Thursday, September 30, 2010

The more the merrier

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately.

My dearest friend's 7-year-old granddaughter is having some issues on the playground. She can't quite understand how her best friend can be her best friend one day and completely ignore her the next.

"That's just rude, Gram. And it hurts my feelings."

It's tough being a girl. Women are difficult creatures. We desperately need each other but we push each other away, claw and snap and bitch, and talk behind each other's backs.

My friend assured her granddaughter that "one day" she'd find that one true best friend:
"Really, Gram? You promise?"
"I promise."

I told my friend that I thought that had been a terrible promise to make (we're honest like that). I'm not sure I really believe in the notion of a best friend anymore, although lately (and here's the truly ironic part) I feel I am in some of the healthiest relationships of my life. The notion of That One True Best Friend--the promise that little girl is holding out for--puts a whole lot of pressure on her and especially on the girls around her. No one person should be responsible for being every thing to anyone.

That little girl may be so busy looking for that One Girl that she may miss out on all the ones skipping happily around her on the playground.

* * *

In spite of the fact that most people would probably describe me as very outgoing, I've actually spent most of my life being somewhat anti-social. Growing up, I was never accepted into any of the Cliques Of The Moment, and more often than not, I'd find somebody who was "like me" (read: a little too loud or a little too dramatic or a little too awkward or a little too whatever I happened to be at the time) and I'd latch on. I'd found her: my friendship soulmate! And eventually, as is almost always inevitable with females, she'd screw me over. There was Marilyn in 3rd grade, who one day came back from lunch and abruptly and silently pulled her desk a few inches away from mine and refused to speak to me. I remember Lena, in middle school, who decided hanging out with "the other girls" was way cooler than hanging out with me (she was probably right). The list goes on and on. I realize there were probably many times that I, too, had disappointed them...I don't doubt that I said something completely inappropriate to Marilyn that day at lunch, but couldn't she have told me what that something was?

What I've come to realize over the last couple of years is that all that time I spent excluding everyone else to be with my One True Best Friend, I had missed out. A lot. On people, outings, experiences, adventures, life lessons.

I now find myself surrounded by a lot of really remarkable women...some I had pushed aside for years because I simply "didn't have the time" to spend with them. I am more open, less judgmental, and having a whole heck of a lot more fun. My "collection" of girlfriends are all incredibly different: with some I can discuss, in great details, Marc Jacobs's personal make-over...others shop "exclusively" at Walmart and Target. For some of my friends, sweating is restricted to dancing and sex...others are game for anything from a 5k to a full-out adventure race. I would not call any one of these women my Best Friend. I know who I can call in the middle of the night when my kid is running a fever of 105. I know who I can call when I'm desperate for a night of dancing and drinks. Some of these women know secrets about me that the rest of the world would be shocked to know. Others, I'm just starting to truly trust.

Today, I "asked a girl out." Well, that's what it felt like, anyway. I recently started to talk to someone at work who seems to be so amazingly interesting and intelligent and just plain "cool," that I stepped out of my old comfort zone and, after 30 minutes of chatting about designer galoshes, world-wide travel, Christian Louboutins, mamas' boys, marriage and children, I decided to make a plan to get together next week. This may seem like a totally normal thing to do. But for me, it felt foreign. This woman may become one of my girls. Or, perhaps we will get together and have absolutely nothing to talk about (although after that 30-minute-all-inclusive-chat, I doubt it!). But the point is that I have finally figured out that I don't need one Best Friend. I need lots of really fantastic friends. I am no longer disappointed, because I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I have lots of baskets, and I'm skipping happily around with them on the playground.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You made me "Mama"

Dear Ben,

You were born 5 years ago today, my first baby. I have not been able to stop thinking about the fact that it was exactly 5 years ago that I became a mother. You made me a mother. Your entrance into this world changed me forever, in a way that I could not even begin to understand then.

We wanted you. Desperately. We waited for so long and went through so much. As much as your Daddy and I loved each other, as happy as we were, as blessed as we felt, we knew there was something missing. While we were going through that time, we didn't understand why.

Then you came. And we knew.

All along, all that time, we had been waiting for you.

You came along and joined our little twosome and rocked our world. We weren't even sure what to do with you. We didn't recognize our lives, our selves, or each other. Let's just say that there was an adjustment period. But you were fantastic. Maybe you (or someone greater) knew that we weren't quite able to handle too much then, and so you were The Easiest Baby On Earth. You slept. You ate. You sat happily for hours staring at the wall. By the time you were two, we thought we were surely the best parents ever, since we had obviously been fully responsible for this little being who was so perfectly behaved and easy-going and smart. (We know better evidenced by many posts on this very blog referencing playground punching and general acts of absolute least you waited until we had recovered from the postpartum, grown up, and gotten a better handle on the challenges of parenting.)

You are growing up to be quite a kid. You're wicked smart and always trying to be one step ahead of everyone. If you apply your skills of manipulation and persuasion to good rather than evil, you will undoubtedly be incredibly successful. You seem to have inherited your father's goofy sense of humor but my fear of embarrassment. You like things a very particular way (how I wish, on those mornings when we're running late because you've had to adjust your socks 18 times so the stitching lands just so along your toes, that I could tell you that I still do that before a run). You still have not figured out that you are not, actually, the center of the universe. You finally seem to have taken a sincere liking to your baby brother, and when I see you helping him, trying to explain something to him (like last night when you were showing him how to draw a clown), it makes my heart swell up with a love, gratitude, and relief that I can not put into words. Your manners are near perfect. Your sense of humor, flawless. You are, quite simply, a really cool kid (which is a good thing, since you refuse to allow us to call you "cute", only "cool" or on occasion, "handsome").
There's something special about being the first born. You were the one who Changed Us...the one who turned us into Mama and Dada. You squeezed your way in to our little cocoon for two, and actually made us want to slide over and make room. You are amazingly special, Ben Kincaid. We love you "sooooo much" and "all the way to the back of the moon."
Happy Birthday.
Love, Mama

Then and now...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Petty and Pissy

Once a month, I get crabby.
Overly sensitive.

Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

But that's sorta understandable, right? I mean, we all know there's a physiological reason why this happens to most of us. We have an excuse.

But what about when you don't have an excuse?
What about when you're walking around, generally pissed off, and you can't blame the calendar?

I have no reason to be pissy.
Except I do.

Petty things that are currently pissing me off and I have no idea why:

1. What the fuck is wrong with people who think the general laws of traffic
do not apply to them? (This is especially aggravating when said people are your
colleagues and you want to kick them when you see them in the school

2. I've been busting my ass for 3 1/2 weeks to lose my summer weight and I
can't close one goddamn pair of pants without getting a muffin top, yet my
lovely Hubby eats 2 salads and works out 3 times and *poof!* his abs are

3. Especially chipper know, the ones who squeal "Smile!"
whenever they see you.

4. The fact that every night the only conversation I seem to have energy for is the same set of required questions: "You going to the gym in the morning?" "Did you prepare the coffee?" "Are the kitchen counters already wiped?" "Whose turn is it to read to Ben?" "Is everything ready for tomorrow?"

5. The general bullshit hypocrisy of people who pretend to be something they're not: like the person who has a rosary hanging from her car mirror but doesn't remember who she slept with last night, or the one who throws out risque comments every chance she gets but is really just a jealous prude.

6. The alarm clock needing to be set to 4:45 a.m., and knowing that the latest I'll be able to sleep in on the weekend is 7:15, if I'm lucky.

I think I kinda feel better now.
Maybe this helped.

And if it doesn't, that's okay, I'm sure in a few days this random senseless pissiness will pass...
...just in time for that time of the month.
At least then, I'll have an excuse.

Friday, September 10, 2010

There's no inspiration

I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way.

More often than not, inspiration comes to me in the form of angst.

Lately, there's just been...Life.

Life without angst is a good thing. I am not complaining. I've got it good, but I'm not exactly longing for my laptop so I can pour out my musings.

Truth be told, I'm not musing much lately.

I'm too tired.
I'm just trying to keep up.

After the Summer Of Salsa, I find myself still struggling to catch up to Reality. I feel like I'm on a perpetual treadmill: always going, going, going.

None of it is "bad:"
I have a good job with good hours.
I have an amazing husband who truly sees our life as a partnership.
I have incredibly selfless parents and in-laws who constantly pitch in with babysitting.
I have time to myself almost on a daily basis.
I have two healthy, happy kids who (mostly) follow their tightly-set daily routine.

There are no crises, currently.

It's all good.

But still, I find that I struggle with day-to-day life. I find the everyday tedious and frustrating and, well, repetitive. I sometimes think that we spend so much of our life wasting away at jobs and errands and laundry and bathing children (even if I do sorta like my job and my children are pretty damn cute when they're splashing in the tub). It's just Life. Life is busy and hectic, even when it's good and boring and drama-free.

And then I feel guilty...guilty that I struggle, that I complain, that I'm always so tired. Because I am well aware of how lucky I am, how truly blissful life is when there's nothing to write about.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The things people say can shape us, our choices, our lives, who we become and how it all turns out...

Don’t worry about your curfew tonight.

Why are you marrying this guy?

The unemployment line is too long on Mondays.

You’re too loud.

You want too much.

You never deserved me, anyways.

Are you sure you don’t want to move back home with us?

I think you should move back home with us.

I'm worried you will always need the drama in your life to be happy.

Maybe you knew what you were doing all along.

You’re the coolest girl I’ve ever hung out with.

You guys are gonna end up together.

If you let me, I’ll take care of you forever.

Why don’t we just move in together?

Will you do be the honor of being my wife?

I’m ready.

I’m sorry, but the fetus stopped developing weeks ago.

When you feel like you're drowning, hold onto me.

Yes, you’re pregnant.

It’s a boy.

I think I'm happy with just one.

I think I want another one.

Let’s buy a bigger house.

Yes, you're pregnant.

Yes, it's definitely another boy.

This is harder than I thought.

This is getting easier.

I'm happy; are you?

This was inspired by Maria's post at Mom of Three Seeks Sanity on "Things you thought you'd never hear." She was inspired by a comment made by someone about pink eye, of all things! What started out, for her, as a funny post turned into something bigger and more important. Then when I tried her angle, my post took on a life of its own, too. As I started to type, my memory took over, and this is what came out. It was strangely stream-of-conscience-like and cathartic.

Funny or important, memorable or painful...what words have been spoken to you?