Trips to the library are bound to produce a few things, me scrambling to come up with change to cover my inevitable late fees (it’s a donation right?), a dozen or so books I’ve either carefully researched in hopes of building my little Einstein into the genius I just know he is or, and this is more often the case, a dozen books that all come from the same section that look simple to read and mildly entertaining or relevant to whatever we are currently learning. Sometimes these trips result in tantrums, sometimes we get to participate in story/craft time with Ms. Jessica, sometimes we are just trying to kill time in a semi constructive fashion in the air conditioning. I really prefer the library to any play place ever because my tiny 2 1/2 year old tends to get bullied in large groups. Extra small with twice the vocabulary and no sense of fear.
If I think Carl is in a good place for it I sometimes get to meander over to the more adult section of the library and pick out a new book, usually one of the new non fictions or something that is on display because that’s all I have time to look at. Occasionally I get a book I’ve looked up before I get there and know the exact placement of so as not to tempt my little tyrant into making a mess or being too loud In the quiet adult section of the library. Such is life with a toddler I suppose. We took an unexpected and unplanned trip to the library the other day well after the time I usually sanction library trips. We went at the unheard of hour of 6pm. We went out *gasp* after dinner!! And actually it was pretty great. There were only a few people milling about and even fewer people to disturb his play or to mind when he was loud. He did ask me where the other kids were (in my head I’m thinking blissfully somewhere else). I love kids, but sometimes I think places like the library make parents feel like they can sit down, stick their head in a gibberish magazine and take a break from parenting which I don’t appreciate.
Its good to occasionally do the unexpected. I think that’s my biggest parenthood struggle. I have a schedule for nearly everything but I am also inflexible with my flexibility. For example, I don’t make him take a nap at any certain time and I won’t make him take a nap at any consistent time either. We don’t eat lunch at any specific time, it’s always a range. I’m pretty inflexible about that because I could never sit down at noon every day and always be ready to eat. IF any of that made any sense you might be a genius. I’ve also got a “school” schedule made out through next May that I am determined to see happen. It might take all day to get through three activities but we are doing everything on that schedule. I’m not quite sure I understand the school of thought that says a child isn’t ready to learn before a certain arbitrary age. Carl knows the name of just about every Disney character. Clearly he has room in his brain for letters, number, and shapes. I don’t think constant work is good for kids, or asking them to sit here and be still for an arbitrary amount of time, however structured play is not a bad thing.
Here’s to flexible inflexibility. May we always be a confusing mass of contradictory information.
Fun fact, you are literally not the same person that you were born as. Every year, every day, every minute, and even every second you are changing. New cells are replacing old ones. The you of now looks the same, but isn’t an exact replica of the you of yesterday. Isnt that terrifying? I think when I fully embraced the idea that I was never going to be the same exact person from day to day I was able to better accept this thing we refer to as aging, or you know not death.
I’ve had 27 birthdays, about to be 28. I think the two I had the most anxiety about were 16 and 25. I still don’t know why I was anxious at 16. If I had known I was never going to be that thin and cute again you better believe I would have enjoyed it more. For my 25th birthday I think most of my anxiety stemmed from the idea I had caught up in my head of it being an important moment in the tapestry of my life and it was but not for the reasons I had thought it would be. Turning 25 isn’t a big deal because you think a quarter of your life is over. For all those of you about to turn 25, get over it and yourself. I had to. Turning 25 could just as easily be your last birthday or you could have 100 more.
I’ve never had much luck with birthdays. For my fourth birthday the clown didn’t show up, so my mother, being the innovative and creative person that she is decided to take a bag of birthday balloons and make the best of it. She is pretty great for all the grief I will continue to give her. When I turned 13 I got the gift of womanhood (which is my fancy (read ridiculous, I hate that word) way of saying I learned about menstrual bleeding and cried a lot). People I have known and admired have committed suicide on my birthday and while I’m sure it wasn’t planned that way it tends to put a damper on your happy day if someone you liked took their own life that morning. I’ve had birthday parties that no one showed up to (thanks awkward lifeness). I woke up to a dead kitten one year that we were trying to rescue. When I turned 25 and then again when I turned 26 I think I realized that adults didn’t celebrate birthdays. I mean some people do but no one is really thrilled about it. No one is going to show up in your room with a pony or a dozen roses (I want a pony mom, and so does Carl). I would have settled for a daisy and breakfast in bed for most of my life but clearly I wasn’t getting that either.
Last year I decided, much like Daenerys that I was going to break the damn wheel. If adults didn’t have fun birthday parties with ninja turtles and a pinata then I was going to make my own rules. I’m a rebel. I spent my 27th birthday with my feet planted firmly on the sand. It was my first trip to the beach in a long time. I think getting married killed the spirit of travel within me that had been blossoming. Fortunately there is a cure for that ailment. Few decisions in life can I truly look at and be 100% sure about but spending a little money to visit Panama City and convincing my mom to come with us was definitely a good plan. We had a blast. Carl got to see the sand and the waves and I got bitten by a crab. It was glorious. I made a decision sitting in that water as the sun was still peeking up into the sky last year. Every year, as long as I am able, I will spend my birthday on the beach. Fortunately I live within driving distance of even Orange Beach so its not a hard self promise to keep, but also fortunately we are going to go to Hilton Head this year. I’m a little worried it won’t be warm enough or that we will get swept away in Tropical storm Irma, but whatever, you only live once.
Perhaps the major difference that I didn’t expect from 25 onward is that I realized no one was ever going to sweep me off my feet and give me the grand romantic gestures I might want or make my life any better than I was quite capable of making it myself. I (knock on wood) am never going to wait on another person before I start making the little bit of life I have be the best life it can be. The beach makes me happy. If it stops making me happy I will find something else that will make me happy and do that on my birthday but damn it I’m going to be happy. There is too much misery in this world for us not to make the most of what time we have. Eat that bag of animal crackers if that’s what you want. Diet if that is what makes you happy. For me its ice cream and sand so that is what I will do.
Written while listening to the glorious notes of Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Six years ago this month I woke up, brand newly married, and had that thought I think everyone dreads and hopefully you wont ever suffer “This was a mistake”. I don’t remember what brought the thought on, but I know I tried desperately to suppress it for 4 years. No newlywed wants to think that they in fact did not marry the person of their dreams. For me even four years into it I was still trying to make it work somehow. Clearly if I could just contort my body and wiggle my eyebrows just right he would love me and we could have a perfect relationship despite all the burned bridges and hard feelings, all could still be right in the world. This is ridiculous. I knew it the day after I did it but I’m stubborn. Altogether I was married for 1,561 days which is a lot of days to be trying to fit a round peg in the square hole so to speak.
I’ve been divorced about a year and a half now which has been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than a divorce. It makes me happy even as I sit here writing this to think I am not legally or otherwise bound to that person. Sure we share a kid, but I am not bound. While freedom has been lovely I have had quite a while to contemplate what it is going to mean to be in my late twenties and divorced (single). One thing I can say for sure is that dating apps, dating sites, and otherwise e-dating isn’t practical for anyone over the hook up. That life is for some people but not me, as much as I sometimes wish it was, I’m either too old, or too practical for that.
All this time has also given me an opportunity to discern what I want from a partner and even to some degree what I actually want in a good friend. I want a conversation. I want someone who will willingly talk about Gilmore Girls and Supernatural even if they don’t watch either show. If I’m going to date someone they need to have read a book in the last year. Preferably more than one. My post baby body is what it is. I don’t diet. I’m firmly against it. I run, occasionally. Mostly i walk but I don’t do any of it consistently. I like Yoga if I can do it in my living room so I don’t want someone who thinks I’m going anywhere near a gym at any point in the future. I’ve contemplated a membership at the Y so that Carl could have swim lessons and access to a pool. I’m pretty sure the only reason I haven’t is because of the proximity to workout equipment.
I don’t want to be someone else’s mom. I even make Carl pick up his own dirty laundry. I’m not financially supporting another adult. I’m never going to give up control of things like bills and I’m probably not going to have in depth discussions about them with anyone. I think what I actually want is someone who has their own space, their own life and just wants to occasionally share mine for social and recreational purposes. Something I have come to value so much more than I can express is space. Space to write, space to think, space to watch TV in relative silence. I don’t really mind if someone else is talking but I’m probably not going to open up about my every feeling all the time. That is exhausting. One thing I have come to appreciate lately is someone I don’t have to carry. I have no desire to smooth over a group conversation that another human has made awkward.
Does this paragon of virtue and witty banter exist? Is there such a human that wants an funny, cynical, liberal, and fitness resistant partner? I have no idea. And really I think the point might be that whether there is or not I’m pretty content to do my own thing.
I’ve been on a feminine author and life story book binge the last couple of months. Writing that made me remember I need to pick out books for the beach. Anyway I just finished another excellent but very different book by Jillian Lauren called Some Girls. The premise of the book is to tell you the story of a girl entering a harem. Why would any nineteen year old think that was a good idea? What leads one to that decision? Honestly I was pretty fascinated with the thought process from the beginning and I had to know more. This book has been sitting in the bottom of one of my many bags for weeks now until I picked it up last week because I didn’t want to deal with some issues in my own personal life. I wish I had picked it up sooner.
Lauren explores the sex trade in NYC, as well as how she got into “the harem”. Spolier alert** Its not really a harem. I had wondered about that terminology. She actually is attending nightly parties and while there is sex and an exchange of goods for services rendered it is sort of fascinating how this sort of industry works, especially for me as someone who has never given it much thought. I love bread way too much to ever attempt to make money from my body. Luckily I had different opportunities than she did.
Where I think Lauren did a fantastic job is in humanizing the industry and highlighting her own path to that life style. She doesn’t try to make herself look better, or put a cute spin on what is a really intense, often scary, and more often sad life. She speaks in a voice you can’t help but sympathize with at the same time as you are shocked by the contents of her life. Through all that she talks about seeking help in dealing with her problems, and the good and bad of that life. It was fascinating and I highly recommend it.
Anna Kendrick is sort of fascinating to me. I have not watched Pitch Perfect (though I imagine that is what I will do with my afternoon) but she, much like Jennifer Lawrence just seems to have a down to earth vibe. It could be completely fake I suppose, but having just finished her book, Scrappy LIttle Nobody, I think she might actually be my spirit animal. While the book was no literary masterpiece, it was funny, well written and she managed to highlight the unfortunate way in which many people view the lives of celebrity’s without making it seem like she was whining.
I’m sure most of the more sensible world realizes that those people have to put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us, but for those of you that didn’t definitely pick up this book. She talks, in a very genuine and honest way about her struggle with men, with celebrity, with the paparazzi and even with her own loneliness. I think anyone who has moved away from home at a young age or lived on their own can identify with the sense of loneliness that she highlights in parts of her book.
In talking about relationships she says “Don’t try to participate in anyone else’s idea of what is supposed to happen in a relationship. You will fail.” and you know what I totally agree. Way too often we get stuck in the rut of what we think or other think is supposed to be and completely miss sight of reality. If for nothing else you should read the book for the occasionally gem of wisdom.
Perhaps my favorite quote is this:
“I gave up on being Nice. I started putting more value on other qualities instead: passion, bravery, intelligence, practicality, humor, patience, fairness, sensitivity. Those last three might seem like they are covered by “nice,” but make no mistake, they are not. A person who smiles a lot and remembers everyone’s birthday can turn out to be undercover crazy, a compulsive thief, and boring to boot. I don’t put a lot of stock in nice. I’d prefer to be around people who have any of the above qualities over “niceness,” and I’d prefer it if that applied to me, too. I”
― Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody
I’ve linked it here
As I sit at my desk and write or try to mesh a budget together or plan an adventure I often hear the pitter patter of little feet and a sweet little voice say “Mama, can we listen to your record player?”. This is an every other day occurrence. He can’t stand to be far away from the action even if it is just me trying to do mundane tasks at my desk. I spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating what Carl will see when he looks back at these long days. Will he remember anything? Will he remember my annoyance when he dropped his lunch on the floor deliberately so the cat could eat it? Will he remember the vacations that we take? Will he remember the nights spent at Nana’s? Will he remember the awkward conversations between his father and I at pick up and drop off? Will he remember potty training?
I hope he remembers meeting mickey mouse, and playing in my room listening to the record player, and his hilarious adventures to get bread on Sunday mornings. I hope he remembers that I tried to be patient and that we had a lot of fun. I remember just a little bit from 2’s and 3’s. I remember asking my Nana to get the moon for me. If she could have I am positive she would have snatched it right out of the sky. I remember spending a lot of time at her house. When I was Carl’s age there was a new baby coming to my house whose bottle I might have snatched on more than one occasion and who I might have tried to roll off the couch.
I’ve tried in the last three years to prepare as best I could for him. It was three years ago today that I realized I might be pregnant. About a week later when I confirmed it with an inordinate amount of tests and a trip to the doctor. The spreadsheets I made in preparation of his arrival alone are more forethought than some put into parenting, but I’ve improved my own circumstances as well, not just for me but in order to improve his. Many decisions over the last three years come down to what is best for him. I never thought, before pregnancy that I would have a home. I thought I would rent the rest of my life and slog along in the way I had been which was not wrong so much as it isn’t what I wanted for progeny.
When he is a teenager, hopefully not reading this drivel, I hope he remembers the dancing in my curtains, the Simon and Garfunkel, Lumineers, Willie Nelson and Dean Martin jams. When he matures I hope he sees the decisions I’ve made and doesn’t judge them too harshly. One of the harshest criticisms thrown my way by partners over the years is that I never grew up. I choose to think this means that I didn’t lose my sense of wonder, my awe and delight in simple things like a cup of coffee on the front porch or a sunrise or a sunset. Simple happy things will make up the majority of our life so we should enjoy them. I hope, if nothing else, that I manage to show him the delight in simple, happy things.