This Is Us

I have this one friend who knows where all the bodies are buried.

Feel me? We were college roommates, post-college roommates, post-post college soul mates, and now she goes by Auntie B. Together, we’ve done it all, from Spring Breaks, to wedding dates. From hook ups to break ups to makeups. From final exams to mid-pregnancy emergency cervical exams (true story).

Auntie B has so much dirt on me, I might as well change my name to Weinstein. She remembers the time that we dot dot dot fill in the blank any number of a hundred different ways.

We were babies when we met, and now she loves my babies like her own. She’s been there for my proudest days, my wildest schemes, and my ugliest moments. And still, she keeps my secrets.

More than that, she keeps my memories. Check that; she doesn’t just keep my memories; she is my memory.

She knew me back when; she  knew the girl with the black pants and the roll-on body glitter (don’t judge), the girl who thought she knew what stress was, and what the answers were, and all the words to all the songs. She knew the girl who knew how to get away with it (whatever IT was at the time), she was there when we didn’t get away with it, and she was down for it all.

And on the hard days, the days when it’s all just too much, she can still find the glimmer of that once-upon-a-time-girl when I’m sure she’s been lost forever.

She knows all the best stories. The inside jokes. The things that no one knows. The things I’ve done, and said, and can never un-say.  Through the parties, the punchlines, the costumes, the clubs, the boys, the babies, the darkness, the fights, the funerals, the failures, the heartbreaks, the miracles, she stuck. We made it. 20 years and still kicking it (what, whaaat).

The most amazing thing for me is that my kids will get to know Me through her. Me as I was, back when I was That Girl. They’ll (eventually, and with heavy redactions) get to hear the stories and the memories and pretend to not believe her when she tells them about their crazy Mom back in the day. She’ll help them slowly realize that I used to be a person, once, back in the 1900’s. And, hopefully, my daughter will learn what it means to have a real girl-friend, who then becomes family.

Time marches on, people change, responsibilities encroach and erode the hopeful excitement of the teens and twenties. Things change, but not all things, and sometimes we can just roll with the changes like the tides, different but the same, or better even. Like how things always taste better when they’re slow-cooked, the flavors deepening and melding together, until you don’t even remember what you put in the pot so long ago, anyway.

So, thank you, Auntie B.  Thank you for remembering, and thank you for still being able to find Me amidst all the chaos and the fine lines.

And Nobody Ate It (a true story)

What I Made For Christmas:

  • French Toast Casserole with whipped cream and fresh strawberries
  • 2 Pepperoni Pizza Strombolis
  • 2 Ham and Cheese Strombolis
  • Baked Brie Wedge with brown sugar and pecans
  • Broccoli Cheese Casserole
  • Crock Pot Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham
  • Roast Turkey Breast
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Rigatoni Pie
  • 2 Apple Pies
  • 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies
  • Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
  • 3 Layer Chocolate Cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting

What My Kids Ate:

  • Whipped Cream
  • Ritz crackers (leftover from the broccoli casserole)
  • 400 licks of chocolate frosting (don’t worry- I turned the beater off first) and various batter-covered spoons because salmonella is a myth
  • A microscopic, Real Housewives-sized pseudo-bite of a child’s spoon of mashed potatoes followed by 15 minutes of gagging and dry heaving

Balls It Took For My Kids To Complain They Were Hungry 15 Minutes After I Finished Cleaning Up:

  • F.M.L.

Self Preservation

So it has recently come to my attention that women in my town (and more importantly on my Instagram) are now getting eyelash extensions, or some such. Like, they’re going to the salon and having beautiful, long, lush, false eyelashes professionally applied to the tune of several hundred dollars every couple of weeks.

And with that, I surrender. It’s over. I can’t hang.

Dont get me wrong, I DO NOT support natural beauty in any way, shape or form. I workout, I color my hair, I usually strive to maintain the illusion of 2 separate eyebrows. Most people wouldn’t even see my mustache unless they were super close.  I make an effort. But I have to draw a line.

Now, this is not a moral, ethical or otherwise ideological line, mind you. All of a sudden it just kind of hit me that I will never have the kind of funds to hang with the kind of bitch that throws down good grocery money on an eyelash weave. And don’t even get me started on the rest of her face. Botox and fillers and plumpers and peels. Fat freezing and sucking and lasers and fucking microblades. The local Groupon possibilities are endless, but I’m a little wary of awarding my face to the lowest bidder.

It’s too much. I don’t even know where to start unfavorably comparing myself. When my fucking eyelashes are all of a sudden half an inch shy of fucking BritneyFitdotcom, I’m throwing in the towel on the motherfucker. What’s next? What other aspect of my face have I heretofore naively neglected to realize was inadequate? Is it my molars? Tell me it’s not an earlobe thing.

So here I go, schelpping my twins with me to the gym everyday, fighting an inevitably losing battle, no makeup, boobs I was born with (or, more accurately, not born with), ratty ass yoga pants from around the time my first child was born. There are beautiful women everywhere, with that perfectly preserved, carefree kind of attitude that I imagine comes with the abundant resources of time and money. I’m sweating and grunting and wondering if my pants are old enough to be see-through yet, while the local townspeople glisten delicately and choose their Instagram filters. I’m trying to figure out what corners I can cut, what can be super-setted, will I have time to maybe get in a few minutes of cardio at work this afternoon, do I need to pick up dog food, should I call the accountant, what is a bitcoin, I’m scared of ISIS.

When my workout is done, or at least as done as it’s going to be, I head over to child care to grab my kids. My son lights up when he sees me and comes running at me like runaway train. My daughter jumps up with a thick stack of mermaid pictures with her best attempt at “I love mommy” on the top of each page. They’re laughing and talking over each other trying to tell me everything I’ve missed in the past 48 minutes, and not once do they mention my eyelashes.

 

 

You See Him, Right?

Mothers, join my new movement
#askdaddyhesrightthere
Re: glasses of water, butt wiping, cutting food into specific shapes, tying shoelaces, administering bandaids, seconds, refills, toothpaste extraction, story telling, story listening, snack packing, sunscreening, crust removal, itchy tags, correct spelling of creepy yet popular YouTubers, goggle adjustments, toy disputes, tucking, re-tucking, and anything else that any adult in the house besides me is perfectly capable of.

The Revolution Starts Now

Party Up

I hate birthday parties that aren’t mine. Just like I don’t like looking at pictures of other people’s kids and I don’t like the listening half of most conversations, I mostly prefer when things are All About Me. My husband, on the other hand avoids being the center of attention at all costs. He made me swear on all that was holy that I wouldn’t throw him a surprise party for his 40th (editor’s note: I do enjoy parties thrown by me for other people, even though they’re not technically my party).  I was understandably disappointed to not get to spend the better part of the spring and early summer planning a Whole Big Thing, and Amazon is no doubt extremely confused by all the HILARIOUS 40th birthday swag that I ended up deleting from my cart, but hey. I aim to please.

Anyhoo, so now my 40th is knocking down the door, and my husband, after being threatened I mean gently reminded for the last 8-37 months that I expect to THROW DOWN on my birthday, wants to know what I’d like to do. And sonofabitch, I don’t know. At this point, there are like 3 non-blood relatives that I don’t hate, and most of the stuff I want I have already secretly bought for myself, sooo….

Option 1:

Da Club. This sounds super fun but I’m sure by 7:00 on the night of the festivities I’m going to want sweats and Uggs and Netflix and what should I say is the reason we can’t go?

Option 2:

Party at my moms house. Pros: There will be cake, lots of it, and probably for free.

Cons: Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Imagine it with Jews, only not funny.

Option 3:

We go away for the night somewhere, just the 2 of us. This sounds lovely. My only concern is Cake. Will there be cake? If so, who will make it? If it’s just the 2 of us, I might only get a slice. Can I have another, secondary cake at a later date?

Obviously this is a huge decision. I mean, I’ve been 29 for a good long time now, and I’m fairly certain that most people are totally expecting me to turn 30 this year, or maybe even 29, so I feel like I need to herald the coming of the Big 4-0 with some kind of me-centric celebration.

The thing is, I’m not really Me without the kids. I miss them when they’re not around, and I want them to celebrate with me. A huge part of the reason that I still look forward to birthdays instead of trying to deny them is because I have maintained that I am 29 for the last 11 years. Just kidding. It’s because those crazy ass kids make me proud of my life. I really feel like my life began when I became a mom. To celebrate my birthday without the kids there with me just feels kind of inauthentic. Also, they wholeheartedly share my enthusiasm for cake, thereby validating my obsession.

I know this is not a very popular 2018 stance, and all you Modern Gals are rolling your eyes and shaking your heads and cueing up some empowering Beyoncé song to cleanse your mental palettes.

Good thing IDGAF. I’m 40, bitch.

That’s a Terrible Idea…When Do We Start?

I am the friend your mother warned you about. I’m the one who hatches the plan and convinces everyone that they won’t get caught. My tombstone will someday read “Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time”.

And it did.

Many of my brilliant ideas involve competitions of some sort, or maybe cake. There’s really no predicting which way my winds are going to blow. If I’m being honest, I base a lot of my decisions on the potential for glitter. I’ve done 4 triathlons, mostly because I was intrigued by the idea of writing my number on my arm in grease paint.

Perhaps someone tried to get real with me and suggested that I’m somehow incapable of doing something. It will then  Be. On. Shortly after my twins were born, I set a PR in a half marathon, primarily because at my 6 week post-op, my OB-GYN told me I’d never be the same.

Side note: A few weeks ago I was watching that show on E about female WWE wrestlers and I kind of mentioned that maybe I’m not too old to get in the ring. I didn’t even finish the sentence before my mom screamed “No!” It stung probably more than it should have.

I might come home with a puppy, or a Masters Degree. Maybe I’ll feel instantaneously compelled to book a trip, or train with a weapon, or renovate a large area of my home. Hair can turn colors. All things are possible, and therefore my husband lives in fear. He once accused me of “finnagling” twins.

See, ideas are kind of my thing. I get the ideas, and then the ideas get me. They consume my vision and I can’t let go until they become reality. I’m sure there are people who could teach me to harness this power for good instead of evil, but so far…

For me though, the problem is not the ideas; it’s when I don’t have them. The ideas focus me, they give me an outlet for all my nervous energy, my anxiety, my negative thoughts.

I’ll spend 3 or 4 months training for a race, or planning a party, or gestating a child. Whatever. Something to keep my mind occupied.

It’s not like I’m not busy enough as it is – the opposite, actually. I usually feel pretty overwhelmed by my everyday responsibilities and routines.  I just feel like my little side hustles (or “Shennanigans”, as my husband refers to them) reminds me of who I really am.

Me. The Me that I keep tucked away in a small little compartment within my soul, away from Mommy, Babe, Mrs. M, and all the other Me’s that all the other Them’s need me to be. When I get one of my Ideas, I feel Me spark just a little bit. Like someone just lit my pilot light.

And just the thought of Me, covered in glitter, wearing those awesome high socks, dominating a roller derby, handing out free samples of gluten-free cake, with a new tattoo, while documenting it all for my doctoral dissertation, reminds me that I’m still there, whenever I need Me.