As a wide eyed youth, I thought womanhood was a mysterious door that would suddenly spring open and present me with a key to "knowing". "Knowing" about what, I was not certain. I just knew that I would one day KNOW.
As an awkward farm-grown albino girl that spent the majority of her time wearing mud boots and chore clothes, I was too often mistaken for a boy. Therefore, I spent an embarrassing amount of time daydreaming about becoming someone who was always recognized as a female. Not just a female, a woman. Well, not a woman, but a lady. I have a foggy memory of a discussion with my mother about the difference between a "woman" and a "lady". The word "class" was in there somewhere and Mom probably mentioned church. There was a brief talk about hourly rated motels, dirty language, alcohol, smoking and sleazy attire. Then we had a follow-up discussion about the difference between "hotels" and "motels". Unfortunately, none of that stuff really stuck because I was too busy fantasizing about Kirk Cameron, attempting to apply mascara without stabbing myself in the eye and wondering how I could get my bangs to stand up really high. (Aqua Net, the answer to that question is always Aqua Net.) My takeaway on the subject is that "women" like to wear red lipstick and drink hard liquor. Looking at my liver and my extensive lipstick collection, all I can say is "Sorry Mom."
Fortunately, to my knowledge (some of my twenties is pretty hazy), I've yet to check into a rent by the hour motel room.
Long (LONG LONG LONG) ago, when I lounged in my tween bedroom on my brown corduroy comforter (what else do you put in a room with blaze orange carpeting?), I would flip through the tantalizing pages of Sassy magazine. While looking at the pictures of 80's fashion and general fabulousity, I would often fantasize about my future life as a grown woman. As far as I knew, the magical entry to womanhood was marked at first by menstruation, then boobs, then by the ability to walk in heels. After I gracefully mastered my fully developed body, I would drink coffee, get an incredible job, travel the world, marry the perfect sophisticated man, then finally have sex. We would have beautiful babies and I would magically start enjoying children!
In addition to all of this, I would own the potion for sensuality, sexiness, fashion sense, and culture. I was prepared for all of this!
What I was not prepared for was the salary of a stay at home mom. Or such a strong disinterest in cooking... and laundry... and cleaning my house... and sometimes showering...and often, men, more accurately hardworking ones wearing clothes from Walmart with drywall over them.
While I do love coffee and can menstruate like no other, the rest of my vision was bunk. My boobs never "came in". While I love and can walk in heels, teetering around in fabulous shoes while holding a toddler throwing a tantrum not only looks ridiculous, it is detrimental to my health. Currently, my most worn pair of shoes are brown fleece slippers. After meeting the demands of two needy children all day while trying to prepare nutritious meals (that they will actually eat) and keeping the house moderately clean, I have the sensuality of a pissed on fire hydrant. I'm always cold, so my winter "sexy pajama" wardrobe consists primarily of men's flannels pants and thermal shirts. Meow. To top off my complete vision of loveliness, I watch shitty reality TV while drinking cheap wine from the box and eating inexpensive chocolate purchased in stores where people shop for engine oil and paint. There must be some mistake. I think I accidentally got a key to the boiler room of a rat infested mental institution where the patients all hoard banana peels, legos and dirty socks. What I did NOT get the key to was my fabulous Manhattan apartment with original artwork on the walls and a tray that is always full of delicious martinis.
While my child self imagined my adult self having a family, I did not expect the true reality of motherhood, which we all know is bodily fluids. Snot, vomit, drool, tears, urine, blood and most importantly, poop. Growing up on a farm did educate me about scooping poop, but mostly inoffensive horse manure. I did not expect to be doing quite so much pooper scoopering in the prime of my womanhood. I currently clean up the excrement of two dogs, two ponies, one disgusting cat and two adorable children. I also faithfully clean my own poo, bird poo from my vehicle and both of the toilets in our shoe box of a house. I look forward to the day that the "distinguished" older man that I married is wearing Depends, and I get to clean his poo, too. In fact, I am officially a poo expert. This is such an unexpected honor of adulthood/motherhood. I was anticipating much more red lipstick and stilettos and much less fecal matter. So so much less fecal matter.
So so so much less brown, fragrant excrement.
So what I'm saying is that my adulthood is not quite what I had imagined it to be when I was as starry eyed 12 year old, and faithfully watched Primetime television like Solid Gold and Charlie's Angels. My current life is so much more "Rosanne" than "Dallas". But hey, I can have sex whenever I want to (pretty much never), I can legally drink alcohol (but only after 5, lest I be judged) and I get to go to bed whenever I want (as long as my children allow me).
The silver lining to my womanhood is that I actually did acquire "the knowing". I know that , despite all of this "poop", that I love my life. I have a wonderful husband who makes me laugh and encourages my nonsense. I know myself, and I respect and love who I am as a person. I know what and whom I like. I am beyond blessed to get to know the kind of love that only a mother can when she first holds her newborn baby in her arms. I know that the moments with my children made of sheer happiness, joy and delight make all the trials and tribulations of being a parent totally worth it. I know what I want to be when I really grow up, and the kind of influence that I want to have on the world. I also know that my journey is still developing, and that if I marry for money the next time (with the help of a plastic surgeon), my chest will finally develop, too.
Ah, fuck it. I'll keep my carpenter, my messy house, my noisy kids and my flat chest. I know how to laugh at life. That's my key.