Discovering motherhood as a gateway back to childhood

Shortly after the birth of my first son, I was racing across a busy downtown intersection when I tripped. Then came a searing pain. Having broken my foot as a kid, I assumed I had done it again.

I confidently hobbled into the ER and informed the lady at registration that I had most definitely broken my foot.

“That’s nice, dear. Now what kind of insurance do you have?”

“Gosh, I hope they give me a walking cast. I can’t manage a new baby on crutches.”

A short five hours later, I was with a doctor as he reviewed my X-ray. “There’s no break, ma’am.”

Ma’am? When did I transition into ma’am territory? I cleared my throat to allow enough time to remove the righteous indignation from my voice.

“No break? Are you sure?” I eyed him suspiciously and noticed he looked an awful lot like a kid I once babysat.

“I’m sure, ma’am.” Crap. I had babysat this guy.

“So what do you think it is?” I asked the former 9-year-old lad who loved Ewoks and macaroni & cheese.

“Well, given your pregnancy-related weight gain, I suspect plantar fasciitis.”

Did he just call me fat?

“You’ll want to see a podiatrist for treatment.”

“What does treatment involve?”

“There are a number of things they do, including special shoes, inserts, cortisone shots, and for the morbidly obese…”

I stopped listening and started imagining my new life wearing orthopedic shoes and getting called “ma’am” and “fat.” I decided to investigate one of those Colonial Penn funeral policies. Old, fat people need plans.

By the time I saw a podiatrist, I was horribly depressed. Nobody had warned that motherhood was the gateway into old-agedness and obesity.

I made an appointment with a middle-aged podiatrist who cheerfully endured my curmudgeonly ways. He asked a few questions, the final one being, “Do you have hardwood floors?”

Why yes, yes I do.

“And do you walk around without shoes or slippers?”

Why yes, yes I do.

“We’ll start you on the inserts, honey. But I don’t think you’re going to need them very long if you just wear slippers on your feet or buy carpeting.”

Hold the phone. Did he just call me “honey”?

Forget Colonial Penn. I was BACK. And I was calling the Empire Carpet guy.

Since that day, I have rediscovered countless childhood games, songs and activities. I have caught lightning bugs, put sprinkles on my ice cream, and rode my bike all the way around the block with “no hands.”

Motherhood, as it turns out, is not a precursor to AARP membership. In many ways, it is actually a gateway back to childhood.

But this time around is better.

This time I’m the one with the keys.

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