It was a morning like any other. I was awakened at the cracky-pants of dawn, actually before dawn, when things were still black as the screen on a dead iPhone, and human beings shouldn’t be opening their eyes. But my kids had school and so I got up, flicked on lights, and listened to the moans of my zombies reanimating.
I plodded downstairs to make coffee as strong as possible and began my ritual of tossing snacks in backpacks with my eyes still half-closed. At the beginning of the year I chopped fresh fruit and packed it lovingly into planet-friendly, reusable containers with little love notes curled up beside it, but this was winter, and I scrounged my paw through the pile of prepackaged Pringles and shoved my guilt down deep where it belonged.
The moaning got louder as the zombies shuffled closer, and I briefly thought about arming myself with a crossbow and motorcycle a la Daryl Dixon, but then figured all these particular zombies needed was some water and a hairbrush.
Then one of them spoke, and the words that came out made me want to crawl back into bed and declare a do-over.
“I have these itchy bumps on my butt.”
“No. No you do not. Ignoring this is the best course of action,” I wanted to say. Instead, I led her to the bathroom where she bent over and presented herself for inspection. This is how I found myself staring into the chasm of my child's puckering o-ring.
As I examined the rash, I wondered how it got there. What was this mysterious rash and how did it end up on my child’s rear end?
I wondered how it got there, and I wondered how I got here. I mean, really got here, staring at a butt rash at 6 o'clock in the morning. Was this my life now? I was Butt Rash Fixer.
I searched through our impressive collection of creams for this sort of thing, made my selection, and smeared it all over the problem, muttering, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” to the rash.
At this point in the story, I should be transitioning to some kind of life lesson, a rallying cry for motherhood or how Jesus was the ultimate Butt Rash Fixer.
I got nothing. I mean, I could land this plane with a “We can do this, mamas” and be on my way, but I’m tired, and I think I still have a stubborn bit of ointment on my index finger.
Of course we can do this. Of course we’ll survive motherhood, because we’re badasses, and also we have no other option but to press on. Sometimes when we find ourselves mired in the mundane, we can feel overwhelmed with the length of it. There are so many butts and so many rashes for so many years. And we can feel like that’s all we are, Butt Rash Fixers. But we’re more than that, and that’s what I’m clinging to as I scrub my finger one more time for good measure.
All the mundane stuff that we do daily is creating a life, a good life. One with good coffee and funny friends and sofas to sit on. Maybe it’s not what we thought it would be, but it’s still good. There’s no glamour, but there’s cream that takes the itch away and kids to sit on our laps.
Sometimes I want it to be over. I joke about how many more years before we’re empty nesters. But maybe this morning I need to tell myself that it’s already good now. And maybe you need to hear that, too. It’s good now, just as it is, gross and exhausting.
Life can be rashy and still be good. And if your attitude is too far gone today, well, there’s probably a cream for that.