Apr 102013
 

I never cared too much about cars.  My parents certainly are not car people.  They buy a new car only once the old car has literally begged to be put out of its misery at 200k+ miles. My first car was an old Honda Civic hatchback that my mom drove in the early 80’s. It was cream-colored with upholstery that was shredded and stained from years of driving around toddlers.  I covered the seats with furry seat-covers, plastered clever bumper stickers to the back and drove it to high school with pride. I loved it because it was my car. Mine.

I drove that car into the ground, as 16-year-olds are prone to do, and I was lucky enough that my parents provided me with the second of the used family cars to take to college:  a gold Chevy station wagon. It had been in several accidents, so it wore a black car bra (remember those?!) to conceal the damage and it broke down occasionally (ok, all the time), but it was big enough to fit all of my friends, plus a keg or two of beer in the back.

From the station wagon, I upgraded to a gently used Geo Prizm, which I was thrilled to have, mostly because it was red.  Then a few years later, I moved from Colorado to California to seek my fortune in a white 1993 Oldsmobile that I bought the day that I left town because it had a few key characteristics besides its stunning good looks: it was over 10 years old but only had 20,000 miles and cost just $4,000.  This was probably because  it was previously owned by a little old lady, who drove it only to the beauty parlor to get her hair “done” once a week, until the day that she mixed up the gas pedal with the brake and rolled through a farmer’s market going 60 mph, where luckily no one was hurt but her licence was wisely taken away and the car sat in her garage until one of her asshole children needed money and sold it.  This is all hypothetical by the way, but hopefully you get the picture that the car was not really my dream car.  I doubt it was even the hypothetical old lady’s dream car.

But as much as can laugh about my string of “hoopties”, as my friends called all of them, none of these cars ever bothered me much – except when they were broken down. However, after a few years of cringing ever-so-slightly when I had to valet the Oldsmobile next to the Ferraris and Maseratis that populate the LA freeways the same way that Civics and Subarus populate the Denver ones, I finally decided to upgrade my car.  I had a steady job then.  A job that actually looked like a promising career.  I celebrated this by buying the first car that I had ever picked out myself:  a used BMW 3 Series sedan.  It was 5  years old but looked brand new, and black on black.  I had searched for months, done endless research and test-driven tons of cars before I finally settled on this beauty. I was proud to drive it, not because it was a shiny BMW, but because it was mine. It was my choice, based on nothing but desire (and the price being under $20,000).

I proudly drove that car for five years.  Even after the birth of my daughter, I refused to give it up.  I didn’t care that her stroller took up the entire trunk, so that when I went grocery shopping I had to pack the bags around my daughter in the backseat. I didn’t care that my back was sore from constantly ducking so far down to get her into her car seat, or that my once-clean black leather seats were now covered with a fine Cheerio dust.  I didn’t care because, on those rare occasions that I was driving in my car alone, I could still crank up my tunes, roll down the windows and zip between cars with my hair whipping out the window. Ok, who I am kidding?  I could sit in LA bumper-to-bumper traffic with the windows rolled up so no crackheads could harass me, and feel pretty damn cool while I did it. I could feel, just for a moment, like I was a young, single girl without a care in the world.

But recently we started thinking about Baby #2, and it became increasingly apparent that my cute little car would have to be replaced. Replaced with what?  A Mommy-Mobile, of course.  What else?

For someone who doesn’t care much about cars, this was much harder than I thought it would be. After endless research into safety-tests, cost comparisons, online reviews from other Mommy-Mobile drivers, and test drives we settled on the Mazda CX-9. It is actually a really great car. It seats 7. It has a third row that easily folds down to create ample trunk space for strollers and groceries and stray homeless people. It sits up high, so getting my daughter in and out is so much easier now. It links up to my phone through bluetooth, so I can easily play “Wheels On The Bus” through Pandora when my daughter gets cranky. It is shiny and new – actually the first new car that I have ever had. It is everything any mom could dream of. And all of these reasons explain why it drives my husband batshit crazy that I don’t really like it.

I know, I know.  Boohoo. Poor me with my shiny, beautiful, new car.  Cue the tiny violins. The thing is that it doesn’t really matter what the car it.  It’s not really about the car at all, it is what it represents to me.  My husband doesn’t get it.  He drives the family car on the weekends, and then hops into his sporty convertible to head to work with the top down every day. He gets to pretend for a minute that he could drop everything and cruise across the border into Mexico with his friends at a moment’s notice.  He gets to blast his music and drive fast and pretend that he is young and wild and free… even if it is only for 15 minutes on his way to work.

For me there is no pretending.  Even if my daughter is not in the car, she is still there.  She is in the giant car seat in my rear view mirror, the crushed Cheerios on the floor, the stroller in the back, the toys scattered on the passenger seat, and the Goldfish crackers stashed in my console. Even when I drive by myself, I jam out to Dora the Explorer radio because I usually can’t figure out how to change the station on my fancy bluetooth radio. There is just no mistaking a Mommy-Mobile when you see one, and there is no pretending that you are anything other than a Mommy when you drive one.  It doesn’t matter how nice the car is.  It doesn’t matter that I picked out the colors and trim. It is not my car. It is a car borrowed from my parents. It is a car we rented on vacation.  It is a car that I mixed up at the grocery store and took from some other mommy, who now has my cute little car. It is not mine.  I didn’t pick it out. Life did.

Ok, so now my tale of woe is done.  For those of you who want to punch me in the boob for complaining about such a thing as a nice new car when there are real problems in the world like war, hunger, and personalized license plates – go ahead, I totally deserve it. The truth is that I actually do kind of like my car.  I don’t want to like it, but I do. But as much as I like it, it will never be mine. I guess that’s because it is a grown-up car and I still have a bit of growing up to do.

Even a kid knows better than to ride in a Mommy-Mobile!

Even a kid knows better than to ride in a Mommy-Mobile!

photo credit: K. Praslowicz – kpraslowicz.com via photopin cc

 

Apr 042013
 

Nobody is perfect.  Anyone who has ever read this blog can attest to the fact that I am not even close. However, it seems to be some unspoken mommy code that when in public, one must cling to the appearance of parental perfection. But I am no actress (I can’t even fake an orgasm, just ask my college boyfriend) and all this pretending is just exhausting. So today I am just going to put it all out there and confess a few of my Parenting Sins – heinous crimes so terrible that parents are never supposed to reveal them for fear of being ostracized from playgrounds and Mommy and Me Yoga groups everywhere.

Judgy Judgerson’s out there:  Rejoice.  You are going to have a field day with this one.  But for the rest of you who are a) actual parents b) live in the real world and c) are tired of trying to pretend you are perfect, I hope this comes as a relief to know that you aren’t the only “horrible parent” out there.  If these sins send me to Parenting Purgatory, so be it. I’ll be there eating non-organic, sugar laden-junk food and watching reality TV, if any other parents care to join.

So without further ado, here are 7 of my Deadly Parenting Sins.  Judge away!

1)  I sometimes let Dora the Explorer babysit my daughter while I work, make dinner or just take a little break from the rigors of hostage-style negotiations with a toddler.

2)  You know how kids throw food on the floor and when you are in public you tell them that it’s yucky and then make a big show of throwing it away?  When I am in the privacy of my own home, I sometimes dust it off and give it back. Especially if it is a valuable (as in: last) snack. 5 second rule, right?

3)  I lose my patience all the time. I sometimes have to leave the room so I don’t explode. Sometimes I explode anyway. I am working on it.

4)  I laugh when my daughter repeats curse words or says other inappropriate phrases.  My daughter used to say fuck instead of fork and I would think of any excuse to get her to say fork.  “Lyla, what do you use to eat your pasta?  A what?  What was that?” Hey, it’s funny. Sue me.

5)  Some days I count the minutes until nap time or bed time.  I love spending time with my daughter, but I also like eating, showering and peeing – none of which I can do while she is awake.  Without question, my two favorite times of the day are when she wakes up and when she goes to sleep. 

6)  I can get a bit lazy with meals.  Here’s the deal:  I buy organic everything. I cram fruit and vegetables down her throat.  I make sure that she gets all her food groups every day.  But most days, by the time we get to dinner, I am tired. I also know that I have to cook another dinner for my husband and I. So my daughter eats a variation of the following things most nights:  pasta with tomato sauce and some kind of vegetables, pasta with cheese sauce and some kind of vegetable or baked chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries.  Throw in the occasional quesadilla, sandwich or leftovers from Mommy and Daddy’s dinner and that pretty sums it up. This actually sounds like a delicious menu to me. I think she’s pretty damn lucky!

7) When it comes to clothing, sometimes my daughter’s comfort is slightly less important than the adorableness of a particular outfit.  Hey, looking good isn’t always easy. Let’s just say that I am preparing her for the high heels and Spanx that will more than likely be in her uncomfortable future. And don’t even get me started on bikini waxes.

So there you go, my 7 Deadly Parenting Sins.  Sure, there are more than 7, but these are the just the few that I have already committed today.  See you in purgatory.  I’ll be the one with the baker’s dozen of Sprinkles cupcakes, a bottle of Cabernet and huge damn smile.

Please feel free to share your Parenting Sins with me.  No judgement here.  Just a “cheers!” with my wineglass and a knowing smile.

Cheers to "bad parenting"!!

Cheers to “bad parenting”!!

photo credit: Photogdan.com. Faving? Read the profile please. via photopin cc

 

Jan 102013
 
Saggyness Rules!

Saggyness Rules!

Exactly one year ago, I gave birth. No, not to the little bundle of feces, vomit and joy that I named Lyla, but to the little bundle of feces, vomit and joy that I named The Good, The Bad and The Saggy. Similar to a new baby, this little blog has given me many sleepless nights, much laughter and a few tears. But most similar to a new baby, over the past year this little blog has grown up a lot, and has caused me to grow up as well. But don’t expect me to stop using the F word or laughing at fart jokes just yet. I’m not dead. And farts are funny.

So, to celebrate a year of successful blogging (How do I measure success? Hey, I’m still here, right?!) I will do as many a mildly successful sitcom has done before me and not-so-sneakily repackage old material as a brand new episode and call it a FLASHBACK OF SAGGY’S GREATEST HITS.  Hey, after a year of blogging, I deserve to be lazy!

So, without further ado, I now present a compilation of some of my and your favorite posts from the past year.  Perhaps some of these you will read for the first time, perhaps you have already read them and wish to reread, perhaps you think I am lazy and don’t give a shit, perhaps you are having an affair with a six-fingered circus clown. Who knows, regardless I don’t judge. Enjoy!!

First, what better place to start than the beginning?  This was my very first post about all the things that change when you become a mother. (Please note that I have overused ellipses from my very post, and continue to do so to this day.  Who says everything has to change?):

Change Is… Good?

Next is my all-time favorite Random Thought. It is a philosophical question that has been debated since the beginning of time… or at least since the beginning of baby monitors:

Random Thought: On Philosophy

This next post is when I first began to realize that our children teach us as much as we teach them:

What My Daughter Taught Me Today 

Breastfeeding is always a hot topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Whatever you can or choose to do, give yourself and other moms a break:

Adventures in Breastfeeding

This post was one of my most personal and the hardest post I’ve written.  Reading it now, I can laugh at myself a bit, but I still remember how tough it was for me:

Little Heartbreaker

Another valuable lesson my daughter taught me:

Stop and Smell the Diapers

My post on my realization that I am not as cool or as young as I think I am. (still struggling with this one):

Leaving Las Vegas

The guilt, the angst, the awful feeling you can’t shake when you leave your child forever… or at least for a few hours:

Something’s Missing

This one still gets me all hot and bothered:

My Steamy Fantasy

My post about my first year with my daughter. The TRUTH:

Slow Burn

This was my first ever blog post that I wrote and never posted until a year later when I finally started this blog.  All about pregnancy:

The Ironies Of Pregnancy 

Prepare yourself for having a baby.  Read this, then panic:

Prepare Yourself 

Ugh.  Mean Moms still drive me crazy!:

Mean Moms

A horror story (don’t read before bed):

Mothers Don’t Get a Sick Day 

Another very personal post.  This I ponder still:

To Spawn or Not to Spawn 

A reminder that the small things ARE usually the big things:

Never Forget The Small Things

Another toughie for me:

Live Every Day Like It’s Your First 

True Story.  It’s even better if you watch the video on my Facebook page:

Dance Like a Toddler

The Real F word is far more dangerous than “Fuck”. Saying fuck is fun:

The F Word 

I know I just wrote this, but I still love the image of my daughter’s little hand poking through the bars of her crib:

Sleeping Like a Baby

Thanks again everyone for supporting me by reading the blog and with your comments, messages, questions and ideas.  That’s what this is all about for me… supporting one another through this crazy journey we call parenthood.  And continuing on this crazy journey… NEXT WEEK I WILL BE RELAUNCHING THIS BLOG with a new look, new address and lots of new posts for you to read.  Oh, and did I mention there will be wine?!  For me of course, but hey, wine is wine. Stay tuned!!

Nov 012012
 

Now this is my kind of chart!

Ok, so here’s the post that I was trying to write when my fingers told me that I really wanted to write about something else…

It’s no secret that your life changes drastically when you have a child. Getting pregnant is an investment. You invest 10 months of your time, 100% of your hopes, dreams and fears, plus your body, your personal comfort, and sometimes even your health, knowing (and hoping that everyone who has kids wasn’t lying to you in some F-ed up prank) that everything you put into it will pay off once you are holding that sweet little baby in your arms.  And then, of course, you spend the rest of your life investing in this child and hopefully reaping the benefits before the stock market crash that is called the teenage years hits… but I digress.

Like any long-term investment, along the way there are many gains and losses. I always knew that when I had a baby I would be gaining…well… a baby. (I didn’t graduate Cum Laude for nuthin!)  I also knew that I would lose a few things.  Mostly inconsequential things such as sleep, sanity, working brain cells and hopefully at least 60% of the baby weight.  However, over the past year-and-a-half there have been a few losses and gains that I didn’t count on.

Losses:

My Hair – I had heard a lot of horrifying tales about different physical things that happen to you when you have a baby, but no one ever told me about the hair thing.  Besides my boobs, my hair was pretty much the only thing that actually looked better when I was pregnant. My ass may have looked like cottage cheese in a mesh sack, but my hair looked like a “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful” Pantene model.  That’s why it was even harder to take when, about six months after having my daughter, it started to fall out.  In clumps. And then, to add insult to injury, all these tiny little baby hairs started growing back around my hairline.  Now, when I put my hair in a ponytail, I look like a nerdy girl at my Bat mitzvah… you know the frizzy-haired girl with the food in her colored braces. That one. Sigh.

My Time – No surprise here. I knew that this baby thing would be a time-suck, I just didn’t realize that even when she is at daycare or napping, 100% of my time would be devoted to her.  Between all the laundry, shopping, worrying, cooking, cleaning, obsessively calling the doctor, worrying, researching the best strollers, car seats, educational toys and preschools to waste, I mean spend, my money on, I now have no time to do all those things for myself.

Sleep – Again, no surprise that I would get less sleep after having baby.  However, what I didn’t realize is that when you become a parent, you lose the right to have a good night of sleep ever again.  Even though my daughter now sleeps through the night, I do not.  Why?  Because at the slightest sigh, cough, turn, creak or fart I bolt upright, jamming the monitor to my face to make sure she is still in one piece.  I can only imagine what this will be like when she is teenager out with friends. Or a boy!!! Do they make a video teenage monitor?

My mind – dlfkjath[naf’dpijht[pajf’nadl;fjhdonladj.  ;atlebtpiebgldnvbdlnd;kla!!  That’s how I feel at least 68% of the time.

Vanity –  I guess this is not really a surprise either, but I always (disillusionedly) thought that I would be one of the cool moms with great bedhead hair and casual yet stylish clothes.  You know, like Jessica Alba.  Now I realize that if I was not Jessica Alba before I had a baby, then motherhood certainly won’t turn me into her.  Instead I have greasy bedhead hair and casual yet decidedly unstylish clothes.  Sue me, I’m tired.  Not to mention, ah;bvdo;vnoiwubgvfwnpvopwirjfkm!

My keys, wallet and the ability to match shoes –  At any given time, I have only one of the three.

My Boobs –  I never had big boobs but at least they were perky.  Now they are smaller than ever and somehow still saggy.  Well, at least I got a cool blog title out of it.

My identity – Pre-baby I used to be a lot of things:  Hotshot producer (at least in my mind), smartass, fun-loving friend, spontaneous wife, wino (ok, I am still a wino), foodie, party-goer, book-reader, dream-chaser.  Now, I am pretty much one thing, and one thing only:  Lyla’s mommy.  Seriously.  When I meet other moms at the playground, they ask what my daughter’s name is, but never mine.  When I talk with friends, family, and my hubby most of our conversations revolve around Lyla. Most of the time I don’t mind this.  She is my favorite topic of conversation.  She is my greatest accomplishment.  But sometimes I miss… well, me.

Yes, I have lost a lot of things since having a baby.  I could actually go on and on with this list, but I will spare you more of the Tale of Two (saggy) Titties.  Instead, let’s focus on the gains.  First and foremost, I gained a daughter.  Nothing on the list of Losses can even compare to how much I have gained from her.  However, there are a few more gains that have surprised me.

Gains:

Friends – Personally I have never been a fan of mommy groups.  I just don’t like the idea of forcing myself to be friends with someone just because we have kids who are the same age.  We may have that in common, but you wear a scrunchie and so we shall never be friends.  However, since having my daughter, two wonderful things have happened:  First, I have grown even closer to the friends I already have.  I may not talk to them as much, but something about the bonding that happens when you complain about your kids has drawn us closer than ever.  I have even grown closer to those friends who don’t have kids. When I see how much they love my daughter it makes me love them even more.  The second thing that has is happened is that, despite my mommy prejudices, I have managed to make a few new amazing mommy friends.  We came together because we have kids around the same age, but we have stayed together because we generally like one another’s company.  I have even “met” some amazing mommies (and daddies) through this blog that I now consider friends. Sometimes there is nothing you need more than for another mommy to tell you that you are not totally failing.  I am even beginning to rethink the whole mommy group thing.  Do they have mommy wine clubs?!

A new career – Pre-baby I had a great job as a producer.  I made good money, I worked a lot of hours, and most of the time I really liked the work.  However, I always dreamed about going back to writing.  Writing is my love.  It is the only thing in my life that I do because I have to do it.  I am not myself if I go very long without putting pen to paper (my preferred form) or fingers to the keyboard.  But I was scared.  Freelancing is tough.  I knew it and my boss reaffirmed it when I tried to quit the first time.  (Long story short:  I chickened out and worked there for another year.)  But once I found out I was having a baby, the money seemed a lot less important than the time I would miss with my daughter by working those long hours.  I finally had the courage to quit my job and start freelancing.  I make less money but have never been happier.  Except when my computer breaks and I can’t call IT to fix it.  Then, I curse my freelance status and stress-eat.

A really weird belly button –  I never cared much about my belly button. I never liked it, I never hated it…  until I had a baby and was left with this weird one.  Now, I have an irrational disgust for mine.  It is stretched out and kind of saggy.  And I have stretch marks inside of it. And that misguided belly button ring that I got on spring break when I was 17 has come back to haunt me, ten-fold. You were right, mom!

A new outlook – Since becoming a mom my priorities have definitely changed.  My daughter is the center of my universe, as she should be.  But besides my priorities, my whole outlook has changed.  Little annoying things don’t matter as much, and little amazing things matter so much more.  I may have less of an identity, but I have become more of a person.

The ability to say wise things like, “You just don’t know what it is to be a mom until you are one.” –  I always got annoyed when people would say this before I was a mom.  Now I am a mom.  And now I can say that being a mom is the most amazing thing in the world.  Earth-shatteringly, mind-bendingly, pants-peeingly amazing. So amazing that no amount of losses could ever tip the scale.  So amazing that I just can’t tell you how amazing it is until you are a parent and you find out for yourself.  Yes, I can now say this kind of thing and then smile with self-satisfaction, just like those other annoying moms.  And damn, it feels good!
photo credit: Clint Chilcott via photopin cc

Oct 302012
 

You know those days when you have absolutely nothing to do? The house is clean, the shopping is done, your chores are finished.  There is no work to be done, no emails to answer, no calls to return. There are no playdates or doctor appointments.  There is absolutely nowhere you need to be.  When you are almost bored in the best way possible. When your biggest decision is whether to sit down on your couch and catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read or to lie in your bed and take a blissful nap.

You know those days?  Yeah, me neither…

 

“I think today I shall sit in the sun and read my book all afternoon.” Said no parent ever.

photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

Oct 262012
 

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the crib… I mean bed. It was just one of those days where nothing seems to go right.  Here’s how it started:

Wake up to a beautiful day.  For some reason this annoys me (not sure if it is the waking up or the beautiful day that did it.)  Walk to coffee shop for the perfect combo of sugar and caffeine that will put things right.  After waiting in line for 10 min, discover that the coffee shop doesn’t have lids for my to go coffees – which wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have to walk a half mile with a coffee in each hand. Oh yeah, and if I was even half as graceful as a drunk three-year-old. Begin to feel face flush with annoyance, but wave it off.  Go to another coffee shop that has lids but not the sugary latte I wanted.  Pout a bit.  Discover Facebook has stopped working on my phone.  Pout more.  Erase Facebook and attempt to redownload.  Discover that before I can download Facebook again, I need to update my phone’s software.  Take deep breath.  Learn that before I can update my phone, I need to update my iTunes. Engage yoga/labor breathing.  Find out that before I can update my iTunes I need to deauthorize my other computers and reauthorize my laptop.  Aggressively chug cup of coffee. Burn throat but pretend not to notice. Discover that I can’t reauthorize my laptop because my disc is out of space.
Take deep breath.  Doesn’t work.  Inhale cinnamon toast. Choke on cinnamon. Repeat. Twice.  Attempt to make space on laptop by removing pictures and movies onto a hard drive.  Spend one hour doing this.  Finally realize that in doing this, my pictures are now a mess on the hard drive without any kind of order, labeling or anything that would enable me to find any picture ever.  Pick up laptop.  Smash it on desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Just kidding.  But think hard about picking up laptop and smashing it on my desk like a guitarist on stage at a rock show.  Instead text husband an angry tantrum text about how I wish technology would die and huff around the house, cleaning up by throwing things (gently) into their places. Man, I really showed those teddy bears!

The rest of the day continued on like this, with everything going a little wrong and with me totally overreacting and throwing a temper tantrum like a toddler.

When it was time to go pick up my actual toddler, I was delighted to discover that she was also in a foul mood.  She didn’t want to come inside, but she didn’t want stay outside either.  She didn’t want to sit in her high chair, but when I set her back down she was pissed too.  She didn’t know what she wanted and nothing could make her happy.  She was impossible. And I know exactly how she felt.  Even though dealing with a cranky baby was the last thing I wanted to do when I was busy being a cranky baby myself, it made me smile how alike we are sometimes.

Here’s the thing though. She is a baby.  I am not. Usually.  She’s one and a half.  I am thirty… well, ya know, old enough to know better.  I am not a slave to my emotions.  I have the power to turn my mood around.  I just chose not too.  I chose to let myself sulk and wallow in my bad mood and spend the day in a long-term temper tantrum.  But then my husband came home with cupcakes and slightly frightened eyes and a patient smile.  He spoke gently and coddled me, just like he does with our daughter when she is being outrageous.  And you know what… it felt pretty good.  I have to be an adult most of the time, but I guess every now and then I just need to be a baby.  So, realizing this, I took my bottle (of wine) like a good little girl and went to bed.

And today I am an adult again.  Damn.

Oct 192012
 

Come on! How effin cool is rain?!

I sat down at my computer today with the full intention of writing something funny.  Something witty and clever and far, far, far away from the emotional and slightly sad tone my blog has taken as of late.  I starting typing a blog about losses and gains – about funny things that you gain and lose after having a baby.  Inconsequential things… like your mind.  However, the more I started thinking about losses, the more I started thinking about loss.  And, as so often happens when I am writing these blogs, my fingers began to take me somewhere that I didn’t know I wanted to go.  My husband says that he learns so much about me by reading my blog, and I have to say that in writing it, I learn so much about myself.  So screw funny.  It’s over-rated anyway.  (But stay tuned next week for the revival of my usual biting wit and thinly veiled sarcasm. Probably.)

I have had loss on my mind lately.  Last weekend my husband found out that one of his good friends’ wives passed away.  It was cancer.  It was quick.  It was devastating.  I personally had only met her once as they live in London, but she was a beautiful and kind woman.  She was also a wonderful mother to her two young children.  Her youngest is the same age as my daughter. When we heard the news over the weekend, my heart ached for my husband’s friend who was left without a wife and especially for those two young girls who were left without a mother.  But I also ached for this young, vibrant mother who will not get the chance to see her children grow up.

As I said before, I didn’t know her very well.  But in the short time we spent together, I was struck by how much she reminded me of me.  She was about my age.  She loved her family.  She loved to have fun.  She loved to laugh.  She loved life.  We were both pregnant when we met, although she already had one daughter.  She was wise and experienced and she graciously answered all of my (many, many) questions about babies and about motherhood.  Since then, I expect that the past year-and-a-half since her daughter was born was a lot like mine:  sleepless nights, blissful moments, more laughter than she ever thought possible.  I am sure that she spent many hours marveling at the perfection of her daughter’s face and imagining the possibilities of her daughter’s future, much the way that I have.

Then she woke up one day, just like any other day, but on this day she had a headache.  She woke up with plans and hopes and dreams, just like any other day, but she didn’t know that this particular day would be her last.  She didn’t know that she would never get to see her children grow up, get married, or have children of their own.  She didn’t know that she would never again get to marvel at the beauty of her daughter’s face or get the chance to discover who her daughters will become.

She reminded me a lot of me, and I think that’s why I felt the loss so greatly, even though I barely knew her.  If it could happen to someone like her, then it could certainly happen to someone like me.  None of us know which day will be our last.  And as sad as this thought makes me, it is also a reminder of how wonderfully precious life is.  A wise somebody once said that we should, “Live every day like it is our last.”  And while I do think this is sound advice, I also think it is a bit too sad for my taste.  It is hard to think of our last days without feeling a bit melancholy, and I don’t want to live every day like that.

Instead, I am going to try to live every day as if it is my first.  Like a child.  Full of the magic and wonder and true appreciation that comes from experiencing everything for the first time.  Without the fear and regret we learn as we get older and “wiser”, and without the ambivalence that often comes with age.   The world is full of amazing things and people and moments that, as adults, we often fail to recognize or even see.

My daughter’s new word is “Wow!”  A bird in the sky gets a heartfelt “Wow!”; fitting the right puzzle pieces together gets a “Wow!”; seeing a dog on the street gets a “Wow!”; even my stepping out of the shower naked got a “Wow!” (It’s been a while since that happened, but I will try not to let it go to my head.) A bite of cheesecake, a big splash in the bath, my funky neon green nails, a great song, a perfect hi-five… all of these are deemed “Wow!” worthy by my daughter.  And they are. Each and every day is full of these simple Wow! moments if we are young and wise enough to recognize them.

And while I hope that I have many, many (many, many, many, many) more Wow! moments left before my last day, I am going to try to live them all like they are my first.
photo credit: Frederic Mancosu via photopin cc

Oct 092012
 

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a solid post, and to those of you who plan your life and all major decisions around my blog posts, I sincerely apologize. To the rest of you aka all of you, I apologize as well. As you may have gathered from my mostly short yet bitter posts over the past few weeks, I have had a bit going on. My daughter got Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, which was an agonizing week of high fevers and Contagion-style quarantine. She was recovered for approximately two days before she spent a night throwing up for reasons unknown, and then miraculously recovered again for about a week. She then got Erythema Multiforme related to the HFMD virus, which caused even higher fevers and horrible hive-like lesions and sores all over her little body, including the inside of her mouth. Fun for the whole family! After a week of that madness, she recovered for a day – just long enough for us to overconfidently decide to celebrate with a weekend getaway. On the first day of the vacation she got a nasty cold complete with, yes, a high fever.

Needless to say, it has been a tough month.  Definitely the toughest month since my daughter was born.  And it feels like maybe the toughest month since I was born.  I have had some hard times in my life, though admittedly not as hard as many.  I have had my fair share of illnesses, surgeries and hospital stays.  Somehow though, it seems more difficult to take when it is happening to my daughter rather than directly to me.

Of course, it hasn’t been all bad.  There have been some great moments when she is feeling better and all seems right in the world.  I have learned a lot of lessons.  I have gained a bit (ok, a teeny, tiny bit) of patience.  I have discovered that I can be stronger than I ever thought I could be.  However, I have been working so hard to be a good mom that I haven’t had much time to be a good… anything else.

I haven’t had much time to be a good friend. Many a phone call, text and email has gone unreturned in the past month.  And when I do manage to find the time to chat with my friends, it’s mostly just to vent.  I end up talking so much about what’s going on in my life, that I rarely ask what’s going on in theirs.  Jerk!

I haven’t been a good worker.  I have turned down a lot of work simply because I just can’t take care of my daughter and take care of work too.  I had a choice to make, and as a freelancer, I was in the position to make it, so I chose my daughter.  I wouldn’t change those decisions, but it doesn’t exactly make me the most reliable person to hire.

I haven’t been a good homemaker.  Not that I usually excel in this arena, but my usually feeble attempts at cooking, cleaning and hosting have gotten beyond pathetic – we’re talking frozen dinners/baby stuff covering every surface of the house/turning my underwear inside out so I don’t have to do laundry – pathetic.

I most definitely haven’t been a good wife.  When I am stressed, sad and angry at life, or even when I am frustrated with my daughter, I have to take it out on someone.  I obviously can’t take it out on my daughter and I don’t have life’s email or phone number, so the back-up choice has been my husband.  Fortunately I picked a partner who doesn’t usually feel the need to take his frustrations out on anyone, but who understands me enough to know that I do.  And so he lets me.  Usually.

And out of everyone, the person I have treated the worst is myself.  I have stopped exercising, managed to take stress-eating to whole new level of disgusting, and some days have decided to forgo even the most basic levels of general hygiene (I guess I should apologize to my husband for that one too.)  And as a general warning to anyone who encounters me on the street, I am prone to break down in tears for no reason, and just as likely to start muttering to myself in a scream-whisper.  Oh yeah, and there’s a strong chance that I will be wearing a dirty bathrobe.  At first I thought I might be pregnant.  Now, I realize that I have slowly been losing my mind.

I am a half step away from ribbon roll earrings and rollers in public. Next stop: Eating my own hair.

But things are looking up.  My daughter is finally recovering from the latest installment of Outbreak 2012, hopefully this time for longer than a day or two.  So, there will be no more excuses.  No more of the selfish friend who only talks about herself.  No more of the wife whose husband is slightly afraid he will wake up in the middle of the night to find her standing over him with a butter knife.  No more main-lining red wine/coffee/entire sleeves of Oreos.  No more half-assed work.  No more depressing blogs (for now). No more messy house…Ok, ok. Who I am kidding? I have a toddler.  The house will always be messy.  Deal with it… or you may wake up to find me standing over you with a butter knife.

Oct 032012
 

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 
~ C.S. Lewis

Does this make all moms friends?  I think so.

 

You like wearing funny hats and playing with mops? Me too!!

photo credit: jessamyn via photopin cc

Oct 012012
 

My daughter is sick, yet again.  Fever spiked up to 105.7 last night.  Hives covering her entire body including her face, and it makes me want to weep every time I look at her.  No sleep for many nights due to fever and hives.  One car with a busted transmission even though it only has 60,000 miles.  The other car I used to sideswipe a parked car in the street in front of the doctor’s office today.  Hey, my sick daughter was crying in the back and did I mention I am tired.

All I can say is that life is being a real dick right now. So if I don’t return phone calls or clean my house, or if I polish off an entire bags of chips in one sitting (hypothetically of course) or yell at inanimate objects (also hypothetically)… don’t blame me, blame life.