A real life grown-up called me smart the other day. Not ‘smart’ in the context of being a wiseass either. The smart that means intelligent, and insightful. My reaction was basically one of shock. I sat there bemused and disoriented desperately trying to find a socially appropriate response. Instead I cried. At least three real tears. Not because someone actually thought that I have a well-functioning brain, but because I must’ve done or said something that not only provided evidence to support that comment but also warranted verbal acknowledgement. I wonder what it was, and more importantly, if I can do it again?
It happens less and less these days, where the parts of my brain responsible for metacognition begin firing at a level that will actually produce meaningful thoughts and ideas. It’s a direct result of the lifestyle I’ve created for myself as a stay at home mom. I’d love to blame my children, or better yet, my husband, but (sigh) the fault is my own. Whereas I used to actively seek opportunities that encourage higher level thought processes, I now opt for folding socks.
Of course I felt like an idiot when I started crying. The poor woman at the receiving end of it will certainly choose her words more carefully when addressing me in the future. I wanted to hug her, really tight, and ask her to be my new best friend.
I don’t quite know how to explain it, but here’s a meager attempt. I threw a surprise birthday party a few weeks back for my 8 year old daughter’s lifelong best friend and loyal companion. I bought a balloon, a gift, and even posted a celebratory picture of her on Facebook.
She’s a stuffed animal, and I use the word “stuffed” loosely as she could easily double as a hand towel these days, but I digress.
I threw a surprise birthday party for a stuffed animal puppy conveniently named ‘Puppy.’ I pulled it off without a hitch, and couldn’t have been more proud of myself.
I don’t know why it’s important to me. Feeling smart. After all, the mere definition of it is widely disputed and most certainly varies depending on the audience.
The last time I was even loosely complimented on my intelligence involved my oldest daughter falling on her knees in utter amazement because I remembered where she put her shirt, “Mom! You’re such a genius!” The time before that was a shout out from my four year old son for reminding him to put his underwear back on after he took a shit, “How did you know that Mom?!” My middle child bypasses me altogether now in favor of the know-it-all wannabe she lovingly calls Siri. “Hey Siri, what’s 2+2?”
I knew that one!
Hey Siri, where’s the matching pink Hello Kitty sock asshole?
And a real life grown-up called me smart the other day.