Every New Year, I say I’m going to stop saying swear words and drink more water. Fucking lies, I know. So, this year, instead, I’m going to tell you what I wish for myself, how I’m going to try to represent myself daily, and I hope you make a similar pledge, something you write true to yourself, something that makes you ready for 2017. And obvious disclaimer, I’m not perfect, not even close. I’m pretty awful most days. But, every new year is a time to do something new, bold, memorable and FUCKING AMAZING. And if nothing else, I’ll try to do that. Anyone with me?
Here we go, Happy 2017!!–
Remember a name, and never forget someone’s story. They told it to you for a reason.
Hug everyone who looks like they need it, and maybe, those who don’t. A hug holds far more magic than you could ever imagine. And hugs are free. And sometimes, they save a soul.
A cheers to celebrate a drink is a universal sign of acceptance and friendship. Never be afraid to cheers a new friend–you’re probably making one for a lifetime.
Smiles are as free as hugs, though, don’t ask the Germans because they say the reason they never smile is BECAUSE SMILES ARE NOT FREE. This is why we don’t listen to Germans. However, smiles ARE FREE, and, sometimes, someone has been waiting for one for a very long time. Give them freely and honestly, and with love. You’d think they are carelessly tossed away, but for some, they’re not, and they’re the difference in the world.
If you love someone, right or wrong timing, tell them–drunk OR sober. 🙂 There’s only one exact time in life for love, and it is always now, right now. Once you’ve blinked, it may be too late, and no one, no one ever, has been worse off in this life for being loved too hard or too much.
Forgive. Maybe most important and least used lesson each year. I don’t know what YOU need to do, what you need to forgive or forget. So I’ll give you the short list of what I need to forgive, and maybe you’ll see something along my spewing that makes you think maybe you should do the same. What would I forgive? Myself, for all of these: Being so very imperfect, for not giving a fuck, for expecting people to order respectable beers, for not toning it down, for expecting the world to make sense, for hating people who ask for steaks well done, for expecting people to not act like back woods idiots during an election year, for not asking for an apology for my life, for not giving the apologies I should have and meant to but never got around to, for not saving lives, for not using my inside voice, for not being a perfect parent, for not writing enough, for not listening enough, for not napping enough, for not eating chips and cookies and butter every last chance I ever had, for not caring if my jean size was smaller than my shoe size, for swimming in public w no clothes on, for not drinking more gin because I know gin is just awful for me but actually magic but seriously awful for everyone involved, for not learning how not to give non verbal cues in the workplace and public where people don’t appreciate the accidental looks that I can’t (or don’t try to) control w my face, for not learning how to clean a house, for not learning how to cook meals like chicken finger salad or grilled cheese which APPARENTLY DO NOT COUNT, for singing too loudly and off-key because I think Adele and I basically have the same talent but I’m just not discovered yet, for wearing my jeans unwashed for 12 days at a time or just sweatpants 217 days a year because seriously, FUCK PANTS. For pretty much everything I do on a daily basis, so let’s be real, it’s The Year 2017, and I’m probably close to being a lost cause already and it’s Day One.
Second worst day is his birthday, which he loved so much. The third is my birthday, which he loved to celebrate with me.
The last is Christmas. I don’t even know if it’s 4th on the list of misery, but it’s shit all the same. Jesus and the whole holiday can fuck itself. I try to be happy, but it was his favorite holiday, he was like a child in his celebrations, and without him, I wish everyone would choke and die and get to New Years and then die via firework. Very festive, I’m aware.
In case anyone wants to know what a waste of time and money is, I found something new: gymnastics for toddlers. So I decided to send the boys to a gymnastics class bc 1. We should all be so flexible. 2. They are monkeys. 3. Pay your own way to college, kids. But instead of what I envisioned, which was obviously dancing and moving swiftly and gracefully, tumbling to the extreme, young men owning this class, I get the following for $120 for an hour (for 5 weeks):
Sawyer, running in fucking circles around the gym like he’s been let out of a pen. He only stopped to shove some kid wearing socks on a gym floor which was humorous and irresponsible at the same time.
Sully, refusing to stand like he’s a legless drunk, eating scarves like I haven’t fed him in a week. The kid is a hangry drunk. I make no excuses for my #2.
Sawyer refusing to do a somersault and end with a proud standing pose w his hands over his head, flat out refusing to yell ta da! Which is confusing because when he slid down the fire pole we awkwardly have in our living room, he easily repeated, I’m a stripper! when I told him how to say it. (You’re welcome, world)
Sully threw up on the mat 3 times probably out of pure excitement.
One of them shit their pants.
Both of them left shoeless and with no fucks to give.
I was the only one sweating and jumping and rolling around like a beached whale begging to be put back into water.
So fuck children’s gymnastics. I don’t have time to take an hour out of my day to be proven my children are terrible at following rules and to highlight I’m not only unfit, but incapable of completing a routine created for 2 year olds.
Back to supporting contact sports like kick ball, cage fighting and full contact wrestling, things my children excel at.
No, you. 100% got that from me.
If you do not put it on, Sawyer, you have to stay the night here by yourself.
Later on in the night, after dinner, on the couch snuggling, he looked up at me and said, Are you looking at me? which for a second made me feel creepy, until he casually leaned over, swept my leg up and down and then told me, Mommy, those are prickeeellllllyyyyy! Then he did it again and screamed when he made contact with the forest growing on my legs.
Every time I come home, I inevitably have to answer the question from someone, what are you running from? And I say all the time, I’m not running from anything, I’d like to think I’m running toward the new. But, if you look at my last decade, you could find enough evidence to prove I should be running from something, but I’ll stand firm always in that I’m not.
But then I come home. I come home and in between the loud and chaotic visits to family, friends, discount stores and seafood huts that sell lobster and clam strips, I begin to find it hard to defend so many things I think I can stand firm on from an ocean away.
I don’t need home.
I don’t miss home.
I have never been absolutely ruined by home.
Home will not swallow me.
Home will not reduce me to a child.
Home will not win.
But it does. It always does.
I ended a night full of family and laughter and food and love the other night with a cigarette on the stairs of the sun porch of my new/old house. I sat alone, in the light of the moon at 3am and I slowly inhaled as I sat quietly and listened, really listened, in silence, for the first time in a very long time. For the first time, I heard the heavy rushing of the mill across the street, and the water soothed me and made me happy to live in such proximity. I saw the faint street lights and I was surrounded by only the sound of rustling leaves and wind blowing against my house and rattling the shutters above me. I could smell the wet and turned leaves, just recently so vibrant, but on their way out, and I closed my eyes, rubbing one small pile within my fingertips, knowing it was the last chance for me AND the leaves, and it was peaceful and sad all at the same time.
I sat quietly, hopeful but defeated. I was back to claim my future, but I was in a place I hadn’t known for twenty years. Twenty years I had been gone, but around every corner, I smelled and relived my childhood, and while it was joyous, it was beyond fucking painful.
I never ran away from anything, but I realized, I avoided coming back.
The sign of the bakery that hung outside my dentist was the place my father took us twice a year to celebrate a lack of cavities, a celebration worthy of whoopie pies and cream filled puffs with flakey crusts that ruined sweaters but caused infectious giggles.
I drove by the electric company my father used to work, the one where the light bulbs hung and swung in the windows at night, the one where the gum ball machine sold salted peanuts and m&ms, where the hallways smelled of men and my father’s office hung a tiny basketball net, a net I never could quite get the ball in.
I drove by the area that once had a tiny dirt road, one 1/10 of a mile from my grandmother’s house, the place we held Thanksgivings, the place next door to my Meme’s house, the place I retreated to when my house was just too much, where I learned to play cards, marbles, the place Pepsi floats never ran dry and oatmeal muffins were always warm and you were put to bed for crying too hard because crying too hard makes you sick and no one likes a child who cries til they’re sick.
I drove to get groceries and passed the store that we bought Slush Puppies from on hot, summer days. Drinks filled with lots of crushed ice and double, triple pumps of raspberry, so pickled, our faces remained sour for the rest of the day. I passed the train tracks where we laid pennies when we couldn’t sleep, because the trains came around the clock and we were too little to understand but if we laid pennies down, it was ok that we never slept because we could race down the hot tracks and find our flattened treasure, tuck it away and go back and try for sleep again.
I saw the florist we used to pass as children, where we’d stop in and trade our change for one rose we never could quite afford, to bring to our mother, who’d light up and smile and behave as though it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. I tasted the clams I’ve waited to eat once a year for ten years, and I unbuttoned my pants and swore at Germany for their lack of produce from the salty waters, promising I’d never return if I could be fed the depths of the sea until the end of time.
I smelled the ocean and closed my eyes and tried not to cry. I watched my children leap in a pile of wet leaves, almost drowning each other in a sea of autumn perfection and only paused to snapshot that moment until the end of time. I came home one night from a long day of adventure, far past bedtime and my son, not yet three said to me, Mommy, can we stay and see the stars? He’s never, ever said that to me across the way, and so I said, yes, of course we can, Sawyer, of course we can.
He looked far up in the sky, put his arms out wide, swung around and around and tripped hard and fell on his back and i gasped. I ran over and expected to cuddle him, bring him inside and tell him it would never happen again.
“Mommy,” he said, without crying.
I held my breath.
“There are just so many stars and I saw them and I fell.”
And my heart broke.
Because no matter how long you’ve been away, no matter how much you’ve endured, no matter what’s in your future, if you take the time to lean back your head, spread your arms, spin round and round and round, you’ll find,
there are just so many stars.
I’m so glad to be home.
So I went to the dentist on Tuesday, because I was having lightning type pain in my face from last week and I waited five days to see him chewing on cloves and hoping I wouldn’t die. I swear to god my mouth has gone to shit and i went there expecting a root canal or a talking to, and yeah, i got all of the above.
After a panoramic X-ray, i was told I needed two more root canals and a surgery on my jaw for a bone infection gone wrong at the hands of another dentist, not entirely shocking but my current dentist told me his current recommendation had nothing to do with the pain I was still feeling on the right side of my mouth.
After yet another stimulating jaw massage, he informed me I was just over stressed again and need muscle relaxers, and did I have any? Like i’m some mother fucking pharmacy because NO, DO I LOOK LIKE I GET MUSCLE RELAXERS ON THE REGULAR? So I was prescribed some, told I’d be spending my entire November with him to fix my face and I was relieved to know I would not have to carve my own teeth out with a spoon to fix the pain I was feeling at bedtime.
Before I left his chair, I paused and thought to ask, hey wait, I’m feeling kind of bad about the lack of enamel on the back on my front teeth.
What are you talking about?, he asked, thinking I’m crazy again.
Well, I carried on, I feel like the back of my front teeth feel rough and I think it’s because i bred two kids in the past 3 years, that’s what I was told, right, that teeth go crazy in pregnancy and I feel like it’s weirdly rough so can you look and tell me what toothpaste to use?
He looked at my teeth and then looked at me and said, Do you drink a lot of orange juice in the morning and then brush your teeth directly after?
No, I said, Is that a thing? Because I drink coffee only in the morning and do not do that and did not know that was a thing in life.
Do you have an abnormal amount of reflux, then? Are you acid-y?, he asked, curiously.
No, no acid, I countered.
And then, thoughtfully, he gave me the once over, looked me up and down and said, and I quote, said flatly, “Well, you’re not anorexic.”
And that was the end of my appointment. My dentist, the one I pay 200 euro an hour to torture me, gave me the once over and reminded me that I have an inner tube tummy and mermaid legs, and that I am, and have never been, anorexic.
So there’s that. It’s going to be a long week.