When I was a kid, I had an aunt who lived in New York City. Whenever we’d visit her, I could never sleep. All night long from her 14th floor apartment, you’d hear sirens blaring, taxis honking, cars backfiring (or were those gunshots?). I couldn’t imagine how anyone could get used to all that noise. When my aunt came to visit us in the suburbs, on the other hand, she complained it was too quiet.
The point is, you get used to your surroundings. I am reminded of this every time I’m around people who don’t have small children at home.
When my parents come to visit, for example, I have all these visions of going to the gym, shopping, going out to dinner with my husband — basically taking full advantage of the free babysitting. But then after the first day or two I begin to realize that most people aren’t used to our “lifestyle,” as it were.
I’ve become so used to the craziness around here that it’s not until someone else points it out that I even notice. I’m so used to going 100 mph from the minute my eyes open (whenever the first kid wakes up), eating standing up, and doing five things at once that I forget other people aren’t accustomed to that pace.
There was a moment during her last visit when my mom, out of breath and not having finished her first cup of coffee yet at 10 a.m., said to me, “Do you think I could go use the bathroom now?” I almost said, “Well, you can TRY, but I can’t guarantee you’ll have it to yourself.” But I thought better of it and assured her I would keep an eye on the kids. I guess some people aren’t used to going with the door open so they can make sure no one’s riding the dog like a horse while they’re in there.
My parents always have the same reaction when they leave after spending a few days with us: relief, mixed with disbelief, sprinkled with equal parts sadness about leaving their grandkids, admiration and pity for me. “Good luck!” they say, clutching my hands. “I wish you strength. You’re doing a great job. Hang in there,” they reassure me as the taxi pulls away.
Then I imagine they heave a huge sigh of relief, close their eyes, and thank God they’re just visiting. Until a few months later when they decide their life is a little TOO quiet…
What have you gotten used to that you never thought you would?