Two Down, One To Go

So, you know how your son has an emergency appendectomy on Friday night after you've just worked the Longest Recorded Workday on a Friday, from home, so you haven't even bothered to shower since Thursday at lunch because that's what you do on your lunchbreaks now and then on Saturday morning your soon-to-probably-be ex husband comes to the hosiptal and relieves you to home for a well-overdue shower and meal and so you take off all your clothes you've been wearing since Thursday night and while you wait for the shower to warm up, you breath for the first time since Friday afternoon when you realize something was very wrong indeed with your child, and you take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and that's when you realize that you could bring the three-toed sloth off the endangered list with the rainforest you're regrowing between your legs (see, soon-to-probably-be ex) and then you see his good clippers sitting there on his side of the counter, completely at your mercy for the next hour or so, and so of course you pull the little tiny useless washroom wastebasket over to where the bathroom socket is, which happens to be right in front of the washroom door, and while you're straddling the wastebasket, clippers grasping in one hand and pasty white belly rolls cinched up in the other, directly in front of the washroom door, you know how that is the exact moment your six year old daughter must walk into the washroom to ask you something that starts in Mom and ends, MOM? 



OG Related Post Widget Thingy Called "Memory": I wish this was the first time something like this has happened. 

Fine Lines

Disclaimer: This social eReader program I'll be working with over the next few months is launching this weekend, and they asked me to write about the launch. Instead, I decided to write something niceish about my mom. However, they're having a Mother's Day sale with 50% off all ebooks so if you didn't get your mom/baby momma a gift, A) you suck and B) you can get her a nice, inexpensive book through their social eReader here

When I became a mother 14 years ago, I stopped having the black and red film-grained Robert Rodriguez style dream about murdering my own mother. I stopped dreaming about getting caught in a mudslide engulfing the home I lived in with both of my parents until I was six once I stood in the field where that house once stood

Time gave me the ability to dream my way through most of the after-shocks of our life together. Twenty Mother's Days later, I'm almost not angry anymore. Twenty Mother's Days later, I can think about her and not feel hate or confusion or sadness, and thanks to the wonder of blogging, I can look back just four short years and see how far I have come with this.

Twenty Mother's Days later, I can remember things about her that were beautiful.  

I remember the sweetly salted heady scent of the sides of her breast, the space between where her nightgown ended and her flesh began, where I would tuck myself into her soft, ivory rolls and listen to her read us stories, her voice so beautiful the words on the pages rolled off her lips like a song. 

My mother didn't let us read children's books - she said they insulted our intelligence. She also thought a whole lot of them were demonic and/or homosexual, which in her tragically broken mind were equally dangerous threats. Instead we read the Bible, which isn't the least bit traumatic to children oh no, and - here's the one thing that woman did so very right - she read us her books. 

She would read to us whenever she was sane enough to. Twenty years ago, I couldn't have remembered this. I think I only do now because I still read her books. 

If she'd read me a Golden Books Grover story, I would have long ago forgotten this. Instead, she read me The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The History of Physics, over and over again until I could read those books myself, alone in my room, from memory. For her, it was just the choice to read us clever, intellectual things, but for me, it was begin gifted the one perfect, unbroken piece of her to keep forever, untarnished and alive on the pages of those books. 

There's a fine line between genius and insanity; my mother is living proof of that. 

Because of her genius, I've always read my kids my favorite books, from the time they were babes in arms: Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, World War Z, and of course, The Hitchhiker's Guide. Because of her insanity, I got to discover Shel Silverstein with my kids, and Robert Munsch and Maurice Sendack and everything in between. So that worked out okay.

My kids have never, and will never, meet my mother. I will never see her again, so long as we both shall live. The only way I can ever give them a piece of her is to share this gift she gave me with them, and so when we can, we snuggle up on the couch, me just soft and round enough for them to sink into, them still just small enough to fit under the fold of my arm, and we read together. 

And somehow, oddly, she's there with us. And I'm okay with that. 

So that happened, in three acts.

Act one: I got all Preachy Mc Bloggerson at my Babble Voices today about that Time magazine Attachment Parenting article. Which is only of note because I don't normally give a rat's ass about breastfeeding, anything-parenting, or Time magazine. I don't even know who I am anymore. 

Act two: I managed to compare the conference I am charging with the programming management of to Tengen Tetris. That actually isn't of note at all; I compare most everything to Tengen Tetris. 

Act Three: I have this thing with helpless animals who have no one to take care of them. I went to a flea market to get a plant stand and came home with Plant Stand Fail. Whoopsie.

I took Plant Stand Fail for a walk and Trash Can Ninja popped his little dirty unhomed head out from around the trash can he was trying to find something edible in. Oh, crap

I met this cute guy at a bar with mommy issues and no car an.....oh, I can't even be that mean. Today. 

Because today this puppy was hanging out on my cul-de-sac all morning, driving Plant Stand Fail into a braking tizzy of Beagleic proportions. When I left this afternoon to take my kid out for some medicine, it was on the porch, soaking wet, and very happy to see us outside. Mother of Pearl. 

I drove away, friends. I want to state that for the record. 

And while I was gone, my 12 year old came home and informed me that there was a cute black puppy on the porch. 

I told him to go inside and ignore it, friends. I want to state that for the record, too.

I got home from the store and he was outside, giving it some water. I noticed that its hipbones were sticking out a little. I gave it just a little of the giant bag of dogfood I'd just bought. Some so many/others so few. It's not like it's any secret that I'm nothing more than a commie socialist at heart. Blame Canada. 

We agreed to walk it around the block, slowly and deliberately, so that the owner would see us and scream at us for stealing their puppy. So we did. My sons walked it for forty minutes, in fact.

When they came back, we agreed to keep the puppy in the back yard until tonight when we could walk it again. After a while in the backyard, the storm-clouds started rolling in and we realized we might just have to being it inside for just a little while tonight while the storm passed, you know? 

So we gave it a bath. Just to get it clean enough for my nice couches, mind you. Record, and all. 

And when we got to scrubbing it, we realized it A) was slightly more skeleton than a puppy should be and B) had the beginnings of a case of the fleas. So we fed it some more. And then, naturally, we had to get it some flea medication. 

And then my boss asked for a picture of it, and I didn't send one for a while, because when you take a picture of a stray dog, that's like signing a pre-nup. 

My boss made me do it. I want that on the freaking record. But we aren't naming her, goddamn it. We ARE NOT NAMING HER ANY NAMES LIKE MITTENS OR SHEERA OR MARYANNE JUST SO I CAN CROSS #15 OFF MY LIFE LIST

And now She Who Must Not Be Named is tired, after a long day of meeting Plant Stand Fail and Trash Can Ninja and basically eating food and being taken care of, so we have to let her come inside for some rest. After all, she's just a helpless puppy.

It's raining out. 

She has no where else to go. 

I am a motherfucking id.i.ot. 

With three dogs. 

This Week in the End of Denial, Folk Music, and Fight Club

My son has a lot of band concerts as we come to the end of the year. There are regional competitions he has to participate in; the cumulation of so many god damn hours before school and after school and on the weekends, and his band is kicking major ass through them all. 

He has to wear a tux top, black slacks, and black shoes, which makes him look awkwardly like his father (only really awkward for me, for obvious reasons I'd rather not say and make real *shudder*).

He's been wearing his dad's pants and shoes, which has allowed me to imagine him tiny, playing dress up in dad's old work outfits, and has kept reality at a lovely little bay. 

But now the band shows are coming hard and heavy, and so we took him out to get his own black dress shoes and slacks. Oh, hai, reality, your baby actually *did* grow up and no, that foot wearing a shoe one full size larger than mine now will never again fit inside my mouth. 

Matthew 13:42. That's all I'm saying about that. 

And while his father and he were busy fucking my entire imaginary life, this gongshow happened. 

    We can just go right ahead and file that under "Shit That Was Not in the Original Contract."

He sat on my knee and looked at me with those gorgeous green eyes and he promised me he'd stay little forever and I looked it up - staying little forever does not include doing Movember with all his friends next year.

The good news is that I got to have a lime and a coconut and a sleepover with my Texas bestie, which, contrary to the song, is exactly what the doctor ordered.  

I was also interviewed on ABC News about letting my kids practice MMA, which while not exactly an extreme sport by my definition, is extremely awesome and hopefully maybe a few other people will realize that.

This is me, trying to save the world - one bloody nose and molestache at a time. 

Day Thirty Six

I walked out of our hotel the same day I married him, because he had been so drunk for so long that day that his best friend and I had to hold him up on the way back to the room. He chased me down, screaming at me that if anyone was leaving, it was going to be him. I came back five minutes later.

I left him when our sons were infants, partly because I was sick of it and partly because he'd thrown me out - though I very purposely poked and prodded at him until he did, because I couldn't find a way to say I was unhappy; I needed him to tell me to leave. I came back three months later. 

I left him after he crashed his car in the middle of the night, out drinking with some girl that worked behind the bar, and cost us a month's rent in bail money and another month's in car repairs. I moved the kids and myself to Colorado Springs and he began court-ordered-sobriety in a court-ordered alcohol treatment program. I came back three months later.   

Five months after that the drug testing stopped and the drinking started back up. 

I stayed for a long time that time, and things were okay for a while. I saw both of my boys into school and was looking into university for myself. I was 29 years old and just starting to get an idea of who I was. I made some new friends, some of the kinds of friends that adults make who stay with you forever, and I started this blog in secret. We fell pregnant with another baby, moved out of our crappy apartment and into a house, and it all started to unwind then. 

These things never happen suddenly. They slowly amp themselves up, and we simply choose to see it or ignore it. I ignored it, because I didn't know what else to do. And then we got transferred to Canada. 

And then he lost his goddamn mind one night while I was at an alanon meeting and that's when I took my children and got as far away from him as I could. I went back to Denver and started my life over, and he stayed in Vancouver and started his life over. He was work-ordered sober on a work-ordered treatment program. I was a single mother with three children thousands of miles away from him, where I could work on myself, my life, my children, and not enable him any longer. 

I was happy. I was broke, tired, lonely, worried, and proud of myself in a way I can't describe. It felt so good to be finished with it all, to not enable someone anymore, to live for myself for once. I lived. I worked at a bar two or three nights a week, cleaned houses one or two days a week, and took care of my kids the rest of the time.

It was an impossible existence that I only pulled off because I had an incredible support structure of friends who would help me when I asked and let me figure it out for myself when I didn't. They didn't make it easier for me, but they made sure it wasn't too hard, either. I came to realize that I was worth being loved, that I was respectable and capable and could have meaningful relationships with healthy people who made me a better person.

I went back a year later. 

He was unbearably far away and the children didn't want to live without their father any longer. He was getting better and I couldn't live without my co-dependent any longer. The idea of someone getting sober-him after I'd give up a decade to drunk-him was unbearable. So I came back.

Two weeks after I'd dismantled the last little bits of my life in Denver, in the middle of a summer Vancouver night, I heard the crash of him passing out drunk on the kitchen floor. I came downstairs and laid down next to him, in the bed I realized I'd made, and I've been laying in it ever since.  

Until 36 days ago.

36 days ago, I flew to Montreal to finally end this for real, to put us out of our misery in front of a third party who would make sure he, and I, had the tools we needed to deal with everything that came after.

And I didn't do it. But I didn't not do it, either. 

We talked a lot while I was there - with the therapists, with each other, with the people going through treatment with him. We talked about everything that has been, and everything that's coming, in real terms that mean something to both of us. We talked about what needs to be done now, and what can wait for tomorrow. We talked about what actually matters to each of us as people, and for him, that's recovering from his addiction to alcohol and for me, that's recovering from my addiction to alcoholics. In particular, him.

We talked about how hard it is to change anything, let alone everything, and that maybe everyone would be well-suited to take advantage of the fact that we don't have to do all of it rightthissecond. And so we aren't. We made a deal that we wouldn't fix the marriage, and we wouldn't end the marriage - we would just let it sit here while we work on all the other very large changes happening in our individual lives. 

And I am terrified. I am terrified that I had my final out and I didn't take it. But at the exact same time, I sat in a chair in a basement in a country north of us and I met this man for the first time. I have never seen him like this. Whatever they did, it worked. I'm not saying he's cured, I'm just saying he is changed.

And I am more afraid of sabotaging that than I am of missing the last exit on this highway.