Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Take Us Up to Defcon 4

Motherhood demands a unique skill set, and tunnel vision is an oft over-looked but highly useful talent every mother should hone.

Tunnel vision -  When you're thirty-seven weeks pregnant, certain your body can not stretch another millimeter, positive you will never again shave your legs or sleep through the night, tunnel vision helps you focus on the baby and press on!

Tunnel vision - When the house is strewn with packing lists and Scout gear, the phone is ringing, the ten-year-old is reporting that an entire container of fish food is currently floating in the tank, you ignore it all to attend to the toddler who is throwing up.

Tunnel vision - When you are receiving grim reports on your parents' health and Christmas is upon you and over the next forty-eight hours you are expected to produce two Secret Saint gifts, three plates of cookies, one two-liter drink, a dozen teacher gifts, and a reasonable Christmas photo, you find a two hour break and manage to complete 80% of your Christmas shopping.

You tune out unfolded laundry so that you can listen to the six-year-old -- the one who has struggled, struggled, struggled with the written word --enthusiastically read his salamander book for the eleventh time. You overcome exhaustion to comfort a croupy toddler and consciously choose not to dwell on how you will possibly function the next day on no sleep. You proof-read essays when you'd rather nap, attend events you enjoy and those you don't, pass many, many hours in hard-backed chairs in the waiting rooms of pediatricians and orthodontists and dermatologists and the list goes on.

You pull out your tunnel vision and put first things first.

Sometimes I look back on my single life and, no, I don't say What a lark it all was! I didn't know from stress!, but I do note that doing one thing at a time was a reasonable proposition. I could say I'm going to grade these papers, and I really could do it. It didn't require the intentional tunnel vision I have to exercise today.

Life and all its details bombard me. It takes discernment and an intentional act of the will to put first things first.

But there's a downside to tunnel vision, and here it is: Sometimes I tune out the wrong things.

A case in point:
Kolbe, on Monday: I have a project for English class. I'm making a dragon . . .
Me: That's nice! Time for basketball!
Kolbe, on Wednesday: Mom, we need to go to Michael's. I'm building a paper mache dragon for Eng . . .
Me:  That's nice! Did you take out the trash? How's your piano piece coming?
Kolbe, on Saturday: Mom, my dragon is due Monday!
Me: Get in the car!

Do you remember the movie Wargames?

Loved that movie.

(Disclaimer: I vaguely remember watching part of this with the older boys and encountering a fair amount of profanity I had long forgotten).

Remember the general? Mouthy, pompous, responsible for setting defense conditions in response to credible threats. He and his alarm system need to swing by my house sometime soon. Yep, I need an overweight, cigar-chewing general with a southern drawl to sound an alarm and say, "Take us up to Defcon 4" before mere problems morph into Crises!

When a pair of school shoes has advanced from Broken In to Falling Apart, Take Us Up to Defcon 4 before the math teachers calls and causally mentions that my son's shoes are now "flip-flops."

Direct quote.

During basketball season, Take Us Up to Defcon 4 before I find an adolescent boy sniffing -- sniffing! -- a basketball uniform and declaring it "Not that bad."

Another direct quote.

As the paper mache dragon approaches, Take Us Up to Defcon 4 while the dragon has some chance of being assembled without an anxiety attack, some hope of drying without benefit of a hairdryer and two fans.

When the boys' hair gets a tad on the shaggy side, Take Us Up to Defcon 4 before they morph into The Monkeys overnight, and the phone starts ringing.

(Though Tim swears he's "not on the radar" when it comes to haircuts. Apparently one of his classmates bears a striking resemblance to the Monkey on the bottom left {Mickey Dolenz?}. Apparently, Tim's messy locks don't even rate).

Tunnel vision -- sometimes my friend, sometimes my foe.


Kris said...

I'm just commenting in solidarity. As I watched my 10 year old serve Mass on Sunday night in pants that can only generously be described as capris. Sigh.

Kelly Dolin said...

Boys in Capri pants. He he! Been there, seen that.