Archive | October, 2009

The Reality of it All

I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans again this past week, and as I tend to do when I’m traveling, I was able to catch some movies on glorious premium channels while I was there. (I am the only person in the world to not have HBO or Showtime, and am therefore forced to read the premium series like “Dexter” and “True Blood”.)

The first night, Marley and Me was showing on HBO2.

I could not call my husband to say goodnight because I was sobbing so hard.  I wish I was kidding.  I sobbed through the whole damn movie.  Because, um, HELLO, it mirrored my life in several aspects.  Especially with Beau as our new family member, where life repeats itself and we’re having to wedge a new lifeforce into an established routine.

Everyone in the neighborhood has met Beau now, because he is definitely Charlie in another body as far as him being the canine Houdini.  The dog finds ways to wriggle out of any fence, and does so in record time.  We’ve met several neighbors who have been kind enough to occupy Beau in enough time for us to come reclaim him.  And, sadly.. it took a puppy with big ole wrinkles to get us to meet our neighbors.

But where I got irrationally angry with Marley and Me was when Jennifer Anniston (as the wife to Owen Wilson’s character) decided that she would not work anymore.  It was hard, she said, balancing work and motherhood.  It was hard, and she felt like she was failing at both jobs because of it, and because it was hard, she would make a choice.  She would stop working to be a mom.

And what did Owen Wilson say?

Well, admittedly, we don’t know because then a montage started that showed them moving to a bigger home to accomodate the new child, one that had a nicer kitchen AND a pool and they upgraded to a minivan (of course, because what else would you drive with TWO children, right?), but then there were two babies and happiness and laughing and a huge family plus this goofy and hysterically awful dog.

And I’m riled even TYPING that, because, um.. where’s my CHOICE?  When do I get to make a CHOICE?  Did I sleep through that CHOICE MAKING DAY?  Where I get to say, “You know what?  This is really HARD, this working and mothering thing, so um, I’m just gonna not, okay?  Just take this second income and shove it, because I’m just not going to choose between working and my child.”

(Sidenote: I have literally fished 5 [FIVE] things out of Beau’s mouth through the typing up to this point.  I say “BEAU” more often than I say “TONY” or even “BRYAN”.)

And really?  What makes me the most angry of all?  Is that she’s right.

I can’t have another baby with this situation.  I can’t have another child that I only see an hour a day.  It’s just not fair to them.  It’s not.  It’s not fair to Tony, it’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to anyone.  And to subject another child to my lack of availability?  Is not fair.  It’s not.

I have tossed and turned over this since I saw the movie.  And I really have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to mother this way.  I don’t want my child to spend eight hours of his early childhood being passed from minimum-wage earner to minimum-wage earner.  And that’s not to downplay Tony’s daycare workers.. there are some that we feel are family and I WOULD willingly leave my child with them.  But that’s not all of the people he spends his days with.  And there are some that I DON’T like, and HATE leaving my child with.

I am not a good mother right now, mentally, and I feel the need to acknowledge that.  I work an average of ten hours a day, seeing my child for MAYBE two hours in a 24 hour weekday period.  That’s NOT acceptable.  And even that time is often comprimised by my not being able to step away from work mentally, or being too tired from work to perk up, or me stretching myself to a breaking point to try and be “there” for Tony.

And then there’s the EVER present Mommy Guilt, where any time that I spend on me feels like I’m borrowing it from someone else.  If I don’t pick up Tony from daycare right away and instead go grocery shopping, then every child I see at the grocery store pulls on every heartstring to remind me how much I’m sucking as a mother.  If I get dinner on the table, dishes washed afterwards, the baby bathed and put to bed and I go running?  Then I feel like I’m taking time away from my husband.  I geniuinely feel that I would be more comfortable spending time on myself if I had more time available that I would normally spend working.

Lastly, I strongly feel the need to say that I don’t judge any of you reading this for whatever YOUR choice is.  We’re all wired differently, no doubt, and some women LOVE being moms who work outside of the home.  Some women could not imagine being anything BUT a stay-at-home mom. 

I just feel, right now, that there is so little of me to go around that I couldn’t imagine splitting what IS available down one more time, depriving my current family members just a little more and bringing some poor baby into an already sparse situation.

Now that I’ve dumped all that on you, Beau is running around with a bra.  I’m sure it is not his, and I think I should retrieve it.

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Just a Catch-Up

I have, believe it or not, started this post at least five times in the last week.  This last week has been incredibly difficult, on an employment front, and I often waffle here about what’s okay to write and what’s covered by the Rule of Dooce.

Bottom line is, I don’t think I’m in the right place.  And I don’t think I have the mettle to keep it up for much longer.

Regardless, HERE’S SOME OTHER HAPPIER STUFF!

I bought some mugs from Target because half of the set was broken, so the individual mugs were on sale for, like, $.94 a piece.  For less than a dollar? 

I totally bought four.  AND I LOVE THEM.  They are the first mugs we’ve EVER owned that are not themed for children.  And the porcelain finish is SO clean and pretty that I’m debating buying this entire set before too long.  Our current set belonged to my grandmother and while I adore it because of the heritage, it makes really spooky groaning noises when we microwave it.  That just reeks of foreboding.

Let’s see.  What else?

Oooh, the weather has gotten chilly around these parts.  Which means I get to dress up Tony like a Gap child and send him out to take pictures of him.  LOVE!

And also, the day before our anniversary, I was driving to work and saw a little itty bitty puppy shivering on the side of a major thoroughfare.  AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGEMENT, I pulled over, and he quickly scampered up to me and stole my heart.  His name is Beau, and he’s everything we said we DID NOT WANT in a new dog, but we love him so hard already.

Last Saturday, Ronda and I went and ran in the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run to benefit our local Women’s and Children’s Center in their fight against breast cancer.  Well, I should rephrase.  We ran.. a little.  The temp through the run was, like, 45 or some other ridiculously cold temperature and THEN IT RAINED.  It sucked so hard.  But my favorite part was that, at the end of it, Ronda and I decided to stand at the finish line and cheer in the rest of the race.  I so adore people who do that when I’m running, and I was happy we could give back.

But it DID motivate me to get off my (expanding) ass and get back into the swing of exercising.  Even if I can’t control my 9-5, I can control my life outside of it and I need to get better about it.  I’ve gotten back into SparkPeople (if you are trying to lose weight and haven’t tried SparkPeople, CHECK IT OUT! It’s free and AWESOME!), and I’m doing SOMETHING active every day.

Lastly, I have such a BIG project looming in the wings, but we’re not quite ready to announce it yet.  Every Sunday, Ronda and I spend a few hours in a production meeting, getting the final details ready, and I am SO psyched because THIS?  THIS is the right place for me.  I can’t wait for y’all to join in the frivolity.  And oh yes, you SO will.

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Three Years Ago Today

October 14th 2006 was a GORGEOUS day. 

And we were thankful, cause it was the day I was to be married.  Outside.

The day before had been really, really chilly, and we were all worried that our strapless dresses would have us freezing, but the sun was out long enough that it truly was just a gorgeous, gorgeous day.

Bryan held very strictly to one superstition that I did NOT LIKE AT ALL: he wouldn’t talk to me on our wedding day.  Like, AT ALL.  I called his phone; he put his Best Man on.  I tried to corner him during photo sessions, but he had all of his groomsmen on interceptive duty.  It drove me nuts.

The day after the wedding, as we were leaving town for our honeymoon, we stopped in at My Best Guy’s house to drop off Bryan’s tux.  He opened the door and we finally got to chat for the first time since the brouhaha the day before.

“How was the first married kiss?” he asked.

“Fine,” I said, blushing.  Weird question.

“Did you taste it?” he asked, leaning forward expectedly.

“Um.. Kevin, you’re making me freaked out.  Taste WHAT?”

“THE WHISKEY!” he sighed.  “Damnit, you didn’t taste it, did you?  See, you were supposed to taste the whiskey so you knew that he had been nervous and he had some whiskey to calm his nerves and he was contemplating running away to Mexico, but HE DIDN’T, he stayed and married YOU instead, so you were to know that he had other options BUT HE CHOSE YOU.”

I stared at him.  “Whiskey?”  Bryan doesn’t drink.  Like, EVER.

“Damnit,” he sighed again.  “I guess you couldn’t figure out how much he loves you.”

Three years later, and there’s never been a day that I’ve doubted how much he really loves me.

Even without the whiskey.

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And Then My Heart Shattered. AND HE LAUGHED.

So I was gone for two nights.  THAT’S IT: TWO NIGHTS.  It wasn’t even enough to really pack a suitcase (which I did, cause, you know, shoes); just enough for me to miss my child as if he had been ripped from my arms.

Seriously, I was DYING to see him.  I hauled ass back from New Orleans.. NOLA, the place that is my second home and I ferociously miss.. I hauled ass to LEAVE THAT PLACE.  Because I missed my son.  MISSED HIM, with the fire of a thousand suns.  I missed my kid.

I picked him up at daycare and it was everything I thought it would be.  “MOMMA!” from across the room, all smiles and hugs and wiggles and rubbing my shoulder like he does while he hugs me and I breathed him in and thought, Yes, my baby, we’re complete again, huh?

AND THEN?

God, it was only lacking the spinning of his head and accompanying pea soup.

I don’t know what the hell happened.  He spent the entire night hitting me, alternately squawling and laughing at the punishments.  He was.. I dunno.. mad at me or something.  He made my life REALLY hard and once I finally confined him to his crib (not that he went to sleep for TWO HOURS without screaming, oh nooooo), I sat on the couch and cried.  This was NOT the baby I left.  And Bryan was out of town for the night, so it was just me and that anti-baby out there.

******

I actually wrote that first part the morning after it happened.  I was DREADING going home that next day, as if it would just be another cold tumble into a pool of I HATE MOMMY that I had always heard about but OHNO, would NEVER happen to me, with my SUPERIOR mommying skills that I attained through watching hours of SuperNanny and being a stepparent for years before a baby entered the house.

And all of it was true: the hate, the anger, the bitterness.. from both of us.  It all happened.  He was horrible to me, and I was hurt, and he was proud of himself for hurting me, and I wondered where I had gone wrong.

I went to pick him up on Wednesday afternoon, fearing the inevitable.

And there he was: my baby.  He was HAPPY to see me, and I was happy to see him, and we fell into an easy rhythm.. a rhythm we had every day, without fail.. which I had broken by leaving town.  And I realized that he was probably just as cross about ME breaking our rhythm as I was about HIM breaking it when I got back.  I had taken my lashes, made my mea culpa, and now life was allowed to continue.

*****

Then Bryan and I got the worst stomach flu EVER.  The end.

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Very Quickly, as NOLA Never Stops

First of all, I could probably find something LESS disturbing to watch while alone in a hotel room than “The Manson Family: Will You Kill for Me?”.  But I figure, if I go tonight in some cult slaying, I’m full to the brim with drunken bread pudding and oyster poboy, so that’s how I’d like to be found.

ANYWAY.

Our little theatre community here has gone into cyberworld by creating ITS VERY OWN PODCAST!  You can subscribe to “Beyond the Boards” on iTunes and follow us on Twitter as well.  It’s still in the beginning phase, but we’re getting great response in the community and it’s always nice to have a free forum to bitch, right?  Anyway, check it out and support your local arts.

I am in New Orleans for a few days on work, and I LOVE THIS PLACE.  Seriously.  The drive in tonight was so awesome, because I-10 finally looked less destruction and more reconstruction.  It did my heart good.  Tomorrow I head out to our production plant, and I’m going to try and sneak out before sundown so I can grab some pictures of the haunted amusement park down the street.  It is majorly spooky.

Another project I’m working on should be up and running soon, but in the meantime, if you’re one of my Twitter peeps?  You may want to join the Ladies of Snark.

Y’all, I have brag on my child for a moment.

Last week, we had the first days of autumn.  I picked Tony up early and we headed over to the soccer fields behind his daycare so he could run freely.  His running freely involves walking slowly beside me and jabbering, but whatevs.  We walked the fields for a bit, and then we headed to the playground.  “Side?!” he asked, excitedly.  “SIDE?!”

So, this was not a baby playground.  A real, big-kid playground.  With a big, scary slide.

(Sidebar: Sarah did not go on a slide willingly until she was 10.  She has an agreement with gravity and slides break that agreement.  She also would not ride carousel horses until she was in her teens.)

I tried to interest him in baby kind of stuff.. jumping on and off a step, counting the numbers of holes in the walls.. but he wasn’t fooled.  He wanted to go down the slide.  He toddled up the fourteen steps, me freaking out behind him on each step, and looked over the slide. 

“Honey, let’s not, okay?  There’s no one to catch you down there and..” It was useless.  He sat down, scooted forward, and was at the bottom before I could finish my sentence, letting out a melodramatic WHEEEEE the whole way.  And I realized that he was going to be okay in life.  It was just one of those moments where I realized I had to let go, just a little bit, because he’s going to be fine.

About thirty-six hours later, Bryan screamed at me from Tony’s cribside as I entertained the in-laws in our kitchen.  I ran in and smelled it before I saw it.. a stomach full of chocolate milk, chicken nuggets, and mandarin oranges were all over Tony’s crib.  We braced ourselves for what turned out to be a long night.

And y’all, this sounds SO STUPID to be proud of, but I was hella proud of that baby.  He would let me know that he was about to sick, we’d toddle over to the bathroom, he would hold both sides of the toilet, and he’d take care of it.  At the end, I’d say, “Are you done?”, he’d nod, and we’d go back to the couch.

I AM TWENTY-NINE AND I CANNOT HAVE THIS MUCH ACCURACY.

He stayed permanently attached to my chest and arms through the night, burying his face in my chest and talking quietly as his energy came back. 

I can start letting go, but that boy still needs his momma.

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