Archive | October 2012

Massage This, Kiddo

This morning the kids and I dropped Jeff off for a massage.  On the way home, the following conversation took place:

Sadie: Why is Daddy getting a massage?

Me: Because massages feel great on your muscles.

Sadie: But why is he getting a massage?

Me: Well, Daddy works very hard and sometimes he forgets to relax his muscles while he’s working, so the massage will help him relax his muscles.

Sadie: Daddy works hard in his office.

Me: Yep.

Sadie: You don’t work.

Me: I am not sure I agree with that.

Sadie:  No, you don’t work.

Me:  I don’t work in an office like Daddy.  That’s true.

Sadie: You don’t work at all, so you can’t have a massage.

Me: Just because I don’t work in an office doesn’t mean I don’t get a massage.   First of all, working by being a mom and teaching a writing class is working.  Second, anyone can get a massage because it is a good way to be nice your body.

Sadie: No, you can’t get one because you don’t work.

Me: M’kay.

Sadie: Mommy, why are you making that face? Are you in a bad mood?

Me: Me? No? That’s just my face.  My normal, non-working, I-don’t-deserve-a-massage face.

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Thank You, Carmelita

Dear Carmelita,

This thank you note is almost six years late, and I apologize for the delay.  You may not remember me, but I will never forget our time together that Sunday afternoon in the bathroom.  Sometimes I wonder if there was ever such a scene in the bathroom of the Ritz Carlton.

In case you forgot who I am, I will remind you of the blood.  There was so much blood.  It was all over my skirt.  As I barreled through the door, I caught a glimpse of your face in the mirror; you had just washed your hands.  Your smile turned to concern when you saw me unfurl what I had been trying to hide as I sped through the dining room: my skirt was stained dark red.

You could have easily walked out as soon as you dried your hands.

But you stayed.  Do you remember handing me those white towels? We both dabbed at my skirt using the sides that didn’t bear the fancy “RC” monogram.

“Make it go away, make it go away,” I pleaded to God as you quietly worked with me at the sink.

I made a joke that the Ritz probably didn’t have many patrons whose menstrual blood ended up all over those marble sinks.  You smiled at my feeble humor.

Back at my table, my boyfriend Marc was eating eggs Benedict with his mother who had opted to remain entombed in her real-fur coat.  I was terrified of her and not just because her name was carved in stone at the entrance of civic buildings all over Chicago because of her “significant contributions.”  It was our first meeting, and I knew that she and Marc had been locked in a nasty stalemate over the family fortune for months.  She was angry with Marc, so how could she possibly like me?

And there was the small matter of how Marc and I met.  I didn’t know if she knew.  How was I, Christie O. Tate (named after a certain savior of the Christian world), going to explain that Marc and I met on J-Date, a dating website for Jewish singles?

Thankfully, the topic never arose.

But, it had been going well enough.  I talked about my job clerking for a famous judge without mentioning his liberal politics.  I didn’t know much about rich people, but I assumed they were Republican.  Right before the blood started, Marc’s mom and I generated some almost-warmth when the subject turned to books, and I told her about my latest read about the politics of the Supreme Court.  I mentally thanked God I had taken a brief reprieve from chick lit.

You and I worked so quickly.  Thanks to your help, I somehow stopped shaking with panic and rage that my body had betrayed me so furiously.  I wasn’t supposed to get my period for another four days, and back then, before my babies and nursing, my uterus operated like Mussolini’s trains: always on schedule.

Maybe the stress of having to act the part of a young woman befitting a hedge fund manager with a sizable family fortune brought on my “Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret?” moment.

When I was presentable again, you patted my arm and told me to smile. “Everything will be ok.”  That’s what you said.

And you were right.

I don’t know if it was my ill-timed period or the too-soon step of meeting his mother, but Marc broke up with me a few weeks later.  Thinking of that brunch makes me laugh as I remember myself, the daughter of a mobile home salesman, trying to clean up like Eliza Doolittle, only to leave a bloody smudge on my chair and a giant mess in the sink.  I also think of you and feel the years of regret that I didn’t thank you more properly.

I hope the Ritz appreciates what a compassionate and capable employee you are.

Thank you, Carmelita.

Hooking up with Yeah Write, the weekly challenge grid.  It’s for bloggers who write, and writers who blog.  Click on the link and check it out. I do it for the community, the feedback and because I don’t know how to stop doing things, but that’s another story.  Check it out.

Frailty, Thy Name Is Woman (At the Whole Foods Salad Bar)

I am by no means a Whole Foods hater. I don’t always feel comfortable or “in my element” there, but I recognize there is some mighty tasty food there.  In fact the one nearest my house is as big as the Millenium Falcon, complete with a bath crystals bar, a spice bar, an amazing fish counter, and a coffee bar where “local talent” plays to crowds of people eating behind lap top screens.

They also have a half-acre salad bar.  Anything I can conjure up to eat, I can find in this section.  And this is the section that is my undoing.  How I could take the most delicious array of healthy food and make something gross (and expensive) to cart away in my brown recyclable container is beyond me.  But I do.

It starts out innocently: I see the kale-avocado salad in the prepared section, so I spoon a bit of it in my brown container made of recycled paper.  “Kale is good for you, and I’m not going to cook so better get it here.”  As I make my way down the bar, that “I won’t make it at home” logic spawns a box of food as diverse as Shoyu tofu, lentil-apricot salad, pulled smoked turkey, and marinated mushrooms.  Individually, I am sure each one of these tastes delicious.  In the melange I concoct? The word that comes to mind is “inedible”.

Yesterday was no different.  I saw the gorgeous vegan seaweed salad.  Then, I saw the tofu scramble, followed by maple-glazed carrots, and quinoa with pearl onions and raisins.  I couldn’t help myself.  I got extra-screwed because they had the Sunday brunch menu out– so I added some berry-stuffed French toast and cheddar biscuits.  My new idea was to pick a salad dressing that would “pull it altogether.” Show of hands who thinks that salad dressing exists?  Maybe if I had gone a little easier on the jicama or had a few less roasted garlic cloves.

Looks pretty good right? At least, it looks totally healthy.  But the smell? The taste? Dear Lord, it could kill baby pandas.

Looks pretty good right? At least, it looks totally healthy. But the smell? The taste? Dear Lord, it could kill baby pandas. Also, below what you can see are 2 more layers of selections, ensuring that each and every bite totally sucked.

Maybe.  But I doubt it.

Now, it’s like a challenge.  Can I edit my choices like they always tell hideously dressed people on What Not To Wear?  What Whole Foods needs to add is the foodie version of those guys from Queer Eye For the Straight Guy standing at the end of the salad bar to caution those of us who are “over zealous” about adding food to our container.

There must be a way to do this without abandoning the salad bar and opting for the delicious chicken tacos (like my family does).

A normal meal that I refuse to order.

A normal meal that I refuse to order.

I gave up on Netflix, and in the anger stage of my break-up with Ann Taylor Loft, but Whole Foods? I am going to stick it out.  I am going to find way to sup from its sumptuous salad bar without making a mockery of its choices.  And when I do, you better believe I am going to be all over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and this blog.

So, stay tuned and give me any tips you have about navigating those rows of silver trays teeming with deliciousness that I cannot resist.

Suck In Your Hamm

Happy weekend! I don’t know about you, but every Saturday I have a split second where I get excited and think, “Tomorrow is Mad Men!” Then, I remember that Mad Men is on hiatus for another 760 months.

And I feel my internal happiness balloon deflate.

But I did come across a picture of the cast filming for the next season, which means in the not-t00-distant future, my balloon will stay inflated like Bob Dole in Cialis.

There’s our Don Draper on a beach with his gorgeous second-wife, Megan.  Is it just me or is Don, as played by Jon Hamm, sucking his stomach in?  Also, it’s pretty clear that Megan, as played by Jessica Pare, is not.  (NOTE: Jon, that’s how I feel standing next to Jeff.)

Gender equality? Have we arrived? I know I feel one step closer.

Jon, I feel your pain. Jessica, I have no idea what your life is like, but I love that bikini.

Jon, I feel your pain. Jessica, I have no idea what your life is like, but I love that bikini. Photo credit: FameFlynet

What do you think?

Bang! Bang! Goes My Forehead

My bangs are deep into week 2 of Occupy My Forehead so I am coming out of denial.  I have bangs now, so I better buck up and look on the bright side.  And, anytime I need some help with the bright side, I turn to Uncle Google.

But first, I have to let you know that I discovered why I had to get bangs last week.  (My therapist is out of town, so I am therapizing myself.)  I wrote a blog post about being shunned in 5th grade by some mean girls.  I hadn’t thought about that awful year in so long, but once I wrote about it, I couldn’t shake loose from my inner 5th grader.  Wanna see what she looked like:

5th Grade School Picture (Weeks before the incident)

5th Grade School Picture (Weeks before the incident)

I don’t think the bangs had anything to do with that day in the cafeteria.  Maybe that lime green frock we bought at a border town on the Rio Grande wasn’t helping, though.

Hmmmm, now I can only see my inner-5th grader when I look at my face hair:

Most recent bang crop.

Most recent bang crop.

As previously mentioned, last time I got bangs, I was newly postpartum. They were very NOT cute and it spurred me to institute my cardinal rule of NO BANGS.  That time I could blame everything on sleep deprivation.  This time? I got nothing.  Back then, my discerning 4-month old wasn’t a big fan of my bangs:

Sadie recoils in horror from my bangs

Sadie recoils in horror from my bangs. 2009

But, Uncle Google assured me that PUH-LENTY of brunettes are rocking bangs up and down the red carpet.  I look to them for hair-spiration.  And I only die a little when I see how great their hair looks, while I am stuck with these 3-inch bangs for the foreseeable future.

Why couldn’t it look like this?

I totally don't look like this, but I do have a red tank top I wear to bed in summer.

I totally don’t look like this, but I do have a red tank top I wear to bed in summer.

Fine, I am not as adorbs as Zooey, but what about her cast mate CeCe? Could I pull her bang style off?

All I am missing is flawless mocha skin, a perfect smile and symmetrical lips.  Other than that, doppelganger, right?

All I am missing is flawless mocha skin, a perfect smile and symmetrical lips. Other than that, total doppelganger, right?

Ok, fine, the cast of New Girl is out of my league. What about some B-listers? Plenty of them are stylish in their own way.  For example:

Nope, this isn't me either.

Nope, this isn’t me either. But, I do sing way better than she does.  Amateur.

I was running out of hope that Uncle G would come through, so I was excited when I saw that Jennifer L. Hewitt was not a stranger to the bang:

How's this hairdo for yoga with the preschool moms? Is the updo too much?

How’s this hairdo for yoga with the preschool moms? Is the updo too much?

But, I know that nothing about my hair or my lifestyle has anything to do with Hollywood.

On the other hand, it’s not this bad:

This is hard to look at.

This is hard to look at. Peggy, from Mad Men, with really bad bangs. I can say that because I have them too.

Or this bad:

This is the bright side I was looking for! Thanks Uncle Google. (Image credit: http://s

This is the bright side I was looking for! Thanks Uncle Google.

So there are people out there with worse bangs than mine, and people with better bangs.  I can live with that.  And I am willing to relieve and grow through the bangs part of 5th grade as long as I don’t have to relive the ostracism.  Plus, I can (and do) wear a hat everyday now.

Anyone got any growing-out-bangs tips?

PS: If you ask Uncle G to do a search on “man bangs,” be prepared for a pornographic onslaught that would make Bill Clinton blush.

Feces Ain’t No Perk

I’m not going to ask you to feel sorry for me, though I am not above seeking pity. But right now, I have plenty of self-pity to keep me comfort.  If, however, you want to put some money in my PayPal account, I won’t stop you.

But, pity? Nah.

Ok. Maybe a little.

Jeff’s out of town.  You know what that means, right? It should mean I am reading my Oprah magazines, sleeping in the middle of the bed, and eating ice cream for dinner.  There are few perks to having a husband who travels, and I milk those perks every single time Jeff boards a plane.

Unfortunately, the perks this week have been scant, unless you consider human fecal matter a treat.  If you do, this post may appeal to you, but generally my blog won’t be your cup of tea.

We’re only half-way through Jeff’s business trip and already I have had to unclog TWO toilets.   And that was before Sadie came home from school with diarrhea.  I am not a squeamish woman– I come from farm people (2 generations ago, but still).  I appreciate the foul and the profane. But, when Sadie shat in her Pull-Up during dinner, I can’t say I was waving a banner of celebration.

I hosed her down.  I prepared to soak her in the tub.  I stripped Simon so he could join her.

“Everyone in the bath!”  I endeavored to steer our little father-less ship back to calm waters.  There were splashes.  There were giggles of glee.  I checked my complexion in the mirror– it was rosy with triumph.

“Poop! Poop! Poop!”

God, I don’t know how many times Simon said that before I tore myself away from my reflection.  Maybe 50.  I turned to the tub where my progeny was soaking and saw no less than 5 turds floating in the water.

“For the love of–”

“Out! Everyone out of the tub!”

I got the kids out and shooed them away– “Go jump on the bed or play on-line poker.” For my part, I stared at those turds, gently floating in the bath water. I wasn’t sure what to do with them.

“I wish Jeff was here.”

I sent him a text, hoping his affable calmness would transmit to me through the phone.  Plus, I had to tell someone how awful it smelled in our house.

Outlaw Mama's comments in blue; Outlaw Daddy's comments in white.

Outlaw Mama’s comments in blue; Outlaw Daddy’s comments in white.

Let’s just say that his text didn’t add quite as much to the situation as I hoped it would.  While I applaud that he was willing to have a picture of the offending logs (that’s called being an involved parent, people), I was in no mood to Instagram Simon’s post-dinner poop.  Popsicles were a nice idea, but doesn’t he know that we eat Popsicles for dinner when he’s gone? I am not running a health farm here.

As I bleached the tub and played the role of a mom who knows how to clean stuff, I couldn’t help but think: “I can’t wait until I defecate in my pants and my children have to clean it up.”

I finally got everything sanitized-ish and back to normal (which ain’t that clean, if you must know).  You better believe that I did some on-line shopping that night– retail therapy, people.  Nights like this were how retail therapy was invented.

Keep your turds to yourself

Keep your turds to yourself

And from now on, Simon wears his diaper in the bath when he’s on my watch.

Does your spouse travel? Care to share your favorite perks of solo parenting?

Who Are These People In Starbucks?

Why didn’t y’all tell me about all the douchebags in Starbucks? It’s been about 8 weeks since I became a Starbucks regular (because I am an official WRITER), but every time, I ask myself why I ended up at the table next to the most distracting and mal-adjusted people in Chicago.

Seriously, every single time.

Here’s a brief recap of some of my favorite Starbucks characters from this week alone:

  1. Job interviews:  My favorite was when I sat next to a young woman trying to get a job as a pharmaceutical rep.  Don’t these fancy, BIG PHARM companies have offices? Why are they ruining my latte with their screening interviews?  The best part of the interview was when the interviewers (the blondest females I have ever seen, and I’m from Texas!!!) were wrapping up the meeting.  The older blonde with the fancy laminated badge asked, “Do you have any other questions for us?”  The young lady in her freshly pressed Ann Taylor suit did indeed have a question: “Where is a good place for waxing around here? She was totally serious, and I bet you good money she’s totally still unemployed.
  2. Homeless guy with raggedy yoga mat and movie recommendations: In another place and another time, it would be utterly flattering that a man calling himself “Mr. Eric Johnson” seems to be in love with me.  But, as a married woman, I am less enamored with the prospect of a residentially-challenged  man “coming on to me” while I am trying to grade student papers.  The old yoga mat is a nice touch, and every week he gives me move recommendations, all of which are “very fascist,” he tells me.  It’s the best when he sticks his hand out for me to shake it, and of course I do, but then I spend the next thirty minutes wondering when I can pull out hand sanitizer without looking like a total asshole.
  3. Plaintiff’s lawyer interviewing potential witness: It sure was fun to sit next to a plaintiff’s lawyer interviewing witnesses to see if any of them (like the plaintiff who is awaiting more surgery) had ever been burned by the office coffee machine.  I heard “third degree burns” and “skin graft” enough times to know that if I ever work in an office again, I am never going to offer to get coffee for anyone. Also, shouldn’t lawyers be in a private setting when interviewing witnesses?  Is confidentiality no longer a thing?
  4. Nanny interview: There’s lot of conversations I like overhearing, but a nanny interview is not on my top 100 list.  Especially not an interview where the mom spends more than half the interview trying to prove what a genius her 10-month-old daughter is. I always take Angel to the zoo in the UppaBaby stroller.  She loves the flamingos, but not because they are pink– because she is a genius.  The highlight of eavesdropping on this interview was when the nannidate* (I totally just made that word up and it’s fucking brilliant) asked, “Why did your other nanny leave?”  The mom mumbled something about the former nanny not being up to the challenge of caring for a future Mensa member and changed the subject quickly.  I bet you a Starbuck’s seasonal drink that the previous nanny gave that mom the finger and got a better job.
  5. Canoodlers: Students bring a lot of energy and vitality to our public spaces, and I am supportive of their contributions.  And, at first it was fun to watch co-eds French kiss before 9 AM, but it gets old, because if you recall, French kissing can be noisy.  Smack, Slurp, Suck.  (Plus, I am afraid that Mr. Eric Johnson will get ideas about what he could be doing with me in those booths by the windows.)
  6. Bitter job seeker reading Monster.com: I feel for the unemployed, I really do. It sucks to be stressed and desperate. But, slamming down your laptop and sighing as you read your email is a buzz kill for the rest of us.  I am sorry you are very important and it’s not going well, your little one-man show is distracting and bringing the collective vibe down.  Way down.
  7. Socialite with Louis Vuitton purse talking on bedazzled cell phone about upcoming trip to Italy to shop: God, I wish I was kidding.  Yes, I noticed her giant purse when she bonked me in the head as she shimmied over to a corner table.  Of course, I noticed her bejeweled iPhone case as she whipped it out of her skinny jeans and called her personal assistant.  It sounds outrageous, but I swear she was bossing someone around about “upgrading her flight to Milan.”  Maybe she was a rogue Kardashian, but she didn’t have those over-sized chocolate-colored eyes so probably not. I actually wanted to introduce her to the self-important guy who wears his blue tooth and acts like Starbucks is his personal board room as he paces around taking calls from underlings who do important things like “shipping crates” and “transferring stocks”.  Um, tone it down there, Mr. Christian Grey, let me introduce you to Chicago’s homegrown Kardashian.  Now both of you STFU.

Oh, one more! How about the misanthropic mommy blogger/writer who wears jeans from Costco and thinks it’s socially acceptable to camp out at Starbucks for hours judging people and writing blog posts about them?  She’s my favorite!

* Nannidate: TM/Copyright or whatever I should have on here to protect my rights to this word. I made it up; it’s brilliant; and now, I will call the Trademark Office and make it all official. Til then, get your own damn word.

Is That My Future I Smell?

You're not supposed to stand on the toilet. (Image credit: http://weeklyworldnews.com)

You’re not supposed to stand on the toilet. (Image credit: http://weeklyworldnews.com)

“It could have been much worse, and you know it,” I sneered at myself while crouching on the toilet in the very last bathroom stall.  I was having trouble breathing normally because I was squatting with my feet on the edge of the toilet lid so that Janice from Accounting would not know I was there.

I had 15 minutes to get myself together before meeting with my boss to discuss the email I accidentally sent to him.

“Jesus. How long does it take to wash your hands,” I screamed at Janice in my head.  My right leg was cramping, and she was still scrubbing away and checking her hair in the mirror.  I bowed my head to pray for strength to maintain my balance on the toilet and noticed that the hem of my skirt was floating in the toilet bowl, like a urine-soaked Ophelia.

“Why didn’t I flush the toilet before I stood on the seat? No wonder I am about to get fired.” At least there were only 12 minutes left until the meeting, but now I had to dry my skirt under the hand blower.  I had to wear the wool skirt on the day I ended up perched on the toilet.  What I wouldn’t have done to be wearing quick-dry polyester.

With one minute to go, I stood outside Dr. Briton’s door thinking about my excuse.  My mind was blanker than my future, so I just smoothed down the front of my sweater, ignored the faint stench of urine emanating from my skirt, and knocked on his door.

He finished whatever sentence he was writing about statistical regression analysis and swiveled his chair around.  He stood and gestured for me to join him in what I referred to as the “lounge” area of his office.   I dutifully took a seat on the blue chenille loveseat and stared at his three framed Harvard degrees.

“I think we should talk about this email,” he started.

“I didn’t mean to send that to you.  I apologize.”  To my horror, Dr. Briton produced a copy of my email.  I noticed that certain portions of it were highlighted in yellow and tabbed.  Damn academics—none of them could read a single word without tabbing it like it was a Heidegger text.

“How long have you been my administrative assistant?”

“I started in July, so it’s been four months.” This was going well. I knew all the answers to his questions.

“Judging by your email, it appears you have some grievances.”  He put on his reading glasses and scanned his highlights of my mis-fired email.

“I could see how you got that impression.” I offered.

“You wrote here, ‘I’m so bored. I feel about as useful as the extra thumb that inbred people in the Appalachians have.’”  He stared at me.

I held up my hands and wriggled my thumbs.

He was not amused.  Not many tenured professors enjoy the liberal employment of jazz hands.

“If you are that bored, Ms. Tate, we can get you more work to do.”

“I would appreciate that very much. It’s been an honor to send faxes detailing your speaking fees to Yale and Stanford. I guess I was just hoping for a little more to do.”

“Well, I would say that you could help Margaret out, but I am not sure you would be a good fit.”

Jesus. He read the whole thing? I was hoping he would stop after the first few paragraphs, especially when he was clearly not the intended recipient.  In the fifth paragraph, I mentioned my feelings about the Co-Chair of the department, Dr. Margaret Roth.  My boss’ wife.

“I am sure we could work it out,” I mumbled feebly.

Dr. Briton read aloud my choice words for his Beloved: “And Dr. Roth thinks I am a mentally deficient monkey.  She made me track down the origin of a $4.25 fee on her personal credit card.  Her personal card!”

It’s true that I hated Dr. Roth because she treated me like a personal assistant and not the professional administrative assistant that I was.  And, frankly, I was concerned about her dysfunctional obsession with credit card fees. I longed to remind her that I earned a Master’s degree at the esteemed university that now saw fit to hire me as an “Admin Level 1.”

“I apologize for those remarks.  I will find a better way to vent my petty annoyances.”  Was he going to fire me or not?  I thanked God I hadn’t said anything about the scions of Dr. Briton and Dr. Roth, who were known best for their overbites and unfortunate inability to tame their cowlicks.

“We can find you more work to do, but you need to be more careful with email.” Dr. Briton said.

It sounded like he was done talking to me.

Our meeting over, I turned to leave, my spirits buoyed because my fledging career as a university admin still had a heartbeat.

On the way back to my desk, I passed Janice from Accounting.  “Do you smell something? Is the bathroom broken again?”  She said, engaging me in co-worker banter.

Turning the damp part of my skirt towards the wall, I looked Janice in the eye and said, “I don’t smell a thing.”

My Date Was Incontinent

Wanna know what the best training is for having a date with your three-year-old? Look no further than your own dating past.  Because a date with a slightly incontinent three-year-old child reminded me of some of the more memorable dates from my long dating history.

Sadie and I slid into a booth at a diner-ish place after seeing a concert.  I looked at her across the table and realized we haven’t eaten alone in a restaurant ever.  Just like a date, I looked forward to stimulating conversation — she’d talk a little, and I would talk nonstop a little.  We would feel so much closer after sharing a meal, which is the cornerstone of any strong relationship.

As I opened the conversation, I was reminded of what a great date I am.  I know how to talk, and I don’t mind going first.  And, I am the master of asking probing questions that really let my companions know that I care, I really care.

“Sadie, what did you like about the concert we just saw? Do you prefer the sonorous notes of the penny whistle or the lyricism of the fiddle?”

She stood up in the booth, engrossed in shaking salt all over the table, and I saw the telltale giant wet spot on her pink leggings.  Hmmm, I guess that’s why she was holding her hands over her private parts and jumping around a minute ago.  My bad.

This face says, "I am about to pee in my pants. Stop talking to me about the musicality of the penny whistle."

This face says, “I am about to pee in my pants. Stop talking to me about the musicality of the penny whistle.”

I remained upbeat.  Plenty of my dates lost bladder control at one time or another.  This time, at least I was ready with a pair of her panties in my purse.

I decided to stop asking her about the concert.  When the waitress came over, I felt proud that she ordered all by herself.  My big girl!  That she asked for bacon tacos with a side of bacon was endearing, if not exactly heart healthy.  Like a good date, I was able to negotiate a more reasonable lunch of chicken tacos.

The perfect chicken taco accountrement: Frenchy's mustard and ketchup.

The perfect chicken taco accoutrement: Frenchy’s mustard and ketchup.

Honestly, she didn’t seem that interested in asking me questions about me or my life.  She just wanted to know if she could take my salad dressing and stick her tongue in it.  Go ahead, I muttered having a flashback of a college date who thought nothing of taking the food off my plate and then spending the night with one of my sorority sisters.  At least I knew Sadie was leaving with me.  I have her Dora backpack in the car, after all.

Of course, she didn’t pay, which was reminiscent of most of the dates I had when I was in my 20s.  And just like that one fraternity party back in 1994, I had to carry her to the car because her legs were tired.  Luckily, she weighs less than a college guy dressed in a toga who’s had one too many Jagermeister shots.

I never knew I would end up grateful for those awkward dates I had through the years.  But they were good training for the dates with my kids.  To end up eating chicken tacos slathered in cheap mustard is more than I ever thought I’d get.

So thank you to every embarrassing young lad who helped me cut my teeth and prepare for the dates that really matter now.  I am finally grateful.

The Baby Question

I think I made an important discovery this weekend: no matter how I proceed with this baby business, at some point, I am going to have to deal with the feelings that come up around the prospect of being done making babies.  Early predictions are that the chief feeling will be sadness.

Image credit: http://www.chirky.com

Image credit: http://www.chirky.com

 

Damn.

This weekend, I spent time with dear friends who are in various stages of working on their third babies.  I was thrilled to hear friends who had proclaimed, “WE ARE DONE,” had changed their minds and plan to go for one more baby.  This whole “making a baby” enterprise always excites and delights me.  Also, it calls the question on my baby fever.

When the weekend’s festivities finally died down and I was still enough to hear my inner voice, I heard it say, “you can’t side step the sadness.”  I was awake enough to put up a fight.  I am not sad about being done having babies because of these great reasons:

  • I’m old
  • I’m tired
  • I am ready to get on with my life
  • I’m not sure I have enough energy for three children
  • Moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney
  • I have two beautiful, healthy children of each gender– don’t be greedy

That still, inner voice doesn’t care about logic, though.  She wants me to know that there is no path without mourning.  Also, she suggests being sad about it doesn’t mean I should run out and get an ovulation kit.  It simply means that there are intense feelings around the question of whether I will procreate one more time.

Last night, I felt like the answer was definitely “yes,” we are done.  I think that’s why I was crying so hard.  It’s also ok that it’s over, and it’s sweet that I liked it all enough to cry when it’s time to move on.  It’s ok that little Smile or Sand or Skyler will probably be a goldfish and not an heir to the Outlaw Mama throne.

What was weird about last night was the message I found inside myself that having babies made me worthy in a special way, so not having any more babies means the end of a certain kind of specialness that I am scared to let go of.  I had no idea that message was in there.   Seems like I would have seen that coming, but I didn’t.

What feels scary about following this whisper that I am done with procreating is that I am not sure what’s next.  My kids will go to school, and I will have the opportunity to find new directions, pursuits, and work.  I feel tremendous excitement about that, but I’d be lying if I said I had a clue about what it will look like. Will my ankles swell and will strangers give me their seats on the train?

I am looking forward to finding out there are lots of ways to be beloved and precious besides carrying a baby in my womb.  I simply can’t imagine anything I would do would match that, but I am willing to find out.