Category Archives: Friend

Pour Vous, Ginny

You guys.  This is not Ginny.  This is Rassles.

Four years ago, Ginny went on vacation and left this website in my hands.  It was a really, really, really stupid idea on her part, and it’s not just because I turned her blog into a high-trafficked site for Japanese dwarf porn.

I just discovered just now that I can still post on here.

Dear Ginny, I miss you.  That’s all I wanted to say.

Love, Rassles

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Answers, Part III (or: Put on Your Comfy Pants, This Might Take a While)

So I started to answer some questions.  And then I answered some more.  And then I contracted a world-class case of the ennui.  And then someone I know in real life told me to stop being such a lazy-ass. (Not her exact words.  But it was implied.  In her eyes.  Even though they were behind sunglasses.  I’m pretty intuitive, that way.)

So let’s see what we can get done today, shall we?

From Grumpy, who lives upside down, on the other side of the planet:

In ‘another life’ what job would you be doing/place would you be living in?”

Grumpy, you could have no way of knowing that I obsess DAILY over what my life would have been like if I’d done X instead of Y.  If I had turned right instead of left.  If I’d gone with the non-lead based paint….

So this is a good one.

If I could swing for the fences, have whatever I wanted, live where I wanted, do what I wanted, no consequences, no hurt feelings, I think I’d be living in Europe (in a country where there’s a healthy amount of English spoken, because man, I suck out loud at other languages), drinking possibly even more wine and eating even more cheese than I do now, but  somehow being miraculously thinner than I am.  I would have figured out that I wanted to be a writer, not pissed around with suppressing the urge and finding something practical, and just done it.  I’d be slutting it up, discreetly, and letting my hair grow long.

Yuri from Urbanvox, (after a considerable amount of preamble), asked:

what’s your favorite ice cream flavor????”

So I think, “easy one”, and start to answer, when the paranoia creeps in, as it so often does.  What does my favorite ice cream flavor say about me?  What if I innocently tell the truth, and it turns out Maple Walnut indicates I’m likely to have a foot  fetish?

So I checked it out.  Turns out Vanilla means you are NOT boring, Coffee ice cream lovers are dramatic, and Organic Mango & Freshly Squeezed Kumquat means you’re a pretentious wanker.  (The last one is purely a result of field studies, and has not been scientifically proven.  Yet.)  My favorite, Mint Chocolate Chip,

means I am ambitious and confident and skeptical.  (One out of three ain’t bad.)  (Well, actually, it is.  They don’t know me at ALL.)

Jaymie, who muses over here, asks:

Most challenging life moment so far?  How did you get through it?”

You know, when you put it that way, I’ve been pretty damn lucky.  Knock on a great big piece of wood, but I’ve never had anyone I loved get really sick, or even die.  And when you think of it that way, the rest is a bit of a cake walk, now isn’t it?

But you asked, so I’ll answer.  This whole damn parenting thing?  This is challenging.  You’re making decisions whose impact might not be seen for 10 or 20 years, sacrificing until it becomes rote, pouring every resource you can get your hands on into another person(s), and you’re doing the whole thing with a serious sleep deficit.  There have been moments, ugly, atrocious, cringing in my soul moments, when I’ve seen very clearly how babies get shaken.  And abandoned.  And wrecked.  How did I get past them?  I have no clue.  I just did.

Thank god.

Deborah from bedrest banshee, had a pretty involved question:


“Q1: Do you ever feel that maybe, just maybe – you ARE”hot”? As in milf not menopausal. If so, when?
Q2: If there was a, how you say, “Indecent Proposal” – for you, for your husband? Would you? Would you let him? Let’s say $75K tax free in small unmarked bills for you, let’s say an untraceable $25K for him.
Q3: who do you currently think – famous or local, of all the people you know or view, has the most confidence in their own appeal. Not arrogance, confidence.”

Ahem.  There was a one question limit, Deb.  (Good thing I like you.  I will persevere.)

Every now and again, for about 5 minutes at a time, I feel hot-ish.  And yes, it helps if I think I’m looking OK, but really?   It’s when I’m actively engaging with another person, talking, entertaining, really nailing a good conversation.  It’s the only way that being “hot” feels authentic to me.

As to the Indecent Proposal scenario,  um, well, I could really use some money.  I couldn’t sleep with someone in that situation.  Owen could.  I’d have no problem letting him.  The problem would come when he failed to show the appropriate amount of remorse and self-loathing, afterward.  (And can I just say how much I enjoy that you valued me 3X higher than him?  You’re brilliant.)

As to confidence, that’s a tricky bit of business.  Because what I’m starting to understand is that the people who seem the most confident to me are the hottest messes, just under the surface.  And that we’re all faking it until we make it.  If we ever do.

And finally, the question that made me spit diet Coke when I first read it, from Rassles:

“You would go gay for me, wouldn’t you?”

Yup.  Just a matter of time, toots.


Sometimes…

…I look at groups of friends.  They might not be identical, not even all that Stepford-y, really.  But there are similarities.  A’s hair is pulled back in the same way as B’s.  C’s earrings are a different color, but the same style as A’s.  A, B and C are all the same height, within a couple of inches.  They all drive cars whose worth is within a couple hundred bucks of each other. 

(An aside:  Are we drawn to people like us, or do we become who we’re with?)

And I think, “It’d be really nice to have a group of friends that I looked like and sounded like and thought like.  It’d just be so easy.”

(Image from here.)

And in the same moment, a second thought:  “If I found a group of people just like me, I’d walk away within 5 minutes, muttering under my breath, ‘What a bunch of assholes!'”

For my friend, whose afternoon was maybe not so awesome.

Parenting is a tricky business.

The group of mothers I’ve come up with, we’re all negotiating a curve, these days.

A time when “parent” becomes less a noun, more a verb.

The first 5 years or so are consumed with busy work.  Just keeping them alive is a measure of success.  Then, they’re potty trained and walking and spending more time at school than at home.  We breathe a little easier, maybe.  Sure, the drudgery is still there.  Clean this, cook that, sign this, don’t forget that.    But we relax.

Then all of a sudden, we realize there are emotional needs to be considered, now, too.  Not just the ones we can control anymore, either.  Do our kids have friends?  Are they heading toward being decent people?  Which lessons are actually sticking, which ones discarded like snotty kleenex?

Worse yet?  The feeling that even now, at the embryonic ages of 6 or 7, doors are closing.  Opportunities are passing.

That we have the potential to actually fail the little buggers.

I have this friend.  She is amazing at this job.

All my mom friends have strengths.  Wonderful, awesome, breathtaking skills with their children.

But this one….

She listens to me, to any of us, bemoan the trials of this job.  She agrees, wholeheartedly and honestly, that this job is so fecking hard.

The difference, as far as I can see, is that when I go home, and sometimes do a half-assed job, letting myself off the hook because god dammit, I am tired,

she doesn’t.

She goes home and she does the work.  She stays engaged and interested, and makes sure her kids know they are respected and enjoyed.  She draws on bottomless wells of patience.

Even though it would be easier to open a bag of Oreos and call it a snack, she’s there with apple slices, and yet I have never once felt like she threw even a smidgen of judgement my way as I wiped those Oreo crumbs off my kids’ faces.  She is laying out craft supplies, when the path of least resistance would be the Cartoon Network.  She has raised kids who ask for things like bat costumes and magic capes, while other kids (mine) list off toys according to manufacturer, verbatim from the commercial on which they saw them.

She would never point out that she does the right thing.  She just does it.

Which is why my chest hurt when I listened to her, today.  A deadline passed.  Instructions were vague.    Her child would miss out.

And it was because of her.

(Well, that’s her story.  I could argue for days that the lack of clarity was on someone else’s part, and that it was all politics, but it wouldn’t change anything, so I won’t.)

In a year, this incident won’t even matter.  In a week, even, it will be a whole lot less important.

But today, it made my friend cry.

The idea that she’d let her kid down was just too much.  And the fact that it was too much for her was too much for me.

“I’m doing my best” may be a mantra we use, to soothe ourselves, to justify our actions, to buy ourselves peace of mind.

Friend?  You’re not just doing your best.  You’re doing well.  Very, very well.

Feliz cumpleaños, señoras!

Christmas birthdays probably blow.

People give you christmasbirthday presents, a lot of your friends are away on vacation, Jesus completely steals your thunder, and you have to act like it’s all cool.

You know what else blows?

Birthdays right after Christmas.

Everyone’s hung over, feeling bloated, and broke.

The odds for a good birthday are kind of against you.  Unless you are a chick who is so awesome, your birthday has no choice but to be a reflection of your awesomeness.

Not one, but two totally rockin’ bloggers I happen to be friends with happen to have post-Christmas birthdays.  On the same day.

Please join me in wishing Kitty and Rassles each a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!  IN CAPITALS, BECAUSE THAT INDICATES YOU REALLY MEAN IT!!!

I realize neither of you is named Emma, but the love? That's real.

(Image via Cake Wrecks.)

Which brings me to me.

My birthday is exactly one month after Rassles and Kitty’s birthday.

It’s a demographic-jumping year for me.  I’m leaving the coveted 17-34 group.  Off to the purgatory of the pre-middle aged.  The only things marketed at me are beige carpeting and Sheryl Crow CDs.

I want to turn thirty-five in a blaze of glory.

So how do I go about making that happen?

All ideas are welcome.

(But just so you know, here’s some things I won’t do:

Wear heels over 2 inches.

Eat kale.

Get a perm.

Drive a Yugoslavian car.

Shank a bitch.

Windows.

Go to a movie starring Kate Hudson (I find her off-putting.)

Lick a metal pole.

Run.

Take public transportation.

Wear lace-up anything.

But other than that, anything is fair game.)

The Long Way

Saturday night lasted until Sunday morning.  You were at a party, best party you go to all year.  People you like, much drinking of Christmas spirits, all kinds of food (though in retrospect, you really should have eaten more of it…), and this year – tacky Christmas sweaters.

"After" (The "Before" had conspicuously placed jingle bells.)

So when you get home at 4 in the morning, reeling from red wine, wishing you’d thought to eat dinner 10 hours previous, trying to remember who pulled who’s lip piercing out of who’s tacky sweater, and still wearing your own tacky sweater,

the last thing you want to see is the father-in-law who babysat for you, still fully dressed, not having been to bed, telling you that your son has been throwing up the entire evening.  Seven times.

And as you close one eye in an attempt to hear him more clearly, it sinks in that you are a terrible, terrible mother.  Knowing there is no redemption for you right now, and that the grandfather is clearly capable, more capable than you, you pass out.

And as The Boy’s bout of stomach flu clears up, you start to feel not so shit hot yourself, and you re-evaluate your relationship with your stomach’s contents, analyzing how close you actually are to them, and if you can bear to part with them.

But there is no time for such considerations, as The Girl takes the metaphorical baton from her brother, and commences Linda-Blair-in-Exorcist style purging.  Throughout the night.  And into the morning.

And when she is done with the virus, bright-eyed and chipper and demanding once more, The Husband takes a crack at it, hosting the virus for a shift.

And then it’s Tuesday, and you’re saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, wasn’t I going to have a proper hangover, here?”

If this hangover is still happening, you’re taking the very long way around.

Lucky

I avoid pregnant women.

 

It’s not a superstition.  I’m not afraid the condition is “catchy”.

 

I do it because I don’t want to ruin it for them.  I don’t trust myself not to go into visceral detail, listing off the maladies I suffered during those 10 months (9 months of pregnancy is the single greatest fallacy foisted on humankind.)  I don’t always believe I can hold my face in a way that conveys happiness, when I’m around a pregnant woman, because for me, pregnancy was the opposite of happy.  It’s not that I run screaming from pregnant women; I just don’t seek them out, and when I find myself near them, it feels vaguely wrong.

 

The first couple of months of my first baby’s life weren’t a whole lot sunnier.  Nothing came naturally.  The mythical “instincts” peddled to me in reference manuals failed to materialize.  Sleep deprivation drove me to a brink I hadn’t known existed.

 

I was pretty sure I was failing.  That was humiliating.  And so it became increasingly easier to isolate, to convince myself I was the only one going through this.  In my small (shrinking, at that time) world, I really was the only one going through it.  I eschewed the “Mom’s Groups”, became suddenly engrossed in checking my child’s diaper when I spotted other parents at parks, closed the blinds a lot.

 

Of course, I wasn’t the only one.  There were other moms in the city, in 2004, who were doing a lot of what I was doing.  There were moms who lived across the country, sleepless at the exact same time as me.

 

I just didn’t know any of them.

 

And even now, on the other side, knowing what I know?  I’m kind of glad I didn’t know them.

 

Because I would have wrecked it.

 

What would have come out of my mouth as my wild insecurities, would have entered their ears as judgement.  My desperation would have driven off all but the most equally desperate, creating a vortex of neediness that would have dragged us all under together.  The gravity of my situation would have led to needless comparison, one-upmanship, that would have eroded any kind of tenuous relationship I could have cobbled together.

 

Time, fate, life.  They did their thing.

 

Made me put one foot in front of the other.  Made me survive, strengthen, thrive.

 

Led me into a neighborhood, one whose school I never even considered in the move.

 

Put The Boy in a preschool class, where there were moms who smiled back, and didn’t click their tongues in disapproval at my obvious deficiencies in parenting.

 

Slowly gave me the confidence to talk , throw out comments just to see who would laugh, who “got it”.  Who was on my team.

 

The team is surprisingly big.

 

And nobody on the team gives a crap who breastfed, who used disposable diapers, who potty-trained their progeny by 18 months, who was a co-sleeper, a baby-wearer, an immunizer.

 

I still have to shake my head, to believe that over a dozen of these women, women I genuinely Like, women who are shiny and wonderful, can sit at a table, and drink, and laugh to the point of tears, and confess parenting missteps.

 

And know it’s OK.

 

If I hadn’t talked to them, tentatively smiled at them.  If I hadn’t set my heart on the stained glass in my front door, thereby (unwittingly) choosing the school The Boy would attend.  If I hadn’t failed to refill a prescription in the week that I did.

 

 

Yes.  I do know how lucky I got.

 

 

(Image is Shine on me by supermummy)