I could devote an entire blog to my “duh” moments as a mother—well, as a wife and pharmacist too, now that I think about it. There are times I figure things out WAY too late, embarrass myself- and my family- and have “aha” moments when it just really doesn’t matter anymore. Countless times, I have made things MUCH more difficult than they were EVER meant to be, only to be shown, sometimes years later, the magnitude of my ineptness. It wasn’t until children entered our family did I learn Jeff’s ingenious way to peel an orange. I also remember watching one of our newest technicians file prescriptions at the end of the night unlike I had ever seen before and thinking, HOW have I never thought of that all these years?? Far too many times, my tongue has been road trips ahead of my brain.........and, of course, that is always interesting. I have created many opportunities for awkward phone calls, late night emails, and hand on forehead moments. You know. "Duh" moments.
The first “duh” moment as a Mom happened when I had only been a Mom for maybe 2 days. Thankfully, Jeff was in on this one, incriminating himself as my partner in idiocy. Getting Julia into her car seat for the SECOND time, we had a sweet audience of parents who had done it many times before. We proceeded to do it the way we had done it at the hospital, with much difficulty and perspiration, I assure you. As the hotel room in Louisiana grew quiet, a voice came from across the room and said, “Whoa!!! Let me help you with that!”. I think my dear friend was worried for baby Julia's life and rightly so. What they saw was Jeff and me hunched over her brand new carseat trying to strap her in all tightly swaddled in her blanket not knowing to separate the little buckle in the middle. Rounds of laughter followed as the two new parents blushed brightly. It was some feat we had accomplished at the hospital and before our friend showed us how to do it, I was completely getting why new Moms didn’t get out much.
So yesterday’s “duh moment” wasn’t as entertaining as that rookie blunder, but one nonetheless. The book I had chosen for Julia to read aloud had not arrived from the library so I grabbed one off the bookshelf for which she had handed over her own money at Barnes and Nobles. She had chosen an abridged version of Oliver Twist for “young readers”. I knew the story was about an orphan boy’s adventures, some funny and some difficult, but ultimately his finding a home filled with love for him. She sat up on the kitchen counter while I was spreading Skippy. While my mind was on the next 24 hours, I heard her reading but at the time I was only hearing a string of words catching phrases like “great sadness”, “hard labor”, “no family”. I tuned in for a bit while searching for the honey figuring out we were looking in on a child birthing scene. “Young readers”—I was okay with that. It must have been while I was trying to get the cuts right on their sandwiches—one, big rectangles, one, triangles—that I noticed the words weren’t coming anymore. Without looking up, I said, “Go on,” as I placed sandwiches on the plastic plates. It was then that I heard the sniffles. I looked up to a wrinkled- faced, teary eyed Julia. “Oh, Momma, it’s so sad. I am NOT reading this book anymore.” The book went face down on the counter and then the sobs came heavy. I had missed it. Clueless. So while hugging her on the counter, I moved the book around towards her back and this is what I read over her shoulder, “The patient shook her head. She stretched her hand toward the child. The doctor placed Oliver in her arms. She pressed her cold white lips onto the baby’s forehead. It was a tender, loving kiss. This was a special moment between mother and son. She then passed her hand over her own face. Her head dropped onto the pillow and she was dead.” Dead. Great. I read on to find out they tried to resuscitate her and failed, but how traumatic for a “young reader”. Julia was sobbing into my shoulder and my extra foot was kicking me in the rear. Orphan. Child birthing scene. Duh.
It is not the first book mistake I have made and most likely it won’t be my last. I know it won’t be the last time I feel like an idiot, but I am learning that these “duh” moments keep me on my toes. This one reminds me of what a tender heart lies within the girl under our roof, that seven years old really means she has been on this earth for less than 3000 days, and losing a mother is about the worst thing she can imagine right now. It also reminds me that sometimes crying is the only appropriate response. In this situation, it was pure and true.
So I don’t mind them really....”duh” moments, as long as someone doesn't have TOO much fun at my expense. At least I eventually figure it out- or someone else enlightens me. Sometimes it might be as simple as peeling an orange and other times, it could be as dramatic as being reminded of what real fear looks like at seven, an important fact I won't soon forget.