By Heather O.
Today, as I was coming home from shopping, my car full of groceries
(most notably the eight potatoes I had to bake for the swim meet,’cause that’s what every kid under the age of 8 wants in the 101 degree heat after swimming 3 laps–a piping hot tuber), a convertible Mustang with 3 young women turned left in front of me. These girls could have been in a commercial, they were just that typical. Young, tan, beautiful hair that was flowing just right in the breeze, you know, instead of all messed up and tangled from the wind, like that scene in “Terms of Endearment” when Shirley McLaine goes to lunch with Jack Nicholsen (has that guy ever NOT been creepy?), and they drive in his covertible too fast and her hair piece is all torn to shreds. I sighed just a little as I watched them. I was reminded of a time when I, too, had that carefree look. Ok, so my hair always turns into a rat’s nest when I’m in a convertible (which, you know, I’ve managed at LEAST half a dozen times in my life!), but still, I FELT carefree, even if I did look like Shirley McLaine without a wig.
It happened when J was still quite little, and I was doing per diem work for my old company. One of the speech therapists was on vacation, so I was covering for her for the entire week. Of course, this happened when our car was in the shop, so my only choice was to rent a car to get to work. It was a beautiful spring day in Boston, you know, the kind that almost makes up for the dreadful New England winters (almost). I went to rent a car, and the guy said, “For 10 bucks more, I can get you into that“, and he pointed to a silver Mustang convertible in the parking lot.
As I stepped into the Mustang, I felt like I morphed from tired Mommy who spent her life with spit up on her clothes into Hey there, sexy Momma! And, looking back, J was so young that it was the first time I had been really dressed in probably a month.
Work was about 30 minutes away, in Concord, which is a beautiful place to be any time of the year. I drove along Route 2, breezy and excited to be free of mothering duties, just for a minute. And then, wonder of wonders, I even got honked at by some leering guy in a Pontiac. Not that I’m partial to creepy, possible rapist types who honk at strange women, but I do have to admit, it gave me a boost.
I roared into work, still feeling happy and carefree, and did what I had to do. I drove home, still smiling, and then went to pick up my precious offspring at the babysitter’s. The illusion of the day was only slightly spoiled by me strapping my small child into the carseat in the back, and I did stop speeding, just because I was terrified of what would happen to a little child in a convertible if we had a wreck. And I should point out that from the babysitter’s to the rental place was, at most, 1.5 miles. Please, I’m no Brittany Spears. (Although you do have to feel sorry for the girl. I’d hate to have the papparazzi judging every mothering move I make.)
I returned the Mustang, and the illusion faded completely when I got the car seat out of the car, pulled the stroller out of the trunk, and proceeded to drag the car seat while simultaneously pushing the stroller with my small child in it down the street the mile or so back to our apartment. Sweating, tired, with a screaming child in the stroller, I trudged back home, thinking, Well, at least that icky Pontiac guy won’t get me. There’s absolutely no way he would know I was the same person.
I returned to my apartment, fed my son, and we all went back to our lives. Ok, and the point of this rambling post? I’m glad I had the experience, and others like that–bright spots that remind us who we are, why we do what we do, and then let us be better mothers for it. We need Mustang Moments! I’m sure that if I hadn’t been living in the land of non-stop nursing, no sleep, cleaning spit-up and poop 24 hours a day, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the day nearly as much. It would have just been another day with the perk of having a different car. But as it was, I got to laugh and think, Wow, the rest of the world has no idea! This isn’t really me. I’m just a Mommy in a Mustang.
I really got to get me one of those.
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