That's right, boys and girls. Momma's home.
I survived 2.5 days by myself in New York City. I went to tutorials on writing essays. I suffered from a brain bleed during the session on search engine optimization. I attended lunches. I passed around my business card for this blog like some kind of bow-tied card shark. I mingled. I stood alone in corners clutching glasses of chardonnay.
Take that, Middle School -- Parte Dos.
Actually, and not to brag, but I kind of ruled at Middle School, The Next Generation. Sure, I sparkled my conversations with run-on sentences and poorly-executed sarcasm. True, I spent a good chunk of the opening night party wandering aimlessly and looking for a friendly face attached to a human body. (The life-size dancing bowling pin didn't seem like a great wing-object.) Granted, I was blinded by the razzle-dazzle of my fellow bloggers' technical prowess and publishing track record.
But Middle School Rises introduced me to a side of myself that I never believed existed. I was so surprised by its discovery that, for a couple of very profound seconds, I was convinced that I had unwittingly been NASA's Curiosity project.
The Mrs. Hyde that stuffed Mama Jekyll, Esq. into a cramped closet for the New York City sojourn did things like this:
- Mrs. Hyde blew her hair dry after her morning shower. (Mama Jekyll, Esq. just squirts thick goo into her hair, allowing nature and window fans to take it from there.)
- Mrs. Hyde dressed herself in fetching attire from JCrew post-shower. (Mama Jekyll, Esq. fetches the nearest black ensemble, usually with the hope that part of that ensemble includes yoga pants that say "business casual.")
- Mrs. Hyde opened an accessory bag and considered which earrings, bracelets, and/or necklaces best accented her costume. (Mama Jekyll tends to leave earrings on until a crust forms, and was only reminded that she had adornments for other parts of her body when her son tried to use them as chew toys.)
- Mrs. Hyde applied things like body cream. And eyeshadow. EYESHADOW!! (Mama Jekyll, Esq. thinks Sephora only sells concealer.)
- Mrs. Hyde read the New York Times. THE NEW YORK TIMES! (Mama Jekyll, Esq. laughs when people say "New York Times," because she thinks they've forgotten New York is in the same time zone as Maine. "It's all Eastern Standard, sillies!" ~ Mama Jekyll, Esq.)
I am by nature cautious, superstitious, and cynical. So when I first sensed Mrs. Hyde's apparition, I didn't trust it. I made myself do things like trip or smear mascara on my upper eyelid. The chardonnay-clutching moments were reassuring, because they brought me back to a sense of self. When I dropped scrambled eggs in my lap, I breathed a sigh of relief. "Yep. Still got it."
Mrs. Hyde doesn't take "who the heck are you?" for an answer, though. Undeterred, she kept appearing with that glossy straight hair and that lip gloss at the ready. Finally, when I finished a salad without any vegetables showing up in the crevasses of my front teeth, I had to stop myself on East 54th Street and get serious.
I got out my sidewalk chalk, and I did some quick math.
Quack + swim + look = duck.
Outfit + makeup + leisurely reading = woman?
Could it be?!? I was not Mami? I was not "hey, where is the....?" or "can you get me the....?" I was not someone's employee?
I was just....a grown-up, honest-to-goodness, W-O-M-A-N?!?
I roared. And then I rushed myself to the Museum of Natural History and spent my remaining 18 hours in a glass case. (Pictures will be on Pinterest soon.)
I wanted Mrs. Hyde to come back to Maine with me. I mean, she is awesome! At least, if we're speaking relatively, and the point of comparison is Mama Jekyll, Esq. So I promised Mrs. Hyde I'd do things like find my hair dryer and shop on-line more. I even promised her I wouldn't lose my lip gloss in my bag. She at first seemed willing to negotiate.
Then I got on the plane. And I started thinking. When my husband meets Mrs. Hyde, he's going to think he is having an affair with someone vaguely reminiscent of his wife. My children are going to greet her as a babysitter vaguely reminiscent of their mother. That will be fun for everyone, initially. Then the guilt would start creeping in. My children would yearn for someone they can feel comfortable whining to or throwing up on again. Everyone would wonder why Mrs. Hyde thinks it's more important to iron her clothes than it is to find the special stone collected from the beach 7 months ago that cannot go missing if sleep is to be had ever again.
Mrs. Hyde didn't make it much further than my driveway. By the time I crossed the threshold of our kitchen, gone was the cute pullover, back was the ponytail with the frizz frame around my face. I spent most of the afternoon in the bathing suit I bought at Wal-Mart and the cover-up that used to be a maternity dress. This morning, my makeup brush got covered in baby drool. And I used it anyway.
Which is all fine. Mama Jekyll, Esq. is much more user-friendly. She can load a mean dishwasher, and she's good-natured about a 5-outfit rotation.
But if you see a little smirk and a soft look in Mama Jekyll, Esq.'s eye every now and then, don't be alarmed. She's just letting herself daydream about Mrs. Hyde and that one glorious weekend they spent together.
A weekend whose souvenir is, of course, the squeaky rubber duck that now sits next to the Princess Body wash and the Elmo loufa in our shower.