Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

By JccKeith

As a new year begins and the slow realization that the world did not end as supposedly predicted by the Mayans on December 21, 2012 sets in, I sit around wasting time.  Technically, in my defense, I am not wasting time I am recovering from the migraine headache I woke up with this morning.  Upon raising my weary head from the pillow, I was immediately distracted by the excruciating pain threatening to rupture my left eyeball and/or the entire left frontal region of my brain. 

Such an undeserved way to start any morning.  Migraines suck, to say the least.  They also, on occasion, suck up any time I may have had to accomplish something.  There are times when I must go about my day despite the pain.  Today, or at least the majority of it, was not such a day.  I did eventually have to rise and make dinner for everyone.  By that point, fortunately, my migraine had finally subsided. 

Today’s migraine followed yesterday’s hangover.  It was also a most undeserved way to start a morning.  I did have a New Year’s Eve Party and I did drink, but only three beers and a couple rounds of beer pong.  So by no means should I have ended up with a hangover.  It was mild, however, probably more due to dehydration than actual alcohol and was more of a stubborn headache rather than a full blown hangover.  It was that annoying state of being where my head hurt and I felt relatively nauseous but not enough to actually spend any time worshipping the porcelain god.

All of these things served to remind me just how old, or at least, older, I have become and much to my surprise, responsible.  As I prepared for the New Year’s Eve Party, I cleaned my house, cleaner than usual, you know, I dusted shelves and scrubbed floors that usually only get swept with a broom.  I should have collected the dust from the shelves in the interest of scientific study but I didn’t have time.

As I cleaned and put things away, certain things became clear to me.  I have a house, not just a two bedroom townhouse/apartment as we used to have when it was just us, but a big, nice, in the neighborhood with all the other families, house inhabited by not just me and my husband but our three children as well.  I have bookshelves upon bookshelves lined with books, most of them classic novels as I love them so, but none of them filled with stuffed animals, figurines, toys, neon signs or other assorted such things.  My kids’ rooms have such shelves but not the rest of the house.  My walls are lined with paintings that match my couches and carpets and paint.  Pictures adorn these walls as well, pictures of my family at different stages of our lives and at different vacation spots.

I cleaned my kitchen and moved things around in my fridge to make room for beer, champagne and other alcohol.  I also made room for the cheese balls I made and the tray of crackers and cheese squares and little salami circles and the fruit dip and fruit.  To make room, I had to push to the back of my fridge the Kool-aid and orange juice and Trix yogurt and applesauce and leftovers from the last night’s dinner and the chicken I was thawing out for tonight’s dinner.

I then had to clear the conference table in my downstairs of papers and crayons and Christmas presents not yet opened to make room for disposable cups for beer pong.  This conference table is normally reserved for the playing of D&D on Saturday nights and on weekdays it serves as a spot for homework and coloring.  The hallowed conference table is never sullied with beverages or snacks.  Normally, any food or drinks brought to its clean surface are guarded carefully and any spills immediately wiped up and cleaned extensively.

Then people arrived for the party.  All of these people with the exception of four, were in their early twenties.  In my cleaning in preparation for the party, I had begun to realize my age and maturity difference.  It wasn’t until after they left and I went downstairs New Year’s morning that I took in the full scale of difference in age and responsibility.

My kitchen counters were sticky with who knows what, my floor was sticky with I don’t want to know what, my refrigerator was loaded with left behind beer and my living room floor had a spot of I’m not sure by the wall.  The downstairs, on the other hand, was worse.  There were empty beer bottles sitting on my book lined shelves, empty cups scattered about, beer stains on the carpet and the conference table – that shining beacon of cleanliness once used only for creative endeavors – was now covered in a sticky film of beer, tequila, red bull, mountain dew, jello and muck. 

Had I been in my early twenties, the house would probably still be a mess.  But I am not in my early twenties.  I am in my mid thirties.  I have a nice house, kids, a menagerie of pets and many, many responsibilities.  I did what any responsible adult would do after a party.  I gathered up the empty trays of snacks and the empty cups and bottles and threw them away.  I opened the cabinet under my sink and grabbed the Spot Shot and sprayed the stains on the carpet and watched them magically disappear.  I got out the bleach and cleaned the counters and the table.  I got out the Pinesol and cleaned the floor.  I had my son take out the trash. 

Afterward, I sat down on my living room couch and put in one of the new Stargate SG-1 dvds I received for Christmas.  Sitting there on my comfy couch with my cat on the back by my head and the dog snuggled quietly at my feet, I noticed the bleach stain on the sleeve of my sweatshirt.  I shrugged at the stain because although it is a nice sweatshirt from Hollister, it is old.  It is a discard of my son’s.  He gave it to me because it no longer fit him or so he said and I have worn it ever since.  I like it, it’s big and warm and comfortable.  It probably doesn’t look so great on me and definitely is not stylish or sexy but that is all part of being a responsible wife and mother in my mid-thirties.  I get to wear whatever the hell I want because I don’t care what others think.  Sure I dress up when I go out on the town but usually, especially around my house, I wear what I feel comfortable in. 

I considered over the last couple of days how it was I came to this point.  When exactly did I start keeping cleaning supplies so easily at hand?  When exactly did I stop caring as much about getting wasted and more about just having a good time?  When did I become so responsible?  I don’t remember waking up one day and saying, alright, today is the day, I’m going to be a responsible adult. 

Did it happen when I opened my first checking account?  When I went to college?  When I graduated from college?  Did it happen when we signed the papers for our townhouse?  Was it when we signed the mortgage papers for our house?  Maybe it happened after my first child was born?  The second?  Maybe the third? 

At some point in my life, I managed to become the holder of checking and savings accounts, a home, vehicles, children and pets.  I pay phone, electric, gas, car insurance and water bills every month.  I go grocery shopping and make breakfasts, lunches and dinners for five people.  I replace toilet paper rolls when they run out, I clean sinks and bathtubs, do laundry and feed animals.  I attend school functions and wrestling meets.  Somehow, without any direct intention to do so, I became a responsible adult.  I can’t even say when it happened or what exactly makes me one, I just know that I am.

I can’t say I don’t like it.  I love it.  Feeling comfortable with who I am and where I am in life is great.  I enjoy spending time at home with the kids or watching my favorite shows.  I like not waking up in the bathroom next to the toilet after a long night of drinking.  But it doesn’t mean I won’t indulge in a few leftover jello shots tonight or drink a left behind beer.  That is one of the benefits of being the party host, I get to reap the rewards of all of those twenty something people who don’t care about leaving behind alcohol.  

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