When you have a garage

Sometimes I feel like the super cool aunt/older friend, when I’m wearing an architectural sweater and all black on a crisp fall day or giving wise advice to a younger friend. A pair of great boots or a victory at work will do it; being at the fun table at an event does it too. And then, I go get something in the garage fridge, and stop midstride, dumbfounded. I have a garage – a dim, dusty garage full of kids bikes, a workbench and a bar fridge full of beer. I am the quintessential suburban housewife.

It doesn’t matter that I lived in foreign countries and made my living singing and cooking, or that I speak many languages and can wax poetic about British poetry and Russian literature. Whether our kids are bilingual or as American as apple pie doesn’t sway me one way or the other in this moment. I’m just another tired mom in a dark garage on Saturday night.

When I was still singing, I looked upon “normal” lives with disdain, and wondered what people even had to get up for. And now, when my world revolves around child smiles and pounding feet overhead, a pup’s ears shoved into my hand because I don’t respond fast enough to his frantic tail wagging, an incredible husband and a job immersed in music, I’m so glad I failed at what I envisioned as my only possible path to success.

It’s taken decades to realize that we can’t know our heart’s greatest lifetime desire because we don’t know what’s coming. And not knowing is okay. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that a dusty garage floor under my feet would make me feel at home. Yes, that solitary moment made me feel I was in a tv show about the suburbs. But, it’s our garage, full of our kids’ stuff. At our house, in our neighborhood and in our city. And this banal life of car seats, spreadsheets and groceries is more thrilling than I could have ever understood.

So after freezing in shock at my transformation, which happened while I was focused elsewhere, I chilled out. So I have a garage. I grabbed a drink and headed back to the recliners, where Dave and I were watching a cheesy sitcom before an early bedtime. We’ll walk the dog, feed the baby, and I’ll take some NyQuil for my cold. And we have so much to get up to tomorrow morning that I can’t stop smiling about it.

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