What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Friday, July 29, 2016


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.




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.