Monday, May 23, 2016

In case no one's told you today, on Mother's Day, or on any other day, thank you

I'm still thinking about Mother's Day. Still trying to put into words how I feel about the holiday and all the over-hyped fanfare. I realize that posting about something that happened 15 days ago is, in Internet time, like posting about something that happened in 10 BC, but this is my blog and I make the rules so—evil cackle—here goes.

The day didn't get off to a very good day. Chuck was so tired from camping for two nights with his friends (ahem) in the rain (must have sucked, honey) that he awoke looking like a slitty-eyed serpent. Our morning hello went like this:

Me: You sleep in. You're exhausted.

Chuck: No, you sleep in [yawn]. It's [yawn] Mother's Day.

Me: Well, if you insist.

Chuck: I [yawn] do. It's [yawn] Mother's Day. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Me: Are you actually going to go back to sleep? Didn't you sleep in on your camping trip?

We both got out of bed.

The kids woke up off. Everything turned into a bickering match.

Junior: Everett hit me with his spoon. Mom, he hit me!

Everett: No I didn't! You're lying!

Junior: You did so! I have a mark on my leg.

Everett: No I didn't! You hit me!

Chuck: Guys [yawn] c'mon! It's [yawn] Mother's Day.

Junior: Everett hit me! No one ever believes me.

Everett: No I didn't! You're lying!

Junior: You did so! I have a mark on my leg.

Everett: No I didn't! You hit me!

 Chuck: Guys [yawn] c'mon! It's [yawn] Mother's Day. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Junior: Did Dad just pass out on the floor?

Somewhere in there Cam cried about nothing and everything. The weatherman admitted that the rain would continue until next month. The dog chased a squirrel into the swamp. Junior had a cowlick I couldn't brush out. There was clutter everywhere. I found 50 new gray hairs and 150 new wrinkles. We were out of milk.

You get the idea.

Around two, I decided to abort the Mother's Day mission and go to one of my favorite furniture consignment shops—because nothing says Mother's Day like buying a used bureau—but as soon as I got in the car I burst into tears. Then I shouted "Fuck Mother's Day!" a few hundred times and went back inside.

"We're all going out!" I barked. (Can you picture me? Mascara running, crazy-eyed, runny nose, wild hair?) "Get your shoes!"

They lovingly obliged. After driving around aimlessly for 45 minutes (go ahead, try to find something desirable to do in Connecticut on a rainy holiday), we decided to get ice cream at a stupid little ice cream shop. This is the only picture I took all day:

And you can't even see his face.

We drove home.

It was 5:15 p.m. I told everyone I was going to bed and I did. I got into bed with my phone and Googled "Shitty Mother's Day." There were 774,000 results. I instantly felt better. In fact, after sifting through countless message boards, blog posts and articles and realizing I wasn't alone, I felt the best I had all day. 

You, my fellow mothers, saved Mother's Day. You made it all okay. I'm tearing up just thinking about how much I love you all. It's asinine to think that Mother's Day will be a magical day when children behave perfectly, spouses won't be tired, pets won't get muddy and toddlers won't have meltdowns. It's just absurd.

So now I know for next year. I'm getting the hell out of dodge. Chuck can find a new weekend to camp. And you, I know you are just a few search terms away.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I bet you can't guess what kind of Mother's Day I had from the tone of this post

My friend Andy fixed me up with one of her friends on Facebook.

"She has three boys, like you," Andy said. "And she's funny! You're perfect for each other. I told her about you too."

The next day, I friended the woman. And my friend was right: her friend Sarah was funny. Silly kid pictures, snarky comments, a gorgeous home. I liked seeing her updates—until a few weeks ago when she posted a day-in-the-life-of post, by the minutes. It went something like this:

8:33: Tried to get work done
8:43: Picked kid #2's gum off keyboard. Can't use space bar
8:53: Hit in head by toast thrown by kid #3
9:13: Cat threw up
9:22: Cable's out. Kid #3 drew on wall
9:45: Sitter threw up
9:52: Found kid #1 about to jump off bookcase
10:01: Ate old granola bar off floor
10:11-10:43: Tantrum hell with kids #1 and #3
10:52: Out of milk
11:01: Have I peed today?
11:10: Stepped on LEGO
11:22: Kid #2 won't nap!

And so on.

She stopped at noon.

The next day, she picked up at 12:15, and it was more of the same. She ended at 5 p.m.. The day after that, she detailed 5:15 p.m. to bed time.

People loved it. They ROFL and LMAO at it. They wanted more. 

Me? I felt depressed by the insanity of it all. I could relate to everything; seeing it recounted item by item depressed the hell out of me. 

The plain truth is that sometimes parenthood sounds horrible and is horrible. I'm still traumatized by a friend's description of the time all five—FIVE—of her kids had the stomach bug at the same time. Seriously, it makes me twitch just thinking about it. And I'll never forget the time I saw a child run screaming from his own birthday party at a park because he wanted to go to the water park across the lawn right then. The parents had the look of deer about to be creamed by a double-wide; again, I twitch just thinking about it. 

Sure, we can try to laugh our way through it, but some days the sheer depth of what children need from us is—how do I say this?—well, it can make you feel like a mouse trying to suck Niagara Falls through a straw. The sheer bipolar nature of children is maddening. And hello, sometimes eating an old granola bar off the floor (or worse, someone's shirt) isn't funny because you realize Holy shit, I can't even meet my own basic needs—like going to the bathroom or eating something that's new.

My new Facebook friend Sarah ended her day three post at 8:45 p.m. with: Climbed into bed with kid #2, snuggled him and realized kisses make everything worth it."

I wanted to write "bullshit" or "yah, right." I wanted to tell her that her sappy and cliché ending reminded me of Cinderella or Snow White. Are kisses from your children really enough for a happily ever after? I mean, really?

Of course, since we had just started "dating" I didn't write anything. I liked her post, because yes, sometimes that stupid "like" button is validation that we're doing okay. That people find us funny. That we're not alone. That our mundane days have an over-arching meaning that we've yet to see with our own eyes. That our cats aren't the only ones vomiting. That our kids aren't wretched cretins. That granola bars have an exceptional shelf life.

Yes! The "like" button means all that.

Then, as I do most nights, I twitched myself to sleep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pre-gaming Mother's Day

Sleep regression. I had forgotten all about it.

My father calls it a state of temporary imbalance.

I call it living torture.

Cam, at 14 months, has suddenly decided he hates to go to sleep. He throws his stuffed dog on the ground and screams for it. When I go in to give it back to him, he throws it down again. I've let him cry. I've soothed him. I've taken the dog away. I've hidden it. I've rocked him (Cam, not the dog). I've sung. I've read. I've fed him. I've put lights on. I've turned lights off. I've watched minutes turn into hours.


I've rubbed his stomach. I've rubbed his back. I've rubbed my aching temples. And when he finally falls asleep, I slump down on my bed and punch my pillow.

I know the stage will pass, but I marvel at how much of this I blacked out. This is when things get dicey. This, when your child is age 1 to 3, is when you find out what you're made of.

It's also when the guy at the liquor store starts giving you the You again? look.

So when Chuck asks me for the umpteenth time what I want to do for Mother's Day this is what I tell him: I want to drive to the woods—alone—lay out a sleeping bag in the back of the Beast, lie in a ball and sleep and cry. He and the kids can stop by for coffee but the sleeping bag is mine.

A few years ago, when the idea of Mother's Day was still new to me, I might have felt horrible guilt for admitting that I just want to be alone for Mother's Day. But now I know the truth: Everyone experiences a state of temporary imbalance. Even mothers. And even on Mother's Day.

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