Archive for November, 2012

Stubborn Love

That was a holiday hiatus! Let’s pretend it didn’t happen and move on. Not that you care, but *I* care, see.

So, ah, Thanksgiving. You guys, I can’t even. Every year, we go to Virginia to see Adam’s family — not on the ACTUAL holiday, but before the holiday and God, who cares really, this is unimportant, except that it was the weekend before Thanksgiving and it will now go down in history as a VERY NOT GOOD EXPERIENCE AT ALL.

We drove. From Boston to Chesapeake, VA. IN A SINGLE DAY. ONE FELL SWOOP. I can’t even really explain what happened in that car, except that it was as though we shut the doors after letting in the smoke monster from Lost. All reason, happiness, joy, light, logic and JUST PLAIN GOODNESS was trapped in a fog of misery. We lost ourselves. We became horrible people. By hour thirteen (THIRTEEN) on the way home, we were earnestly, and quite angrily, talking about custody arrangements for our two children, because we came to the conclusion somewhere in New Jersey that we were not meant to be together, that we could not POSSIBLY have thought this was a good idea, when it is SO OBVIOUS how terrible we are for each other.

Yes, clearly the writing’s been on the wall for 14 years. Or PERHAPS IT WAS THIRTEEN HOURS IN THE CAR WITH A SCREAMING BABY. INCLUDING A DETOUR THROUGH A TERRIFYING SECTION OF THE BRONX. TWICE.

It could go either way, really.

Spoiler: We’re not getting divorced, because when we are not under extreme Guantanamo-level torture enhanced interrogation techniques, we do like each other quite a bit. But the car breakdown was oh-so-very real in that context, and this! This is why you will never see us on the Amazing Race. Ever.

My sister-in-law is getting married in the same location in May (Sam and I are in the wedding, woo!) and we discussed how to get there, because Sam is a terrible flier (THE EARS) and yet the drive. OMG the drive. Actual conversation:

“We can’t do that again. We will all die.”

“Yes we will.”

So! Teleportation should be invented by then, right?

So that happened, then, which led to such residual trauma that we just stayed home for Thanksgiving, eschewing any and all family obligations, because . . . ugh, no. Not that I don’t love our families — I love Adam’s family, even! His siblings and I are close! I still feel this way after 24 hours of driving!

But seriously. Turkey on my couch without any pants, thanks. Please don’t make me get into the car again.

Separately, and apropos of nothing, I was thinking recently that one of the best characteristics a person can have is being comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like you. Generally speaking, I have a pretty thick skin — I don’t know where it came from, honestly, although I’m sure there is a terrifying reason lurking in my past somewhere. I’m just . . . not that sensitive, most of the time. This works against me — I have a big mouth, after all, and am very comfortable with being uncomfortable around people — but I also think it lets me have more . . . integrity maybe? I’m not sure. I’m a fairly strong personality (haa?), and it doesn’t appeal to everyone. I have opinions people don’t like. Some people just don’t like ME.

That doesn’t bother me all that much. There’s something very freeing in realizing that no matter what you do, there will be people who don’t like you and maybe even ACTIVELY dislike you, and so what? If you don’t like or respect them, it matters not, at least outside of a professional context, although EVEN THEN there are significant benefits, so long as you know how to play politics, and geez, that situation is too complex to summarize here, isn’t it?

The point is: accepting that people won’t always like you makes it easier to be who you want to be, and focus on the people who DO like you for exactly who you are. And I realized that I am pretty uncomfortable with people who are uncomfortable with that concept. You know? Just be it! Be who you are! Not everyone will like you, but those who do, REALLY will, so go whole hog, won’t you? Say fuck it. Give your opinion. Be a real person. At least you know that when people like you, they really like YOU and not because you’re simply nice. God, please let people say something better about me at my funeral than, “She was really nice.”

I don’t think I’m that nice, honestly, and I’m not sure I care all that much.

Kindness is underrated. Niceness is overrated. Fascinating, that. Also, a really hard concept to explain to daughters. Good times.

Have a happy Wednesday!

*The Lumineers. Shit, they are just pure joy.

37 comments November 27th, 2012

No Self Control

Well, the election happened, I became totally disillusioned with humanity and lo! here we are, crawling back out of the pit that was October and all THAT misery, am I right? Do we all . . . still like each other?

(I have weird politics, so basically, I like everyone, but everyone hates me. But! They covet my vote, knowing it could SWING EITHER WAY!)

(I really hated Mitt Romney, but that was personal, not politics.) (Classy, right?)

(Social issues, I’m a FAR LEFT SWING, so, you know.)

Right.

(Or left.)

Also, my daughters got sick and OMIGAWD, two sick babies kind of blows, and would you believe the sadder of the two was Sam? Ergh. She was SO sad and heartbreaking and she tried so hard and . . . ugh, poor kid. I guess it does boil down to age and personality, because Allie, per usual, was smiling and giggling in between hacking her lungs out while Sam, when not sick, is . . . three. Oh, three. You guys, three and a half is going to kill me dead, kill me dead, KILL ME DEAD.

I’m having a hard time dealing with her lately, and while she is/can be dreadful (all age-appropriate, not like, a truly dreadful child, Future Sam. Even dreadfully three, you are the best kid ever), I am more appalled by my own reactions and behavior. My personality skews to, ah, hot-tempered, and it’s something I generally like about myself. I mean, not that I ENJOY that I can lash out and act crazy and lack impulse control — OH HO HO, no, although that is absolutely true. I am not what you call a slow-burn. I get angry very easily, and my reactions, to people who don’t know me, can seem disproportionate to the issue at hand. I snap, I wave arms, I get all indignant. And then, just as quickly as it came on, it’s over and I have, I shit you not, completely forgotten about it. COMPLETELY. That last part — the forgetting about it quickly — that is what I like.

I remember a few years ago, when I was editing a newspaper, some source had done something really shitty. Not like, career- or even story-ending shitty, just a shitty thing to pull at the last minute that made things harder. HOO BOY, I was ranting and raving and arm-waving to MY editor about it, and then went back to work. I think it was . . . fifteen minutes later? If that? She asked if I was okay, and I literally, LITERALLY, had no idea what she was referring to. I’d moved on and forgotten about it completely. Completely.

(You see how Twitter can be a problem for someone like me. You see?)

I mean, I’m not CRAZY or anything — I’m not going to bite your head off because you didn’t use the right hanger or use margarine instead of butter, and I’m not completely unreasonable, or in some kind of wild fugue state when I’m angry, I’m just . . . snappy. Once someone points out that I am being snappy or quick-tempered, I can usually be talked off the ledge, and God, this is such a long way to explain something that is common enough to not need explanation, I am sorry. Next up: how I do this unique thing called ‘breathing.’

The good news: I hold a grudge approximately never. A combination of quick-hot, quick-cool and ADD is quite delightful if you want to make someone angry and still have them love you in the morning. I can easily be your punching bag. Insult me! Then apologize! I won’t even REMEMBER.

(This is more true than you realize. In fact, it’s pretty damn accurate. Short fuse! Short memory.)

Anyway, a short-tempered personality + an exasperating, limit-testing, overtired and completely insane three-and-a-half year old = bad news bears, man. Bad news. Combine this age with the move to a twin bed PLUS the end of EDT, and she’s hardly sleeping, which means I’m hardly sleeping and this. This is how I ended up lying face down in her bed this morning while she played with her tiny princesses on my back.

I get so frustrated with her that I find myself treating her like an adult and asking her WHY she’s being so ridiculous, as though she is going to answer me rationally. Or snapping multiple times in an HOUR, much less a day — and that one kills me, because up until this point, I have not been short tempered with any of my children. At all. I don’t yell, I don’t get too upset, I am very patient and I roll with things easily, and I don’t say that smugly, because if I WERE smug, my comeuppance is now. Three turned me into someone who is . . . the antithesis of those things. Someone who actually YELLS, “WHY ARE YOU YELLING?”

I think it’s best to lead by example.

I’ve become, at times, a little too desensitized to her whining that sometimes she’ll actually have a legitimate, age-appropriate gripe, and my instinct is to be all, “STOP WHINING. SUCK IT UP!” Oh, wait, you dropped an anvil on your foot? MY BAD. Here, give Mama a hug.

It’s a hard age and a hard time, and I’m making it sound like it’s all WOE around here, and it isn’t — most of our days are awesome, and this age is so, so delightful in a million ways. She’s funny. She has a sense of humor now, and tries to make me laugh every day. Thanks to school and her friends, she’s also having experiences and learning things that have absolutely nothing to do with me, and it’s mind-blowing. Her sensory stuff is improving SO quickly and she’s just . . . well, she’s an awesome kid.

She’s just, you know, three and a half.

But she’s still the best big sister in the world, man. She really is.

 

*Peter Gabriel.

54 comments November 12th, 2012


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