I Never Have an Umbrella

I’d like to think that I’m usually pretty prepared. I try to think ahead. I make lists. I menu plan. I started buying in bulk. I subscribe and save on Amazon, for goodness sake.

But, I always feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants; like there’s not quite enough time in the day or enough juice in my brain to get it all done.

It’s been this way as long as I can remember.

When I was little, I’d run downstairs without my clothes on, desperate to tell my mother something, only to get distracted by standing in front of the windows in all my glory with no idea why I was down there. When I learned to drive, I’d leave my house and get lost 2 blocks later because I never researched directions and never paid attention when someone else was driving. When I got to college, I would wander around the campus of UL Lafayette when it would rain, without an umbrella and in pants that were way too long for me. I would forget, every time, that St. Mary fills up with water when it drizzles, and I’d wade through shin deep water to my next class. I’d enter every class on a rainy day soaking wet and freezing. When I had a month left until I received my bachelors degree, I finally remembered to put dry socks in my backpack. Fat lot of good that does you with wet shoes, but it was an effort!

I still carry that lack of preparation with me today.

I’d like to say that age has given me more caution and knowledge, and it has in certain respects. I will no longer drive through water if I don’t know the depth (you learn that the hard way after flooding a car). I will no longer only look to the left and right while driving (you have to look in front of you or you’ll drive under a concrete barrier (another story for another day). I will no longer drink 6 cups of coffee back to back in 2 hours (that’s how you give yourself the shakes). And I’ll never funnel liquor through a pool noodle again (WORST BIRTHDAY EVER). But still, I’m never really fully prepared for all that life and motherhood throws at me.

With all the terrible weather we’ve had over the past year, I have never remembered my umbrella. I let my rubber boots dry rot. I never bought a rain coat. This is a giant problem for someone who is on the road every day seeing patients all over Acadiana. This lack of general preparation transfers to how I think of myself as a parent to a precocious 3 year old boy.

Am I preparing him enough? Am I giving him enough? Am I loving him enough? How much is enough? Am I enough?

As wives, mothers, and women, we are constantly asking these questions. We are constantly berating ourselves by not being this model of perfection that we somehow got the memo that we are supposed to embody. Good Lord … that’s exhausting!

I have that constant dialog in my head. 

When I’m in my healthiest place, I can view my lack of preparedness as spontaneity and quirkiness. When I arrive at a nursing home soaking wet, it’s certainly something that makes people smile and shake their heads. Maybe it’s someone that hasn’t smiled all day, and that’s something. My toddler has learned that when he’s out and about with mommy and we don’t have our umbrella, it’s time to spin and dance in the rain. Jumping in and out of puddles is our absolute favorite!

I’m never going to remember my umbrella.

I’m 35 now. It’s not that it’s too late to change; I just don’t want to. There’s only so much room in my brain and an umbrella is the least of my worries. So, I’ll continue to get soaked. But, even though I’ll never remember to grab an umbrella, I am spending more time enjoying of the beauty of the raindrops on my skin, instead of cursing what I can’t control. And that is something to pass on.

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