Night of the Living Mother

Most women in pursuit of sanity have something that is just theirs.   Now I am not talking about a possession, like a written assassination contract against your husband or a hidden bag of imported chocolates, more like a hobby or a career if you are very lucky.  Perhaps you have a once a month Girls Night Out or you achieved your dream of becoming a Proctologist. Mine is once a year I spend a few weeks scaring folks (other than my family) at a haunted house.  I love the make up, the acting, the screams, the whole Halloween experience.  When it is over I have no voice left, my body is wrecked and exhausted, the children are hostile and my husband has considered moving without leaving a forwarding address.

It would be much easier to sneak away in the dead of night rather than clean and repair the damage done in my absence.  There are eighteen messages on our home phone asking someone to please call the school and explain why our daughter told everyone that her mother was Undead.   Mark’s backpack is bulging with paper bags full of fossilized peanut butter sandwiches, our washing machine is full of wet, fuzzy green towels (we do not own any fuzzy green towels) and I am having trouble remembering where we left the kitchen sink.  Chris has started a deep personal relationship with the pizza delivery lady, Mark locked himself in the bathroom four days ago and hasn’t been seen at supper since then but Melissa says she knows he is alive in there because every now and then she hears him sing Lady Gaga songs softly.

Yet in spite of these little wrinkles I will look forward to haunting next fall.  It is my one get away, my one selfish pursuit that involves no one else and doesn’t have to rely on what everyone else needs first. It always comes just as I feel unnoticed and unwanted.  Seems that the best way to be indispensable is to be unavailable.  Want to see how much you are missed?  Breeze through the house, heading for the exit, tossing the following questions over your shoulder:

Did you remember to help the kids with their homework?  What are you making for supper tonight?  Did you defrost any meat?  Melissa, did you remember to check your schedule to see if you have gym tomorrow?  Mark did you ever find those overdue library books?  Hey, guys, whoever left those candy wrappers on the couch needs to pick them up, please!


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