Life Is What Happens

Written by Hollye Dexter

March 25, 2010

If you had asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing when I was 46, I would have said that my two children would be grown, I would be back in college getting that elusive degree, traveling all the places I used to dream about, and finally writing that book I’d always had in my head. I expected to be sipping espresso in a café in Paris, lost in deep contemplation, engulfed in the reinvention of myself at mid-life. But here I am in this bunny suit.
No, this is not exactly what I had in mind, and yet, I couldn’t be more grateful. My life is a clear illustration of that saying Man plans, God laughs.
In my thirties, I was a rocker Mom. I had put out two albums with my husband, and we were performing every week at clubs on the Sunset strip, while working day jobs, coaching Little League, volunteering at school and on and on. I imagined in my forties things would settle down. I’d be centered, peaceful and wise, pondering the meaning of life, writing books, maybe starting a whole new career after graduating from college.
Instead, I had a surprise pregnancy at forty-one. I now spend my days chaperoning field trips, going to Mommy and Me, play dates, Chuck E Cheese, hosting a wedding for my oldest son, preparing for the arrival of a new grandbaby (another surprise), helping my daughter film a reality show….
The reality of who I am today is so far from the expectation. Life is funny that way. You ask the universe for apples and you get oranges, but hey, I’m not complaining. Today, I am a Mom who tries her best to be patient on the days that Taylors’ band is rehearsing downstairs at deafening levels while the cat is puking on the rug, the dogs are chasing each other through the house and Evan is all but hanging from the chandeliers. I count to ten, take a deep breath and remind myself twenty times a day how quickly these precious years will pass, and how I will yearn for them when they’re gone. Yet I struggle to maintain a sense of self when I am lost in the beautiful, loving, vibrant chaotic mess that is my life.
So I guess its no café in Paris for me, at least not right now. But hey- I’m still writing that book! I’m striving to be a writer in the midst of memory failures. I’m struggling to compose beautiful sentences when in reality I can’t even complete a sentence without being interrupted ten times. And in contrast to the wisdom I thought I’d be spewing forth at this age, these are the actual phrases I repeat all day long;
“I’m the parent, you’re the child”
“Why am I negotiating with a four-year-old?” (I mutter to myself, constantly)
And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to say, “Where are your pants?!”
I recognize these days as a rich blessing. Yes, its hectic, but as a person who loves story, I watch the daily goings on and say to myself I couldn’t write this any better.
For instance, the other day we were on the Santa Monica Pier with my brother and his family. We walked past a vendor who had his boombox playing, and my four-year-old Evan spontaneously broke into this crazy, wild dance that just went on and on. Eventually, people started to crowd around and watch him, and one man tossed him a dollar.
A few nights ago, I asked Evan if he would like to help me make lasagna. He answered, “No can do, Mom. I’m doing important things.” If I had written that in a story, the reader wouldn’t believe that a four year old would say that. But he does.
We took him to Disneyland last week, and every time something would catch his eye he’d run off. I grabbed him by the shoulders, got right in his face and firmly said, “Evan, you must stay with Mommy and Daddy! You may not wander off!” He replied innocently, “I may only wander ON?” Boy oh boy, that kid knocks me off my feet sometimes. Yes, wander on, my little wonder boy. Keep seeing the world in your kooky imaginative way, and help Mommy to remember to be that way, too.
So this is my life at forty-six. It’s kinda like river rafting. I have no control really, and no idea what lies ahead, but I’m enjoying the scenery, holding on tight and trying to stay in the boat. My three kids have changed my life and pulled me into a world I could never have imagined.

And here I am in this bunny suit.

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