Hello, Motherhood. Goodbye, Dignity

by Stephanie Ferguson
Originally Published: 

So I’m at a mommy and baby movie (for those of you who don’t know, these are movies geared towards moms with new babies) and I’m holding my energetic eight month old. He decides to do what energetic eight month olds do, and flails wildly. During said flailing, he managed to make contact with and knock off my glasses.

First reaction, pride. Good for you kid! You just exhibit hand-eye coordination and made contact with the shiny thing on mom’s face. Second reaction (upon realizing that my glasses are now lying somewhere on the movie theatre floor), horror. My glasses are WHERE?!

(By way of necessary background information, I cannot see without my glasses. If I fully extend my arm and try to look at my hand without my glasses on, all I see is a peach, blurry, five-tentacled octopus.)

In the naive hope that I’m that lucky, I try feeling around the ground for my glasses while balancing the baby in my other arm. Please note: this is already way more contact than I am comfortable having with a movie theatre floor. And, of course, I feel a number of things that give me pause, but none of these are my glasses.

Clearly, this calls for much more drastic measures. So, I gingerly place the baby in his stroller, guided entirely by my sense of touch, and brace myself for what’s to come. If you germ-a-phobes didn’t heed my earlier warning, you should really stop reading now.

Since I either have to abandon my search for my glasses, and take up permanent residence in the movie theatre, or bite the bullet and get down to get a better look, I decide that I would really like to make my way home eventually…

The next thing you know, I’m on my hands and knees on the floor of the movie theatre attempting to retrieve my glasses before they are stepped on or carried away by some inconceivably strong and adaptable germ. After what felt like a lifetime, I finally lay my hands on my glasses.

Glasses retrieved, I then proceeded to do what any sensible, germ-fearing person would do: I put them on my face. (Yeah, I did. Didn’t I mention that I can’t see without them?! And I’m still alive. Take that Darwinism!)

Just when I think the worst is over, I look up to see the two women without children sitting in the row in front of me giving ME the stink eye. Let’s just pause for a moment to take in some facts:

1. This is the mommy and baby movie – a space for mommies to come and watch movies without disrupting the general public. Complaining about disruption at a mommy and baby movie is like going to a vegan restaurant and complaining about the lack of meat.

2. Of all the people in the movie theatre, I am among the people making the least noise. Even if all the germs that I was simultaneously and unwittingly massaging with my hands and knees let out a unified cry in protest at a decibel level geared only to contrary people who crash the mommy and baby movies, I would still be making less noise than the 6 crying babies in the theatre.

3. I’m on my hands and knees in a movie theatre. I clearly have bigger problems than stink eye.

So… I do what anyone in my situation would do: I smile and apologize to these childless ladies with no sense of occasion, shame or self-awareness.

So, if anyone of you see a rather self-satisfied looking pack of germs crawling around with what looks like a wrinkled, empty chocolate bar wrapper, that’s probably what’s left of my dignity. If you could pick it up for me, that would be great. I mean, clearly I don’t need it. But some day I would like to leave it to my kids. If the last couple of years are any indication, when all is said and done my kids probably won’t believe that I once had dignity without any empirical proof.

Also, as a note to all my friends and loved ones: In a few days when you read in the newspaper that I’ve died from a newly-discovered form of movie-theatre-borne plague, know that I love you all and it’s been a slice.

And to the movie theatre ladies: I’m gonna haunt you from the grave.

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