Couldn’t have said it better myself

So here’s the interesting thing…I know that I have some anxiety around some things; obvious, run of the mill things, over which I assume everyone has some anxiety: money, children, ex-husband’s abuse. And during some of those times, I’ve been known to need medication.

But I’ve never really considered myself to be someone “with anxiety,” at least never seriously considered it.

And then, I read this and it gets (the overly anxious) ball that is my brain, rolling.

While I felt each one, there were a few that stood out as, “I would have said the exact same thing,” and I think, “Hmmmm, interesting, maybe…”

3. “I’m not just blowing you off. It’s hard to make plans and just as hard to talk on the phone sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t desperately want to spend time and talk. I just can’t.” — Marie Abbott Belcher

7. “Even when things are wonderful, I’m always waiting for something horrible to happen.” — Lindsay Ballard

8. “When I’m being quiet, I’m not sad, bored, tired or whatever else they want to fill in the blank with. There’s just so much going on in my mind, sometimes I can’t keep up with what’s going on around me.” — Amanda Jade Briskar

17. “Don’t shut me out. My anxiety may stop me from doing certain things, but just being asked to join in can sometimes make my day.” — Vikki Rose Donaghy

18. “I analyze things constantly because of anxiety. I cannot turn my brain off and it can be exhausting.” — Cailea Hiller

21.I want to first apologize for the hundreds of times I’ve bailed on you. The hundreds of times I had to leave early and you had no clue. The hundreds of times I had to tell you no.” — Mary Kate Donahue

28. “Keep inviting me to group things even though I usually decline. Some days I feel stronger than others, so my answer might surprise you. Be patient.” — Kara Edkins

29. “Don’t take it personally when I don’t want to go out. My comfort zone is my home. It’s my safe place.” — Elizabeth Vasquez

30. “When I say I can’t take on even one more thing, I really need you to understand I really just can’t.” — Christine L Hauck

 

32. “Sometimes I just need to be alone. It’s not personal. I’m not mad. I don’t have some problem. I don’t need to just shake it off and do something fun. I just need to be alone so I can reset myself and breathe a little.” — Stacey Weber

33. “Every time I talk to you, I go over every word of the conversation many times in my head. If I said something I feel I like I shouldn’t have said, even if it’s as simple as incorrect grammar, I will obsess about it for years.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober

Amen.

Banana Bread

This friend, oh, this friend. This family.

Such deep love.

To see her brings me so much joy, even under the saddest of circumstances.

The Patriarch of the family has died – it is sad, there’s no question about it. Such a good man, who raised such a good family.

But that loving family has scattered to the four winds over the years, which was really inconsiderate of them since I am still here.

Most of my contact with each of them is generally through a Facebook conversation here and there or sending and receiving good vibes over the energetic airwaves.

She and I weren’t quite Divorce Buddies – hers came first – but we have definitely been Rebuilding Our Lives Buddies, which creates some serious bonds.

When she lived here, when we were neighbors, I felt like I was loved and safe. She was just the best person to have next door – I knew that I could cry, or giggle, or complain about my marriage, or want to beat my children, or just be, with her.

We talked about everything. Our lives were so different – she, born and raised here, with a huge family, and a very close connection with her Church.

I came from the East Coast, tiny family, church on Easter and sometimes Christmas Eve at best.

None of that matters, does it?

Before she left town I gave her a red teapot. She said, “I’ve never had a teapot, Mormons don’t use them.”

Well, besides that being one of the oddest things I’ve ever heard, I was so excited to give her her first, and a super cheery one at that.

She gave me the Relief Society Cookbook that contains her favorite (now my favorite and my kids’ favorite) banana bread recipe.

She also gave me a bunch of bananas.

I took the hint and the next day we inhaled all of one and most of a second loaf of piping hot perfection, coated with slabs of butter.

And then she headed off, handcart and all, to begin her new life in far away Idaho.

Last night I got to see her – I brought dinner to the family in a floppy oversized roasting pan because I wanted to provide something disposable so they didn’t have to worry about returning dishes.

I made a loaf of BB also.

When I walked in the door, dinner pan collapsing in my arms, she took the bread off the top of the Tater-Tot Casserole and I said, “You know what that is…”

It took a second and she burst into tears and then I burst into tears.

We sat and caught up – just a bit – and I was filled with love and gratitude.

I looked at her and her mom and sister and brother and sister-in-law and thought, “I am so blessed to be right here, right now.”

 

Hell hath no fury like a mother whose babies have been threatened

Saturday night, 2 of my gal pals came over for a few hours of escape. While we relaxed and solved the parenting problems of the world, several of our children headed to a friend’s house for a small “party.” They were open and honest with us, we, with them, and the requisite promises to make good choices were made.

Basically all of the boys were going to spend the night and the girls had a Designated Driver.

Great.

I went to sleep feeling safe.

Until 1:45 am when I heard every siren in the County heading in the general direction of the gathering.

Mildly concerned but not overly so, I sent the boys a text, “You are still at ____’s, right? Be safe.”

No response.

10 texts and 45 minutes later, still no response.

Panic ensued.

Trust questioned.

So I got in the truck and headed towards the activity.

Before I got to the party place, I came up on a police car and tow truck attending to a very wrecked small truck.

I rolled down my window and asked, “Were there children in that car?”

“No, Ma’am, just one drunk driver.”

“Not a drunk teenager?”

“Nope.”

Breathing again, I swung by the friend’s house, counted the vehicles parked in front, registered that the lights were out – party over, and went home to bed.

Next morning – “I was asleep, why were you bothering us at that hour?”

My friend, mother of the DD daughter said, “She drove home by that accident – it really rattled her.”

3 days later, turns out I know the driver and he has died from a “complication.”

In other words, he was released from the hospital and 2 days later, inexplicably died.

I was upset that someone was drunk driving. Now I am livid and lost sleep over it last night.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I know (knew) him.

I don’t know if it’s because he ended up dying.

I heard that when they did a Breathalyzer, he was “shit faced.”

I know that his partner of many years has had multiple DUI’s.

My kids and my friends’ kids were on the road that night and he put them at risk.

HOW FUCKING DARE HE?!

I think about the DD Daughter – if she was just a bit earlier heading home, it could have been her that he plowed over, not the apple tree.

We (as a collective of parents) work so diligently to make sure our children get the message that drinking and driving isn’t acceptable. We have done everything in our power to ensure that our children trust us enough to call for a ride if they need to. We have been open with the partying in an attempt to create a trusting safety net relieving our children of the burden of making really stupid decisions.

And as safely as we can get them to play, there are still others, ADULTS, out there undoing it all by selfishly putting our children’s lives at risk.

And to top that evening off, another “adult” was driving home from the bar, came up on the accident, got stopped because the road was blocked, and found himself in jail for the night for drunk driving.

I am furious and frightened beyond belief.

Yes, I am now the poster mother for MADD.

1humble

adjective hum·ble \ˈhəm-bəl also chiefly Southern ˈəm-\

: not proud : not thinking of yourself as better than other people

: given or said in a way that shows you do not think you are better than other people

: showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people

Got a serious lesson in humility yesterday.

Ego=bruised.

Did I have a few moments of thinking I was better than others?  Not necessarily, but my sense of self-fabulousness was incredibly inflated.

Over-inflated, if that’s a word.

I’d gotten a dose of ego boost first, then got carried away with myself and karmically put in my place.

I know it’s a good thing and today I feel great about it and am having a good laugh at my own expense.

And yet, this comes after going through humiliation, anger, deep shame, and a large amount of self-righteousness.

Humans are just ridiculous.

The day I’ve been waiting for all of my life

Or at least as long as I have been evolved enough to appreciate the genius of David Sedaris.

I’ll admit, the first time I heard his voice on NPR, I hit scan. It was nasally and effeminate and what I perceived as a tiny bit whiney.

Then, one day I heard him talking about living in France and missing hearing English and the highlight of his day being when he tuned into NPR and heard Terry Gross say “Fresh Air,” and I was hooked.

And for all I know, it didn’t happen that way and he said he couldn’t stand Terry Gross and maybe it wasn’t even David Sedaris, but this is how it has played in out my mind over and over, so now it’s truth.

And I have no idea how I came across “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – maybe it was on the new release shelf at the library, maybe I heard Terry Gross talking about it, maybe Scott Simon. I’ll never remember, which is somewhat sad because it was a pivotal moment in my life and  I like to remember those moments that changed my existence forever.

Shit. I had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old when it was published. I honestly can’t believe I found time to read.

But that was at the time in my life when I would announce to the entire household, “Mamma has to poo,” and then run into our tiny bathroom where I could sit on the pot and rest my head on the edge of the sink and breathe, trying to remember that I liked my family. Occasionally I did some reading in there too so that could be how I found time for Talking Pretty.

I actually hardly ever pooed

I was enjoyed it from the get-go, but when I got to the story about Easter and the Flying Bell…

Changed perspective on the world.

And, this is when I decided that I would become the Female David Sedaris.

If you have not read Jesus Shaves, you must.

I have since devoured, multiple times, every word that he has produced.  I have come to find great comfort in his snarky little voice; his brilliance has become my guiding light.

I want to live in France.

I want Hugh.

Once, I was asked to teach a writing class for teenagers. My first class was awkward, as always; angsty teenage girls (only girls, as no teenage boy would EVER sign up for a writing class, after school, for no credit) many of them homeschooled, so incredibly uncomfortable in an 8×8 room with other people, then Breakfast Club Ally Sheedy was in there as well as the two besties who wrote “fiction” about each other’s love lives.

I began the class by talking about “Voice” and finding one’s own voice in writing. I read several bits from different authors not only as examples, but as eye-openers into a world of stories that didn’t involve blood-sucking, glitter-glued vampires.

I saved my favorite for last: Jesus Shaves.

Again, a must-read. At least watch the video.

In brief, the story is about French class, in France, with people whose only thing in common was that they all had other languages as firsts and were trying to communicate in a second one about, Easter.

I won’t say anything to ruin it for you, but I will say that if someone was Jesus-sensitive, it could be a bit offensive.

Which is what I began to think, about 1/2 way through my reading, and watching the faces of the sisters-with-religious-hair go from timid smiles, to shock, to horror, to “You’re going to burn in Hell, Teacher.”

And I didn’t know what to do.

It was like that time I was waiting tables and I was really stoned and for the first time in my service career, I carried four water glasses, instead of the inconvenient three, in my diminutive hands to a table of thirsty middle-aged vacationers.  I was so excited that I began telling them about my tiny hands handicap and how it’s been plaguing me for years. Half way through that, the part of my brain that wasn’t connected to my mouth said, “Honey, they know you’re stoned. You should stop.”

But the problem was, I couldn’t. To do so would have been even more awkward that the rambling telling of the victory.

So I finished my litany and skulked away to the kitchen to do a bong hit.

And that’s how I felt with the ass-length braids staring up at me. What was I to say, “Oh my, have I offended thee?”

So I rambled on, rushing through, just to end this torturous moment. But then I got to the bit about the bell and I couldn’t contain myself. It began as a giggle and soon became a cackle, then a roar. I tried to contain it, but then snot came out of my nose, so I gave up.

Fuck the Bible Sisters. Fuck Ally Sheedy. Fuck the latent lesbians.

Fuck teenage girls.

So years later, here I am, bouncing in my seat because in just 11 hours and 7 minutes, I will be sitting in my front row seat (because I did buy the first two tickets sold) gazing adoringly, and listening raptly to this man who is my soulmate. I know, too, that he is going to look at me and think “I’ll be she’s funny – I want to be her friend. She’s probably a brilliant writer too.” and after the show, he will ask me to be pen pals so we can exchange witty observations on humanity and he will offer to introduce me to Scott Simon, then suggest that we read together on Weekend Edition, just wouldn’t that be a hoot.

I am so excited about tonight, and have been since I first heard of his appearance, that I am am actually becoming a tiny bit sad because it’s almost over.

And I have so much angst about meeting and him not having the space to really to know me until it’s too late and he’s back in his hotel room missing out. Or worse, not meeting him at all.

MyAdorablyCuteBoyfriend is a saint because he is acting very enthusiastic about this night but when I said, “You might not like him,” he responded, “I already figure that I won’t,” but he’s going with me anyway and might even wear a bow-tie.

So now I am down to 10 hours and 59 minutes and I’m thinking that I better stop writing and go scour my closet so I can find just the right attire to meet the coolest uncool man I’ll ever know.

 

Such great news (said with deep sarcasm)

My sons’ friend had a healthy baby boy last night. Yay!

He’s 17. She’s, maybe, 16.

Yay!

She still has braces.

It’s so sad.  I know that they are happy – who isn’t when they hold their baby for the first time.

And I know, (or assume) that after wrapping her head around the whole idea, Mom is happy to be a grandmother.

I can’t imagine not loving your first grandchild.

But wouldn’t you want that to happen a bit later in everyone’s lives?

But let’s add some weirdness to the weirdness…

My sons’ 50 year old father just had a baby 2 weeks ago.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Playdates.

Doesn’t anyone know anything about birth control?

The dad thing is ridiculous. The friend thing is just really sad.

I’m not being judgmental as much as I am being a mom – a mom who could barely handle being a mamma at 32 because I felt totally ill-equipped. I can’t imagine what a 16 year old has got to feel like.

And as much as I love my babies, I still think about things I didn’t do before I had them – when I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I wouldn’t trade it, but there are certainly things that I wish I had experienced, places I wish I had gone, adventures had.

And I was 32 – What the fuck do you think when you’re 16 or 17? “Oh. I’ll have plenty of time for all of that because my child will be out of the house by the time I’m 35?

Okay, admittedly, that’s appealing.

All I know is that I would be devastated if one of my boys came home to tell me he’s having a baby and a future in this town working at the grocery store. It makes it hard to breathe.

Those two kids, with their new family photo on Facebook, are just babies – babies playing house.

Until they get home and realize that it’s not a game.

And my sons’ dad – he’s got 2 under 2. Good luck on that one.