Monday, March 10, 2008
This morning I was made aware by the Today Show that I have a major clinical condition. There's even a scientific study being done of this phenomenon which they have academically termed Momnesia – no kidding – look it up! It seems that once our children are born our brains become a hodgepodge of chemicals which cloud our memory and our ability to organize and carry out many of our day to day tasks without error.
The feminist in me would take exception to this characterization apart from the fact I fit the diagnosis to a "T". I have a sister-in-law who would be the exception, and I definitely admire her ability to remember the tiniest details and to organize fundraisers where they make more than the gross national product of several small nations. I know that every rule has an exception. And I know I am not it. Case in point: soccer road trips.
We have our first one of the season coming up next weekend to St. Louis. This is about a five hour drive and one that we make at least twice a year for at least eight years now. I'll still manage to screw it up. The last time we drove down, I took out the soccer chairs so I could lay the suitcase flat on the floor of the trunk. When we arrived in St. Louis those chairs were still standing in our garage inches from where our van departed. I forgot which hotel we had reservations at, as well as the reservation confirmation papers, which would have reminded me. I missed the turn off I-90 to I-39 at least twice, and I can assure you that is costly 30-minute error. Once, I loaned our I-Pass to friends for the previous weekend, and despite the fact that the I-Pass sits prominently on my windshield, I neglected to see that I had not retrieved it, and went merrily through the I-Pass lanes without it. Luckily there were only two the entire trip.
When we were going to Des Moines the first time two years ago, I forgot to bring along a map. We ended up taking the long route to Des Moines which is not necessarily the scenic route. I actually did a Lewis and Clark impersonation and used our compass to help get us to the west where I knew Iowa resided. When we got to the hotel I used the internet to locate the route to the fields except I put in the wrong address and we ended up 30 miles to the north and one hour late to practice. The next trip to Des Moines I had more maps than I knew what to do with, but I nearly forgot my computer so I could do the blogs from Nationals. We had to turn around and go back home when a billboard ad for an internet provider triggered something in my fogged-out brain. I usually can count on my sons to remember the computer since they like to keep in touch through Facebook and IMs, but they were all about the video games on this trip.
I spend most of my preparation time before trips making sure that the boys have cleats, uniforms, shin guards, goalie gloves, hydration and soccer bags. I remind the boys to bring underwear, extra clothes, khaki pants, training shirts, homework, iPods, cell phones, chargers for electronics and toiletries. I am always treated with disdain for any reminders I make to the boys, yet invariably once I make a reminder, one or both go bounding up the stairs (although they claim not for something I suggested).
Once in the car I go through the list again, meet with the same snarls and again one or both leap out of the car and disappear for several minutes into the house. I manage to remember to pack the Dry-Guy (which I highly recommend for spring road trips) but I forget my camera. I manage to insure that we don't repeat the emergency cleat buying episode of 2000, but I have had to run out and get deodorant for me. One memorable trip, I went to the front desk of the hotel four times in order to get items I forgot: comb, toothbrush, toothpaste (I swore I had that - at least that is what I told the smirking clerk), and pain reliever probably necessary due to my brain imploding. I have reminded the boys to bring swimsuits despite them never wanting to. Of course the one time I don't remind them everyone went swimming, and I was persona non grata for being so lapse in my oversight.
My rule about road trips is that everything has to be in the kitchen ready to go the night before we leave. This means that the boys only go back upstairs to collect missing items three or four times the morning of departure. Bryce packs all his clothes and then pulls them all out on the kitchen floor to find the perfect shirt to wear on the trip. This usually requires testing at least three choices before discovering the right one. I follow my own rule. I have my bags packed and my accessories on the kitchen table ready to put in the car. The problem is that I get distracted by all the other morning activity, the panic over a missing PSP (which should have been located the night before, naturally), the sudden request for a shirt still in the laundry basket, the discovery that a favorite pair of cleats has a tear at the toe and the hunt for a jacket that no one has seen for three weeks. Once, while trying to navigate through all the hubbub, I realized that the dogs were also running about. I had forgotten to get them to the kennel, which didn't open for an hour. What generally happens is that one or more of the items I lay out on the kitchen table are still lying there when we return home. I am so relieved to get everyone and their gear into the car, that once they exit the door, I am close behind to thwart any retreat back into the house with the casualty being my necessities.
The good news is that most road trips are just a weekend, so missing some things won't kill me. The tough trips are the week long ones – my low point was forgetting to pack underwear on one of those – where I have no choice but to find a Target or a Walgreen's and if possible replace what I didn't bring along. I didn't include those expenses in my estimate of what it costs to have a child in select soccer, but I probably should have. It seems that Momnesia is not only epidemic but without a cure. So I expect many of you suffer from it and many of you have made those trips to unfamiliar malls. I know I have it bad. Let's see if I can remember to attach this blog to my email to US Youth Soccer!!