Thursday, January 26, 2012

wherein i reveal why exactly it is that women are so soft and fabulous.

so every year at this time i start getting it in my head that i want to have another baby. every.single.year. at the same time. like the flu. or taxes.

i start noticing cherubic toddler cheeks peeking out from knit caps. i see babies in strollers and long to pick them up. i don't, but i really really want to. because hormones make you crazy. i always think about that when i read news accounts of women who go nuts and do crazy things. i wonder...

i look at old baby pictures of the boybarians and remember ONLY THE GOOD TIMES. never the times i wanted to run away screaming or leave my kids in the free pile or considered implementing mama happy hour at 8:30 in the morning.

i think about how beautiful and sexy pregnant women are. how the clothes are WAY cuter now than they were 16 years ago. or that magical few months when you feel like liquid gold. mainly because you don't feel like shit 24 hours a day anymore. like how not getting hit in the head with a board feels so good after it stops. after the nausea, before the cankles.

i never think about that. how sick i am for four months solid or how i gain 85 pounds when i'm pregnant or how having another baby could literally kill me. not 'literally' like a drunk college girl uses the world either. like kill me dead. you'd think that would be a deal breaker for even thinking about it right there. but apparently not. silly mortals are weird that way.

or that i'd have another bunch of breastfeeding and co-sleeping and homeschooling years ahead of me. when frankly i'm lucky my boobs and my sanity have weathered the first two rounds as well as they have. nope. all i'm thinking about is how amazing it is to hold a brand new baby.

a little revisionist history. you know, like how texas writes their textbooks.

it's a bad idea. for me. for all the reasons i listed. and it's not gonna happen. but it doesn't mean it *can't.* and that's the scary part right there. one false move. one too many cocktails. paired with the goosh that is my brain thinking about it for a good part of the new year. it's a minefield out there. (this is the part wherein the husband stops reading and seriously reconsiders our romantic evening out tomorrow for his birthday. might as well file this under 'how not to flirt 101.')

so i was thinking about it this morning while i was staring out the window at, i kid you not, a toddler playing with a puppy! AACK! and it hit me. it's JUST BIOLOGY. that's it. that's all. it's not a need or a want or a loss of a possibility. it's not a choice to make. i mean it is, for some, but not for me. i made my choice. BUT there's still that little matter of 'the childbearing years.' just because your head and heart make a decision doesn't mean your body will go along with it. it's hardwired for what it's hardwired for.

(which explains SO MUCH. mainly bad boyfriend choices. but that's another post.)

it's just what happens when you're born a girl. it starts early and goes late and then it's gone. in the meantime you've got decades of TRYING NOT to get pregnant then TRYING TO get pregnant then TRYING NOT to get pregnant again. that's if you've decided to have kids. and that's if it all goes swimmingly. for some it doesn't. for some it's a heartbreaking and horrific ordeal.

basically it's an amazing, magical, fucked up process. and it goes on SO LONG. and there's next to nothing we can do about it. and it spills over into so many parts of our lives. sometimes all of them. and it may or may not have been responsible for a few tense words and a box of popsicles being thrown against the wall in the late 90s. good lord it's a wonder we don't all end up in a corner rocking back and forth. more.

OF COURSE i'm going to be affected by the cute and the cuddly and the memories of how wonderful newborns and toddlers and preschoolers are. how watching your child grow is the most awe inspiring heartbreaking thing you can ever do. who wouldn't want that again? then pair all that with all that biology and BAM! another baby at 40 coming off the worst year of my life coupled with the fact that i haven't exactly gotten around to losing all of the baby weight from the last baby (who is now 11) yet seems like a *fine* idea. oh. and i forgot about the kill me dead part. again.

god. just thinking about it makes me want to re-consider the implementation of the 8:30 a.m. mama happy hour.

so there you have it. and i share this all with you to put it out to the universe. again. how it isn't gonna happen. i also share this all with you so that the next time you look at a woman just know that what you see is NEVER 'all' of what you get. there's a lot going on underneath that skin. a LOT. so allowing a bit of latitude for how that translates 'behavior wise' is always appreciated. because sometimes we can't help going bat shit crazy.

THAT'S why they make us so soft and fabulous on the outside.

it's survival of the species. it's also why they make toddlers and puppies so cute.

and wine.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

your moment(s) of zen.

a friend on a certain social networking site posted something a few days ago about how we are all beautiful. and how people can't accept being told they're beautiful. they simply don't believe it. but they should. i'm likely paraphrasing terribly, but that's the gist.

i've been thinking about that the past few days. about how beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. that it really does come from inside. but most of us have a hard time imagining that could ever be applied to 'us.' me? beautiful? nawwwww. and i'd have to say it's because in this culture the *beauty* we truly *prize* is that which is nearly unattainable by the masses. not to mention nearly unsustainable over the long haul we call life. so as we get older it becomes less believable. who? me? but i'm 40? i'm 38? 57? my stomach isn't flat and i have grey hair. beautiful? nawwwww.

why is that? why can't we just be beautiful to the people who find us beautiful?

i suppose it's the same reason we exercise and watch what we eat to be 'thin' rather than 'healthy.' because in this culture 'thin' = 'healthy.'

how do any of us make it out alive i will never know. oh, that's right. we don't.

okay, anyway, moving right along...i was driving the husband to work this morning and noticed, as i always do on this drive, how many funeral homes i pass in the 5 miles there, and the 5 going home. how the fire station is always hopping.

and then i heard wingman pipe up from the backseat

'have you noticed all the flower shops are going out of business?'

death and tragedy can survive anything, but not the florists. apparently celebration is not sustainable over the long haul, either.

which got me thinking about beauty again. about how flowers make people happy. because they are beautiful. but not every flower is beautiful to every person. people have their favorites. but we can say, as a whole, flowers are beautiful. people are beautiful. especially the people we love.

when i see a friend i look at that face and it makes me happy. because i love them. because they are my friend. all my friends are beautiful. to me. and really, that's all that matters. right? right.

so thinking about beauty and the florists and friends i haven't seen i too long and how anything can happen at any moment. and mostly, does. we lose people. that's just a fact. they die. or they just leave. and you never see them again. ever. and what once was so hopeful and loving and special and heart tugging and amusing and fun lies in a kind of relationship ruins. that's just there. not often visited, but still there. still in the guidebook. even after all these years.

and my hand went to my heart and i was touched by this idea of the fragility of it all. kind of like a cosmic 'oh.' how the funeral homes and the fire stations will always do a brisk business while the florists must struggle to survive. no further than that, just thinking how very silly mortal this business of living is.

and i KID YOU NOT RIGHT THEN AND THERE the following song came on the radio. just like that. which just goes to prove everything is connected. and just as it should be. and is constantly circling about itself. and that life is the most amazing goddamned thing i can think of. even the silly mortal moments. all amazing.

you are beautiful. and if you were here i would throw my arms around you and whisper it in your ear. 'you are beautiful.' and then i would say 'HELLO!' and 'i realize that life goes fast and it's hard to make the good things last but you and me together here is a start.' and even though i'm not a hugger i would tighten my arms and hold on just a little bit longer. give those funeral homes and fire stations a run for their money. life really is too short for anything less. so here you go. your moment(s) of zen. enjoy!

be blessed,


Friday, January 20, 2012

that's his story and he's sticking to it.

so today wingman turns 11. he also just happens to be getting ready to go through a growth spurt.

i know i've talked about this before. how right before he goes through a growth spurt he does this regression thing. favoring old toys long since put away, reminiscing about when he was little, etc.

he doesn't want to get bigger. or older. he doesn't want to grow up. he doesn't want to be a teenager.

he wants to stay his size and his age. he is comfortable here. in a world where he can ignore the opposite sex and the existence of the 'inappropriate for his age.' he is safe here without the workaday worries and concerns he sees his older brother going through. he is happy here. with his legos and his video games and his mama and papa and his cats and his casually crafted perfect world.

he has seen how it can change. and does. seemingly in an instant. he watches his brother and has seen that rapid transformation. he has had a front row seat to how much it can change in just a year for an adult. he knows upheaval. he knows people die. he knows people get older. and with that comes all these 'things.' and he doesn't like what he sees. and even though he's shielded from the worst of the worries and we mostly spin it all towards the positive, he's not stupid. and very observant.

i indulge this. i meet him where he is. because you have one chance to be a child, and he's doing it the way he sees fit.

for his birthday he asked to get a happy meal. can i tell you how long it's been since he's asked for one of those? so long i can't actually remember. he says it's because the burgers 'always tasted better coming from the happy meal box.' because he likes the apple fries. and because he saw on television that they were offering hot wheels as the toy. he used to love hot wheels.

the other morning when i was sitting with the husband while he had his breakfast before work, and the duke was packed off to the bus for school i heard a strange noise from upstairs. wingman was supposed to be sleeping so i headed up to check it out. and i saw the door to his room ajar. and when i looked in i saw him lying on his stomach driving a hot wheels back and forth across the wooden floor. it's been years since he's had a hot wheel in his hand.

i remember leaving childhood behind. and was mostly glad to do so. good riddance and all that.

but what if your childhood is one marked by warmth and comfort and balloons on your birthday and bubbles in the summer your toes in the soft grass always with family and friends and pets you adore and cozy beds waiting for you to get tucked into. parents you love AND like and a brother you adore. what if you were the buddha baby and grew into the smiley cheerful much adored charming child. how could anyone ask you to leave that behind?

i ask you.

so for now i let him mostly be. there isn't anything either of us can do so i'm just going to let it do what it needs. this growing thing. he is a bright and engaged kid. he'll make his way. right now he just isn't keen to do it so quickly.

which brings out some critics. especially when people find out your 11 year old boy still likes stuffed animals. 'you still let him have stuffed animals?' that's when i choose to tell them he also likes anything that has cats printed stamped or glazed onto it. the more the merrier.

hey, i went through it all already. everything those crazy hippie parents do i did. people had their opinions then and they were welcome to them.

and when my boys each wore the salmon pink long sleeved undershirt (hand me down, so soft and cozy, practical) because that's what they grew into at the time people had their opinions and they were welcome to them. because boys don't wear pink. okay. check.

then there was the duke's barbie (he wanted it) and wingman's doll house (every single kid who came to our house, boy or girl young or old, ended up playing with that doll house) all of it. and don't get me started on the pink doll stroller. hand me down. perfect condition. and it got the babies from A to B. which is all it needs to do when you're three years old. it doesn't need to make a statement. it's a pink doll stroller. not a 'slippery slope.'

so i was making mistakes left and right. ruining my kids. this is me smiling. bless their hearts.

even with all the best intentions a lot of what parenting becomes is not about what the child needs but about what the parent wants to project. which is to say if children are an extension of us and our family then *surely* they should have their best most sophisticated step forward. always. right? their talents and accomplishments should be their calling card. and these should be crafted and honed and nurtured. and then everyone can truly see your child shine. and that's what people should see. the shine. everything else either slowly wiped out or hidden away. certainly not dragged out for company.

what *they* want to hear when they ask him or me questions is that he knows latin and greek and has a beautiful singing voice. that he's a talented artist. but what he will tell you about are his video games and his cats and how awesome the make it yourself touchscreen fountain drink dispenser is at five guys burgers and fries.

learning how to let go and let your children answer for themselves about who they are you definitely run the risk of appearing to have raised the 'least interesting child in the world.' it's okay. take a deep breath. you may curl your toes and want to jump in, but don't. this really is the good stuff.

i am all for talents and gifts in children. for earned bragging rights. for crowing about your kid. but i know there's absolutely no substitute on earth for your childhood. for just being 10. or 11. there's nothing that can replace it once it's happening and certainly not when it's gone.

so my kid is 11 and we're going for a happy meal and the hot wheel. he's got no room to sleep on his bed unless he moves all the stuffed animals. and he has an apron with a big fat smiley cat face on it. and he'd get another one if i let him (he doesn't *need* another one). it has a bunch of cats in chefs hats cooking, mixing, baking. there are butterflies here and there in the pattern. the butterflies are pink.

that's his story and he's sticking to it.

happy birthday, wingman!!! you are, simply, the best.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

it's 3 am. do you know what your thoughts are?

taking down the christmas tree is something i have never enjoyed doing.

and i used to think it's because it was a LOT of hassle and work. and i'm lazy. which it is. and i am.

until i start to do it.

then it's like no big deal. and goes really quickly. and before i can say nutcracker i'm sweeping up needles and reclaiming precious living room space.

no. the real thing about taking down the christmas tree is that it has to be done. must be. really. because if you don't...and it stays up too long, people start to talk. never take it down and well, that's just a slippery slope all the way to crazy town. and more talk. from the people. you know, the people. who talk.

so it's not that it's *work* it's that it's *there.* sitting in the corner. just waiting to be dealt with. losing its charm with each day passed and ornament attack by the resident cats.

and even as you put it off all you can think about is how charming it all starts out. as most issues do. the search the find the decorating the sheer hopefulness of a christmas tree all lit up. how every year you proclaim it to be 'the nicest tree we've ever had.' until it's past all the charm. and becomes an issue.

and so it sits. losing needles and gathering dust and mentally pricking you each time you see it. hey, over here. it's january 7th. it's january 8th. 12th. last weekend came and went. and so on. and so forth. hey, over here.

you can't ignore the christmas tree. literally. like trying to ignore a mime dressed in drag. it never says a word but the noise is deafening. and a christmas tree doesn't go away on its own. ever. they never ever have. even in the urban legends. a christmas tree requires you to deal with it. always.

isn't it funny how we can camouflage so much in our life without ever touching the issue. the non christmas tree in the corner issues. the wake us up at 3 am thoughts. gain some weight? buy some spanx. drink too much? take advil and drink water. deceive the ones you love? promise yourself you won't do it again. act like an asshole? blame anything else but yourself. rob a bank? tell yourself it's the last time. get taxed at 15% when you're a qudrabillionillnionaire? well tell yourself you're stimulating the economy. asshole.

there are all kinds of thoughts to have at 3 am. and no two are the same. and it's easy to pretend that the things that wake us up at 3 am aren't really any big deal. because we think no one else can see them. because we think we can hide them. yeah.

i always tell my kids that to just do something is better than sitting and fretting over having to do it. doing is better than complaining about the need to get it done. like the dalai lama says, we create our own chaos. take a deep breath. take it bird by bird. you have plenty of time, but only if you start now. start where you are.

easy to tell other people. especially the people in your life who 'have' to listen to you.

just so we're clear...the christmas tree is down. and it was easier than i thought. and the ornaments are even more organized than they were last year. and, it was no big deal. really.

well then hell wouldn't it be nice if all the 3 am thoughts we have were christmas trees? without all the treading of water or touching bottom to get there? wouldn't it be nice if all our 3 am thoughts were just smack dab in the living room. and we HAD to deal with them. just like that. no excuses. and forcing our action.

(i have a sneaking suspicion they can be. we just put them up and decorate them in the out of the way places. where there's very little light and we are the only ones who ever go there. makes it easier to do nothing and always have company at 3 am. sigh.)

i don't know where i'm going with this, i just know it must be said. because i know i'm not the only one who wakes up at 3 am. or battles with the christmas tree in the corner only to find it's not that big of a deal.

and i know i'm not the only one who sometimes wishes it could all be like the christmas tree. and that when it comes down it's down. that we can handle it easily and quickly. after dinner and in time for prime time. packaging it up better that we did last time. sweeping up all the detritus and tossing it all away. done.

just like that.

how nice would that be?