Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Be That Guy

As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about our kids, who they may become, what I hope for them, etc. And since CB and I have lofty aspirations for the girls, our overall hope is that they aren’t giant a-holes. I mean, the toddler age does resemble some a-hole adults who I've encountered, but it’s more akin to my drunk friends and me in college. Like the other day, my toddler started crying – with full, thick tears – because I wouldn’t let her repeatedly bang her head up against the wall and told her to be kind to her body. And earlier that day, she threw herself down onto the ground and started tantrum-crying for CB because he helped her out of her car seat and was holding her book bag. We’re such monsters.

So as I walk through life and observe those around me, I realize that I’m focused much less on, say, what career path they choose to take and much more on them never becoming the people I'm about to describe below.

Dear Girls,

Please don't be:

The “that’s not my job” guy.
This person can either actually say those words or simply imply them by their actions. Either way, I loathe him.

Example:
I was at Starbucks the other day and they’d run out of half and half. Since I like my coffee to resemble nothing really all that close to coffee, I searched until I saw someone in a Starbucks uniform who wasn’t insanely busy. And actually, I sort of nailed it since this kid was slowly walking out of the back room without any sense of purpose. Perfect!

Me: “Excuse me, would you be able to refill the half-and-half? It seems to be all gone.”
Him, half-looking at me: “Uhhh….” And then he trailed off.
Me, standing there looking around, worried that I’d somehow asked a customer this question by accident. But no! The uniform!: “Oh I’m sorry, are you on break?”
Him, still half-looking at me: “No……”
Me, starting to get nervous out of being confused: “Oh….ok……so would you be able to bring out more half and half?”
Him, walking towards the counter, away from me: “Could you ask someone else? I have to do something.”

And then he walked over to the counter. Where he got a plastic cup of ice. And then walked into the back again without looking at me.

So.

Don’t be that guy, is my point. And while this is an egregious example of someone literally giving zero f’s, there are way more subtle examples everywhere. So, just don’t be this guy in spirit or in practice, ok? Because, as my children, then I’ll be a failure as your mom and I’ve reserved being a mom failure for those times (called current life) where I give you mac n’ cheese three times in one week and that’s only because I ran out of frozen chicken nuggets. Also, don’t bother emailing me about these choices, mom-shamers, because I’m onto you and I, too, give zero f’s.

The person who sends these emails to my Spam folder. 


Have higher aspirations, kids.

The person who takes up the entire damn sidewalk.
You know exactly who you are. You are the person or persons who either (a) walk(s) your dog on an insanely long leash that stretches across the entire NYC sidewalk. Hey, guess what? Other people live in NYC and also use this sidewalk occasionally. I’d like to not have to jump-rope your dog’s leash so that I can get to the subway. And the fact that this seems to annoy you that I’m doing this, makes me want to just scratch at you until you understand how sharing space works. Or (b) walk(s) with your group of friends and there are four or five of you and you somehow think that I should just scooch on over to the street to walk around you guys. Firstly, I can see that you have friends. Rubbing it in my face that you have friends who can walk in a straight line doesn’t make me feel less than. It makes me want to also scratch at you. But secondly, who taught you rules of the road? Because that’s the person I need not to be for my own children, so that people don’t scratch at them publicly or shoulder-check them on purpose out of sidewalk-rage. Not saying I've ever done that, but....I can imagine it happening, is what I'm trying to say.

The person who gets onto a packed train with their backpack on.

Ok, so I realize that I might look a little unstable with this one, since I actually pulled out my phone and took a picture on the crowded train of the guy shoved against me with his damn backpack on. Those are my angry sunglasses in the photo as well. I was too embarrassed to actually just “click” right in his face, so I did it all stealth-like from underneath. But you get the point. 

You’re the worst, this guy, and everyone is thinking it. I can’t believe you didn’t hear me hate-thinking about your choices during this entire 7 minute trip. I’m a loud thinker! And I also tried doing the shame-look at you a few times, too, but you either didn’t care, couldn’t see my eyes through my sunglasses, or thought I was trying to pick you up.

So don’t be this guy, again, is my point.



The person who needs a safe space from ideas that are different. Please don't be that person. Learn to live in the discomfort that is differing viewpoints. Viewpoints that make your blood boil and stand against the very things that you are? Figure out how to counter those viewpoints logically, rationally, and go ahead and throw some passion in there. Rise above. But please don't tell me you need a safe space. You know who needed a safe space? Malala Yousafzai. You know who doesn't get a safe space? Me, when someone gets on the train with their backpack, no matter how badly I want one.

I do realize that some of these seem city-specific, and that some make me sound crazy - that's not news. But again, my dear daughters, it’s not just the practice, it’s the spirit behind the intent. Which is what I will explain to you once you're old enough to understand. At the moment, I find myself breathing in and out slowly and with purpose when you ask me for milk and then I say “Ok, let’s go get your milk” and then you start crying hysterically because I left the room to get you milk. So we’re a few stages away from the “don’t be that guy” conversation, I do realize this. But it's coming. And now we're all prepared.

I love you.

Love, Mom


Monday, April 17, 2017

For Anna

The 1980s were filled with lots of pretty terrible ideas: big hair, ‘New Coke,’ and shoulder pads come to mind. But one 80s-specific trend that was, in theory, a terrible idea turned into one of the best little things to ever happen to me.

Back around 1984 or 1985, my elementary school hosted a balloon launch. But not just any old balloon launch where a bunch of little kids stand around in a field and watch balloons fly up into the air, never to be seen again. Nooooooo no no no. Remember: this was the 1980s. This balloon launch was special. Because at the end of each balloon was the FULL name and COMPLETE home address of each and every little tiny person who attended my school.  And since I was one of the said little tiny people at that time, I dutifully filled out my little 5x9 index card and launched it into the air for strangers to find so that they could write back to me and teach me about being pen pals! Or, you know, come and murder my family and me in cold blood. 
Dear Stranger, Feel free to come kill
me at any time...here's my address! 


Luckily for the 1980s, kids were busy being warned about the dangers of people luring them into their windowless vans with puppies and Halloween candy with razor blades in them to worry about a silly old pen-pal endeavor. So, you know, launching balloons into the air with all of our detailed contact information attached was perfectly fine! What could go wrong?

Well, for me, nothing. Because while friends and even my own sister had some luck with random strangers finding their weird, lonely balloons and writing them back once or twice, I had the great fortune of my weird, lonely balloon wandering from a park in Michigan into a field in Meadville, PA for Mr. Fox and his dog to find. And his wife, Anna, wrote me back. And she continued writing me back for the next 32 years.

Mrs. Fox was never Anna to me, she was always Mrs. Fox since I was raised during a time when respecting your elders was a thing and I was 8 years old. And even on her return address label she wasn’t Anna. She was always Mrs. Dan Fox.

She had beautiful, old-school penmanship. The kind of penmanship where you could tell there was time spent practicing. Unlike my penmanship, which looks a little like a cross between a ransom note and someone writing their name with their non-dominant hand.

She would write on flowery stationary – both sides – and ask all sorts of questions about school and my friends and my hobbies. She’d remember every single birthday. She’d remember every single holiday. At Christmas, she’d always send an ornament and a gift.

When I moved from Dearborn to Farmington, her letters followed. When I moved from elementary to middle school, her letters followed. When I moved from high school and then college – her letters followed. And all the while, we never met. I think we exchanged phone numbers once – there may have even been one phone call back in the day. But otherwise, it was a relationship built upon words. A relationship built upon the randomness of the wind and the lost art of letter-writing. And I cherished it for three decades.

When I moved to New York City, Mrs. Fox’s letters followed. And, to be clear, they were always from “Dan and Anna Mary.” But I’m pretty sure, similar to how CB’s names are on the Christmas cards we send out each year, Mr. Fox had little involvement with the actual mailing and writing. But he, too, was a huge part of my life in stories.

I learned of their nieces and nephews, their travels, their church activities. I wondered – more than once, but never to them – how two people who were so clearly made-to-be-grandparents never had children of their own, while quietly being grateful that they’d adopted me as their honorary granddaughter. I’d sometimes let six months go by between letters, always apologizing and sometimes rushing through a brief update of my oh-so-important life and, without fail, about 3-6 weeks later, I’d get another flowery letter in the mail.

In 2009, the flowery letter I got also had a newspaper clipping attached, and it was news that Mr. Fox had passed away at the age of 91. And some questions were answered that day, via his obituary. Mainly the ones too delicate to ever ask about.

Nonetheless, while the handwriting got a little less legible over the years, the stories never got shorter and the questions never waned. As she aged, she seemed to cherish the photos I’d send her of various life events or random fun things I thought she might enjoy.

Which is why I was a little concerned when, last spring, I didn’t receive a response back after I wrote her with news of my second pregnancy. She’d been so excited to see the pictures of my littlest – and now oldest – daughter growing up so fast in her first year, so I figured it was likely just the result of older age, some health issues over the years, and less energy. So I wrote again over the summer, right around RJC’s first birthday, complete with pictures and updates. No word. Then Halloween came and went without a card – which had never happened in all of the years we’d been corresponding. And then my fall update went unanswered. Then my birthday passed. And then I started Googling.

I knew she’d had a stroke within the last few years – she’d written of it often and apologized for her handwriting, to which I would laugh and tell her I was just happy she was still writing letters! And each time I’d type her name into the search field, I’d hold my breath and wait.

Nothing.

A few months later. Search field. Hold breath. Nothing.

And then today: search field. Hold breath. BING. There it was. The very first result.

Mrs. Dan Fox; Mrs. Fox; Anna was gone. Passed away at her home, no further information given about the cause, though I have a few guesses. All of them peaceful, since that’s how life should work.

Thank you for showing me love all of these years. Thank you for being my third grandmother. Thank you for caring. Thank you for writing. Thank you for following me through the first half of my life. Thank you for finding my balloon that day.

You will be missed. Your ornaments will hang on my tree and your flowery stationary will stay safely tucked inside my keepsake box next to the bed so that I can share your stories with my kids and remind them that strangers can become family, and family isn’t always made up of the people with whom you share your DNA. Hell, in my case, you never even get to meet some of them. But that has little import, as it turns out, in the end.


Rest in Peace, dear friend. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Kind of Love Letter

Full disclosure: I wanted to have this written and ready for Valentine's Day. And then I blinked and it was March and I was like, crap. But then I realized that I could be nice to CB on days that weren't mandated by Hallmark and so...here we are. 

When I was younger, I thought I knew what love was. Real, true, it'll get you through anything kind of love. And the reason I knew this is because I had a very specific list of what that love needed to look and act like in order to win my heart. It wasn't scientifically proven or anything, but I was pretty sure I'd nailed it. The list included: 

Tall
Dark hair
Funny
Smart
Lived close enough to me so I didn't have to exert too much effort
About my age
Ambitious
Curious
Smelled good
Could support himself

...and the deep, thoughtful list goes on and on. Looking back on it, I didn't have extraordinarily high expectations. I also didn't have any idea what love actually looked like. 

And then I met a tall guy with dark hair who was funny and smart and lived close to me and was about my age and was ambitious and curious and smelled good and could support himself. 

So I married him.

Luckily for me, he also had characteristics that actually mattered. And over the last two and a half years, we've gotten married and had two kids. So we're nothing if not efficient (efficiency! Also on the list.) Anyway, having our first daughter felt like a bit of an up-hill battle, at least for me physically. I've written here before about the health issues I faced and the after-math of postpartum stuff that I dealt with, and so I won't delve back into that. But my second pregnancy was much smoother. The only real issue is that my pants got tighter, faster, and I was chasing around a toddler this time. Other than that? Smooth sailing. 

Until, of course, it wasn't. 

The morning my second daughter was born, we took the typical hospital family photo - me in bed, looking stunning and well-rested, holding our little girl, CB next to me looking equally well-rested, clean-shaven, and handsome as ever. And when most people look at that photo they probably see the obvious - two happy parents and one confused little newborn. But when I look at that picture, I see something else. Actually, it's what's not in that picture that stands out to me the most. 

What's not in that picture is the 24 hours leading up to it when I was so violently ill that CB would be awoken from a dead sleep on a narrow hospital couch and run to my side with a bucket while holding my hair back so I could dry-heave from the magnesium coursing through my system. I mean, don't get me wrong, we were grateful for the drug that kept my body sedated enough not to seizure or stroke,   but there are only so many times you can hurl in front of your husband before you start to worry that the bloom might be off of the rose....

What's not in that picture is CB standing by my bedside while I lay there so uncomfortable and feverish and IN LABOR that the only thing that brought me comfort was him gently scratching my head and running cool washcloths over my face. Also what's not in that picture was how terrible my hair looked because he scratched my head so many times that it looked like bird's had nested on my skull and were violently looking for food to no avail. And he didn't tell me because "you had enough going on, I didn't want you worrying about your hair." 

Um, the man knows nothing about me. Have we met? You must ALWAYS tell me when my hair doesn't look good, because it's always on the verge of breaking out of my control and it's my number one fear in life to look exactly how I looked for, apparently, three whole days. God. That should've been on my list.  

Anyway. What's not in that picture is the husband and father caught between not wanting to leave my side and needing to go be with his littlest daughter in the NICU so she could be held and kissed and loved. 

And what's not in that picture are the countless sleepless nights, endless poopy diapers, blissfully happy cuddles, tear-inducing laughter, and outright delirium that accompany most new parents. The picture doesn't show the five years that led to this life we love. Or the people and places who paved the way for us to get there. It doesn't show the compromise, arguments, shared values, stolen moments, and everyday routine that goes into making a marriage work. And mostly, what's not in the picture, is just how bad my hair looked.

And for that, I'm eternally grateful. 

And so this is the part where I'd wish CB a Happy Valentine's Day and call it a win. But now that idea is shot and so, I'll simply throw him a high five and say what I always say: "Nailed it." 

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Conversations from Cohabitation

The other night, while watching a documentary, I turned it off 30 minutes in and started hysterically crying. Which led to this conversation:

Me: "I don't understand how you're not crying right now."
CB: "If I'm crying, something is seriously wrong."
Me: "I don't understand. I cry on a weekly basis."
CB: "Yes, I'm aware."

Silence.

Me: "Like, not even just sadness, happiness, too."
CB: "I know. You almost cried the other day when Rauri did something cute. You've told me that you have a weekly "good cry" in the shower. This isn't normal."
Me: "It's my normal."
CB: "Which isn't normal."

Silence.

Me: "I feel like, if I'm between, say, a 1-4 or a 6-10, I'm crying. I basically have to be right in the middle, emotionally, or I'm just crying. I can't be too happy or too sad. I mean, my boss has seen me cry on multiple occasions over both."
CB: "If I ever cried in front of my boss, I'd quit my job in that moment."
Me: "Which would definitely make me cry."
CB: "Also, just so you know, if you ever catch me "having a good cry," that's when it's time to commit me."
Me: "Good to know."
CB: "The sad part is that I won't know when to commit you."
Me: "Probably when I stop crying."
CB: "Noted."

***

That same night, after leaving the TV on in the other room, yet turning off the documentary, CB and I had the crying conversation in the bedroom while Fiona was fast asleep in the living room. After about 45 minutes of talking, there was an eerie red glare coming from that room.

Me: "Is that the tv that's red? Why all of a sudden is the tv red?"
CB: "I think the Netflix screen went into sleep mode and it's a picture of something red."

Silence.

CB: "Or the baby is on fire. One or the other."
Me, laughing: "Well now I have to go double-check that she's not on fire! I mean, I'm 99% sure she's not, but I'd feel terrible if I didn't check."
CB: "Who says we're not good parents?"
Me: "Most likely our kids, when they can speak."

For the record, she was not on fire. So we're amazing parents.

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Throwing back and coming back!

I'm making it a point to start writing again, you guys. Let's see how it goes....but the start of it is by re-posting this post from 2015 when I had my first daughter. It's still accurate with number two, though I think I'll be adding to this in the next few weeks......though I'm happy to report that shower AND leave the house all the time! Which doesn't sound like a normal accomplishment for an adult, but all the anxiety I experienced and isolation I created has luckily not become a reality this time around. Hooray! So a note to all of you new moms out there going through it - it gets better and doesn't always happen again if you decide to do it again! Bonus.

Enjoy! Thanks for sticking with this blog and checking in periodically to remind me you're out there and somehow want to keep reading!

Disclaimer: apologies in advance for those of you who really are hoping this doesn’t turn into an annoying/boring mom-blog. For the next few posts, it might. Because I’ve turned into an annoying/boring mom. I hope to resume my natural position of annoying/boring regular person who happens to have given birth, but that may not happen ‘til September. Oh also, I say “butt” and “vagina” a lot. So you’ve been warned (CB).

So I’ve been out of blogging commission these last several weeks because a human – complete with shoulders and fingers and a whole big head of hair – decided to come out of my vagina and then demand that I feed and bathe and dress her while never once saying thank you or please or even offering to pick up the tab once as a gesture of good faith. And I’ve decided to go along with this one-sided deal because sometimes she smiles at me as if she recognizes that I’m the same person who had that cozy, handy uterus she grew to know and love for all of those months. And her smiles are super –cute, you guys.  

Also, because her dad and I drank too much wine some time back in October and basically created her life, so I’d feel kind of guilty leaving her with a note on the front step of one of our neighbors being like “she’s cute but also can blow gas like nobody’s business. You’re welcome and thank you.” And because our neighbors would probably recognize her as that kid belonging to the sleepy couple that used to shower a few months ago and then bring her back. And I’m uncomfortable with confrontation, so we’ll go ahead and just keep feeding and bathing her so that it doesn’t get awkward.  

Plus, since motherhood has made me a ball of anxiety that doesn’t want to let my daughter out of my sight, it’d probably make that whole “abandoning your newborn” thing a little more challenging. But mainly because our neighbors would totally bring her back.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post: a person grew inside of and then exited from my body and now I can’t sleep/don’t sleep/shower/go hang at the bar because LOVE. And hormones? And instincts. And a lack of prescription Xanax. Which people sort of prepared me for? But not really. Plus I wasn’t listening because it wasn’t happening yet and I’m kind of a control-freak who figured I’d totally ace this mom thing while also being able to shave my legs.  

I have not, if you’re wondering, aced either of those things.

So, in order to continue the trend of giving completely helpful advice to people who won’t listen until after they’ve already experienced something they could’ve avoided had they listened, jeez, I’m going to go ahead and list off some of the things I wish I’d known prior to having my daughter (who I love and adore and am staring at out of the corner of my eye as I type this because, hello, were you listening? I have anxiety issues that are irrational. And because I had a dream about her falling out of her boppy last night and now I basically can’t deal.)

You will catch poop in your hand. This is less something I wish I’d known and more something I just sort of wish I’d known wouldn’t actually be that big of a deal. I mean, I’d rather not hold another person’s poop in my hands, as a general rule. But if it has to be anyone’s, may as well be my daughter’s poop, is my thinking? Basically because I know she can’t help it and would totally rather take care of this whole thing herself, if she’s being honest. But since she’s just now starting to realize that her hands and feet are attached to her body, and still accidentally hits herself in the face at least three times a day, I’ll do the poop-catching until she’s at least a few more months old. Which I believe is what good parenting is all about.

You will love/hate your spouse. Not sure if this is universal, but for the sake of my marriage, I’ll assume yes? Because there are several moments where you will have simultaneous feelings of complete love and absolute hate for your partner. Which sounds harsh, especially when talking about the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with and is the father to your child. But, um, it’s true. (oh hi, CB!  You can skip this part, it’s not about you at all so go ahead and just re-read the earlier paragraph on catching poop. I love you. Bye.)

Like, the other day I looked at CB holding our daughter just after feeding her and thought how fortunate she and I were to have him. They were so adorable, he was so helpful, and I had 15 minutes to just sit there and not be a baby-manager.

And then the very next moment he complained about how tired he was (after his 8 consecutive hours of sleep) and if I hadn’t been so ACTUALLY tired from my 1.5 hours of consecutive sleep the prior three nights, I would’ve hit him. And it would’ve hurt for sure, because that was some visceral rage right there.

But then he cleaned her poop-up-the-front diaper and gave her a bath and I loved him wholeheartedly again. Until he left all of the dirty bottles on the counter before heading out to his job where he gets to hang with other adults for eight hours and I cursed his name under my breath so that our daughter wouldn’t worry about being the product of a broken home.

Oh also, he’ll love/hate you right back. So it’s a reciprocal thing which makes it totally fine.

Man, I should really be a life coach.

Procreate with someone you like. Not just someone you love. Because love won’t save you at 4am during gas and screams (the baby’s, not yours – though it’s not out of the question). Like will.

Like will get you to see past the fact that neither of you have showered, thought about, talked about, or even hung out around the idea of personal hygiene/grooming for a few days and it’ll move you right into acceptance that this is temporary and one or both of you (hopefully) will attempt to woo the other in the not-too-distant future. And like will also help you remember that you felt hot-body feelings for this person at one point (which is how you got yourselves into this mess blessing in the first place) and that they’ll eventually come back to resembling the person you married once you’ve used deodorant again.

You will show literally anyone your vagina. I mean, not, like, when you get home and your in-laws come over for dinner. But while you’re in the hospital, prior to giving birth, I assure you that you will get to the point where someone will enter the room and you’ll be like “Do you need to see my vagina? Ok. Here.”

Which is totally weird, I know, but I spent the first three-to-four hours of my 26-hour labor experience trying to be coy. Like, someone would come in to check my cervix and I’d have my knees together, all lady-like, trying to be dainty. And then the nurse would explain that that’s not a helpful position to be in for cervix-checking and you’ll make your husband turn around because the cervix isn’t one of your sexier parts.

Cut to: three hours later when you just stop pulling the sheet back up over you b/c that’s a lot of work and leaning/bending is hard and why fight it?  Here’s my vagina. I’m so sorry, housekeeping-lady-who-just-wanted-to-empty-the-garbage – I have no dignity left.

And most importantly…..

You poop babies. WHAT? Yeah.
Why hasn’t anyone ever, in the history of writing about birth, EVER mentioned that when you’re fully dilating and approaching the time at which you’ll finally get to push out a person, all of your normal contractions stop and it suddenly feels like your baby is about to come out of your butt?

MY GOD, you guys.

To be fair, a friend of mine did mention the pooping babies thing to me about a week or two before I gave birth, but I forgot about it because it sounded gross and ridiculous and it wasn’t happening yet (see above rationale for this). But then it WAS happening and so I turned to CB and was like “Ok, so I know we’ve gone ‘round the bend in the over-share department these last 24 hours, but since you’re the only person in the room, I need to tell you this: I’m pretty sure our baby is going to come out of my butt, and unless I missed something in health class, I think that’s the wrong place?”

And then he went to McDonald’s to get some dinner and bleach his eardrums.

So I texted my friend Beth (the person who’d actually told me this prior to labor):

Me: So is this normal or weird that it feels like the baby is about to come out of my butt?
Beth: Uh, we talked about this. Normal. Call your nurse. You’re about to have the baby!
Me: Really? That’s kind of embarrassing. Plus, I think she’s on her dinner break, I don’t want to bother her.
Beth: You’re having a baby. Call your nurse. Seriously. I can’t believe you’re even texting me right now.

And then 35 minutes later my daughter was born. Out of the normal part. Not my butt. (I think).

So ok, this wasn’t a comprehensive list of things to know, but it’s a list unlike what I’ve seen on all of my mommy blogs. I mean, no offense, but telling me to bring my favorite music with me into the delivery room and having a birthing plan was unhelpful, ALL PREGNANCY BLOGS. Because I assure you that my birth plan would’ve included a lot less butt-pushing and a ton more Beyonce music had this at all been within my control.

Which it’s not. Because it’s about babies. And the only thing you really need to know about having babies is that the control goes out the window once you’re catching poop and showing the security guard your vagina.

And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done with my life, hands-down. And probably the smelliest.

Glad to be (kind of) back! Thanks for your patience, blog-readers!



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Love is About Sacrifice

This morning, I got this text from CB:


Now let me first point out that I know some people would consider this a form of child abuse to my second, growing daughter in utero. But SHE KEEPS ASKING FOR IT. And I eat bananas and apples and vegetables in between to make myself feel better for when I fail the glucose test next week. I mean, I had to finally buy the cereal so that, when it's ALL SHE WANTS randomly one morning or night, I have it, I satisfy that craving and move on.

However, it's important to note that SOME of the people I live with have insisted that the ShopRite brand cranberry and orange juice I've been buying for HIM just "doesn't taste as good as the name brand stuff." And then got my parents on board with how cheap I am that I can't splurge the extra $1.50 per week (each, mind you) so that he can enjoy his morning juice like the prince that he is.

So his youngest and I are currently eating Scrunchy Marshmallow Dreams. Because love is sacrifice.

***

This week has been trying. It was Tuesday and it literally felt like the week should be over with already, let's just start again. BUT one of the things that's been getting me through is this song. Between this and "I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody," I start bopping my head - just like my daughter, we can't help ourselves - and I take a deep breath and feel a little relaxed for just a few minutes.

So if you're having one of those weeks too - or if you just want to start bopping along despite yourself - enjoy.




Monday, September 26, 2016

The Illusion of Balance (as taught to me by llamas)

Yesterday, while riding the kids train at the zoo with my daughter, I had an epiphany: there is no such thing as balance.  

This may seem strange, and maybe you guys already knew this and nobody let me in on it? But for years and years I’ve been striving for balance. Notably, balance between my personal and professional lives or, as is now commonly referred to in our society, work-life balance.

But as I pointed at horses and sheep and llamas from the train with her, I realized that there’s no such thing. When I’m balanced with my daughter, it’s because I’m not doing something at work. Or with my friends. Or emailing/texting/calling basically anyone. Or watching Narcos on Netflix. Or cleaning out the closet I’ve needed to clean out for a month. When I’m balanced at work and really in my stride, I’m not with my daughter. Or my husband. Or my friends. Or watching Narcos on Netflix. I’m not reading the books that are piling up on my Kindle and I’m not visiting my parents, sister, niece, or friends who live far away. When I hop on a plane and visit them, I’m not usually with my daughter or CB, or at work. Or watching Netflix. And dammit, that closet is still a mess!

I really don’t have balance in my life much at all.

And that was the most FREEING concept to wrap my head around, you guys. I don’t have balance! Hooray! Finally! Now I can stop striving for it and just relax. Ok, well, I can’t really relax because I’m not great at truly relaxing, if you must know, though you probably do, because you’re not new here. It stresses me out to actually relax. I’m definitely forgetting something and JESUS, I really need to get to that closet sometime soon. But I can at least stop striving to have this elusive “balance” I hear so much about.

Like, I had to travel to California for work last week and decided to make a 50-hour trip into a 36-hour one in the Golden State so that I could get home and go to the zoo with my daughter, team up with CB so he wasn’t chasing a 15 month old around for the entire weekend on his own, and wake up at 5:30am to start my Sunday with these two crazy nuts. It was supposed to be a trip that for sure allowed for some downtime in between two and a half days of meetings, room service, and laying horizontally in a king sized bed all my own until well beyond 5:30am.

But before my balance epiphany at the zoo, I had a little chat with myself a few weeks ago about priorities and figuring out what’s possible and what’s important to me.

What is possible is moving some meetings around so that I could have a pretty jam-packed Friday and Saturday and get to the airport in time to be home before midnight in New York on Saturday. What’s important to me is seeing the look on CB’s face when I came through the door close to midnight when he thought I was coming home 15 hours later. What is possible is making those 36 hours count and not dwelling on how I’m flying cross-country twice in two days. What’s important is hearing my daughter yell “mama!” when she saw me in the dark at the crack of dawn the next day and started yelling and rolling around on the bed (sidebar: that’s how she expresses joy. There’s usually a lot of random yelling and LOTS of rolling her body around, so don’t be alarmed.) What’s possible is taking care of my second, albeit more chill, daughter in utero even though I’m trying to make this all work out. What’s important to me is that I succeeded in doing so – and even gave her a few fruits and veggies while I was at it!  

What wasn’t possible was seeing anyone I love who lives in California while I was there for a day and a half. What wasn’t possible was meeting that one author who wanted to – and only could – meet on Monday, who I actually felt guilty telling “no” to and then ended up chatting with at the meeting anyway because we ran into each other. What wasn’t possible was reading any book on my Kindle because I was no joke TIRED. And what wasn’t possible was getting a seat on the plane next to anyone but the man who smelled like wet raccoon and literally took my plane snack from the flight attendant and didn’t pass it down to me. He just ate both instead.  All of those things weren’t possible, but that was OK because, as the llamas taught me, there’s no such thing as having it all, there’s no such thing as balance. But there is such a thing as being present in the moment and really thinking about what you need, want, and what’s possible.

And what I really wanted this weekend was to have some great meetings and then watch my daughter absorb her first trip to the zoo, enjoy some delicious chocolate ice cream, and read her a book on the couch while she snuggled into me before bed. And I wanted to collapse into bed and laugh with my husband about our crazy lives.  And then I really wanted to watch some Narcos. All of which I did. And so….maybe my life is pretty balanced after all?

DAMMIT! The closet. Ok, no, it’s not. I was right the first time. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Letter to My Younger Self

My 20th high school reunion was this past weekend and I know what you’re all thinking: wow, I didn’t realize you were a child prodigy who went to high school when you were 8! But it’s true. I’m sort of surprised that this even surprises you. OR, I’m shocked that it’s only been 20 years because I’m pretty sure I’m not yet old enough to support going to bed at 8:30 and using phrases like “okey dokey” in public.

Either way, I didn’t make it back to Michigan for the festivities, which I know isn’t that unusual, even for people who do live in the same state where they went to school. But I did spend some time in the weeks leading up to it thinking about those formative four years, shuddering at the thought of where I would be without them and the people who colored that time. I started looking through pictures, remembering random moments and major events, and laughing at all of the predictably terrible mistakes and assumptions I made when I was a teenager. As you do.  

And I thought about my daughter(s), passed out at the thought of two teenage girls within 18 months of each other, and then regained consciousness to hope that they, too, would make it through with the same kind of people and experiences as I did. Mainly so that CB and I have a shot of sleeping at any point during that decade or so when they’re going to be so dumb we can’t stand it.

My high school experience was very un-John-Hughes-esque. I mean, I’m sure there were cliques in my school just like any other – but I was too busy trying to get my bangs to behave and figure out what turtleneck to wear and so I was, as previously established, oblivious to any of that. Plus, I was busy being hyper-focused on stuff that really doesn’t matter all that much (other than the bangs – those things had a mind of their own and really needed some devoted time and energy).

So here’s a letter to my high school self, twenty years later, that maybe will come in handy for my kids when they get older, too. But probably not since I’ll be dumb and won’t know anything and ohmygodmom stop talking to me. MOM. Ugh.

Hi –
I know this is creepy because you’ve just discovered that time travel is real, yet you’re disappointed that this is the only indicator and who writes letters anymore? But deal with it.

I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing fine. I do agree that your bangs need some attention, but just hold tight to the fact that you won’t have them in a few years because you’ve finally taken the brave step to go through the awkward process of growing them out and all goes just fine. That doesn’t mean your hair won’t haunt you for life, but it’s the cross we bear and, as I’ve discovered, a pretty good one to have, all things considered!  

Also, good job finding people who mainly like to hang out in Kyle’s basement and listen to Garth Brooks and Whirling Road on the weekends, interspersed with football games and dances and float-building and going to movies and eating pizza. It’s basically what you’ll end up doing when you’re an adult, too (except there’s someone named Beyonce who is about to RULE YOUR WORLD. You’re welcome, in advance.) And turns out that doing all of that is a good way to not go to jail.

But ok, yes, I know you’re feeling guilty about that night you and Courtney went joy-riding with some of the seniors and tp’d people’s houses, but it’s fine. I mean, not super-nice, but you’re a teenager whose major form of rebellion, if I remember, was writing in your diary about how annoying your parents and/or sister and/or friends were and then apologizing by the end and drawing pictures of cat paws and stuff with hearts. So thank God you had enough rebellion in you to do the tp thing because, otherwise, you’d probably be an insufferable person.

Also, good job on keeping your love of cats and the Golden Girls to a minimum until at least college; it’s much more accepted and “quirky” in college. However, it will get you a swirly in high school, if Molly Ringwald is to be believed, so good looking out.

Don’t worry so much about who you love and who doesn’t love you back. The right people come along to get you down the path you need to be on, and you’re smart enough to wise up to the wrong one eventually, so just trust that gut of yours. It does pretty OK by you in the coming decades.

Also, go easy on mom and dad. Turns out, they were right! Well, about enough of it. And some of it they don’t need to know about because we want them to live through your teens and most of your twenties. But overall, they know what they’re talking about and really do have your best interest at heart, even though dad is the worst to “help” with math and mom sometimes wishes she could still dress you so that you are adorable, which, ohmygodmom, I’m GROWN. I know. But they can’t really help themselves, I’m learning, because they literally spoon fed you and changed your diapers and now you’re, like, rolling your eyes and being the worst. Give ‘em a break.

Be kinder with yourself. You’re doing just fine. I promise.

Look around. Believe it or not, the world is still turning even if you’re sleeping until noon, and there are people who are having a way harder time than you are. So just be more aware of that. Like, spend five minutes less on your bangs per week, to start, and use that time to pay attention to what’s going on and who could use a closet-cat-loving friend to invite them to your lunch table here and there. You might meet someone unexpectedly great! – life works that way, so keep your eyes open.

Sorry boys, I'm taken
(several decades from now)
God, I know that it’s mortifying when you accidentally fawned over that guy coming out of the school gym that one day (we won’t name him here just in case someone else is reading this.) But it makes for a GREAT story later and is endlessly entertaining to your friends, your boss, your husband, strangers on the Internet (I’ll explain the Internet in a separate letter, but it’s helpful and awful, prepare yourself), etc. But try to keep your inside thoughts on the inside as you get older. Or at least share them sparingly with the people who love you – and even then, sometimes maybe not. It’s something you continue to struggle with well into your thirties, but being aware that this is a thing you’re not great at, earlier, I’m SURE will come in handy for us.

Don’t worry so much that you don’t understand Chemistry or, really, most science or math. Just keep trying and know that you’ll never use 99% of it because you’re luckily self-aware enough to not want to pursue anything career-wise that uses any of it. But, like, try. But not really in Chemistry because he was a terrible teacher anyway, so you really had no shot. So don’t stress, pass the class, and move on.

Listen to Mrs. Tompkins about pretty much everything. She’s one of those teachers who comes along once in a lifetime and is way cooler, artsier, and worldlier than you’ll ever hope to be. I know that all of the Greek and Roman columns look the same to you, but it comes in handy to know that stuff when you’re cool and watching Jeopardy! with your husband in a few decades and he’s impressed with all of your random Greek and Roman knowledge! It’s oddly satisfying. Plus, she teaches you how to write a five paragraph essay and that shit is HANDY. Like, forever.

Pay closer attention to the movie quotes that Kyle and Jason and Andy and Balls are always talking about. Turns out, they watch movies other than “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and they actually have decent taste! Plus, it helps as you get older because old people in their thirties love to quote movies, for some reason, and it makes us feel young and cool. Like we came up with the jokes originally on our own. So open up your repertoire and pay attention!

And finally, because it’s worth repeating, be kinder with yourself. You’re doing just fine. I promise.

Love,
Older, Wiser You


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Conversations from Cohabitation

Are you guys watching the Olympics? Ok, we don’t normally get into them. But this year? TOTALLY hooked.

First, if you didn’t watch Women’s Rugby, you haven’t lived. In the words of my friend Mary: 

“This sh*t is bananas!”

Second, my husband and I should not be allowed to watch, well, any television together, really. Separately, we’re decent human beings. Together? We make a terrible human couple who should not be in charge of raising two respectful young ladies.

Last night, while watching men’s synchronized platform diving (as you do), this conversation occurred:

Me: “Wait. His name is Steele Johnson?”
CB: “Yeah…..”

Silence. Listening to commentators for about 5 minutes.

CB: “Is it just me, or are there double entendres everywhere?”
Me: “Oh my God EVERYWHERE. I wasn’t saying anything because I didn’t want to be gross for once. But come ON.”
CB: “Yeah. ‘Rough entry’?”
Me: “Penetrates the water?”
CB: “STEELE JOHNSON?”

Silence. *

Me: “We should be civilian sports announcers for the Olympics. Like, they have these two boring people here telling us all about form. But we can tell whether they’re going to get an 8 or a 9.5 by how much of a splash they make in the water. So who’s really the expert? Plus, you know that we would be speaking to America. No WAY other people haven’t started making inappropriate jokes, too. No WAY.”
CB: “We’d get kicked off of the air in about 4 minutes.”
Me: “But it’d be such a glorious 4 minutes.”

*it’s important to note that, during this conversation, CB made the dirtiest joke I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth and I actually was stopped in my tracks. I cannot repeat it here because, at some point, our daughters will be able to read and should never, ever know that this exists in their father’s terrible brain.

***

While getting into bed last night, we had this conversation. It’s important to understand that CB has slept with only one pillow for approximately four years. I sleep with three pillows and we use two separate blankets because sharing is for kinder sleepers who are not me:

Me: “Remember when we first started dating and we’d share a blanket and you slept with two pillows?”
CB: “Yeah, the good ole’ days.”
Me: “Oh man, it was torture. You didn’t use a fan, or have the windows open, and you’d have the heat on!”
CB, laughing: “Yeah, it’s called winter. Oh man, you’re a piece of work. Like I was doing something odd by having no fan and the windows closed with the heat on in the WINTER.”
Me, laughing.
CB: “You know what was odd? Having snow in my hair when I’d wake up! ‘Gee, why do you have pneumonia again for the second time this month?’ ‘Oh, I started dating this girl and she’s INSANE.”
Me, still laughing: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you knew exactly who you were marrying, it’s not like I hid it after the first few months.”
CB: “But those first few months you lured me in by making me think you were normal with your siren song: ‘Oh here, have two pillows. Oh here, we can share a blanket.”
Me: “Well that’s your fault. I was never normal. I was just being more polite.”
CB: “So can we go back to when that was one of your priorities? Because the air conditioning is currently set at 60 degrees and I wear a sweatshirt to bed in the middle of the summer.”
Me: “Negative. That ship has sailed.”

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Thursday Wrapup? Sure!

Let's get to it!

***

Ok, so I know that I haven't done a wrapup in a while, but as you've maybe noticed, I'm on a roll this week! But you may have also noticed that it's Thursday instead of Friday, which isn't lost on me even though we all know that my brain is not my own right now.

Anyway, I'm leaving for the hottest place on earth tomorrow morning, known as Alabama, for inexplicable reasons. Or, to visit a dear friend and her adorable newish little baby boy. It's deep love for me to head to the deep south in the heat of summer, lemme tell you.

***

This week's book is "The Girl With All The Gifts" by M.R. Carey. Any review that starts with "I am not a fan of zombies" has me hooked! Also, this book is being turned into a movie soon, so get on it and read the book so you can lord it over people that you're more intellectual and didn't just hop on the "I'm reading the book because now it's a movie" bandwagon. Lording over people is a great reason to read!

Check it out by clicking here.

***

Last night, CB and I were watching the Mets game and an ad came on for a Styx concert at CitiField later this summer. They put those poor, aging rock stars in Mets jerseys and made them talk about the show while trying to sound cool and rocker-y.

Me: "Wow. It's kind of hard to be an older rock star and be cool, I guess."

Silence.

Me: "I mean, I can't think of one cool, old rock star."

Silence.

Me: "Right? I mean, can you? Think of one!"
CB: "Bruce Springsteen?"
Me: "He's not old, he's like 50."
CB, staring at me: "He's older than 50."
Me: "No way."
CB, googling: "Yep, he's 66."
Me: "What?! No way! Ok, he's a cool, older rock star. But he's not, like, old old. Like the Rolling Stones. Poor Mick Jagger just needs to stop. And that other guy who looks like he's been dead for 20 years but is still playing the guitar."
CB: "True."

Silence.

Me: "Actually, I think Eric Clapton is older and he's still cool."
CB: "True. And Billy Joel."
Me: "Ok, I'll give you that."
CB: "And Tom Petty."
Me: "Yeah, he's still cool."

Silence.

Me: "Ok, so I guess you can be older and still cool. But not Styx."
CB: "Yeah, definitely not Styx."

***

And now, the Video of the Week. I chose it because I love Brandi Carlile even though her last name inexplicably doesn't have an "s" in it, which confuses me. I spent a lot of time trying to make it so, too, which maybe tells us something about my personality. It's that "controlling" part that CB sometimes mentions as I walk away, pretending not to hear him. Or like last night, when I was trying to "help" him flip the fries by telling him how to flip the fries so they bake to the optimum crispness. All he had to do was sort of look at me with a side-eye and I was like "Oh right, you don't want this kind of 'help.' I'll continue to work on that." And then walked away.

Anyway, enjoy!









Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Public Service Announcement

Repeat after me: “You look great!”

End scene.

If you must, re-read that sentence again, as often as needed, before speaking with a pregnant person again for your entire lifetime. Why? Because it’s all you need to know.

Let me be honest: nobody wants your opinion about their body ever. Like, ever. But they especially don’t want your opinion about their body when they’re carrying another body inside of it while trying to sprint across the street to beat the light. Oh, also, nobody wants to hear your opinion about how I shouldn’t sprint across the street to beat the light, either.

You see, I’ve been conducting a little experiment during my second pregnancy because I’ve wised up in the last 18 months. With my first, I was honest. People would ask when I was due, I’d tell them. They’d touch my stomach without asking, I’d let them. They’d comment on how good or bad I looked and I’d either downplay the positive or agree with the negative so I didn’t look arrogant or moody or defensive or human.

But now I’ve decided to beat ‘em at their own game. Mainly so CB doesn’t have to deal with me not wanting to leave the house or throwing all of my clothes away.

First, I lie. Well, sometimes, it really depends on you, person-I’m-speaking-with-about-my-body. I can tell by the way you ask and the look on your face whether you’re judging my size positively or negatively. If you’re all casual about it, I tell you the truth. Sometimes that backfires and I get a “woah, are you sure it’s not twins?” comment, to which I immediately regret not lying to their face and/or smacking it. But usually they’re smart enough to be nice about it and say “that’s great, how are you feeling?” and move off of talking about my width.

However, if you’re someone who clearly is ready to pounce, I lie. I go up. For example: this morning, a cashier asked me how far along I was. I’m four months, so I lied and said five and a half. Because for four months, I’m apparently a whale. For five and a half, I’m a waif. “Wow, you look great!” And then I walk away completely confident in my ability to not care that I just added 6 weeks to my belly for my own peace of mind.

Now, I know what some of you will say: “You shouldn’t care what people think, every pregnancy is different.” Yes, person, you are correct. However, I’ll just go ahead and ask you to walk around Manhattan for the duration of your pregnancy and not eventually make a game out of it for your own sanity.

You think I’m being dramatic? That’s very unlike me, first of all. Second of all, here are actual things people have said to me when I tell them the truth:

“Wow, I guess with a second pregnancy you really do get bigger faster.”
“Wow, are you sure you’re not carrying twins?” wink wink. Yeah, wink wink this.
“Wow, do they have the due date wrong?”
“Wow, I can’t imagine what 9 months will look like!”

And now, here are things people have said when I lied:

“Wow, you look great!”

Yep, that’s it. And it’s a lesson for everyone. Because I didn’t get pregnant to win some beauty competition, though my skin is killer, you guys, and my hair has never been more lush – pre-natal vitamins, yo, I’m telling you. But I’m also still me, the same person who couldn’t brush off critical comments before I built someone else’s spleen. You think it’s better now that I have extra hormones?

And so I’m writing this as a public service announcement to everyone:

Repeat after me: “You look great!”


End scene. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Brain Has Left the Building

So I think that my brain is a bit overwhelmed at the moment – probably a combination of having a 13 month old with Coxsakie, juggling work and a crazy schedule lately, being pregnant and hormonal, and watching too many episodes in a row of Season 1 of Mr. Robot (OHMYGOD). Probably mostly the last part.

And when my brain gets overwhelmed, two things happen:

1. It stops working. In just the last week, these are two of the many things that have occurred on my watch within a 24 hour period:

  • I wrote two checks last Monday; one for our car payment, one to our daycare. Except then I got a call from daycare later that day saying “So, we got a check from you but it was made out to Ford Credit for a different amount?” To which I responded, “Oh crap, that means that Ford will get a check made out to Happy Today and Bright Tomorrow. They’re going to be so confused.”
  • I went to the grocery store and came back with too many bags for me to carry up to our apartment all at once. So I asked CB to go back down to the car to get the rest from the trunk. While he was gone and I was unloading the others, I started panicking that at least half of the groceries I just knew I purchased weren’t anywhere to be found! So I started preparing for telling CB that I left at least four bags of groceries at ShopRite and would need to go back to get them. Darn pregnancy brain…..and then CB came upstairs with the remaining groceries I thought I’d forgotten about. You know, the groceries I sent him downstairs to get…..

2. I have really crazy dreams. Like last night, when I dreamt that Johnny Depp made me a drinking glass out of chocolate chip cookies PLUS extra chocolate chip cookies to dunk into the chocolate chip cookie glass. I mean, that’s an awesome dream and should become reality, don’t get me wrong. But still a bit odd. Or the night before that when I had a dream that an albino chicken was attacking me while I was trying to go visit our friends’ new baby. But to be fair, that could totally happen because farm birds are the worst.

Oh, and I get super emotional and sentimental. Hence, crying on and off all day yesterday. And also, having conversations like this with CB.

Me: “I hope we get to stay married for a long time and you don’t die.”
CB: “Um…me too? Also, why am I the one dying in this scenario?”
Me: “Because the other night we took that quiz online about how long we’ll live, and I’m living until I’m 96. Duh.”
CB: “Oh, right.”

Silence.

Me, tearing up: “If you do die, would you want me to get re-married?”
CB: “Oh God. We’re having this conversation?”
Me: “Yes, it’s important!”
CB: “It’s really not.”

Silence.

CB: “Fine. If I die, I’d like you to re-marry again eventually. I mean, feel free to grieve for a while, though. But yeah, I’d want you to be happy and it’d be nice for you to have a partner.”
Me: “Aw, that’s so nice of you. But I probably wouldn’t love him as much.”
CB: “Probably?”
Me: “It depends on who I meet.”
CB: “I love you, too.”

Silence.

CB: “So if you die, do you want me to re-marry?”
Me: “I mean, honestly? No, not really. I want you to love me forever. But then I’d feel bad and you are too good of a guy and I do love you unselfishly, I guess. So I’d want you to find someone if she makes you happy. But please not some annoying woman who would badly influence our girls. I’ll haunt you forever.”
CB: “You’re haunting me forever regardless of whether you’re dead or alive.”
Me: “We really should re-write our vows.”

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I'm an Elderly Person Trapped Inside a Slightly Younger Person's Body

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I’m an elderly person living in a 30-something-year-old’s body, and it certainly is no surprise to CB. Which is probably the not-so-secret reason why we don’t go out more frequently. Well that, and the fact that we have a little one-year-old terrorist holding us hostage who inexplicably keeps calling us mama and dada (well, actually, she calls us both mama, which I encourage. It’ll come in handy later when she calls out for “mama” and I look at CB and can say “she’s clearly calling for you.”) But I digress.

In recent weeks, we’ve taken advantage of the free babysitting we have at our disposal – grandparents and friends who find her use of the word “no” to be charming and don’t mind free pizza as payment. Plus, we realized that we should probably cash in on all of this accessible help while it’s still on the table – because once Baby Girl #2 comes along in January, they might not be totally on board with these two little ones under the age of two who sometimes poop in the tub.

So we’ve been hitting the town and, this weekend, we outdid ourselves by helping Coldplay kick off their North American tour. But it’s been a while since I’ve gone to a show of any kind, let alone a huge arena tour – mainly because I’m too cheap to spend money on a band that sounds better in the studio. And also because, as previously established, I’m incredibly lame and old and go to bed at 8:30pm.

However, we both knew that Coldplay would be worth every penny since they have a reputation for putting on an incredible live show. Plus, Chris Martin is kinda dreamy and British, and I’ll pay lots of money to sit in a room full of hundreds of thousands of people in case he picks me out of the crowd to be Apple’s step-mom. It’s money well spent.

Anyway, all was going swimmingly until the opening act came on stage. Read: basically, it was all good until the actual music started.

There are several layers to peel back from this onion, you guys, so let’s just start squarely at the beginning. For starters, CB had told me that the opening act was going to be someone I’d never heard of named Alessia Cara who sings a song called “Here” that I’ve also never heard of. Though CB insisted that I must’ve heard of it and started singing: “Woooooah here. Wooooah here.” Thinking that this would definitely clarify anything at all for me.

So when the screen flashed the words “Foxes” and some young woman started singing with her backup band, I assumed that Foxes was code for something and that this was Alessia Cara.

Me, immediately: “Oh my god why is it so loud?”
CB, shaking his head: “Um, you’re at a concert grandma.”

Silence.

Me: “But for real, this doesn’t seem too loud to you?”
CB: “No, it’s a concert.”

Silence. After a few songs:

Me: “This is the Woah Here girl? I haven’t heard that song yet, right?”
CB: “Um, this is Foxes. This isn’t Alessia Cara.”
Me: “Wait, but I thought Alessia Cara was the opening act?”
CB: “I thought she was too, I guess not.”

Silence.

Me: “There are a lot of people in crop tops here tonight. Who would’ve thought that trend was coming back?”

Silence.

Me: “Doesn’t it seem unnecessary that they’re flashing lights from the stage when it’s still bright outside? Seems like an unnecessary use of lighting.”

Silence.

Me: “Am I the oldest person you’ve ever attended a concert with?”
CB, laughing: “Well, technically no. Jarred’s dad has come with us to shows, and he’s older than you. But in practice, you’re the oldest person by far I’ve ever taken to a concert.”

Anyway, Foxes eventually left the stage and so I got amped up for Coldplay. So when Alessia Cara came onto the stage, I looked at CB:

Me: “Wait, there are two opening acts?”
CB: “I guess so.”
Me: “Is that normal? I haven’t been to a concert in a while.”
CB: “No kidding.”

So then she sang. As each song came on, I’d say:

Me: “Is this ‘Woah Here’?”
CB: “It’s just called ‘Here.’”
Me: “Is this it?”
CB: “No.”

Until finally it was.

Eventually, she stopped singing too, and by this point, it was 8:45pm. When Coldplay came on at 9:15, I’d had my head rested on CB’s shoulder for a good 5 minutes.

CB: “Wow, it’s an hour past your bedtime and they’re just starting!”
Me: “I know. This is why I saved my caffeine intake today for right now so I had a shot at making it through the whole concert, but then they had two opening acts so all bets are off.”

But, of course, as soon as Mr. Martin and the band took the stage, I was wide awake. It was sort of hard not to be – it was the best show I’ve ever seen. Seriously. You don’t even need to be a fan of their music to be impressed with a group who plays two hours straight, is running all over the stage, basically has the entire crowd dancing and jumping the whole time (not me, no jumping. I only had one Diet Coke and didn't want to induce early labor), and played six songs during their encore!

It was amazing. And we got home at 12:45am, though I don’t remember actually getting into bed or changing into pjs or even sleeping. I just remember hearing our daughter wake up at 5:45am and pretending that it wasn’t real, like any responsible parent would do.


Anyway, this is from the show we were at and you’ll see why I stayed up way past my bedtime. And also why CB is fine with me trying to marry Chris Martin when he finally watches footage from this show and realizes I’m out there in the audience somewhere, fighting off a nap while singing along. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It Takes a Village

I haven’t written on this blog in a looooooooooong time, you guys, and the fact that most of you are still visiting is humbling! And also maybe should make us all reassess how we’re spending our free time? But mainly just humbling.

I’ve been thinking about this specific post for months, actually, and have been trying to formulate it perfectly in my head. But usually when I spend this much time thinking about something and trying to make it perfect, I end up just not doing it or not loving it, and so I don’t do it, and then the overall point of the whole thing has been totally lost.

So, while not perfect, here goes.

We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child.” But in my case, it takes a village, the village next door, the county in the next state, and a few random strangers.

Having a baby, as we’ve all heard or experienced, is life-changing. It turns your world upside down. If you’re lucky, it also helps you focus on the stuff that really matters because you’re too tired to focus on the rest. And, if I’m being honest, sometimes you’re too tired to focus on the stuff that really matters, too, which is why that damn village comes in so handy.

Over the last year, I’ve witnessed countless acts of selflessness, generosity, patience, and understanding. This village of mine stuck with me through the high highs and low lows of post-partum everything, were patient with me when I’m sure I sounded (and certainly looked) nuts, and understood (mostly) the moments when I just needed to figure it out on my own.

They sent food. Cards. Good vibes. Prayers. Amazon packages. Hand-me-downs. And love. They took my calls at all hours, returned my texts promptly with helpful tips and tricks that got me through sleep training or colic or going back to work or daycare or the first fever or the first tooth or the first plane ride or the hundredth “I seriously don’t know why she’s still crying.” They showed up at my door when I didn’t even know I needed them, and sometimes when I’d call them in a panic because I needed them RIGHT NOW. They gave up time with their own families, time to themselves, and time they didn’t really have, to help me figure out how to be a better mom and keep a level of sanity to get me through the day.

My work village made cupcakes and sent cards and flowers and adjusted my work schedule so that I could see my daughter when she woke up and pick her up at daycare before she fell asleep. They’ve ushered me out the door when I’d get the daycare call to pick her up NOW, they’ve rearranged schedules to accommodate my new, unpredictable one, and they’ve never said a word when I show up with someone else’s food/spit-up on me or my sweater on inside out.

Her daycare village has literally kept our family going. They love her like she’s their own and she loves them right back. She goes to them willingly, gives kisses, hugs, and waves as we say goodbye at the end of each day, and has even become bi-lingual, urging her dad and I to get it together and learn some Spanish so that we can communicate with her better as she grows! They ease my fears and they love my daughter. And they’re the reason I can leave each morning and go to work, knowing that she’s in great hands (and, let’s get real – better and more experience hands than both of her parents who know nothing and did this kid thing anyway!)

And CB – the center of this village – who doesn’t even realize how much he does to keep us moving forward each and every day. He got up as much as I did in those early days to feed her, rock her, soothe her back to sleep. He slept on an air mattress in her room so I could sleep through the night (snore-free) without worrying that she might stop breathing if someone wasn’t always watching her (see: post-partum reference above). He bathes her, feeds her, changes MOST of the grody-er diapers. He sings to her, dresses her, and sometimes even gets her socks to match her outfit! He’s the reason she squeals when she hears keys in the door and he’s the reason she’s the crazy daredevil who loves flinging herself onto and into absolutely everything that makes my heart stop oh-my-god.

I may be her mother, but this village is her family.

So, to put it quite simply...thank you.


(We made it through the first year, you guys! Keep up the good work!)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Wrapup

Let's get to it!

***

When my dad posted this one yesterday, I was excited. I heard this guy interviewed recently and I really want to read this book! Now if I could only stay up past 7:50.....

But check it out here!

***

I know this is a few months old, but I love it. James' Carpool Karaoke is one of my favorites, but I couldn't use the most recent one (Gwen Stefani) because she bugs me. So enjoy this one instead!


***

And now, the Video of the Week! J-Lo and Justin Timberlake both came out with new music videos this week, so you'd think that would naturally lead to me posting one of them.

But I'm full of surprises! And while I know that I've posted this before, I wanted to post it again. Not sure what I'd do without CB, to be honest. So here's hoping he doesn't light himself on fire anytime soon!*

Happy Friday, happy weekend!


*this will only make sense if you read the blog earlier this week. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Conversations from Cohabitation

So, CB takes Flonase every day to help him breathe better. And also to help with the bear-like snoring.

CB: “So the Flonase is definitely working.”
Me: “Yeah, I’ve noticed, your snoring is so much better!”
CB: “Yeah, but I sort of wish I couldn’t smell most smells.”
Me: “Me?”
CB, laughing: “No, but there was this guy in Target with terrible b.o. And some people’s breath. I could do without that.”

Silence.

Me: “I think that would be the sense I’d give up first, smell. Then probably taste, since they’re kind of linked, you know?”
CB: “Yeah….”
Me: “And then probably touch? Though that’d be tough. And then hearing, then sight. But ideally, I’d like to keep them all.”
CB: “That’s a given.”
 
Silence.

CB: “Yeah, I think for sure I’d give up smell, then taste. But touch is tough. I mean, what if I lit myself on fire and I didn’t have a sense of touch so I didn’t know?”
Me: “Um, first of all, you’d probably know if you lit yourself on fire, even if you couldn’t feel it. Second, you didn’t lose your other senses – you’d see the fire, smell your skin burning.”
CB: “I don’t know.”
Me: “Um, I know. And also, that’s a weird reason to want to keep your sense of touch, just in case. I mean, touching RJC, yes, I’d miss that every day. But worrying about lighting myself on fire?”
CB: “I’m just saying. But yeah, I guess it’d be touch. And I’d just have to take that chance.”
Me, laughing: “Wow, I had no idea this was such a high risk for you, good to know.”
CB, turning his back to read,  mumbling: “Living with you is high risk.”
Me: “I love you too.”
 Happy Wednesday! Sorry I've been MIA... I'm working on it!