Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I'm The Mommy?

One of my favorite scenes from the show Mad About You involves the main characters, husband and wife Paul and Jamie Buchman, arguing about who needs to take time off from work when their baby is born. The dialogue goes something like this:

Jamie: So you mean, you expect me to take time off of work just because I'm the Mommy?
Paul: Yes.
Jamie: Just because I'm the Mommy!?
Paul: Yes.
Jamie: Oh my God. I'm the Mommy!

I know exactly how she feels. Today, I found out something which is both silly for me to reflect on, and sad: Gilligan is dead. Bob Denver, the actor who played Gilligan on Gilligan's Island died. It occurred to me that an awful lot of people have been dying lately. Of course the numbers are probably the usual amount of people who die in any given year, but recently, the people who are dying are people who, in my childhood, were the grownups. And it makes me wonder: who will be the grownups now? Us?

When I consider the relationship my friends have with their parents, it is increasingly a relationship with the caretaker role slowly being handed over. Our parents are either in or approaching senior citizenship, and if you look at any list of demographics, it is not the senior citizens who run the country and who are generally in charge. The people in charge are generally people starting with my age and working upwards... people who, when I was fifteen, seemed unattainably adult.

I cannot wrap my head around the fact that they might have felt the same way I feel. It's just not possible. Consider the events of the first half of my day:

1. Woke up, hit snooze forty three million times.
2. Slurped the milk in my cereal.
3. Listened to the theme from Tootsie while I fantasized about being in a movie with Denzel Washington kissing me, while driving to work.
4. Upon arriving to work, logged immediately onto the comics page to check up on the Luann and For Better Or For Worse families.
5. Drove to McDonald's for lunch.

Do you see a pattern here? My day was essentially the sum of dream activities for your average thirteen year old. Okay, a nerdy thirteen year old with Tootsie and Denzel and all, but still.

Despite the fact that I have all the baggage which made my parents slightly weird at times: a mortgage, insurance payments, grocery bills, a teenager who seems to grow inches every night; I still don't feel adult enough to take the world onto my shoulders and get things done. And frankly, no offense: neither does anyone remotely in my age group that I know, and those a bit ahead of us don't seem all that presidential either.

(Okay... our current President may be a walking billboard that you don't need to be fully adult to hold the job, but I'm making a point here).

I'm The Mommy.

I often catch myself looking at my son's retreating head in amazement, thinking, "Wow... he bought that?" I am his authority figure, his knightress in shining armor when he needs something. I solve problems. This is not a child who likely even considers exactly why his light turns on when he flips the switch, or is remotely interested in why the Cinnamon Toast Crunch container is seemingly bottomless. I take care of all that, a set up which is more than a little vaguely ridiculous.

I am the person who completely forgot to take a final English exam in college. I woke up knowing I had an exam that day, arrived at school, got lost in whatever activity I was doing, and ended up running pell mell into the professor as she was exiting the building, exam having been administered and collected. Picture me running behind a not stopping, quickly striding woman begging for my life, and then picture me being the person responsible for stuff like electricity and food. You see?

It has all happened so fast. Not to seem pedestrian, but yes... it does seem like just yesterday when I wholly depended on someone else to make the world go, and now those someone elses are moving aside and gesturing for my generation to take the podium.

It's our turn. We're the mommies, and the daddies, and the senators, and the soon to be Chief Justices (he's only fifty. I've dated people with more of an age difference between us than that).

I like to sign off with a statement to leave at least me thinking or smiling, but all I'm coming up with today?

Wow.

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