Some moms carry tissues in their purse. Others pack breath mints, mini bottles of Purell, lip balm. Me, I tote around dead beetles.
This is not because of, say, some sacred ritual involving beetles and evil spirits. It is because I had the best of intentions for getting rid of the ones on our lawn, and because I didn't end up having time to deal since a bazillion other things got in the way. It is pretty much the story of my mom life.
Of the two people in my marriage, I am the one far more likely to notice the little things going wrong around the house, like the peeling paint on the master bathroom ceiling, the funny smell in the fridge or the holes in the leaves of the hosts that border our front lawn. The latter has been driving me particularly batty. I grew up in an apartment, and take pride in having a nice-looking house and lawn. Thing is, I hadn't seen any critters munching on the leaves but I had spotted beetles crawling around, so I wondered if it might be them.
I could have asked our nice exterminator to stop by, only he lives in another town and I got it into my head that I could just mail him beetles to check out. He was all, "Sure! Mail me some specimens." And so I stood on the porch one night, in my nightgown no less because I am that suburbanized, and scooped a few beetles into a baggie. I'm not skeeved by them—my tolerance for gross stuff has hit an all-time high (low?) since having kids. I put the baggie into my work tote.
I kept meaning to mail it, only I kept forgetting. I'd be walking to work and think "Got to mail those beetles!" but then I'd get sucked into my day. Except for the times when I reached in to grab something from my bag and I accidentally pulled out the bag o' beetles. This happened when I went to pay for my coffee one morning. "Eeew, what is that?!" the cashier asked. "Dead beetles!" I said, as if that explained everything, then dashed out.
Like most moms, the to-dos in my life are never-ending. I don't even bother to keep a list, because it would freak me out. Instead, I rely on memory (pretty good, occasionally spotty, especially when it comes to mailing dead bugs) and jot down key stuff to tackle each day. I never did write "mail beetles," which partly explains why it took so long.
Generally, I'm a person who likes to get things done a.s.a.p. But parenthood has taught me that I can't humanly do it all, and that pondering the stuff I can't get to is a waste of mental energy. And so, I have become a woman who has no problem walking around with dead beetles in her purse.
Maybe a week after I'd collected the beetles, I finally mailed them off. The exterminator called a few days later. "I'm not sure what kind of beetles they are—you'd have to talk with a lawn guy," he said. "Sorry!"
Whatever creatures are munching on my hostas are having a good old time, because I haven't had time to further investigate. When I walk up to the house at the end of the work day, I focus on the glorious blue hydrangeas and try to ignore the ratty plants, and that's just the way it is.