The full-throated laughter from the people gathered in my living room startled me. Did someone just say something funny? I scanned the crowd. Who was the last person talking?

Then I remembered. It was me.

That’s right. I’m funny.

I’d forgotten.

Adults—real, thinking grownups—responding to me, often comes as a surprise. My days are measured in sing-throughs of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” In Sandra Boynton books. In noses wiped; Cheerios swept; tickle fights. I know who I am at home with my twin girls.

I’m the one who makes the food, the one who kisses necks, the one they want in the middle of the night. But before all that, I was someone else.

I have vague recollections of another life. In this life, I put on real clothes and makeup every day and went to an office. I saw other grownups. I’d pop into their cubicles and chat—sometimes for 20, 30 minutes at a time. We’d play pranks on one another, have bits of dumb fun throughout our day. People would laugh at my jokes and ask me for book recommendations.

My co-workers and I made liberal use of our lunch hour and patronized every decent restaurant in a five-mile radius. I recall lots of chips, salsa, jokes, and hurried drives back to the office when we realized our absences had most likely become conspicuous.

Where did that person go?

I pampered myself in this other life. I got massages. I got my hair done. I shopped for clothes in real brick and mortar stores, not just on Amazon. There were lots of yoga classes. I went to movies—several a month. One time around Oscar season, my husband and I went to a boutique theater for back-to-back showings of every Academy Award-nominated short film. (The frivolity. The luxury. The free time.) In this other life there were regular trips downtown for operas, ballets, symphonies, plays. I spent a good portion of each week scouring the Internet for whatever cultural happenings sounded like they’d be interesting additions to my weekend.

Where did that person go?

That other girl from the other life was a good friend; a person who kept up with girlfriends face-to-face—not through screens—in real time, without several weeks or months slipping by between contacts. We’d sit and talk in local coffee shops for hours. I’d show up for things; spur-of-the-moment nights on the town, board game evenings, book clubs, writing groups. Heck—I started half of those things. I was the organizer, the one who got us all together to connect over something interesting, to have meaningful conversations about our lives. I would shout out an idea; people would ask me for the time and place, and we’d make it happen.

Where did that person go?

In this life, I’m elbows deep in a trash bin reserved for diapers. I’ve probably got Auntie Anne’s crackers stuck to my sock. I’m all caught up on the latest Sofia the First episode, but don’t ask me my pick for Best Picture at the Oscars. I’ll save you time—I haven’t seen any of them.

When snatches of my old life appear—a whiff of a margarita, a concert invite that makes my toes curl, but which, I’m sure, I’ll be unable to accept—it’s like being knocked in the head with a brick. Oh yes, I think. These are things that other woman would do. That other woman—me. The me I was before. The me who is still in there, somewhere, despite all the visual evidence to the contrary provided by my stretch marks, stained mom-leggings and blank social calendar.

Hi, Former Me.

Hello, you funny, hip girl with the golden afternoons that stretched before you, unscheduled, like the sea stretching to the horizon. I’d like to take you out sometime. Get to know you again. Remember this amazing modern invention called “Happy Hour?” You used to love it. It’s great; there are chips and guac and cheap margaritas. And great music—remember how much you loved that? Come with me and have a drink; we can groove together.

I’ll buy.

Original article by Jennifer Locke for Moms & Stories.