Weekly Column: Where has all the good fun gone?

©Stephenie Freeman

I still holding out hope that the older I get, the more fun I will have.

When I was younger, pre-mommyhood, my life was filled with fun.  I had more fun than I knew what to do with, so much fun that I squandered it away frivolously on silly things like myself. 

I’m starting to see that this current stage in my life—motherhood—isn’t about fun; it’s about surviving.  I’m just trying to make it through the next twenty years with everyone’s limbs intact and no one calling me from jail. 

Motherhood is a lot of things, but I wouldn’t classify it as being “fun.”  Sure, there are lots of aspects of it that are enjoyable: your child’s first piano recital, a homemade Valentine’s card from preschool, the occasional praise report from a teacher telling you how delightful your little one is in class.  Motherhood is love.  Motherhood is warmth and caring.  But fun?  Not so much.  It’s hard to categorize motherhood as being fun when your 3-year-old is throwing up purple popsicle all over the carpet at two o’clock in the morning. 

Motherhood is more about the “have to” than the “get to.”  I have to do the laundry, cook dinner, and help with homework.  I don’t get to have a quiet moment to myself.  I don’t get to take a shower without someone interrupting me.  I don’t get to leave the kids at school because I don’t feel like driving carpool.  Motherhood just doesn’t work that way. 

Motherhood is filled with the never ending task of cleaning up messes that you didn’t make and repeating yourself 450 times for your child to pick up his socks.  And even if you are lucky enough to discover some long-forgotten fun lurking in a dusty corner, it’s usually short lived and comes to an abrupt halt as soon as someone screams, “Mom!”

Yes, I am deep in the midst of the motherhood muck.  I’m right in the middle where sending the kids off to college is still over a decade away and there seems to be no end in sight to the cluttered mess that includes LEGOS and dirty underwear. 

But I have faith that fun will reenter my life again like a long-lost friend that you find on Facebook.  Fun will have changed and you both will have gotten older, but you’ll be thrilled and anxious to catch up, to rediscover the closeness that you once shared.

My mother and her friends give me hope that the silly, girly fun that used to fill my life will once again return. 

The first Wednesday of every month, my mother and her friends all meet for dinner.  There’s always lots of cackling, lots of wine, and most importantly, lots of fun.  Nearly all of the ladies are mothers whose children are now grown.  Yes, these women have survived and have lived to tell about it.   

One particular Wednesday, when the crackling was a little louder than usual, there came complaints from the waiter that they were being too loud.  They looked around to see if they could figure out who had been doing the complaining.  Sitting next to them sat an older woman with her daughter.

“Are we bothering you?” they asked the woman.

“Hell no!” the woman replied.  “This is my 80th birthday party!”

It was about at this time that they noticed what the woman, Dorothy, had ordered: a Scotch and water and a rib-eye.  It was in that moment that they knew that Dorothy was the kind of fun-loving woman that they wanted to get to know. 

They invited Dorothy to join them and from that moment on, Dorothy and her daughter were a part of the group.  Dorothy has only missed First Wednesday once, when she had to have open heart surgery.  Within a few weeks, she was back, better than ever, drinking her Scotch and water and sporting a new portable oxygen tank. 

When these women meet on the first Wednesday of every month, no one has more fun than Dorothy. 

And when I grow up, I want to be just like her.

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