chance to go to Peru and build houses but didn’t because I got cold feet. That I went to surf camp all the way in San Diego, bought a surfboard when I got back to NYC, and then chickened out most mornings when all I desperately wanted to do was join the male-dominated lineup at my local beach. How am I going to keep this from her? How do I make believe I have something to do every Friday night when she reaches the age where she can actually go out?
Urggggh, I will have to start now, won’t I? I should put down my books, log off, and go find mom friends who like to party.