The Circle of Life

My very first baby went to preschool at the completely amazing, life-changing-for-me public school in our neighborhood. It was a totally normal preschool in that we had to walk our kids into the classroom, sign them in every morning, then sign them out and walk them out every afternoon. This is a horrible, cruel expectation to set for mew mothers, because as sure as hell is hot, come the first day of kindergarten my son wouldn't even let me on the play area where the 'big boys' lined up. We made it all the way to the flag pole out front of the school and then he turned, kissed me, and said "I got it from here, momma."

The distance between those two points was exactly 1,392 miles. (That's 2240.407 km for all you Canadians.)

By first grade, I was allowed to walk him to the end of the street. Our street, not the school's street. 

If miles were measured in heartbeats, he rode his little bike to the moon and back every school morning. 

My second one entered school and was a little bit more forgiving of my need to, you know, parent him. He'd occasionally let me in the general vicinity of the drop-off area, but only if I remembered who was in charge.

Ain't nobody got time for dat, Jesus.

By the time we moved to Canada, they were getting themselves on and off of the city bus every day all by themselves. (*I* can hardly manage the city bus without a Xanax.) These boys forced me to let them go, let them be, let them become. I was helpless against their cute noses and dashing hairdos and squeaky voices asking please mom, please let us push these boundaries and find out what's waiting for us in the world beyond your arms.

I hated every minute of it, and loved every minutes of it. They made me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud. 

Turns out, boys and girls are different. Huh. 

My daughter is seven and-almost-a-whole-half-mawm, and every morning I walk hand in hand with her to her bus stop. Together we talk to her friends, sometimes she'll leave to play with them...but she leaves me with her toy or backpack so I don't have to miss her too badly. She kisses me goodbye and waves back to me with every third step towards her bus.

I'm not too proud to admit that I love it.  Sometimes we purposely run late so that I can drive her to school, giving us a whole lot of extra seconds together in the mornings.

So today when I told her she was going to have to walk her little self all the way to the bus stop by her own self because I had a conference call that I simply could not miss, she panicked. She panicked almost as much as I did.

She told ne she couldn't do it, because she would end up getting burglarized. I told her she could do it, that all her friends would be walking at the same time, and that as soon as she turned the corner where she wouldn't be able to see me anymore, she'd see them. She told me she didn't care, that she wasn't ready, that she simply could. not. do. this. 

And I was fairly uncertain whether I could, either. I mean, it's like a 63-second walk

Part of me feels totally justified in my overprotection. Jessica Rdigeway was just walking to school like everyone else, too (doesn't help that I used to live in that very neighborhood, no it doesn't.)

But it had to be done, we had to do it, and dammit, we did it. She said she understood why she had to do this, and I said I understood why she didn't want to. I bundled her up, stole all the kisses I'd miss at the bus stop (while on a conference call, i'll have you know, who says mother's can't do it all?) and sent her on her way. I stood on the sidewalk in bare feet and watched her every step until I couldn't see her anymore. She watched me the whole time, too. 

It'll all I have to not call the school and just make sure she's there, but she's there, everything is fine. I hate every minute of this again, and love every minute of it again. She makes me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud. 

The Neverending Post

Sept 10th: I was supposed to hang out with my old friend Katie a few weeks ago, which is was to be stupendous because: 

A) I haven't seen Katie since last we sat in a rooftop hot tub and she told me the 15 reasons why she was no where close to having children. That plan worked out well for her. 

B) Baby Daddy takes the kids every Saturday, but I haven't had one person to hang out with since I moved here, which leaves me little choice but to spend my Saturdays scrubbing tile and watching Sandra Bullock romcoms on Netflix.

C) ZOMGBABY

So we were all set to spend the day together on a Saturday and of course I met up with the business end of this flu that had been courting all of us for the previous month or so. I don't remember much of that weekend, because I spent most of it wrapped up in a Snuggie which Vicks sent me while pouring sweat from my calves, having really horrible nightmares, and eating all the egg drop soup I could get my germ-ridden hands on. 

I think that's where this tweet came from. 

Not that I remember tweeting it, but it's there in my stream. That whole weekend is feeling a lot like the weeks right after my surgery, when I slowly began to realize that I had a number of out-bound text messages on my phone, to close friends both male and female, containing pictures of my sutures. Which, you know, were in/on/around my lady bits.

If you google perineum, make sure your image search is off. You're welcome. 

I also don't remember any of that. I can only conclude that there is a strain of the morphine-flu going around, and I caught it.

Sept 15th: The irony here is that I was still sick when I drafted the first half of this post, and I cannotforthelifeofme remember where I was going with it. I think I wanted to do a daily gratitude list or something? See? I had to be on flu/drugs. Daily posts. Me. HA. 

But now I am sick again (iknowright?) and I can't stop sneezing, and I do mean CANNOT STOP. I have sneezed more times this morning than I have in my whole life combined thusfar ever. I let my 12 year old watch me flush out my left sinuses with a dixie cup full of tepid water this morning, and now he may never look me in the eye, or nostril, again. 

I'm pretty sure his gratitude list today will be helium, video games, and anything else that kills brain cells, particularly in the prefrontal lobe area.  

My gratitude list for today would be Puffs Plus with Vicks, and pantyliners. 

Oct 5th: I pretty much gave up on that post here and now I've got like four other posts in draft which will also probably never see the light of day. See? It's not that I don't blog, Momo, it's that I don't publish. BIG DIFF. 

But then last night my daughter went from seven-going-on-14 to 102° in like five seconds flat and right now I am sitting here watching my daughter sleep off this same crud that cause all of that nonsense up there while I'm working right here next to her, where I can get her anything she needs whenever she needs it, and I am really just so totally grateful to have this amazing privilege to have both a career and the ability to be here for my kids when they need me, even when those two things have to happen at the exact same time. 

Working from home exclusively is hard. No, it's soul-crushing. I think that's a fair statement. It's hard to miss out on Thursday Shoe Shots and Friday Happy Hours. It sucks when you realize that you haven't spoken to the actual face of another adult in more than five days. Most of the time I hate everything about it, but then this happens

this happens and I am reminded of why I am doing all of this - the blog, the job, everything - and how amazingly lucky I am to be afforded the gift of time for all of it. 

My gratitude list for today is BlogHer, high-speed internet, Children's Advil, and showers right before the kids come home so they don't think I've just been sleeping all day. 

What's yours?

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. 

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. 

A Gift Guide, Of Sorts

My dear children, all I ask for this year is that you freeze this moment in our lives together. I am weary from trying to hold onto something that is not mine to keep.

Wrap me the things you define as treasures and place them under our tree with care. A soda pop lid from your collection, one of those cards I'm always screaming at you to pick up, that sock exactly the way it smells at this moment, the ringing of your laughter when you don't think I am listening.

I am always listening, my little loves, even when I am not there. You resonate through the marrow in my bones. There is nothing else in the world that I can hear but you.

Today you are perfect, as you were every yesterday and will be every tomorrow. Please, package yourselves for me with ribbons and bows, each exactly the person you are at this moment, because tomorrow you will be different and I cannot bear the losing of one more you to a new day's promise. 

Promise me you'll continue to believe in magic you know for certain doesn't exist. Try your hardest to have faith where there ought be none. Know something in this life to be true simply because you decided one Tuesday morning that it should be. Myths are simply dreams we refuse to forget because they make us happy, nothing more. Remember how to believe, though belief is never sensible and rarely probable, but is almost always red and white and pepperminty. There is no reason why.

Algebra and faith are the most important things you will ever learn. 

That, and that your mother loves you. You are my sun, my moon, and my star, and I could never ask for anything else as long as we all shall live.