What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wanted: Roommate. Must Like Dance Parties

For a full decade, I have lived directly next door to a duplex that houses small, one bedroom apartments. Two things here: when I say directly next door, I mean that if you open my front door and just sort of… stick your arm out and lean forward, you can touch the front unit’s door. Also-when I say small-I mean, they are very small, outdated little hotboxes that do not benefit at all from our cool ocean breezes and mostly sunny skies. But what is truly amazing is that in the last ten years with the seemingly revolving door of new tenants entering our lives-I can honestly say there was ONE bad tenant. One. It turned out she really valued her privacy, didn’t like children or people in general so it’s no surprise she hated every second of her year as my neighbor. The TWO locks she had secured to her front door when she moved in did tip me off that maaaaaybe we wouldn't be sloshing sav blanc together on the front stoop like MOST of my neighbors like to do, but her pure disdain for her living situation was apparent to even The Children who would run and hide every time her car pulled up. (To be fair, they were just taking my lead.)

Mean, Privacy-Loving, Person-Hating Lady aside, the relationships that I have formed with my Roommates, as I like to call my Duplex Neighbors, have been some of the richest in my life. Not because we all become the best of friends, although that has certainly happened, but because of how intertwined our lives become. When you live thisclose to people, you have two choices: get two locks on your door and pretend it’s not happening or fling your door open and let the life around you come in. And considering that pretty much my entire neighborhood knows the code to both my garage AND my front door, I think you know where I stand. Our door is always wide, wide open. I try to close it when it’s Time To Yell, but even then, fuck….that’s just the way it is so get used to it. (And do you know what a good Roommate does when Mama is losing her shit? They bring her alcohol.)

But all good Roommates do come to an end. As it is about to again. Back Unit Roommates have decided that Sunlight and Grass seem like a good idea and hence…they are moving out. When I was told by Roommate  that they were moving out he said-Don’t worry; we’re telling everyone who comes to check it out that they aren’t just moving into an apartment, they’re moving into a family. And I had little tears in my eyes and I said that’s so sweet. And so true. And after a tender moment shared I looked him squarely in the eye and asked: But you are warning them about Daughter, aren’t you? He laughed because he knows he can’t explain what it’s like living next door to an invasive, somewhat inappropriate 7 year old girl, he can only warn any new potential tenant that the second you start moving your shit in, Daughter will be all over your ass like white on rice. The best advice I can give with regards to Daughter? Don’t resist. Lean into the crazy. She’ll break you down eventually so it’s better to just get on her good side right away. 

A few tips if you happen to find yourself our new Roommate in the Back Unit;

One: Have a few interesting books for Daughter to look at when she wanders into your place unannounced; this way she won’t talk as much and you can continue whatever it is you were doing before she invaded. (Where’s Waldo has been very popular over the years.) Also, if you plan on handing her your device to get her to be quiet, please make sure there are some age appropriate educational games on it. And a basket of some art supplies within easy reach is not a bad idea either. 

Two: She likes dance parties. A lot. It’s probably easiest for you to have some sort of streaming service so every song is at your fingertips for her aggressive demands. Turn it up loud and give her some space because she’ll probably bust out some splits. And it’s not a bad idea to make sure you’re working out so you can do the lifts and the twirling she has lined up for you. 

Three: Be prepared for some completely invasive questions. Are you married? Why? Why not? Are you having a baby? Do you want a baby? Why don’t you have a baby? Where were you? What time are you coming back? Why don’t you have a job? Do you like your job? How old are you? 

Four: If your door is open, it means, Come on in! (This also goes for our door, and once you’ve been properly vetted by Daughter, you, too, can have the code to the garage and the front door.) Although there are clearly some boundary issues with Daughter, she’s pretty respectful of the Closed Door. She’ll pepper you with questions about it later, but you can have peace if you so desire it with the Closed Door Policy I’ve been forced to implement.  

Five: Don’t be afraid to put her to work! Need help walking your dog? She’s your girl. Locked yourself out of the house and need a Small Person to climb through your window? Look no further. Need a hand with a little light house cleaning?Give that girl a dust rag and tell her to get on it! Somewhere in there she knows she needs to earn her keep with you and will happily oblige. 

Each new Roommate that has entered our lives has left an impression on me and My Children. Some impressions have stood the test of time and others slip away silently as they tend to do. But every now and again, I think of each of them, having come and gone in our lives and I wonder if they ever stop and think of The Gelato Family. I hope they do. I hope they are as grateful for the year or two they watched Son and Daughter grow as I was for their random acts of kindness towards them; the Christmas and birthday gifts bestowed upon them, the games of catch in the street, the sheer willingness to let Crazy enter your apartment at free will and actually enjoy the company of Small Children. I cannot imagine a life without knowing my neighbors. I cannot imagine emptiness beside me. I mean, sometimes I can, but 87% of the time, I am forever grateful for the lives that are lived beside me.

So if you find yourself in that back unit, remember those two choices: close up real tight and pretend we’re not happening, or fling that door open and let us in. And considering I’ve had to help my Roommates break into both of those units before….just go ahead and let us in.

Daughter is waiting for you. 

(She actually is.) 


((I think she’s back there right now….))

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Year, New...Rules....

Welcome, 2017.

I’ve been waiting for you. 2016 be like Bye, Felicia, and I would just like to say that although the state of many things in our world terrifies the shit out of me, I welcome you, 2017, with open arms and an open mind. I am aware of the many…many ways in which i could use vast improvements, but instead of boring you with my said imperfections, let’s talk about Everyone Else’s. And by Everyone Else’s, I mean, America's.

I know what you’re thinking. Yeah yeah yeah, teenagers drinking coffee is annoying but get over it already, Lady. Look, I’ve lost that battle, and I am reminded of my defeat each time I listen to a 13 year old order something she can’t even spell, but I’m moving on. Barely.

And a recent visit to the bathroom in Target is where I’d like to begin. 

Number One: Use A Public Restroom Thoughtfully 

Okay, America. This one. THIS one. I cannot fucking believe I still have to read a Please Do Not Flush Feminine Products sign when I use the ladies room. Or, even more unbelievable-Don’t Forget to Flush. That’s a SIGN. In BATHROOMS. In PLACES. I’m sorry, but unless you’re under the age of 5, you don’t get to FORGET to FLUSH the TOILET you just WENT in. Sadly, I think we need to add another sign to the bathroom wall: I See You’ve Protected Your Little Tush From Scary Scary Germs By Putting This Toilet Seat Cover Down. I Can See That You Used One Because IT’S STILL ON THE DAMN SEAT. Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, FLUSH YOUR USED TOILET SEAT COVER. This basically proves my theory that germaphobes are probably the most disgusting people on the planet because they only care about their personal hygiene, not anyone else’s. (Except for all my friends who are germaphobes-you guys are the best. And so clean.)  Listen, I don’t want to use the Target restroom anymore than you do, but think how much more tolerable it would be if people didn’t turn into little piglets as soon as they walked in there. Mull that around. See how it feels. 

Number Two: Be A More Patient Driver

I know it’s really frustrating when someone has the audacity to turn their blinker on and try to get into your lane, which clearly you own, but maybe just chill for a second and let them over. Who knows-maybe they’re lost…maybe they’ve never been on this road before, maybe they really are just dicks, but I know I am personally trying to be a more patient driver and have come to realize that the one second I lose by letting someone over is surely worth the several more seconds I would lose by playing cat and mouse with a car to try and teach them who the boss really is. And also- when someone does let you over, let’s not forget the Thank You Wave. The Thank You Wave goes a surprisingly long way in convincing people that you are not Satan. Also, sometimes I like to smile a Sorry Smile and give that face like, oh my God, I’m such an idiot. This does two things: it makes that person feel better about themselves that they really are superior to you, and also forces them to realize that perhaps they were acting a little too aggressively and they give you that awkward Oh, No Problem Face, as if they weren’t just ready road rage your ass. 

Also, I understand that asking people to come to a COMPLETE stop at a stop sign is, like, kha-razy, but maybe we can find a compromise? Perhaps something between a Yield and a Stop? I mean, unless you’re Really Important and Have Somewhere To Be-disregard everything that’s happening right now obviously. Buuuttttttt…..I assure you, as that Lady Who Did Lots of Stuff To Her Face and Drives A Car I Cannot Pronounce found out, when you run a stop sign that happens to be a crosswalk to a park where KIDS play, *some people* have no problem running down the street, knocking on your window and investigating why it is you seem to be in such a hurry that the running over of a child seems to be an option. (Fun fact: when you’re willing to look and act a liiiittttllleee bit like a crazy person, all kinds of things become an option. Like chasing Plastic People in Expensive Cars.)

Number Three: Pick Up Your Dog’s Shit

This one is specifically written for that mysterious person who lets their dog shit on my lawn every morning and then just…leaves it there, but, sadly,  I know I’m not alone in this problem. Like, you have a dog. It pooped. As living things tend to do. Pick it up. And throw it in your OWN trash can. I didn’t throw my kids’ diapers in your trash can. Poop should stay in the family, you know what I’m saying? Don’t make me get one of those cutesy little dog signs in my yard asking your dog to not do what your dog does in my yard. I mean, that’s the equivalent of the mini-van family stickers. 

Number Four: Please Please Pretty Please Can We Not Use Our Cell Phones When Other People Can Hear Everything?

Sometimes I know that I am on the complete opposite end of something and have to understand that just because I have a super low tolerance for…I guess…um….everything, the fact that I am completely mortified to answer a phone call while standing in line somewhere simply to tell that caller that I will call them right back when I’m alone…. this is not normal. But this morning as I was in the gym locker room minding my own business at an appropriate level of nudity, the naked ass woman beside me answered her phone, put it on speaker and then when the few other people and I looked are her like-what the fuck-she looked at US like what the fuck-and we were all, wait, no, what the FUCK….well, she clearly saw no problem being butt ass naked having a full on conversation while on speaker phone. And while I make it a point to actually never answer the phone because I have that weird phone phobia that makes you afraid to talk to people, I think the only time I would ever answer it butt naked in a room with other people was if it was The Children’s School calling. And even then…I mean, I know they’re going to leave a message and the fact that now you can READ your voicemails….I mean…that’s the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my life. 

This explains a lot about me. 
Anyway.

Number Five: Combine All The TV Stuff

This is less a resolution as it is a personal request that I just feel like sharing. Can we make all the TV Stuff like…One Happy Thing? Netlix, Amazon Prime, cable, Hulu, other ones I can’t think of right now…People-I am CONFUSED and I want to WATCH IT ALL and I don’t want to have to subscribe to all these things because good God, I can’t remember all those passwords. I mean, when someone comes to me with a glow surrounding them and asks me-Oh my God, have you seen <insert show> I want to say YES! Oh my God-YES! Because so often I have to say No. Oh my God, no. I haven’t seen it. And the complete disgust in that person’s eyes reminds me that I am the lowest of the low and I deserve the shame they’ve thrust upon me because I have not yet watched <insert show.>  I know that disgust because it’s the same thing I feel for all people who have not yet experienced Friday Night Lights because that really IS the Best.Show.Ever and all men should aspire to be Coach Taylor. 

Just thinking off the cuff here…but maybe unity in television is the key to unity in humanity…..?

I should seriously run for office. Or run for something. Or just run away. 



Number Six: Be Coach Taylor

Truuussstttt me…..NOBODY will be disappointed.  

I’m gonna wrap this up. I need to go use the bathroom here at Barnes and Noble like a clean, normal person, then get in my car and smile at everyone, make a voodoo doll for that dude who lets his dog shit in my yard, not answer my phone if you call and I look forward to watching The Mick tonight, which is on FOX by the way, and you should definitely be watching it, all while daydreaming of Coach Taylor and believing that Clear Eyes and Full Hearts Can’t Lose. 

Happy New Year.

Let’s do this. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What the Elf?

I’m going to skip the mushy love stuff this time and get right get the point: I, Gelato Mama, hereby do declare we come together as a community and rid our lives of The Elf on a Shelf. When did Santa stop being enough for our Children? Here you will find my persuasive argument:

Santa has been around for centuries. This is true because I read it on the internet when I googled “How Long Has Santa Been Around?” How long has Elf been around? Barely a decade. A decade of middle of the night panic attacks, creepy, competitive hiding spots and countless four letter words directed toward That Lady Who Did This To Us. 

Santa was a Saint. He gave to people less fortunate than he. He was a kind man who liked Mothers; he didn’t have this weird, twisted need to make Mothers feel badly about themselves if they hate a weird little doll with creepy eyes. Santa’s eyes are crinkly and happy, not all judgey and disapproving like Elf’s.

Elf is seriously over-doing it. Every night, Elf? Every.Damn.Night you need to go and tattle to Santa about what went down in the Gelato House? That’s aggressive. You should totally chill, Elf. Nobody likes a tattletale. Santa simply has sporadic visits here and there, checking in occasionally like a Normal Person because Santa is a forgiving, rational man who knows that Little Children can be assholes sometimes and it’s not always their fault. You were tooootttally teacher’s pet, weren’t you, Elf? Smirking up there in the front of the class.  Pretty sure Santa was voted Most Likely To Succeed.

Elf’s magic only exists if you don’t touch his precious little Elf Self. Oh here, Kids. Here’s a magical little Elf who is friends with Santa! DON’T TOUCH HIM! HE’LL BURN IN ELF HELL!Santa’s Magic knows no bounds. The man can pay a visit to every house in the land in one night, leave gifts and stuff stockings without waking anyone, eat endless amounts of cookies without getting full; I mean….he rolls in a sleigh driven by flying reindeer for God's sake. How can we even compare this? It’s getting embarrassing that Elf is even a thing at all. 

I don’t meant to sound harsh, I just want the simplicity of the belief in Santa to be enough for Our Children. 

It still is for me.
Happiest of holidays to you and yours.




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

And then He was Ten....

Dear Son,

You’re ten years old now. 10. However you say it, type it, write it…you’re a whole decade old. Wow. That’s really hard to believe. Each new year is hard to believe because to me…as the saying goes…you are still my first baby, my newborn, my toddler, my kindergartner. I have to start accepting that you are also my boy growing into a Young Man. It’s not always easy with you, I’ll have you know. You and I…we… clash more than me and Sister. You challenge me in ways I didn’t know were possible. But you also love me in ways I didn’t know were possible. You still have a desire to pretty much be as close to me as possible, and while sometimes a Mama just wants her space…I take a breath…and try to soak in the moments with your breath in my ear, your weight on my belly, my hand tickling your back. One day you will reject my arms, I know, and retreat to your room and then I’ll go into my room and cry….but I can only hope somehow that these moments will be instilled into your being, as I can still hear the gurgling of my mother’s stomach as I laid my head in her lap and felt her tears fall on my neck as she read us Where The Red Fern Grows. 

You and me, Son….we’re more alike than maybe what’s first suspected by the outside. So often it’s Your Sister who gets the ‘just like Mom’ references…and while that’s true…you and me, we clash because we both pretty much know we’re always right. And when someone DARE suggest otherwise, we both fight till the end to prove our point. You’re much more pointed and less emotional than I; you’re just relentless in your absolute defiance to accept otherwise.(Use these powers for good as you get older, please.)  I get too heated, too teary, I feel it too much and usually take personal offense when I feel alone on my own island. (Which is most of the time.) But that’s okay, Son. You do you. I’ll do me. Because each time the heat starts to rise and the tempers may flare, we always come back to one another. We always come back to that sofa, with your breath in my ear, your weight on my belly, my hand tickling your back. We always come back.

We’ve had a hard year here in the Gelato House. Our hearts have all been hurting. But you keep me going, Son. You keep ready to face the day; you keep a smile on my face, gratitude in my heart, peace in my soul. Sometimes, Life forces us to grow up a little faster than seems fair, but you have handled it all so well while continuing to grow into a Fine Young Man. And while I certainly wish that you could brush your teeth without somehow managing to get toothpaste….pretty much everywhere (how?)….and I could do without the daily reminders to please eat over your plate….and you know where the damn glasses are, get your own water….and for GOD’S SAKE PLEASE STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR SISTER….you are pretty solid for usually putting your laundry away, taking a shower without first engaging in an epic battle, doing your homework with little complaint and giving me a break on the math because you know I’m just a lost little puppy dog. I have to say thanks for always being respectful to your teachers, kind to your friends, and…only when it really counts…a good buddy to Sister. Because one day, and I know this sounds CRAZY-the two of you really will be good buddies. One day, I hope you both have bustling households filled with love. And, it must be said-may you have one hell of a stubborn Offspring, Son, so Grandma can sit back and smile. And probably laugh. Okay, smirk. I’ll be smirking.

You’re pretty much the greatest thing that every happened to me, Son, because you made me a Mama. (Don’t let that go to your head, though.) And while you were laying on my belly last night giving me an extremely detailed and surprisingly lengthy play by play of a football game that happened 3 years ago, I still saw that baby face looking back up at me. 

I just bet I’ll see it forever.

I love you to the moon and back. And back again. (And again.)

Happy 10th birthday.

Love, 
Mama










Monday, October 3, 2016

I was a little anxious for some reason. A little unsure, a bit worried if I would remember how to… do everything.  I kept telling myself that it was nonsense…it’s just like it always was. It will feel just like it always did. It will feel…like magic. 

And it only took one glance at that magnificent skyline as I drove into the city to know that my anxiety was misplaced; my doubts were foolish. There she was, in all her beauty, always taking all of our breaths away-my favorite place. New York City. 

As my foot touched the pavement when I stepped out into the night, it understood. It knew where we were. It felt as though every day that had passed since my last visit melted away; it didn’t matter. I was back. The whole of my body understood. My soul understood. I know that sounds hopelessly corny, but it’s helplessly true. I felt like I was home. It has alway felt like coming home.

I happen to live in a beautiful place, a Beach Paradise, and I adore it. The sight of the Pacific Ocean each day is equally irreplaceable to the sight of the New York skyline. The sight of My Children with their tanned little bodies so comfortable with the ocean, so pleased with their salty, sandy lips, so happy to be living where most people only vacation, is something this native Iowan girl never takes for granted.  

But that Beach Paradise where I reside does not reside in my soul. It does not get under my skin. I never laid awake as a little girl, night after night, dreaming of this beach life. I laid awake night after night, chasing the chance of New York City. I got my chance and I loved every second of living there. Even in the pouring rain or the freezing snow. In the crunch of Autumn. The sweat of Summer. The sweetness of Spring. I loved it all. It’s not always an easy place to live. It can be dirty and tiring and claustrophobic. Your body longs for space and less movement. Also, New Yorkers can be downright arrogant assholes about their city. They wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. At times you wonder to yourself if they’re even aware that there are many more parts to America than the island of Manhattan. (I have to say though, having lived on each coast, the East and the West are both guilty of this particular crime. The sight of a rolling cornfield on a September day in the bright midwest sun is a glorious thing to behold. Every place has it’s own beauty. All you have to do is pay attention.) 

While in New York last week, I was playfully calling my days there my Pretend Life. After all, I was there alone, my kids were being well taken of, I had no agenda, I had no commitments. I did what I wanted. I had surprise encounters and met interesting people. I saw old friends and current friends. Made some new Instagram friends. I strolled what felt like every block in that city, loving and remembering how each block, each neighborhood has it’s own life; it’s own heartbeat; it’s own routine. I felt playful. I felt sexy. I felt fun. I felt open. I felt strong. I felt confident.  Surely this was Pretend Life. Real Life would be waiting for me soon enough, let me take in this fantasy just a little bit longer. Let me live in this place just a little bit longer….

I drove back to the airport. And as much as I could really, really not wait to see the faces of my Two Beautiful Children, as much as I wanted to feel their arms around me and kiss their sweet cheeks, I started to deflate, bit by bit. Real Life can still be Real Hard right now. I got Real Shit to deal with. Real Life Changing Shit to deal with. I boarded the plane. Real Life was coming back whether I was ready or not. Real tears were filling my eyes. Real anxiety held it’s grip. Stop, I tell myself. I plead with myself. Take this week as what it was-a gift. A true gift. Don’t leave that girl who felt so free and fun and playful in New York. Take her back to the Beach Paradise. It’s okay if you don’t always feel like you belong there, that you’re an outsider looking in. It’s okay if you don’t know what Real Life has in store. It’s okay that you’re taking the long, windy road to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. It’s okay. 

It. Will Be. Okay.

After all, Real Life in Beach Paradise has given me so much. I could never regret being here. I never will. It’d be impossible to ever regret the gifts, the relationships, the experiences I have in my life because of this place. But that sly, little magical place called New York City…well. I will never regret the way it makes me feel. I will never regret having it live in my heart and my soul for…ever. 

It’d be impossible. 











Friday, July 29, 2016

Stoplight

One day at a time. This is what people like to say during trying times in your life. Just take it one day at a time and time heals everything. Really? A whole day? Can we narrow that down, maybe? Like, let’s say…make it until happy hour? Make it there and you’ve been successful. Congratulations. Here’s some rosé. Because for real, let’s face it, sometimes you gotta take things one hour a time. Sometimes, for me, I gotta take it one stoplight at a time. I don’t know what it is but something about sitting and waiting the eternity it takes to make a left on Sepulveda opens the floodgates for me. Maybe it’s the silent hum of the car or the monotonous click of the blinker. Most likely it’s just because I’m a hot mess. But sitting in the car, alone, waiting the 27 minutes for that damn green arrow to come on…fuck. I didn’t know it could ruin me. And the wave of emotion is followed by a wave of anger. A feeling of weakness. I don’t want to cry at stoplights anymore. Why can’t I stop? Why is it so heavy upon me?

But the days that I don’t have aggressive emotional breakdowns at seemingly innocent stoplights, the weeks where I have mostly good days…it feels so good. So, so good.  Like jumping into a cold pool after doing manual labor in 100 degree heat. Like, holy Jesus, how does this feel so good? I want to feel this good! Look at me! I’m feeling good! Like for real! I swear! There’s no crying! There’s no crying at stoplights! There’s just good tunes and the windows down and fresh air. There’s just a sense of lightness. There’s just a feeling of freedom. The shackles came off for the day. For the week. This is the feeling I try to come back to when I’m feeling down. This is the feeling I’m trying to force my body to remember, to have it stamped upon my soul. 

So here we are today. What is today? How am I feeling today? 

I woke up in a quiet house that misses the little feet running up and down it’s hallway. I sat on the sofa in Son’s self proclaimed spot and read the paper. I let my gym buddies lighten my mood in the hot sun of a killer workout. And I swallowed my pain knowing that The Children are going to see their cousins today and I don’t get to be there. And that made me sad. That made me angry. I could feel the shackles tightening against my ankles. I closed my eyes and let out a scream. Silent at first, but then audible, neighbors be damned. Hot tears down my cheeks. A deep breath. I want to scream again, but instead I just breathe again. I feel the shackles loosening. It’s okay. It’s okay, I tell myself. Today will be okay. The Children will have a good day. And I want them too. Of course I do. I want, more than anything, for them to be happy. To feel unburdened by the pain that is surrounding them. 

As Daughter hugged me goodbye this morning, she put her face close to mine and she looked me straight in the eyes. She was checking, as she does. She was looking for the watery eyes. I smiled a big smile. I forcefully instructed my eyes to remain dry and they miraculously agreed. Have a really fun time, I told her. Okay, she said. I love you. I love you, too. I’ll see you tomorrow, I said. I’ll see you tomorrow, she said.

Stoplight.Stoplight.Stoplight. 

Stop.

Light. 




Friday, July 22, 2016

Alone, again

I spent the last ten years of my life fantasizing about trips alone to the grocery store and a night on the sofa solo with popcorn and the Housewives. Dreaming about a quiet afternoon while The Children miraculously have plans with friends at the same time. I spent the last ten years tucking my kids into their beds each night. Ten years of knowing that they were there, right there, in the next room, their presence a peaceful reminder that I’ve done at least two great things in this lifetime. Each day for almost twelve years, I’ve been a wife and a mother. I’ve made a thousand dinners. The doors to this house were always open and I loved that people were always going in and out. Each day for almost 13 years, I had a partner. 

And then one day I was Just Me again. 
I was able to go to the grocery store alone. 
I had way too many nights with popcorn and housewives, solo on the sofa.
I had too many quiet afternoons while The Children were away with their father.
Because then one day, not every night was a night my kids could be tucked into their beds by me; their empty room beside mine a reminder that life had changed forever.

I used to be really good at being alone. In fact, I’ve always been someone who needs time alone. I like to be with myself. I like the solitude. I enjoy being alone with my thoughts. I’ve never had a problem going to the movies alone, preferring it, actually. I’m happy to keep myself company at lunch or saddle up to a bar for a glass of rosé. I think my years in New York taught me that. Moving to a huge city by yourself at 18 requires one to figure shit out. And then another move at 21 to another huge city by yourself, those lessons repeat themselves. 

But suddenly faced with so much alone time at age 35 after a decade of Raising Children, well, let me tell you. Shit is hard. I have very well meaning girlfriends who tease me that they’re jealous of all this time I have and my only response is-don’t be. It’s a difficult thing to grasp when the purpose of your life for a decade suddenly changes shape drastically. I’m still surrounded by so many things familiar, but that’s just a facade. Just because the outside looks the same doesn't mean the inside isn’t a tore up, hot mess. Kinda like these thoughts I’m trying to express. 

I’ve spent so many nights the last many months with a new appreciation for loneliness. It sorta…creeps in slowly and then suffocates you. Each morning I wake up to the sunlight streaming through the windows and I think…okay. Here we go. Another day. We can do this. Because I still have so many happy moments in each day. I still have so many things I’m grateful for. I look at My Children with even more wonderment now. Every kiss and hug and plea for a back scratch makes me smile and happily oblige. Because they’re looking at me. Daughter especially. She’s checking in, asking Mama if she’s happy. And Mama…well Mama just has to swallow her tears sometimes and remind Daughter and Son that they will always make her happy. Every time. Every day. Every minute. 

But now these days I have alone, I need to figure out how to make me happy again. I admit in a way, it’s somewhat exhilarating to have an opportunity to…rediscover yourself. That’s what my therapist and I are working on. I’m so L.A. now, with my therapist and everything. (Only took 15 years.) Therapist likes to give me pep talks. Remind me that I’m ONLY 35, not ALREADY 35. (Still..holy shit.) Remind me that there’s a whole lot of life yet to live. And I will live it happily. Remind me that, yes, this experience I’m experiencing is awful, terrible, sad and…lonely, but now I have to admit that I’m more than a wife and a mother. I’m…Just Me again. I always knew that girl was still down there, somewhere, waiting for her time to jump back out. I guess it’s time. I guess I gotta go find her. 

I think she’ll be happy to see me.