“I’m going to be a better mom than you are!” I hollered as I ran up the stairs to pull out my dresser drawer and write secret thoughts about how my parents were failing on the pressed wood of the drawer that held daytime socks and underpants.
I was sure I’d be the perfect parent. More perfect than they were, anyway.
“I hope you have a kid who’s just like you are,” they said more calmly than I heard it.
“Me too,” I said as I walked away from their snickers holding revenge and a perfect future in my pocket.
Future was small and smooth and fierce and red.
My future and I sat at the foot of my bed on the floor talking about all the ways we’d be better once we knew everything and had a house of our own.
“We’ll never ignore the kids,” we said.
“We’ll have pet seahorses because sea monkeys suck.”
“We’ll have an only child and we’ll be rich.”
The olive oil sizzled in the pan while I followed the recipe for the perfect chicken dish, sure that my son would love it. “This is gross,” he said and I made him a frozen pizza.
My husband took the chicken to work the next day, assured me that it was good and I haven’t made it since.
“This house would be so much better if we just replaced the patio.” I love the patio, but our family and this house is the same as it was before. It’s always been good enough, as most things are.
“If we were married, everything would be better,” I thought. I was 28 years old and had been living with my boyfriend for almost four years. There was a day or a month or a year when I considered leaving but sitting on the floor arguing over which CDs belonged to me and which were his felt like trouble.
And so I stayed.
We had the best wedding. Along with 22 friends and family, we married on the beach in Mexico at sunset. Everybody came for four days, we hiked to a waterfall, the path accessible only by boat, we wrote vows after a night of dancing and Jello shots, and we were happy.
Except, that we weren’t really. At least, I wasn’t.
A baby would fix us, we thought. Except the baby didn’t make it and neither did we.
Us being married didn’t change who either of us were.
I thought I’d be more excited about buying the house of our dreams, but mostly, I remember the relief when we were able to sell it in a saturated market.
I sat on the floor in a new town with a new life, having moved from Denver to DC. My future and I held hands and comforted one another knowing that we still had lots of time. Plenty of it. Maybe even all of it.
We giggled at being eight years old and wondered what happened to the dresser drawer that held marker drawn secrets about how much better we’d be once we had a house of our own.
One day, I left my future at home next to a new dresser and met a guy who knows things that I don’t know. I could feel that future of mine though, even when not in my pocket, because it knew things that I didn’t. It never kissed and told, leaving the finding the magic part up to me because I have legs and it’s only carried around in my pocket like a rabbit’s foot.
“I wonder if you’re the first best mom,” he said. I had no reply because what reply is there to a statement like that from a seven-year-old?
I hugged him and told him that he’s my best thing. “Your favorite person in the world, I know,” he said. “What about when I’m half robot?” he asks. “Even then. Always.” I said.
My future is this not-so-little little boy who says things that floor me when once, I wondered whether he’d ever speak.
Some days, I pack my future up to carry with me in a purse but find it’s not there and instead home, binging on Netflix with a sun visor and fanny pack from the 80’s knowing that it’s best for me to find my pockets and purses empty at times. Open to what’s coming next.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “I thought I’d be more excited about…” which, once I started writing about, strongly disliked so altered the message a little bit. It still works though, right?