Time, Again

Showers these days are a stealth mission. Get in, get clean, get out. I have stopped washing my hair with shampoo more than once a week, the rest of the time I scrub in conditioner instead. I have never encountered a shower caddy that actually works, so everything is perched on the edge of the tub. (Apparently I am not the only one who does this.) We keep it minimal so that monkeys don’t unscrew the fascinating bottles during bathtime.

This past Sunday, while Fresco slept and the other half of our household went out, I had a long shower. For the first time in [a very long time] I defuzzed my legs. Naturally, I then needed moisturizer. In the cupboard beneath our bathroom sink there is all my extra, pre-kid stuff, stuff I don’t use very often but can’t bear to throw out, stuff that doesn’t fit on the edge of the tub. Nail polish. Mud masks. Bath salts. Eight different kinds of facial scrub. What-have-you.

I saw a jar of spiced orange body butter. Thought it sounded lovely and smoothing. Reached out and in slow motion, my hand moving to the jar, my brain calculated: dude, you bought that 3 years ago. THREE YEARS AGO. I was pregnant with Trombone, it was November, my belly was itchy, I had nothing better to do after work than wander home to my west end apartment from my downtown job, a 15 minute walk, via the Body Shop on Robson Street. I had hours to unscrew every jar in the store and sniff, dab on the wrist, rub into the back of my hand. Wandering dreamlike around the downtown core, my coat starting to strain at the buttons a bit. (let’s not talk about how long I have had the coat, then) Smiling at strangers, full of goodwill toward man.

Maybe not that last part. This blog does document those days; I cannot lie.

The days are long but the years are short; you’ve heard that one, right? I do measure out my days in spoons-full, it seems to be the only way to get through. Like an addict going one day at a time I am going hours at a time; x hours till baby nap, xy hours till toddler nap, x hours till baby nap again, xy hours till daddy’s home, zz hours since I last fed the baby, -zz hours since I woke up the last time. When you focus all your thoughts on time in this fashion it is a bit like being a horse in a parade, blinders on, marching forward, to the next lamp post and the next, stop, whinny, march on. Next thing you know, you’re glue.

The hyper-awareness of – and yes, attempts to control – the small time makes the big time recede into a blur of Past and this is messing with me a little. On the weekend I found myself with old friends, trying with some struggle and amusement to remember events from those years of my life when I saw them once or twice a week, when good friends, not a duo of incontinent midgets, were my crux, my world. Part of this is because of the beer we drank back then and also because of the wine I was drinking on Saturday night. Part of it is that I don’t see these old friends very often anymore so the oral tradition that makes old anecdotes into great stories into memories you share with your own kids is lacking. But also my brain is past fumes and is currently running on momentum, out of necessity only able to recollect with any clarity the past few years. It stands to reason that my world right now is centered around the people with whom I spend the most time.

I picture memory cells in my brain, like bubbles containing individual moments, anecdotes, memories of life before kids and they are bounced to the back, crammed like clusters of fish eggs into the dark, inaccessible corners while the front of my brain is busy doing the administrative work; charting naps and food and the ages of my children, what day it is today. How much fruit anyone has had in a given week. Has everyone pooped today. (Have you?)

It will be interesting to see if, when the children are relatively self-regulating, I can access the old memories again. Or if I will need to do intensive talk therapy with someone who was there to bring them back. Or if it’s a good thing I took so many pictures back when and in a fit of re-org after we moved in to this house decided to put them in boxes in a closet. And yes I do know which closet.

In the end, I opted to moisturize with a mango-scented lotion that I bought on our trip to Tofino in February. And no, I have still not thrown out the 3 year old body butter.

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