Tuesday, February 15, 2011

teenage dream?

I don't care what Katy Perry wails about on her multi-whatever album...the teenage dream I'm living in is much more challenging than letting some guy put his hands on me in my skintight jeans.

I am the mom.

I am wrong.

End of story.

As a kid--from my earliest memories--I was waiting.

Waiting for one of my parents to throw in the towel and either a) take us to a motel or grandma's to spend the night or b) get sick enough from the drink to cease all aggression toward the other in the face of their own self-destructive rage.

Waiting outside the bathroom door while my mom took a bath. Talking to her the whole time, keeping her engaged, making sure she didn't off herself between turning on the water and the water losing enough heat to make her uncomfortable--at which point she would get out, towel off, and resume being my mom.

Waiting for news that my dad had taken his own life. He threatened to do so often enough that part of me had to accept the possibility in order to protect the part of me that would have to bolster up my brothers when and if this ever actually happened.

Waiting for the Utopian un-reality of The Brady Bunch or Family Ties to show up in my life--establishing once and for all the glossy, Hollywood natural order.

Waiting to grow up and move out and have my own kids and make their childhood completely different from mine.

Waiting (so to speak) for the other shoe to drop.

The wait is over--and I wonder, sometimes, if anything is really different--let alone better.

Despite the lack of (comparative) drama, unrest, fear and insecurity in the day-to-day life I tried to create for my spawn, there has still been ample drama, unrest, fear and insecurity.

Some generated by yours truly. Some not.

All of it landing squarely in my lap--where I, upon feeling its ever-present weight, instantly deploy my own special (if somewhat schizophrenic) combination of defensive AND offensive tactics. The whole while breathing (with every breath) a prayer for peace, love, safety, comfort and grace to explode in the hearts and lives of my girls.

Caught up in the very real struggles of their lives, I tend to forget that my darling offspring could have it so much worse. After all, wasn't that one of my prime objectives--to make the childhood they experienced as soft and safe and nurturing as the womb they each burst from before wailing their first and most primal wail?

But yet, they disdain. They are vexed. They are tormented--with tears choking their words and thoughts and vision and hope. Today is as bad as it can get for them in their personal prison--and they will not be consoled.

They can (and they do) languish; comfortable (I tell myself) in the safety net that is me.

Maybe non-catastrophic-consequences kids are the product of:
The fear of creating a catastrophic-consequences kid who feels the world rests
on her shoulders and is constantly gasping for air as she suffocates under a
scratchy wool blanket of anxiety
A family environment where the world actually rests on the parent's shoulders
and kids are free to fuck up all they want without the world ending--leaving
the parent(s) gasping for air as they suffocate under not only anxiety but
guilt compounded by depleting bank accounts.

Does part of my inability to do anything right in they eyes on my second-born come from the cocoon of relative normalcy I tried to spin around her since the doctor slapped her adorable, newborn ass?

Like many a case that has gone cold, I know deep in my bones that the riddle of this current struggle may never be solved.

But that's not to say we won't find a sense of peace. A way to live with it. A loyalty and bond usually only known by those who have been in the trenches together--clinging to one another, crying, shaking and seeing in the other's eyes the truths that only the two of you will ever truly know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resting my eyes

This morning as I drove to work I couldn't help but be struck by the gorgeous sight of our snow-kissed mountains against the ice-blue winter sky. I pulled out my sunglasses to stave off the brilliance of the sun, and as they settled into their comfortable perch on my squinting face, I wanted to be putting those sunglasses on somewhere else.

Preferably poolside.

Oceanside would be even better.

With hot, shirtless cocktail waiters and complicated drinks with umbrellas.

I could just keep driving and end up in Vegas--or LA. I could drive toward the airport instead of downtown and end up...anywhere.

"I feel like Ashley Judd's character in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," my darling girlfriend shared the other day, "Like running away to a hotel and just disappearing for a while."

I've felt like that many times. I felt like that today.

Driving away from everyone I answer to. Everything I'm responsible for. Everything I see every day.

Smelling the salt in the air--seeing that first glimmer of sunlight dance on the water as the ocean comes into view on the horizon--is like a shot of adrenaline to my faltering heart. I want to be on a beach or in a room or on a road where no one knows me and I can pretend to be whomever I feel like for a little while.

I just want to rest my eyes for a little bit. Just a minute.

To order room service and take too many baths and prance about in my fluffy, complimentary robe before I jump on the bed. To make a mess that someone else will clean up.

I've often fantasized about going 'round the bend and winning a stay at a sanatorium. To be clear, my fantasy doesn't take place in a psych ward--it's more like Canyon Ranch for tired moms who want to do simple things, like pee in private. (To be fair, in the past couple years I have enjoyed more bathroom privacy than I've had in almost two decades, but the sentiment still rings true.)And the people in white coats pour wine and offer massages instead of serving jello and offering shock therapy. Although it's hard to know off-hand which course of treatment would best serve the likes of me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super What?!?

The Oscars aren't until the end of the month!

Priorities, people!

...to be continued (when I don't have to be at church at the crack of dawn...)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Self-medicating PMS Nite In

I was a raging bitch all week. And now, on Friday nite, I am giving myself the medicine I need.

I started peeling off my coat, scarf, gloves, blazer, t-shirt, boots, tight (a little PMS-too-tight, to be honest!) jeans, and lacy underthings as soon as I walked in the door. The trail of clothes led straight to the tub. After pulling back my hair, I started for the water and realized something was missing. I nakedly sneaked down the hall into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of magical fermented elixir.

Finally, in the extremely hot tub with my chilled vino, I turned up my iPod and settled into my soak. After replenishing the hot twice, I was sufficiently puckered and decided to get out.

I traded in the tub for sweats and a tank top (AH!) and got ready for a nite of pre-menstrual comforting indulgence. In addition to the requisite bath, wine and sweats, here are the other ingredients I find crucial for a (hopefully) successful PMS bitch exorcism:

-Reese's peanut butter cups


-E! (y'know...the news!)

-Spider Solitaire (I'm an addict!)

-A heating pad

-No kids

-Pasta (or sometimes, sushi)

-Scented candles (you know what you can do with your smart comments!)

-A new episode of "Supernatural"

-Diet Coke

-Feather pillows and soft blankies

-Miraculous (inexplicable) quiet from the neighbors

So, here's hoping I greet the 'morrow with slightly less edge and a smile!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

who i'm sleeping with lately...

my bed has become quite full as of late. full in a way i never expected. every morning i wake up tangled in the sheets and surrounded by my three persistent bedmates: my iphone, kindle and netbook.

yes. i have become a technology whore in bed.

but i have my insomnia to blame more than anything. my long-standing feud with sleep has hit a particularly rough patch again. not only am i unable to sink into the gentle arms of slumber, but those incessant voices in my head will not shut the hell up!

hence, the electronics menage a trois (or quatre) taking place in bed nightly.

i like to listen to my violin features station on pandora in an effort to soothe the savage beast. then i will play some spider solitaire until my vision starts to blur. at that point, i will pick up the kindle and read. sometimes i get a little crazy and read before i play solitaire...y'know, to keep it fresh. and sometimes i'm typing this very blog (or any number of un-published ramblings) instead of reading or playing.

when i'm not snuggling up to my gadgets, i'm settling down with bobby goren, sam & dean winchester, aragorn, maximus and harry potter. these fellas are highly successful at lulling me into such a wonderful sense of comfort and familiarity that before i can even notice, i may be asleep.

i know, i know! i have already heard all of your recommendations about better ways to fall asleep and protestations against why my habits are counter-intuitive to a desire to slumber. let me take this opportunity to assure you that i have tried all the "correct" ways to induce a sound nite's sleep--and what i end up with is a frustrated cycle of unending stops and starts and futile conversations with myself about relaxing, meditating, letting go, sleeping, not sleeping, that unfortunately-placed itch that i have to scratch, what i'm going to wear tomorrow, that bill i forgot to pay, the workout i need to start, the pain in my neck (really--there's an actual pain in my neck!), what time is it?, how many hours until i have to get up?, crap! now all i can think about is that i'm not sleeping...and it goes on.

over the years (actually two decades) that i have battled the ugly monster of insomnia, i have learned that the best way to get myself to sleep is to trick myself into it. that's why i have stimuli that can distract my unending inner-monologue, self-examination and sleep (or non-sleep) obsessiveness long enough for the sandman to sneak on in and do his magic.

i know it's not perfect, but at least i'm not (not) sleeping alone.