Cirque du Maman

It’s quiet in my house this Saturday morning, but I know that won’t last. Frick is at a friend’s, Frack has a friend over, Mr. Man has completed his crack o’dawn coffee meeting and is now about to go bike riding with a friend, and mimi has squirrels.

Every mother on the planet knows about the squirrels–the ones who camp out in your brain, jumping about and chatteringchatteringchattering about everything you need to do or haven’t done or have in process or are trying to stick into a dank corner and let rot. Since school started, the squirrel chorus has just gotten louder. Now it includes forms to sign and papers to grade and kids who need sleep and lunches that “need made” (as my Western PA-raised MIL would say). Every. Freaking. Day.

It’s a wonder mothers get anything done–more of a wonder that tasks do, indeed, get done, and that no one goes to school starving or naked. Although mimi will admit to taping a couple of fives to the microwave in lieu of a lovingly-packed lunch this week, because the ham vs. peanut butter decision was just too much of a stretch at 6:20 am.

I look at the other moms in the grocery store sometimes, the ones who are slim and self-possessed, who wear lovely clothes and enviable shoes, and wonder how they manage to hold it all together so neatly while the leaves of my squirrel nest get disarrayed and reorganized as more and more relatives join the party. Or appear to, at least. In my darker moments, I have to remind myself to lean closer when my cart passes one of theirs, and listen. My tree isn’t the only one with squirrels.

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