Posted on | August 13, 2014 | 1 Comment
I’ve been feeling sad lately… like there’s something hovering just outside my line of sight that I can’t put my finger on. Something haunting. Something overwhelming. Something that is too much to view all at once and so I find myself catching glimpses here and there of the all-consuming sadness of it.
Over the weekend, Banks and I talked about the sad, about my sad, and where it was coming from. I told him I didn’t know, couldn’t figure it out… and he smiled. Because it seems he knows me much better than I often know myself. I tried to tell him I had no idea what was going on with me, that I had no reason for the sad that weighed so heavy on me that each breath made me shudder with the sheer heaviness of breathing.
I tried to tell him I didn’t know why.
But he knew.
Because next week my baby turns five. And I am devastatingly happy about it. I am devastatingly devastated by it.
For the better part of two weeks, I’ve found myself looking at old videos and pictures and reminiscing about when he said “Minjan turtles” instead of “ninja turtles.” For the better part of two weeks, I’ve been knee deep in the sadness that comes with the realization that your last or only baby isn’t nearly as baby as you’d like to think.
I don’t know if there will be another child. I hope and pray there will be some day. I hope and pray that I will go through this sadness again, with another little boy or with a sweet-faced girl. I hope and pray… but I don’t know. And this is just five. This is still small. This is only the beginning of the moments that will pass by in blinks and wide-eyed stares. This is only the start of the life that I will live as he grows and changes and learns.
I have been sad for several weeks and I didn’t realize why until Banks laid a tender smile across my heart. I have been sad, I am sad… not because I do not want my son to grow up… but because I wonder what I will do, who I will care for, when he does.
Posted on | August 12, 2014 | 2 Comments
There was a day (one of many), back in 1998, when I found myself curled in a ball on the floor of my townhouse bedroom, crying. If you had asked me why, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you… though if you’d been there, I wouldn’t have been crying.
That’s the thing about depression, you know, it’s “private.” It’s “shameful.” It’s for the weak and broken.
If you’d run into me in public, I would have been vibrant. I would have smiled and laughed and told you all the things you wanted to hear. I would have made you laugh. I would have made you laugh a lot. Because the harder I made you laugh, the less likely you’d think there was anything wrong with me. The more I brought out your smiles, the less likely you were to realize that I wasn’t smiling. Even today, I prefer to make people laugh over being honest about what I’m feeling. I still prefer to deflect because it’s still not okay to be sad. It’s still only okay to be bright and cheerful and smiling.
And most people don’t notice that we’re only smiling on the outside, we, the people who entertain you.
When I heard the news about Robin Williams, I remembered that afternoon in 1998, when I found myself surrounded by tissues and bottles of pills and thoughts that it would all be so much easier if I could just stop pretending. It would be so much easier if I could admit that the past two years had been awful, had been beyond awful. I was so tired of making everyone laugh… so tired of entertaining and deflecting and putting on a show.
I just wanted to rest.
I just wanted to stop being everything everyone wanted me to be. I just wanted to stop being.
I just wanted to be sad.
But it’s not okay to be sad, not in this world. Not in this culture. Being sad gets you rolled eyes and “snap out of it!’ Being sad means people will tell you to “turn that smile upside down” and that “happiness is a choice.” You hear “you have so much to live for!” and “But look at how good you have it!” But you don’t hear the words you need… the “I understand, ” the “I’m so sorry.” Because happiness isn’t a choice, any more than sadness is a choice. It just is. It’s just something you are, deep in the bowels of your soul where you don’t allow the world.
Deep inside me, there is a sadness. It’s always been there.
And sometimes it rears it’s head and I do not CHOOSE to acknowledge it. I do not CHOOSE to wallow in the sadness. I just am. Sad.
But I have learned that sadness is best borne with company. It is best kept manageable by expressing it and acknowledging it and saying “Today I am sad but that is today and maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe.” Sadness can not be borne alone. I learned in 1998 that I needed help, that I had to acknowledge to myself that I was struggling and then acknowledge it to those around me. Because sadness can’t be pushed down for long. It will explode if you do not let yourself feel it and share the burden of your sad with someone you trust.
I imagine Robin Williams was sad sometimes, too.
I imagine Robin Williams got tired of always being funny, always being told to smile, always being asked to tell a joke.
I imagine that his sadness became too much to bear alone and I wish I could have known him, could have sat beside him and looked in his eyes and told him that I understood. I wish I could have told him that he didn’t have to be funny or anything other than just Robin. Just Mr. Williams. Just sad.
Because it’s okay to be sad.
It’s not wrong.
It’s not bad.
It’s not something to be ashamed of.
It’s just sad.
And we have to make it okay for people to acknowledge their sad or we will lose many more of our brightest “entertainers.”
Posted on | August 6, 2014 | 1 Comment
I have been fortunate in my life thus far, to be able to still pick up the phone and speak with mostly coherent grandmothers, both in their 90s. And I wish I could say that I do, in fact, pick up the phone and speak with them on a regular basis.
Because I should, you know?
But life starts spiraling and swirling around me and before I know it, weeks have gone by in a flash and I find I haven’t spoken to either in so long that I barely remember the last time we talked. Weeks go by in a flash for me because I’m busy with work and J and, well… life. Weeks just go by so fast.
I remember the eight weeks I spent at home with my new son; those slow, aching weeks of exhaustion and quiet and the almost mindless ticking of the wall clock against the roar of my head. Those days went by so slowly… each minute an agonizing wait for sleep or company or anything to break the monotony of my zombie-like state. And when I remember those days, alone in my house with no one to speak to me about the person I was, the woman I was before the gurgling and kicking baby in my arms… I remember how breathtakingly sad it often felt.
I felt so very alone, there in my house without a reminder of the life I once lived.
And for me, I knew my lonely was short-lived. I knew that at any moment my break from my life would expire and I would tearfully leave my son with someone else as I walked back into my life and the moments of the day would resume their whirl and tumble. I knew my lonely was short-lived.
When I think of my grandmothers, slowly rising from their beds to make their way to the chair where they will spend their day, I ache with shared loneliness. How do they spend their moments? How do their minutes pass? How often do they jump when the phone rings, hoping beyond hope that it’s a familiar voice and not a telemarketer or a political ad? I imagine their days move slowly, with little to do but wait for the phone calls… the ones I haven’t made in far too long. I imagine they wonder if they’ll ever recover from this… if they’ll wake up one morning with a spring in their step and find that they are just Doris, just Audrey… no longer Grandma or Granny or Great anything.
Today I talked to my mother for a long while about the decline of my grandmother. I talked to my mother about my Granny… or was it Audrey? I wonder if they’re the same person or if deep down my granny knows she’s someone else… maybe someone better; maybe just someone different. I wonder who she is in her mind… if it’s the same person she sees in her mirror. I talked to my mother, feeling the shame roll over me as I realized how long it’s been since I spoke with my grandmother. With either of my grandmothers.
Because my life goes on, you know. My life whirls by in made memories and laughter. But her life is paused… waiting for me to call. Waiting for me to share mine with her, to bring laughter or smiles or anything other than the slow tick of the wall clock, marking the minutes of this day she now calls life, these minutes that painstakingly, slowly pass her by.
Posted on | August 4, 2014 | 1 Comment
In a cyclical turn of events, one of my co-workers has just returned from maternity leave this morning. As I watched her hold back tears as she unpacked a box of framed pictures, I couldn’t help but remember when my own maternity leave was over and I found myself robotically re-entering the work force while my child spent time away from me for the first time.
I say cyclical, because just this weekend it occurred to me how old my son is now, with his lanky legs and messy hair. He spends much of his time away from me now, learning math and science and English and… well… life. He is tall and gangly and full of attitude and honestly, he is as far removed from the baby he once was as I ever thought he’d be… though hopefully not as far as he will one day be.
As my co-worker muddled through her last weekend at home with her sweet baby boy, I muddled through a weekend of my own, entering into uncharted territory with J. At nearly five, he is desperate to read, spending every waking minute (that he isn’t watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) staring longingly at words on a page. He is so desperate to read.
And you guys… he is getting there. Each sounded out syllable and carefully twisted sound is coming faster now, as he learns that sometimes the “a” is “ah” and sometimes the “a” is “ay.” I feel so proud even as each word moves him farther away from the safety of babyhood, from the safety of… well… me. Soon, he won’t want to snuggle up with me as I read to him. Soon, he won’t want to snuggle up with me at all, opting instead for a flashlight and book the way I did as a child. Soon, I hope, he will be whisked away into the wonderful world of books, where everything is magical and there is no need for me.
Parenting is such a power struggle between what you want for yourself and what you want for your child. Because, for me… I want my son. I want him to need me as much as I need him. But for my son, I want the opposite. For my son, I want freedom and a life well outside my arms. I want him to experience his own life, his own heart… and it feels like reading is just the first step on a long path of moving away.
So I hugged my co-worker this morning as she wiped away stray tears. I hugged her because I understand that longing… that overpowering need to be near the person you love most. I understand feeling that so much of your heart is somewhere else, experiencing something else… being someone else. And it is painful and beautiful all at the same time. I hugged her because she is suddenly the closest thing to my own experience, my own desire to keep my son small and with me, even as I yearn to watch him spread his wings and fly.
So though my heart longs to have him near, like my co-worker, I will satisfy myself with an office, a lifetime, full of pictures. Because more than anything, I want my son to be free. And reading has always been my own freedom… I hope it will one day be his as well.
Posted on | July 31, 2014 | No Comments
A week ago, a story hit the news here in Macon that sent me back to a place I’ll never forget.
If you’ve been here for a while, you know that when I was 18 I lost a 17 year old friend in a terrible accident. And you probably remember that I blamed myself for that loss for a very, very long time. That was many, many years ago but I can remember it like it was yesterday, although the pain now is less like knives and more of a dull, broken heart-song for the innocence I lost that night. Late last week a headline flashed across my phone that took my breath away… a 17 year old girl was killed in a one car automobile accident. The car was driven by her 18 year old boy friend.
Immediately, I felt my heart catch in my chest and my first instinct was to run full speed, not towards the parents of the girl who died, but towards the other parents; the parents of the boy who lived. Those parents who also lost their child in the accident. Those parents who, unlike hers, took their son home from the hospital only to probably find that he was not their son anymore… not the one they knew just last week.
It is for that family that my heart breaks because I have been a part of that family. I have lived in those walls, watched those minutes and hours tick by. I can not fathom the hurt of losing a child the way that young woman’s mother has. I can not bear to let myself feel that horror… but I have lived through horror, too. I have lived those moments when you wake in the morning and think for just one brief second that everything is okay… that everything is just as it was only to have the very breath of you ripped away when you realize it isn’t the same…. when you realize it will never be the same. I have lived that moment, at 18, when you go from being invincible to very, very small and inexplicably alive when you just know… you just 100% know that you aren’t supposed to be.
I have lived through knowing that the wrong person lived, that the wrong person died.
At eighteen, I believed the wrong person who lived was me.
At eighteen, I watched my parents struggle to mend a heart they couldn’t touch. I watched as my mother tried to stitch my heart back together with the weight of her worry and concern, watched as my father tried to glue my tattered soul with his harsh and rasping words of love. I know what it is like to be broken by all of the “what ifs.”
Eighteen is too young to die, yes.
But eighteen is also too young to feel responsible for death.
And so this morning, I said a silent prayer, not for the family of that young girl… though they need all the love and prayers anyone can muster. My prayers, instead, were for the eighteen year old who lived… prayers that he would own his life for what it is: a gift, even if it’s one he doesn’t think he wants. I prayed that he would know it wasn’t his responsibility… that not one single one of us holds the power of life and death in our hands. I prayed for his parents; that they can find the strength to sit beside their son as he grieves, to intertwine their hearts with his as he heals… even as he rebels against the healing… even as he rails against God and the universe and yes, of course, against them. I prayed they find the strength to let him be angry and sad and mortified by his life… by the sheer unworthiness he may feel in every breath he takes. I prayed he would remember that being broken is not the end, even when it feels like it… and that there is life after heartache, even when it seems unfair. I prayed he would find the courage to weep and strangle out words into the universe that THIS IS NOT FAIR… because those words just can’t be kept inside. Those words just shouldn’t be kept inside. Not when you’re broken. Not when you’re eighteen.
Mostly, though, I prayed for his parents, that they would find the strength to hold him together… the way my parents held me… even as he struggles to break apart.
Posted on | July 30, 2014 | 3 Comments
I have a confession to make: I have lived in Macon, Georgia for the better part of 10 years and as of July 25th, 2014, I had never been to Bragg Jam.
Yes, I know… this is a tragic misstep which was corrected on July 26th, 2014, when Banks and I loaded up the car and drove J down to the Kid’s Fest portion of the festival, held right downtown at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (Which, coincidentally, is another place I’ve never been.) Before I start in on what I thought of Bragg Jam, let me just extoll all the awesome that is the Sports Hall of Fame.
You guys… I never knew this place had so much awesome!! My kid didn’t want to leave. He kicked field goals, he threw footballs, he shot baskets and practiced balance. In short, he had an amazing time. I’d have to say that being in the museum was definitely his favorite part of the day, mostly because I refused to buy him Italian Ice before lunch. Sorry, buddy.
The kid’s festival was pretty sweet, to be honest, though it would have been more fun for J if I’d realized that it was all about the water. They had a blow up water slide and the fountains were going full steam and he was pretty darn miserable that I’d forgotten his swim suit. Next year, I’ll be better prepared because all the other kids looked to be having a great time! They had face painting (which J hates), a “pretend to be a rock star” booth, and lawn games like corn hole and horse shoes for the kids to play. By the time we left, the front walk way was covered with chalk art and there were hula hoops scattered everywhere. In short, it was like kid explosion. If it hadn’t been for the failure to purchase said Italian Ice, I would have had a happy kid when we left, and if Mac the Cheese Food Truck had opened before we left… well, I’d have been one happy momma, too. Even though he wasn’t happy on the way home, the best thing I can say for our morning adventure is that it flat out wore. him. out. And I got this absolutely precious gem of a picture out of it:
After mandatory rest time, we got dressed and ready to actually experience a little bit of Macon night life. I don’t do this enough, y’all. Usually, I’m in my PJs before seven o’clock and let’s face it… that’s both sad and awesome at the same time. One of our local restaurants, Twang, was holding all ages shows and we figured that was the best place to delve into Bragg Jam because, well, we didn’t have to spring for a sitter and we could eat dinner while enjoying the show. Plus, added bonus, I knew a few guys in the band that was playing at 5:45 and that meant the ability to snag not only band-backed selfie’s with friends, but also frame worthy shots of a certain local attorney turned bad ass guitar player.
The band was actually good, too, which … I’ll admit… was a little surprising. I’m not sure what I expected from the Savannah Alday Band, but it wasn’t what I got. What I got was a couple of hours of country rock with a bit of unexpected swagger from the sixteen year old singer and her band. They covered a ton of songs my table knew and even a few that I knew, too, including Hotel California and Sweet Child of Mine. It may be WELL before her time, but this chick could rock out to Guns and Roses, even though I could have done without the Eagles cover. (Some things just can’t be redone well.) All things considered, I think I’d even buy their CD… she had this sort of powerful throaty growl to her voice that reminded me of Kelly Clarkson with obviously a bit more of a country spin.Halfway through the show, my son tugged on my arm with a star struck look in his eyes and when I leaned down he whispered “Look. At. Her.” pointing to the singer. Guess he was a fan, too, Miss Alday.
With a rockin’ show and kid fingers for my kid, I’m proud to say that we not only survived our first foray into Bragg Jam… we actually loved it. Banks and I even flirted with the idea of staying out longer and dropping J off with a sitter… but that didn’t last long. Keep it simple the first time, you know? We were still home and in PJs by eight and I can finally say I’ve been to Bragg Jam.
And so can my little rocker, J.
Posted on | July 24, 2014 | 10 Comments
Last night, I was feeling pretty low and I did something I haven’t done in far too long. I got out a thick, old book, one I hadn’t cracked open in some time but that was still stained with tears and highlighter and notes in the margin. It’s been read most all the way through so many times that I can’t remember and yet it’s been many years since I’ve felt the familiar tissue paper lightness of it’s pages.
I flipped to the middle, losing myself for a while in the familiar cadence of lines and rhythms… words I’ve read so many times that I thought they’d lost their meaning… only they haven’t.
I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Doesn’t it just sound like something you could tuck under your chin and use as a blanket to keep you warm for always? Don’t the words just roll off your tongue like the smooth richness of chocolate?
I lift up mine eyes to the hills.
And so that’s what I did last night, after losing myself in Psalms for the better part of an hour. I sat alone, forgoing my usual Wednesday night So You Think You Can Dance (don’t worry, I recorded) and just … lifted my eyes.
Because so much of the lowness and sadness and depression that seems to bounce off and around the world comes from the fact that it seems we’re all wandering with our eyes down. We don’t lift them to see the beauty, the glory, the wonder that is all around us.
When was the last time you lifted your eyes? When was the last time you really saw what was around you and realized that, for all it’s imperfections it’s life. This world we live in, this planet is so full of beauty and of life. It is heartrendingly beautiful, isn’t it? If you think about it. I mean, the fact of flowers alone is pretty miraculous. There are clouds that end up shaped exactly like a poodle. There are trees that grow so close together that their branches become entwined in an almost eternal embrace and that, my friends, is amazing. That is beautiful. It’s easy to get lost in the sadness around us; the hunger, the war, the violence. But there is so much beauty, too. And by focusing on the beauty, it is so much easier to work on what needs work.
That is the help that comes, when you lift up your eyes.
I often feel like I’m spinning my wheels, wondering what it is that I’m doing that carries any meaning at all. I often wonder, as I did yesterday, that I’m doing it all wrong somehow. But last night when I creased the pages closed and lifted my eyes, all I saw around me was good. My little mismatched house that had seemed so dirty only hours before now seemed to reflect a fullness of life… crumbs signaling there’s enough to eat… there’s too much to eat because every crumb doesn’t have to be savored. Dishes in the sink could be easily disposed of in that wonder of a machine called a dishwasher and there was hot running water to clean them and it wasn’t going away any time soon.
There are hungry people in my city. There are children who are starving. There are women who are being abused. There are men who can not pay their bills unless they resort to crime. And all of these things break my heart in a way I could never put into words. And sometimes it gets too much. Sometimes I get bogged down in the sadness and I feel as though there will never be enough of me to fix the broken in the world.
But when I lift up mine eyes, I see that the trees in my yard are tall and strong, the grass soft beneath my feet. I can travel only three hours east and find myself in the vast wonder that is the rolling tides of the Atlantic Ocean and if you want to understand the magnificence of this world and who created it, go there.
So very often I feel small and insignificant. So often I feel lost and confused and wander about wondering what I can do, what can I do, to make this Earth better. But last night it came to me in a rush of warmth and the sweetness of silence. I am not small and insignificant. I am not alone. And if I can just remember to keep my eyes open to the beauty that is around me, all will be right.
For when everything seems too much, I can lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Posted on | July 23, 2014 | 2 Comments
I’m a worrier by nature and by nurture, spending much of my quiet time running through disaster scenarios in my head and wondering if I’ve done enough to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. Okay, not really on the zombie bit, but I do worry about a lot of things. A LOT of things. And though it’s ingrained in my nature, I try to keep it at bay with a little blue pill and a reminder to myself that what will be, will be… regardless of whether I think about it beforehand.
It doesn’t always work, but I try. Most of the time if I’m pushing down the worry, it gets replaced with complacency… a steady roar of boredom spiced slightly with the disdain of how far I’ve traveled from the person I thought I would be.
Since December of 2008, the majority of my worries have centered around the growing person inside or outside of me. I’ve worried about his scrapes and bruises, his words and emotions, and worried probably most of all about the effect my worrying might have on him. Sometimes I worry that I overcompensate for worrying by acting as though I’m not worried at all which … of course… worries me. I’m like a viciously worn set of rosary beads in the hands of a semi-sane Sister.
See, my son was blessed and cursed with a soul that doesn’t just exist… it FEELS its existence. He is up and down and all over the place the way I must have been as a child… the way I am as an adult. And every time I hear him talk to the television screen and say ‘Why is that coyote doing that? That’s not very safe, is it?” I wonder what I’m raising him to be. I wonder who I’m raising him to be. I wonder if I’m raising him to be, well, me. Shell-shocked and subdued from the roller-coaster youth I once was. I once felt my existence the way he does… drinking in the sun with the understanding that only children seem to have that every. day. is precious. Every day should mean something more than just another day.
Most days now, I’m so bogged down with the legal lined pages of our lives that I don’t pay attention to what comes next. Most days I just want to survive from sun up to sun down without losing my patience at the house or dog or child or career. Most days, I’m just… moving through it all. So when I finally do stop and survey the life we’re living, it terrifies me. I find myself in a cold sweat, wondering how on earth we got here and where on earth we will go next.
Because this isn’t really living, is it? This worrying constantly… this spinning and spiraling through dirty laundry and dirty dishes and dirty floors. It’s not life, the way it should be lived… or is it? Because maybe that’s my greatest worry… that somehow this is all there is. This get up, go full speed, lie down, repeat… this is all there is to the minutes and hours and days of our lives. I don’t want my son to survive… I want him to thrive. I want him to spread his arms wide and embrace every second of every day.
The way his mother does not. Anymore.
The way his mother can not. Anymore.
Because my life is here, boxed into the corner I call home, wading through the whine and whimsy of other people’s lives. My life is here, dipped and displayed amongst the books and diplomas and yes, the debt.
But maybe I can be different. Maybe today will be the day I put aside the worry about the money and embrace the dreams I once tended with love and ferocity. Maybe today I can set aside what people say is right… push it down into this box of a life and tape it closed with the sticky threads of my worries.
Maybe today I can watch my son, learn from his carefree abandon, embrace his wide-eyed wonder at the miracle that is the sun rising another day. Maybe today, I can remember how it feels to really live.
Posted on | July 17, 2014 | 3 Comments
As the days creep and whirl past, I watch him grow inch by inch and foot by foot. Sometimes he blows me away with his sheer bigness… his ability to not be in a crib, to not be in diapers, to not be lying on his back kicking his feet and cooing at the flash of colors or the whirr of the fan. Some days it is the opposite and I find myself basking in the reminders of his smallness… the dimples beneath his fingers and the lisp in his words. Some days I am too busy to be either, chasing him here and there, trying to catch up to the little boy who is my heart on legs. Some days I long for those moments of clicking him safely in the car seat, or high chair, or stroller… knowing with the click and pull of straps that he was secure and safe.
When you have a baby, you don’t… you can’t understand what they will do to your heart. You can’t process the tug and pull and ache of being both near and far from them. I think back to the days when I would rest my hand on my stomach, feeling the pulse of life beneath my palm and truly knowing he was safe and close and watched over. Now, he is his own person, his own rough and tumble boy and there is no bubble wrap strong enough to protect either of us from his rowdy embrace of the world.
I’ve watched him grow so very much in the past five years; from the click of his smallness in a rear-facing car seat to the click of his toddler wriggle into a running stroller. I’ve held him in the safety of my arms through so very much. And with each day that passes, I’m all too aware that my days of holding him in my arms are fading. I’m all too aware that each time I let him down by being human more than the all-powerful mom he believes me to be I am pushing him farther out into the world where others will step in and wrap their thoughts and words and arms around my son. As they should. Theirs will be the more accessible, the more acceptable arms and smiles as he grows.
So I try to busy myself with steadying the foundation of the home around me, the base of our lives together thus far, building and reinforcing the warmth of this safety net I want him to know is always there. I let him run and play and be the boy he is designed to be, knowing that each day draws him further from this nest I have created for the two of us. But when I pick him up from school each day, my eyes drift up to watch in the rear view mirror as he pulls his seat belt on and clicks it with precision. Gone are the days when he needed me to fasten his pants or shoes or seat belt. Gone are the days when he needed me to lift him up into the car or tuck him safe into his seat. Yet as it was when he was small, it is still that metallic click of his seat belt that lets me know he is safe… he is home, again. And I know that from the moment he was born until the moment I take my last breath on this earth, I will always be waiting for the familiar click of metal that says he is safe. No matter where he is.
Posted on | July 16, 2014 | 2 Comments
Before J became mobile, I didn’t really realize how good I had it. Yes, I was sleep deprived. Yes, there was a lot of poop and a ton of spit up. Yes there were LOTS of tears. From both of us. But there was also this unspoken understanding that I could put his tiny self down in a crib and walk away. Just for a moment. Just for how ever long I needed to clear my head.
Once he started moving, all of that changed. And now when I look at my life with an almost five year old, there are so many MANY things I will never take for granted again.
1. Peaceful showers. When he was a baby I complained about showers. You know, “I never get to bathe!’ and all that stuff that new moms go through because we’re too scared to put the baby down for ten minutes to clean ourselves. But now, showers are an entirely different experience. Long gone are the days of sweet relaxation while hot water pounds your flesh. Long departed are the moments of aromatherapy and steam. Now, what I have is a rush to the bathroom, a slinging off of my clothes and a prayer that I get half a minute before it begins. And by “it” I mean the noises.
There are loud crashes that send you, towel wrapped and dripping wet into the living room, only to find that your child has stacked all his toys on top of each other and is using a soccer ball to sling at them in a rousing and awkward game of “Duck, Duck, no seriously DUCK!”
There are blood curdling screams of “MOM!” that make you jump out of your skin for fear that a kidnapper has begun the abduction process, run naked from the bathroom only to be sweetly asked: “Can you get me some juice?” And then there are the moments when he just comes in, flings open the shower curtain and asks me what I’m doing. Because… you know… he couldn’t deduce that from the running water and my presence beneath it.
2. A clean sofa. When I bought my sofa a few years back, J was just a wee little thing and I thought it would be a great addition to our house. It was sort of a brownish color which I felt would hide dirt, and it had velcro cushions so I could easily move the pillows from the back. What I didn’t realize was that the seat cushions were not velcro. Nor do they remove. Nor does brown effectively hide the weird juice stains and “Whoops” stains. Also, because they don’t come off, I’m constantly shoving the vacuum attachment down into the crevices and hoping that whatever it is that makes that loud crackling sound as it’s sucked up doesn’t have a face. There are crumbs and stains in places that nature and furniture makers never intended. And honestly, there’s just not a damn thing I can do about it. But I do miss the days of a sweet smelling place to lie down and watch television.
3. Watching television. Speaking of television… do they still make those primetime shows? You know, the ones that aren’t animated or come with a catchy theme song about how great it is to be three? Because I wouldn’t know. I haven’t watched a television show that didn’t come on Disney Jr, Boomerang, Sprout, PBS Kids, or Nick Jr. since 1976. And if I did, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to handle not having it ask me questions that I need to answer. (YO! HO! HO!).
4. Walking barefoot. Whatever you do, do NOT walk barefoot in my house. It’s like a Bosnian mine field. There are tiny legos everywhere. There are plastic swords the size of toothpicks. There may or may not be a smear of peanut butter from when J dropped his sandwich and assured me that he cleaned it but didn’t tell me where he dropped it. And did I mention the legos? Sidebar: Why do they even make clear legos? Is it a consipiracy to eff with your mind? Like “Oh. It’s not enough that we make these in gray and black and primary colors. What would TOTALLY rock is if we made them clear and miniscule and like little rocks of sadism that will lodge between adult toes and cause agonizing pain!” Regardless… if you’re barefoot in my house, you are taking your life (or at least the well being of your feet) into your own hands.
5. Being Classy in Public. Maybe this is a boy thing. I don’t know. What I know is that I have always been big on putting your best foot forward in public. In my prior life as a non-parent, this clearly did not include loud and lengthy conversations about the color of the Incredible Hulk’s penis, what my fart smelled like the last time I farted, or what would happen if you step on poop with “naked feet.” No lie, the last time we went to Publix and they handed J two green circle stickers, he proudly slapped them on his T-shirt and yelled out ‘LOOK AT MY BOOBS!!!! LOOK AT MY BIG GREEN BOOBS!!” And then he, and the bag clerk, and probably every other boy in a 5 mile radius, cracked up laughing.
Maybe one day, I’ll go back to Publix, after walking barefoot across my floor, to pick up wine to watch on a clean sofa after taking a long, uninterrupted shower. Maybe one day. But for now, I guess I better brush up on my anatomy, get another pair of flip flops, and counsel my kid on what constitutes and emergency worthy of interrupting a shower.« go back — keep looking »