i realized that for the past week, i walk into almost EVERY interaction with ANYONE, with this mantra running through my head
friend or foe... trump or no??? ok... i just made that up today
i dont particularly like this new vigilance, but i am accepting it.
because only by accepting it can i consciously act on it
this morning i had pellets delivered from home depot.
i met the flatbed driver at the bottom of my front steps.
scraggly white guy, fifty-something, no front teeth, john deere baseball cap.
as stereotypical a trump voter as i am not.
i smiled and said hi
and right off the bat, i saw fear in his eyes. who knows, maybe he saw fear in mine as well
i asked if he could forklift the pellets to the top of the driveway, to make it easier for us to move them into the garage.
sure! i'll put one pallet here and one there so you dont have to carry them too far
awesome! thank you!
that's all it took
after, he brought paperwork for me to sign.
thank you so much... have a good day
oh thank YOU ma'am. you have a great day too.
and he smiled at me from his eyes... relief...gratitude...
i believe we are more alike than different.
i DO NOT BELIEVE that all, not even the majority, of trump supporters are misogynist, racist, xenophobic, anti LGBT creeps.
seriously... i don't
I DO believe that they are frustrated, hard working folks who want to feel safe and secure.
they want safety and security for their children and loved ones.
and as arguably misguided as i think their blame may lay, i also think it may be misguided on the anti-trump side as well
am i still afraid? am i still sickened?
do i have to work every minute of every day to not fall into the abyss?
do i think that this morning's brief interaction with the home depot delivery man was a gift?
an opportunity to strike a spark of light in encroaching darkness?
do i think that maybe it affected him as much as it did me?
i will do my best, every chance i get, to peel away The Different and find the place of The Same.
i will keep wearing my safety pin, and i will keep popping bubbles
This morning I dropped the kids off at the high school and noticed police cars in the parking lot. Yesterday there was an incident with a student who apparently made a threat, so today there is increased security.
But that's not the issue...
The issue is, when I saw the cop cars I automatically put both my hands at 11 & 1 on my steering wheel.
About a month ago, in my hometown, where I have resided for 12 years, I realized I get REALLY NERVOUS every time I drive past a cop car. So of course, because I live in my head, I thought... it's me it's my problem it's my...whatever...
But then I thought... hold up... what if I were... Me... but White... would I still be so mistrustful... so PARANOID???...
I am a 52 year old health care professional. I have degrees from an Ivy League school. I have paid taxes since I was 16 years old. I drive a light blue Mini Cooper forgodssake. But I feel more unsafe in my hometown when I pass a police car than at ANY other time, whether driving or on foot.
Are White Women who are, other than their 'race', just like me, nervous when they drive by a cop in their hometown? A hometown where they own property and pay taxes? A hometown where they love the Mountain and the River and Main St? A hometown where they wake up every morning, look out their bedroom bay window and think... oooh... so pretty...? The hometown where that, in most ways, they feel privileged (as in grateful) to live?
My answer is 'no'. I am not sure that a White Woman would have the same visceral reaction that I have. But like I said, I'm not sure. I haven't taken a poll or asked The Question. Maybe a lot more people are mistrustful or fearful of police than I am aware of.
So, back when I had this realization... I asked Jack. Because my kids are my reality check. They have a completely different perspective from mine and are super savvy. And they are usually dead-on. But Jack's response was... well, yeah mom... of course... so do I... there's no way white women have the same response you do...
Like I said, I had this conversation with Jack during the summer. He's 19 now, and had just finished his first year at a relatively exclusive expensive private liberal arts college near Albany. He's able to attend largely because he has a guaranteed merit scholarship covering half his tuition for the full four years. But after a few weeks of him being there I received a text saying "racism is alive and well". He excelled academically, and although he's aware he's really smart, he attributes his GPA to spending most of his time in the library because he doesn't want to fuck with those people
fuck with is current lingo for hang with
Mom, I never thought of myself as a background person, but I'm not at all interested in the social life there [at college]
I never much second-guessed my decision to forego what's typically considered "quality" k-12 education for my kids (school district reputation/tax base) for diversity until Jack started his college career.
One of the reasons I fell in love with Beacon 12 years ago was the diversity. I chose to raise my kids in a socially, culturally, and ECONOMICALLY diverse community with an "ok" school district, rather than a largely wealthy community with "stellar" schools". I wanted my kids to grow up with the chance to learn that at our core we are more alike than different, regardless of the labels we carry. And I truly believe it was the right choice.
Plus we could afford to buy a house here.
On the way up to drop him off 2 weeks ago, Jack told me about an encounter he had with his best college friend's older brother. The whole thing knocked him for a total loop and sounds like the most hurtful experience of racism he has had in his short "post racial" life. When introduced, his friend's brother looked at him and said "so, are you like one of the ones who is here to meet the quota? like... being Black got you in?"
are you fucking kidding me???
Jack, in a way that he definitely got from his dad or maybe my sister Halona, responded, " well... I have a 4.0 average... and I don't know anyone else who has that GPA... but it [being Black] sure helps with the ladies..."
to which this turd replied "yeah.. but... that's not REALLY a 4.0... your professors probably went easy on you so it would look good..."
Jack was devastated. He had a few choice words for the jerky brother and then walked out of the room. He and his best friend never talked about it, but he knew his friend was ashamed and embarrassed. His friend's mom is a pediatric nurse practitioner just like me. His dad is a nice guy. His friend is sweet and awesome. But the brother's words cut my boy to the quick and more than anything else he experienced made him want to run from that school.
So... back to my issue with being in viewing range of cops in Beacon...
Today I took Ty for his learner's permit. As I said, cops were posted outside the high school. As I drove past them, my heart skipped, I suddenly felt like I had to pee and I automatically placed my hands on top of my steering wheel in plain sight. I talked to Ty about it, kind of hoping he'd shoot me down in his mom you're so old, you're so out of touch, you're so clueless kind of way.
No. Such. Luck.
...ummm... yeah mom... of course... how else are you supposed to feel...
We finally had a nice day here in the Hudson Valley. Thursday it was sunny and 50+ so I took advantage and went back Home. I miss my garden and puttering in a place that is Mine. It's been 5 months since the fire and now the snow is all melted and the crocuses and snow bells are up and daffodils are not far behind.
First thing I did was walk the property. A lot of it is covered in debris. Window casings, splintered burnt wood, busted belongings and lots of glass. Empty coffee cups left behind from all the guys working to get the place inhabitable. Piles of gutted material that still need to be loaded into a dumpster and carted away.
I thought I'd do some more digging outside my bedroom window to try and find my most special things I know are still buried there. I kept my most special things on my dresser. The WolfMan helped me dig for gold a week or so after the fire and I found necklaces earrings wedding rings ganesh statues silver tiffany boxes with baby teeth and umbilical stumps nursing school and sunday school pins but there's still more.
most special necklaces
covered in dirt and soot
Since that day even more burnt bedroom was thrown through the blown out window, and further excavation of buried gold will have to continue at a later date.
The big oak tree had just started to drop leaves when we had to... leave.
It's a big tree. It drops lots of leaves.
So I raked.
I love working in the yard. So happy to be there again tho I missed my music and a toilet. There's limited electric and no water. Still. It was good to be back there.
I couldn't get to the leaf sucker mulcher vacuum thing as it's buried in the garage behind the new windows scheduled to be installed next week. So I made piles to be sucked up at a later date.
40 mph winds forecast for today. So much for leaf piles. I guess I'll have to re-rake tomorrow.
That's OK. Not a bad way to spend Easter Sunday...
so apropos of my last post i went to yoga this morning with my favorite teacher at the studio i now attend
during savasana she played music that was like the best sounds ever ever ever in the whole world.
i just got lost in it and boy did it take me all sorts of awesome places
crickets chirping... or maybe peepers.... which is the best sound in the world when one is still stuck in this ny polar winter that wont fucking quit.
The sounds brought me to my Sisters, all of whom have forsaken fucking ny polar winters for warmer climes.
2 are currently hearing crickets or maybe peepers at night, the other hears ocean waves.
also one of the best sounds ever, but crashing waves came at the very end
in between baby frogs and slapping salt water...
harmonicas... good night john boy good night mary ellen loved me some waltons big time... my first concert ever-billy joel's piano man-harmonica there... and of course more recently the awesome jimmy fallon neil young old man duet...
piano music that reminded me of the first twilight movie... don't judge!!! there's a time and place for everything almost and there are times when nothing hits the spot like twilight
the music seemed to go on forever. parts would dissolve and then solo. it would peak and swell again and it just made me happy it wasnt over yet
kinda like yummy yummy sex
so.. East Forest's Walk the Walk
my new favorite. he also has a Talk the Talk
(maybe one day i'll write in full sentences with appropriate punctuation again.
right now this is all i got)
I'm having one of those Sundays like I had ALL THE TIME when I was a kid.
Feeling sad, feeling bad, dreary, dark. Foreboding.
Likely this feeling is due to it being the LAST DAY OF MY VACATION
It's been a really long time since I've had the Sunday Saddies (i think maybe that's a ms moon term).
Like years. And years.
Even The Wolf Man had a hard time making me smile today.
OK. Not that hard. But that's because IT'S SO DAMN EASY for me to smile when I look at him.
Still. I realized I'm dreading going back to work tomorrow. Which totally sucks because I've loved my job for so many years.
I'm the same. My patients are the same. The JOB is different.
Thank you fuck you healthcare. And I'm not talking about the Affordable Care Act.
I'm talking about the Business of Medicine.
Electronic medical records suck ass.
All that crap about improving patient care and decreasing errors and facilitating communication between primary caregivers, specialists and hospitals is just a load of horseshit.
Seriously. It's frightening.
AND insurance companies have found loopholes in the ACA so as of Jan 1 some aren't paying for the most basic medications.
Medications that some kids have been stable on for years all of a sudden aren't available.
I'M TALKING ABOUT KIDS GODDAMMIT!!!
Sometimes I find myself ranting at work and I feel like I'm in The Emperor's New Clothes.
Really people??? You are all smart and well educated and you chose PEDIATRICS.
Don't tell me you don't see what's going on. Don't tell me this crap is OK with you.
I wish there were still country doctors.
I would love to make house calls and check on people and hand write a prescription for amoxicillin
or even ritalin if that's what a kid needs.
Oh. Right. You can't do that anymore. It's against the law.
I'd get arrested just like that 87 year old doc down south.
I think I have to make a change. I've tried to change my thinking and change my view and change my expectations. I've tried to accept the change and see the benefits. But there's not a single one.
OK. There's ONE. I can sent a prescription electronically so moms and dads can leave my office with their sick kid and go straight to the pharmacy rather than driving around in circles. Other than that the whole thing stinks.
My Daddy, who was a physician well loved by his patients, saw the writing on the wall 25 years ago.
When I told him I was going back to school for medicine his response was
"have you thought about law?"
So I will put on my poker face and act as if and talk the talk to get through my work days until my next break. And I will keep going to yoga and knitting and watching Scandal and the Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy to decompress from the frustrations of my day.
I'll look forward to spring and warm weather and my garden.
And maybe I'll figure out how to come to terms with this change. Because as I'm writing I'm realizing the problem is that it's not just a job. It's not just a career. It's what I DO. It defines me. It defines me as much as Woman and Mother. It's what I AM. And I can't let that be fucked with.
Unfortunately I'm not in Cozumel or Key West or Madagascar or Tunisia.
I'm here in the Hudson Valley watching 13 million feet of snow melt.
OK. Not 13 million feet. Maybe more like 13 million inches.
Whatever. It's a lot. And it's melting. Finally.
It may have been the most brutal winter in my lifetime. But I think it's over.
At least the brutality has been in the form of relentless subzero temperatures, lots of cancelled school, and almost daily winter weather advisories.
Much more preferable than the emotional brutality of winters past.
Temporary housing in our tiny relocation nest has afforded me a sliver of the winter heating bill to which I've become accustomed.
We have stayed toasty warm in our little cottage by the bridge.
The Universe is Abundant
I'm back on my yoga mat. For various reasons I had strayed, but now I'm on it and damn if it doesn't make a difference.
My head is more clear and calm, my back is more straight, and practicing in the hot humid room is plumping up my skin.
So take THAT perimenopause and waning estrogen.
Sometimes, lately, when I'm in a despite everything life is good I feel good way, doubt creeps in and I find myself remembering times past when I thought everything was good and I thought I felt good but in retrospect I wasn't feeling good at all.
Doubt is a goddam motherfucker.
Doubt makes me question if things are really as good as they seem. Which I know is kind of silly.
But looking back on chunks of my life and recognizing that I wasn't all that good makes me sad.
And the thought of looking back on this time of my life and realizing it wasn't as good as I think it is makes me even sadder.
Does that make sense?
So I pull myself out of the doubt vortex and stay present on my mat.
I look at my children's faces and see strong resilient bright funny kids who have light in their eyes.
I look at My Wolf Man with his jasper eyes and snaggleteeth and I love him and he loves me.
I look at my amazing inspiring patients for whom it is such a privilege to care.
These people keep me present, keep me good, keep me from succumbing to Doubt.
So maybe there's no need to worry about how I will feel in the future when I look back on the past. I'll just breathe and look and stay present.
its an extraordinarily beautiful day here in the hudson valley. 80 and dry and sunny. it feels more like may or september rather than a new york summer in the middle of july. i dont know if thats good or bad but i will say it again. its a beautiful day im scattered though. id love to take advantage of the weather and just work out in my yard. i look at it and see Wild Beauty. the boys say mom it just looks like its not taken care of. mia says mom no one would believe that you spend like... ALL of your time there The Wolf Man reluctantly agrees that the garden appears to be uncared for And then he tells me he loves me i remember reading Michael Pollan's Second Nature, where he describes how he unsuccessfully waged war against a woodchuck inhabiting his connecticut farmland. he did not win. I dont plant vegetables because i have a woodchuck and that would just be aggravating. and im a little like the crazy chick in The Secret Life of Bees who coaxes the ants out of the house with a trail of sugar water rather than kill them. it takes me at least 3 years to determines what's a weed and whats not. god forbid i should pull a weed that might grow into a pretty plant. Last week i bought 7 very close to dead perennials at home depot for next to nothing and i get to coax them back to life. i love that i have a friend from whom ive learned so much about gardening. but she will pull up and throw out any plant that shows a lack of fortitude perfection or beauty. last year she gave me the potted gardenia from her porch. The poor thing appeared to be past her prime though she had blossomed beautifully for weeks and weeks. This friend has absolutely no patience, nor the interest, to nurture any plant that is not eye candy. So she gave it to me. It was pretty sad when I got it last fall, and even more morose as the winter continued. I left it in the Big Round Window because the idea of chucking it just hurt. tho believe me i would chuck the dogs in a heartbeat if it werent for the kids. as a matter of fact i might chuck the kids too anywhoo spring hit and i noticed some new growth. this is the lovely geranium today
my friend said "i knew you could bring her back to life" the only thing ill deliberately kill is a mosquito. i hate those fuckers. and the japanese beetles that skeletonize my grapes and roses. i'll also swat anything that makes too much noise and disturbs my sleep. including humans but today, in my scattered-ness, i found myself walking back and forth in the garden, in and out of the house, trying to be productive and not at all succeeding. and for the umpteenth time this garden season this is what i see
its the gutter that runs along the roof of the sunroom thats below my bedroom window and because the only thing i spend time taking care of is my garden which, by report, looks like it's not being taken care of at all, i decide today is the day to address the weeds growing the entire length of the gutter yes. its time to climb out onto that roof and yank those weeds. this task, at this moment, is more appealing than vacuuming dog hair or folding clothes or thinking about the orthodontist or what im gonna make for dinner. a dinner that the kids inevitably wont eat earlier this spring i thought about making this rooftop into my own private patio. im sure i thought about it last year too. there is a beautiful view of the mountain and the only access is through my bedroom window. somehow in this big house i feel like i have no space of my own. First World Problems my boys would say regardless, ive imagined a beautiful embroidered sun umbrella and a super comfy lounge chair and outdoor rug and potted palms and elephant ears. i see myself sitting out there and reading or writing or lounging or sleeping. i was never the girl who snuck out of the house at night but the idea of this rooftop escape feels a little... escape-ish whatever so i climb out my window which is about a foot too far to the left to comfortably step onto the roof. my legs get wobbly and i cant help but think it would be so easy to fall and break my neck or my hip or something. i make it out there in one piece and its just lovely. im up high and can see clouds and sky and oak and black walnut trees and mount beacon.
im not sure why my face is in a bubble
but that's because after a year
i still cant work my phone
im out there and i almost cant see neighbors which is kinda how i like it i think about how lovely it would be to sit out there during the day and pretend im in marakesh. or when it gets cooler at night to be out there snuggled in a cozy sweater watching the stars so...back to todays reality, which is pulling the weeds that are growing in the gutter. its the first step to claiming my private rooftop paradise i crawl up to the edge and this is what i see
seriously?!?! volunteer tomatoes?!?! the whole gutter is growing mini tomatoes wtf??? ok. granted theyre a little stunted and mildewy but still... im not even sure that ive ever planted tomatoes on this property. because of the damn woodchuck
so of course the miniature volunteer tomatoes are still growing in the gutter because...really...how could i pull them? They can share my rooftop paradise this month and next month they will be pickles. because thats how i roll
on a saturday at the end of november one thing led to another and in just a few hours time suddenly i was free. free of feeling bound to someone who was Not Available. free of thinking/hoping maybe someday. I was cut loose and I was free and being cut loose didn't even hurt. I had heaped the hurt on myself for 3 years by Not Letting Go I couldn't do the severing myself and neither could he. I'm very sure She was the one who cut the tie. thank god for that so I was free. Long before i was free i resigned myself to the idea that no man could compare to this Unavailable Man. no one else would make me feel so gorgeous. no one else would seemingly put everything on the line to be with me. no one else would dream of me the way he had. and i could never desire anyone the way i desired him. I thought sure it's possible but exactly where am i going to meet a man to rival the unavailable one? i dont go out. i dont like parties. i dont have friends. im old. i wont date anyone i meet through my job cuz that would just be weird. and im done with match So I accepted the idea that I would likely never feel that kind of passion again. And that made me very very sad.
i was working in the yard on a sunday at the end of november and mia came out mommy can i go to autumns house frankie called me she's at autumns house and they want me to come over who's autumn? she's a girl at school shes friends with frankie frankie is there and they want me to come over is it ok with autumns mom? she lives with her dad her dad's there its ok with him and because i will jump at any and all opportunities to unload my kids i said sure mia got the address and i mapped it. just a few minutes away across the creek. i pulled up to the house and mia jumped out of the car. It occurred to me that i might look like a Bad Mom if i just dropped my 11 year old daughter at some kid's house with some kid's dad and didn't introduce myself. i was kinda raised by wolves he came around the side of the house to say hello. the sun was behind me shining into his eyes. jasper eyes sparkling and changing color like the mala beads that hang around my neck. he smiled his shy sparkly smile with his wolverine snaggle teeth. i got a glimpse of big hands and tattooed arms. he sparkled at me. yikes hi im michelle mias mom hi im paul SHAKE HIS HAND he wiped his hand on his jeans and said im kinda dirty. he sparkled at me some more ruh roh im kinda dirty too TAKE HIS HAND TAKE HIS HAND i didnt take his hand but i knew if i had it would have been magic. and when i finally took his hand it was it is magic
It's so green out. Not the green of high summer but the green of thunderstorms. I don't know if this happens elsewhere (I assume it must) but here in NY there is a certain kind of GREEN that comes with summer heat and thunder. I remember it from my childhood. Late day summer thunderstorms.
The air is green. It looks like The Emerald City
Today around lunchtime it was so astoundingly hot and humid it was easy to sweat just standing still. The Weather Channel said there were big storms coming our way. I had left my car windows cracked because it's such a drag to leave the air conditioned office at 5 and climb into a 3 door oven. When the thunder rumbled in the distance the ladies said michelle you better go roll your windows up it's gonna rain.
so I did
and it rained
I'm pretty sure that in my 50 years I have NEVER heard thunder so loud. It was loud enough to hear through my stethoscope over heartbeats and breathing and sirius radio and overhead paging and other babies crying and freaking out because the thunder was so darn loud.
It was crazy. And at 3 it was darker than 9. And the rain came down and flooded the streets. That storm stopped right over us and didn't move for hours. By the time I left the office the rain had slowed but lightening still zigzagged through the sky.
Now it's dark. It was still green before the sun set. The thunder rumbles in the distance and I don't know if it's raining or the water is just shaking out of the trees. It's cooler though. And quiet here in my house.
I always said I wanted to have the house where all the kids could hang out. I wanted to be TheCool Mom When the kids and I moved into this house I thought this is awesome its just a few blocks from the middle and high schools, it has big rooms with high ceilings and a pool! everyone can hang out here. its gonna be gwate. everyone will be so happy I even knocked out a wall to make it easier for lots of kids to hang out and be sociable. What the hell was I thinking??? Being The Cool Mom comes with a price. 367$ at BJs for economy sized cases of DIY frozen foods. Lots of peanut butter and many more loaves of bread. Stepping over 19 backpacks and 127 pairs of shoes and moving the 16 hoodies that are perpetually draped over the dining room chairs. Hearing basketballs pound pound pound in the big open room downstairs. It means ALWAYS coming home to way more than 3 kids. And once or twice a week waking up to at least 9 and most mornings more than my 3. And school's not yet out... The first 2 summers there was an eternal trail of wet towels from the pool to the sunroom, through the kitchen and into the dining room. The trail turned into a heap in the computer room. The chairseats around the computer were perpetually damp. And because it was so important for me The Cool Mom, I didn't nag. I didn't yell. I spent those summers shaking out wet towels and hanging them in the sun to dry. I wiped gallons of water up off the hardwood floors. I sniffed the damp upholstery to check for mildew. Besides, I've seen moms who nag and yell. It doesn't really help. And I don't have the energy anyway. Last summer I couldn't get the pool clear. At best it was a lovely cloudy shade of aqua but most of the time it was a green ranging from sparkling emerald to swampthang. But... there were no towels on the floor no wet footprints through my house and no mildewy chairs cushions. Which is why the pool is now a koi pond. Last fall I threw 10 baby koi that were half price at petco into the perpetual green muckiness. I figured if they're alive in the spring I'll take it as a sign. And yes they did survive our polar arctic winter and are growing like gangbusters. I think they must thrive on algae. A few weeks ago I threw in some water hyacinth and water lilies and I'm hoping the neighbors don't complain that I might cause a chikunguya outbreak here in the Hudson Valley. Honestly I'm relieved all these kids that didn't come out of my body, and those that did, can find another place to swim this summer. But...if I ignore the crap left all over the house, the open peanut bottle jars, the din of adolescent boys watching basketball at midnight and the fact that in this big house the ONLY place I find a little solitude is in my bed, I can appreciate what I have. I have WAY more than the 3 kids who actually came out of my body calling me Mom. It's very sweet. My therapist said "do you know WHY there are always kids there?' I said "because I'm not a bitch like the other moms?" She said "because you have a happy house" I have a happy house. I wished for that too.
It's a little after 6 and it's quiet except for the rain. I'm sitting in bed with a cup of coffee. The Universe is Abundant At 4 I woke up and I heard the rain and remembered I'd left the car windows down. I'd closed the sunroof because these days I'm dipping a tad below my optimism baseline. So I think ridiculous things like I'll close the sunroof in case it rains but I'll leave the windows down. It's more typical of me to look out the sunroof at the hazy summer sky and think lalalalala it's not going to rain cuz that would be a bummer lalalala. The inside of the car gets drenched at least twice a sunroof season. I have to dry out the car before I drive the kids to school but at least I closed the sunroof. The rain is giving me a sinus headache but I have sudafed and advil. The Universe is Abundant My anxiety is receding. I'm remembering to breathe deep. I chant in my head to drown out those negative thoughts when they start cycling. Om Namahon the inhaleShivaya on the exhale. I remind myself that the ferocious dog at my heels is really only in my head. thank you jim carrey
The Universe is Abundant
I have fresh coffee though no cream. But I do have milk. And because The Man I Love only buys lowfat milk, I've become accustomed to drinking my morning coffee lowfat. So I am content with whole milk in my coffee this morning. I'll get cream later. I have a car I can drive to get cream for my coffee and a secure job and Thursdays off. The Universe is Abundant The Man I Love has taught me many things. I have learned that not all people who watch Fox 5 are assholes. I have learned that stupid sitcoms can still be funny and laughter is good medicine. I have learned that I can let myself melt into someone's arms and trust his love and accept his help. And given the circumstance of our meeting, I have learned that the Universe does conspire to give us what we want and though Love At First Sight might be rare, it is real. The Universe is Abundant
there's a weird thing that happens as we women get older. when our bodies start to move out of the baby making stage we venture forth and venture inward. we want to get rid of stuff. we want to spend time alone. we want to create. WE DONT WANT TO TAKE CARE OF OTHER PEOPLE there. i said it. im so done with taking care of other people. maybe i should clarify. im done taking care of people who came out of my body. because they torture me. nothing i do is ever good enough. theyre always wanting more. and more. and more. taking care of the folks moms kids who didnt come out of my body is enjoyable. and satisfying. why??? BECAUSE THEY APPRECIATE IT GODDAMMIT. and i feel like im doing a good job. i feel appreciated at work. not so much at home... last september i changed my work schedule. i had been doing 12hr days m-w-f and i liked that schedule but i thought it was time that i unload the babysitter and end 16 yrs and over 100k in child care. i thought i should be home more in the evening because now theyre big kids and might want to talk and process and i wanted to be more available to them yikes i had already heard "a mother is only as happy as her least happy child" and knew that to be true. when they were little they were happy. even through The Storm tho they were probably not happy, at least i could comfort them. i could say the right thing and call them sweetpea and snuggle with them and they would be ok. i could kiss the boo-boo and make it better. now im hearing "little kids little problems big kids big problems". tell me about it. complicated emotions complicated friendships complicated math. nothing i do is right. nothing i do is good enough. and i know it's a developmental stage akin to the terrible two's but holy shit having THREE of them going through it at the same time is...devastating that sound extreme but that's the word that comes to mind. i guess the devastating part is more about me than them. the boys kick ass in school. theyre funny and have awesome friends. mia cares about grades because she doesnt want to dissapoint but she's not people pleasing to the point of actually giving enough of a shit to do well. but man is she creative. and she's...dare i say... normal. no more panic attacks, no more overwhelming fear and sadness. she entered the middle school and came into her own. so given the general state of their beings, i really have nothing to complain about. but they sure have a lot to complain about me. and thats the part thats devastating. i think the pituitary gland and gonads must release a yet unidentified hormone that triggers eye rolling sighing huffing puffing i want i need more eye rolling and general impatience once puberty is in full swing. and like women living together who very quickly start cycling together, in a house with 3 teenagers its just a whole mess of positive feedback. it doesnt matter that im the cool mom and all the friends want to be here. it doesnt matter that deep down they KNOW that im the cool mom and everyone has fun here. they still have to torture me. they cant help what their hormones are driving them to do anymore than i can help that my hormones are screaming SELL THE FARM AND GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE! i know this is normal. ive been hearing it every day from every mom for 17 years. i just didnt realize how much it really sucks. granted there may be other influences effecting my ability to enjoy them but right now it feels like im a pretty shitty parent because my children never seem to be satisfied. this summer is gonna be hell
it's been a long, long time and my words and thoughts are rusty something extraordinary happened yesterday.... i've been struggling. fearful. anxious. dare i say depressed it's a horrible feeling the fear has slowly steadily seeped through all my hours. no amount of work sleep pills beer could douse it i've been ignoring faith, misbelieving love. i've forgotten that ganesh has my back so the obstacles have been overwhelming i've forgotten the universe is abundant sister halona said faith and fear... do you love him? ...i love him something awful... jim carrey said faith and fear... we are the light that shines through i know...jim carrey... it sounds ridiculous but if you have 26 min go here you know that feeling when you wake up and for a split second all is good? then your brain starts and dammit if you're not down the rabbit hole before you even realize you have to pee. it's a horrible feeling. yesterday i was done. on my way to work i felt desperate. and somehow i remembered maybe all i had to do was ask. throw it out there and be open for the results. so i did. i opened my mind and my heart as i made the right onto vassar road and asked the universe for peace. for relief. i even dared to ask for happiness. i asked without reservation or doubt or expectation. i asked with faith and in that moment the belief that the universe would come through 5 minutes later my request was forgotten because i was late for work and thinking about dinner and debt and having to do everything by myself which by the way is not true i have as much help as i'm willing to ask for i struggled through my morning. frustrated, aggravated, impatient. i realized i'd forgotten my wallet at home and worried that i'd be cross eyed and hungry and cranky by the end of the day and end up going home and drinking beer to fill me up and shut me down on my lunch break i remembered i had a container of trail mix in my desk. nuts cranberries chocolate chips quieted my stomach and tasted good. i started feeling better my afternoon was crazy and intense. every patient was loaded and complicated but it was ok. in the periphery i noticed i wasn't so cranky or impatient. i thought it must be the chocolate chips. at one point in the afternoon, i entered a room expecting the worst. lo and behold, this particular young lady smiled at me and said i'm good it's better i think its working. and her mother smiled at me and nodded. she's better i'm so relieved. i havent seen them smile in over a year. and damn did my heart explode and i was smiling too oh my gosh i LOVE that i'm SO happy you're feeling better you just made my day we are the light that shines through by the time i left the office, though it was almost 6 and i was going home to hungry demanding high maintenance final exam final projects regents AP test taking teenagers, i felt calm. not only did i feel calm, i felt good. better than i've felt in weeks. i thought this is crazy. how could i feel so shitty for so long and then all of a sudden feel so much better? i cursed my ovaries. that left one is a fickle bitch. seismic hormonal shift was the only explanation for the mega-change in my mood until i made the left off of vassar road. and remembered what i had asked the universe for at the same intersection that morning. peace. relief. freedom from fear. and god forbid even happiness. today i stumbled upon this. i read the foreword and now it's on my kindle faith and fear we are the light that shines through The Universe Is Abundant
Stumbling through blogland, I came across THIS I copied and clicked and pasted and added a personal touch, though the letter is beautifully written and as far as I'm concerned, needs no editing at all. For the record, I don't think I've EVER contacted a congressperson. Not even to ask that raw milk or marijuana be legalized. Also for the record, I don't think ALL guns should be illegal. I wish I had someone to shoot me a deer every fall and fill my freezer with venison for the winter. But automatic weapons designed specifically to kill a lot of people in just a few seconds? That shit is totally unnecessary. And yes, guns don't kill people well they kinda do, people kill people. But still... Please, if you are so moved, write to your congresspeople. And pass the letter on. Please. Thank you.
I heard about The Tragedy while at work yesterday. I received a text from Sister Halona, concerned about a childhood friend and blogger whom she thought had kids in the Newtown elementary school. And yes, it was true. Our friend has children who attend that school. And who are thankfully "ok". Whatever that means. Aaack. This woman, who we grew up with, whose children attend that elementary school, is the SOLE reason I blog. Seriously. It's all her fault. And I am forever grateful for my introduction to blogland. I am grateful for her. Today, I have read all the blogs, all the comments, all the news feeds, and Obama's statement. And still I have no answers. My shoulders have been hunched up around my ears all day. Yes, I think automatic weapons should be theoretically unattainable illegal. Unless you're hunting deer or rabbit, I don't really think you need a gun. I know in other parts of the country, folks pack a handgun the way we here in the Northeast pack an iPhone. Whatever. It's a big country. And I don't claim to understand even a fraction of it. And yes, I think there should be more supportive care, safety nets, safeguards and treatment for those afflicted by mental illness. It all hits so close to home... It's so easy to lay blame. What was really going on in that home??? Why did the kindergarten teacher have automatic weapons??? blah blah blah The truth is i hate to say it perhaps any of it all of it could happen to us. We are not immune. We try to lay blame because we are human and have a need to understand and explain. But maybe we are looking to justify and distance ourselves it could never happen here NEVER to us never to OURS. Even in death my heart hurts for that boy and his mother, his father and brother. And of course all the others in Newtown. And the country. And yes, today I was extra patient, extra sweet, extra thankful. There but for the grace of god go I...
I was invited by Dana, The Kitchen Witch, to guest post at her place. How exciting is that?!? And since she is the author of the funniest holiday post ever, I take her invitation as a ginormous compliment. She's also a gracious hostess, allowing me to pull an old favorite from my bloggy archives. So come visit me at Kitch's. I think you'll like it there. The food is yummy.
My birthday was a few weeks ago. I'm not a fan of birthday celebrations cause I'm a buzz kill. OK, that's not entirely accurate. I like other people's birthdays. I don't need like to have my birthday acknowledged in any significant way, and I don't need more stuff. I don't like that much direct attention. When I was 6 and my 1st grade class sang Happy Birthday to me I cried from embarrassment. I guess the fact that I had to plan my Sweet Sixteen entirely on my own because those were my mom's Obsessed with The Church and Holy Spirit Years kinda sealed the deal on not expecting too much from anyone on my birthday. Until the Bruce Years. When the kids were younger, they would TORTURE me in the days approaching my birthday. But that's mostly because their dad would get them all excited and plan shit and it would be a secret and a big surprise. It was exhausting. Almost as bad as Mother's Day. I am an ungrateful bitch. This year my birthday fell during my New and Improved Boobs recuperation time off. I had been home for a week and there had been no mention of my advancing age, or excited questions about what I wanted to do on the big day. That morning I woke up in a quandary. Do I tell them? Do I not tell them? What if I tell them and they forgot and then they feel badly? What if I don't tell them and at some point like Thanksgiving or Christmas they realize my birthday had come and gone? Would they feel awful? I decided it was best to tell them. So I did. There was so much preamble I scared the hell out of them. Ummm... you guys???....ummm... I have to tell you something.... I don't want you to feel bad... it's ok... I just thought I should tell you... cause dad might text you...I just don't want you to be upset... The color drained out of their faces. it's my birthday today Their faces light up with big smiles happy birthday mommy! Mia gives me a hug and Jack smiles some more. Ty was still asleep. Later, when he came downstairs dressed for school, I give him the same blah blah blah it's my birthday. He just looked at me and walked into the kitchen. ???? WTF??? then he left with his usual Bye Mom whatever
I spent a lot of the day thinking about my mom, thinking about being her firstborn and thinking about how I felt the day Jack was born and wondering how she felt when I was born.
I thought about being the last one to see her body after she died. I thought about being outside the hospital room, watching the nurse prepare her body for the morgue. I thought about how I insisted to the resident that ALL her tissues be sampled for autopsy, not just the ones Dr NewGuy had requested because I didn't think he'd find the answers he was expecting.
I thought about how I had looked at her body, departed of life and breath and soul, appearing so empty and I remembered thinking I grew in that body I came out of that body that body gave me life. And now that body is dead.
In that moment it was so clear. So real. I came out of her body.
So my birthday night I made dinner which the kids must have actually liked because we all sat down and ate together. After dinner we hung out and talked and laughed which was unusual, not because we don't have a good time together we have a raucous time together but because we are usually going in 4 different directions.
I started cleaning up and something about the way the kids were darting in and out of the room made me think are they planning something? Which I quickly dismissed because, I dunno, why would they do that for me? They're kids wrapped up in their own dramas and they know I don't really care about my birthday anyway.
Mia asks me to brush out her hair. But she wants me to come upstairs with her to get the brush cause she's spooked to go up there alone. Ty says there's a brush in the downstairs bathroom. I tell Mia to get the brush. Both Jack and Mia look at him like he had 2 heads. She says it's not the right one it hurts too much my hair's too knotty i need the one upstairs.
I remember I need to advance the laundry so I agree to go up with Mia to get the brush. I decide to throw another load in. I pick up a pair of Ty's jeans and pull his cell phone out of his pocket.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before that he kept forgetting to charge.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before that he kept forgetting to charge that I ended up charging because Goddammit Ty the ONLY reason you have a cell phone is so that I can reach you.
The brand new cell phone that somehow disappeared one week after I bought it and one day after I plugged it in to charge it. The phone that he swore he hadn't moved off the table i didn't touch it mom it was charging and now it's gone i have no idea someone took it
Seriously Ty??? You think someone took it???
So there is the cell phone that's been missing for a week in the pocket of his jeans that are in the hamper that by some miracle I noticed before I threw it in the washer.
The Universe is Abundant but boy was I pissed.
Goddammit Ty...Ty???... Ty...??? ANSWER ME!!! why the fuck isn't he ANSWERING me???
My kids always answer me.
I tear out of the bathroom, cell phone in hand, bellowing his name. I must have looked like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Mia cuts me off at the top of the stairs and blocks my way i'll get him mommy
Dammit Mia mind your business!!!... TY!!!
I get halfway down the stairs and Mia body checks me.
Mia are you kidding me??? Mind your own business and get out of my way!!!
I make it into the living room and Ty comes running at me looking like a Dear caught in the headlights of a Mother's Wrath. Musta been all my yelling. Goddamitt Ty I found your cell phone it was in your pants pocket in the laundry basket this whole time.
The look of relief that crossed his face was priceless. He teared up a little and threw his arms around me thank you mommy i love you mommy. Then with his arm still around me he led me back to the dining room.
And yes the lights were off and the candles were lit and the kids were beaming Happy Birthday Mom!
look I made you this, and I made you this, open this first, I asked Jessica to bake a special cake for you this one is your real present you can go with mia or jordana or shannon or whoever you want. its a gift certificate for 2 pedicures
I burst into tears. Like sobbing tears. Like I'm gonna fall down tears. Like I need to loose my shit tears.
It was just SO fucking sweet and SO unexpected. It was the most amazing and awesome birthday ever. The kids were so proud they had pulled it off and smiled at me and let me cry and I looked each of them and cried harder oh my god you guys are so awesome i love you SO MUCH you guys are the best! And then they laughed at me. Mia facebooked from her phone omg we just surprised my mom for her birthday and she's crying like a baby! and within a few minutes I'm getting texts from friends and family hosing me for being such a weenie. I warned Jack and Mia that they feigned surprise lied straight to my face just a little too well that morning. And that I was like what??? when Ty didn't say happy birthday even after I reminded him. mom...oh my god mom... for 4 days jack was up in my face saying if you say ANYTHING AT ALL about mom's birthday I'm gonna kick your ass. Which is why he didn't say happy birthday. It really was the best birthday ever.
"it occurred to me that the only real sin you can commit as a mother is to deny your children's right to be who they are and what they want to be and that the only real sin you can commit against yourself is to deny who you truly are and prevent yourself from being who that is"