MEMOIRS OF A RECOVERING GERMAPHOBE


Posted on April 14th, by buggyloveco in BLOG POSTS. No Comments

MEMOIRS OF A RECOVERING GERMAPHOBE
Hi, I’m Amy, and I’m a germaphobe.

 

My germaphobia began in my late twenties, right about the time I stopped fitting into Urban Outfitters’ pants and caught myself walking past a Talbots window commenting on a twin-set, “oh, that’s nice!”–twice.

 

I remember watching the movie “Chasing Liberty” and gasping as Mandy Moore jumped naked into the river Seine. Do you know how many diseases are probably in there?

 

Oh, the horror.

 

And that’s when I knew it was over. Gone were the free spirited days of college. Of being able to drink from the same unwashed coffee cup every morning. I lived in New York City where I once stepped over human feces on the subway. I had mice in my apartment. Cockroaches the size of dinosaurs. Sayonara, ten second rule. Au revoir, ever being able to eat something off the floor. (Ever.)

 

Armed with pocket size hand sanitizers and to-go packs of Clorox wipes, I was ready to live life hovering a good foot above a public toilet. My thigh muscles became quite good.

 

And then I had children. Two of them, actually, at the same time. Twins. A boy and a girl.

 

Life with multiples affords you many things. That whole debate over co-sleeping? Not really a viable option unless you want to go to bed each night with one third of the Partridge Family. You gain a thick skin about Ferberizing, too. Friends with one child would agonize over how bad they felt when they heard their babies crying. “I’m sorry,” I would say those first three months squinting at them, my eyes veiny like a mad-scientist’s, “are you saying there are times in your house when there is not a baby crying?”

 

When my babies were first born, I was on it. I sanitized everything. I had packs of organic cleansers and wipes stashed around the house, in the car, in pouches of strollers. With catlike reflexes I would jump to scoop dropped pacifiers off the floor. I was a germ warrior. A savior. An exorcist. This house. . . is clean.

 

Now, my twins are toddlers, and life spins in opposite directions. Literally.

 

There is no way I can keep up with everything that gets dropped on the floor and put in their mouths. I used to try to keep their bottles separate. {Insert maniacal laughter here.} Now I actually help when I see them reach for the other’s straw cup.–“Here!”–Swapped spit, please, I’ll take it compared to the million other things they consume on a daily basis that make me want to throw up in my mouth. Rocks. Mulch. Communal shovels at the sandbox. I clean and clean, yet they still find unidentifiable crumbs on the floor like heat seeking missiles. Having children is a germaphobe’s worst nightmare. And yet, blessing.

 

I have had to let go.

 

As F. Scott Fitzgerald has this powerful line–“I left my capacity for hoping on the little roads that led to Zelda’s sanitarium”–I left many things in that fluorescent lit hallway that led to the operating room where, twenty-eight and twenty-nine minutes later, I would deliver my babies. My capacity for knowing a time when I did not know them. Love them. Constantly worry about them and want to hold them. Smell them.

 

I left my capacity for being able to control everything. To clean everything. To keep us in a bubble where we will always be safe.

 

Because it’s a messy world out there and we are going to get dirty.

 

We buckle up. Hold tight. And when we can we wipe a hand or two, and show our strollers some BuggyLOVE.

 

It’s all a recovering germaphobe can do.

 

Written by Amy Denby, author of “Dear Babies: Crazy Life, Simply Explained,” amydenby.blogspot.com





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