It must be the iron

Yesterday I went to the doctor and broke the two-year stretch of medical non-intervention. Most of the experience was predictable: the Hundred Questions, the occasional raised eyebrow, the insistence that I take off my shoes before measuring my height (I'm not overweight; I'm undertall). The one thing that took me by surprise was her assertion that it is not, in fact, normal to be completely exhausted all of the time.

"But I have two children," I said. "And a job, and a non-stop life."

"I have three children," she said, "and a job." Obviously, as she is my doctor. It created mixed feelings in me to learn that she, an industrious physician's assistant who is still breastfeeding, for God's sake, does not always feel like she is dragging around a ten-pound iron ball soldered to her ankle. On the one hand, I experienced a nearly violent jealousy. On the other, I learned it's quite possible that all I need is a three-dollar bottle of iron pills.

Could this be? Could it really be that simple? Of the many myths from which I operate my life, a primary one is that mothers of toddlers are exhausted. The end. Thus it did not register as strange that I spend most of my life dreading the next corner, like a blistered hiker limping up switchbacks. It seemed perfectly normal, in fact. Doesn't everyone wake up in the morning and feel the things-to-do list hovering over the bed like a specter? Doesn't everyone lean against walls and postpone, for two or three seconds, intervening in the latest toddler disaster? I don't know anyone who gets enough sleep, enough peace, enough fun--that has children, that is.

But maybe other people get enough iron. Now, that sure would be nice, if all I needed was some minerals. A magic pill, my dream come true.

Now if only they'd come out with massage in pill form, I'd really be cooking.

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