It was one of those sunny spring days that we don’t usually get untill May. The wind was just enough to cool my bare shoulders against the suns warm glow. The clouds raced against the sky and danced shadows along the lawn sprinkled with violets and buttercups. Nate ran after pepper, her black coat gleaming in the sunlight. The wind blew whirligigs out of the old maple, and they danced around them, boy and dog, like little fairies come to bless this moment. His laughter pealed out of him as he chased the dog, chubby legs trying to keep up. The sweet innocent giggle that can only come from a child. I want to remember this day for the rest of my life.
My boy, he turned two in January. So, I figured March would be a good time to do a birthday post. Because I’m punctual, that’s why.
Two years old, multiple years. It’s insane how fast he went from multiple months to multiple years. I no longer have to stop and do the math when someone asks me how old he is. Around Thanksgiving, he started talking, and talking and talking and never shutting up. He talks in his sleep (he gets that from me) and snores (from Philip, even though he doesn’t believe me). And, sleeps with his butt in the air, legs and arms and blankie stuffed underneath him.
He’s been going potty. And, there will be no baby potty seat, no, no, no, not for my boy. He wants to sit on mama’s potty. So, we sit and hover, over the toilet and pee. Just like a big boy. And, so the diaper genie went into the pile of stuff to sell, as will the changing table. The only baby thing left will be the crib. And, then I will have to face the reality that my baby is no longer a baby. He even said it the other day. “Nate’s a big boy!” And my heart broke a little. It ached to hear him say, “No, mama, Nate’s a baaay-be.”
And, here’s a video of him with two of my brothers and my sister, she’s off screen, she doesn’t like the camera.
I just haven’t had it in me. It all started going down hill around October. First, I turned 29, then 6 days later my grampa dies, then 6 days later, my gramma dies, then 6 days later, my sister turned 33. Three plus three is six. I’m starting to see a trend. My brother was the first to see it. In numerology, 6 is the number for responsibility. I feel responsible for keeping the family going. My mom can’t do it. She’s too busy fighting with her brother. In all fairness, he deserves it. There’s a lot of mistrust and people acting like you’d never have expected them to. Shadiness and spite. I can’t imagine any of my siblings acting this way when our parents die. Dad said we won’t have to worry about it. It makes me sick, the way my uncle is acting. My mom can’t/won’t stand up to him. I also can’t imagine reacting to one of my siblings the way she is. Caving in, avoiding confrontation when you know it’ll do no good.
Nate and I were at her house the other day. She said she’d been reading the little notes my grandmother had written in her bible. In one of those notes, she’d mentioned her mother, my great grandmother, she said they never had a very close relationship. So mom asks me what I think about that. “I dunno what you’re trying to say, mom.”
“Well, my mom and I were never really close. I mean, I love her, but, it’s not like I think I would have ever been her friend if I had known her in a different context. And, with your sister, we’re not that much alike, but I always thought you and I were.” There it was again. That reminder that I’m just like her. No matter what I do or how hard I try to change, it’s inevitable that I turn into her. Even she thinks so. “So, I mean, do you think that if I wasn’t your mother, you’d still be my friend?”
All at once, I’m taken back to that moment when I’d tried to be her friend. Tried to let her in. She’d told me then that she was put on this earth to be my mother, not my friend. I could still see her eyes, glossy behind her thick glasses, her hair wild and unbrushed. I can still smell the odor of cheap beer on her breath. ‘No I wouldn’t be your friend, you dumb bitch!’ my mind screamed. I dipped a piece of raw broccoli into the creamy ranch dressing, and swallowed my anger along with the vegetable. “I dunno, mom. That’s kind’ve a weird question. I’ve never really thought about it like that.” I wasn’t going to bring up that night, I didn’t feel like hearing any excuses for the past. But, I also was not going to tell her that I would be her friend, I was not going to give her that satisfaction.
So, that’s what’s been going on here. I promise I’ll try and be a better blogger from now on.
Remember way back when I told you the story of me and my ex? Well, here’s the thing. I wasn’t completely honest. I didn’t like the way the real story ended, so I made up my own. I think it was obvious, too. I’ve gotten a lot of traffic to that story and may or may not have gained some readers because of it. So, I figured I’d go ahead and set the record straight. Here it is, the real ending to that story. Up until the phone call is true. So, that’s where I’m going to start.
I came home from work one evening to find a Johnson City number on my caller ID. I couldn’t figure out who it was, though. I assumed it must be one of the boys (my little brothers) calling from a friend’s house. Yeah, that’s why the name is so familiar, no wait. James McRandomguy? That’s not one of their friends, who is that? The phone rings, I look at the caller ID: James McRandomguy 423-123-4567. My hand is shaking.
“Hi.” There it was, that voice that I’d heard only in dreams for over half a year.
My heart pounded in my ears, my vision got all cloudy, my knees started to wobble. I put my hand on the kitchen counter to steady myself. “Why are you doing this to me?”
“I just wanted to hear your voice. I’m not trying to do anything to you.”
“How did you get my number?”
“I made my granny give it to me. I just really need to hear your voice right now.” (Yes, I had kept in contact with his family. We’ll save that for another day.) “I miss you. I wish I could see you.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you trying to make me go crazy?” I started shaking all over. My heart ached like it hadn’t in months. Tears began streaming down my cheeks. “What more do you want from me?”
“I want to tell you I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how good I had it.”
I sat down on my bed and lit a cigarette. I inhaled deeply. I was in control again. “Well, go ahead.” And he did. He told me how miserable he’d been. His family was mad at him, he was losing friends and had already lost his job. And then he told me why he’d really called. Karma had made him do it. He didn’t say those words, but I knew it was just the Good Lady Karma at work after I heard this story. She just wanted me to know she was alive and well.
Travis and Slutty McSkanypants (I know, I am sooo mature) had apparently moved pretty quickly, they were living together by Halloween. It didn’t take long for things to go south (imagine that). She wanted out, or rather, wanted him out. Of her house. But she wasn’t going to give him the courtesy of actually speaking to him about it. Oh, no, my girl, McSkankypants, she did much worse than a measly little note. Travis came home from work one night to find all of his stuff on their porch and his key missing from its spot on his chain. She had taken it off the night before and then skipped class to pack up all of his stuff while he was at work.
I listened to him. I sympathized with him. I felt vindicated when he told me how he’d been dumped. He called every day for two weeks. I thought he’d changed. He wanted to see me. Could he come up and visit me, to prove how he’d changed? I told him I’d have to think about it. I was in the driver’s seat again. And, it felt good. I called him the next day and told him yes, that I wanted to see him, too. But, there was no way Jason was going to let him stay at our apartment, so he’d have to get a room. And, so it was planned. I didn’t tell anyone that I’d been talking to him, I knew what they’d say. It’s the same thing I would have told myself. I wanted to believe so badly that he had changed, that he was a good person, I couldn’t even listen to my own intuition.
He was supposed to get into town on a Friday afternoon. I talked to him Thursday night and nothing seemed awry. He said he’d call me the next afternoon when he left TN. He never called, big surprise. I waited by the phone all night. I started worrying around 10pm. I called him over and over. No answer. Around 1am, I began picturing terrible scenarios where he’d gotten into a horrible wreck on the freeway. I went to bed with the phone next to my pillow. By the time I woke up the next morning, I was sure he was dead. I did the only thing I could think of, I called his mother. I told her everything. About the phone calls, the apologies, the promises to make everything right, the planned visit. She sighed, “He’s here, Mary. He never left. I’m so sorry he did that to you.” He’d spent the night before, the night he was supposed to be coming to see me, playing poker with her and her boyfriend.
And, that is the rest of the story.* It ended like most of them do, with me having mud on my face. Not as powerful and wonderful as I’d like to admit. Definitely not the picture of a strong southern woman I’d like to portray, but it’s the truth.
*Extra Credit for those of you who get that reference!
I was miserable. And excited. And exhausted. And miserable. Completely miserable. I was carrying 71 pounds more weight than my 5 foot frame had ever carried, my feet were too swollen for any of my shoes, which may have sucked more if I had actually seen them in the past two months, or if I’d needed to put on shoes, because I couldn’t go anywhere, because I was on bed rest. Which, originally sounded like heaven on earth when it was suggested to my 36 week pregnant self. It got really boring really quick. Daytime TV sucks. Then, I was banned from driving. So, my mother had to take me to my last OBGYN appointment. I took a nap while they hooked up to a bunch of machines and monitored a bunch of stuff. We scheduled my induction on account of my preeclampsia. Then, as I was checking out (is it called checking out? Do you check out if a doctor’s office?), my mother looked at my sheet, “DOES THAT SAY ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE POUNDS!!! I DIDN’T EVEN GAIN THAT MUCH WITH THE TWINS!!! A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE POUNDS!! THAT’S MORE THAN ANY OF YOUR BROTHERS!!”
So, that was awesome. But, I didn’t really care, I was on top of the world. I suddenly forgot the swollen feet and the aching back, and the crappy daytime TV, and the ohmyfreakinggod one hundred and seventy-one freaking pounds, because two years ago today, I saw my baby’s face for the very first time.
I know, I’ve been MIA for a while. And, now as a complete cop-out, I’m going to answer some questions from everybody’s favorite aunt, Becky.
1) Dave and I have a long-standing feud over cheese in a can. He thinks it’s food of The Gods while I think it’s probably Of The Devil. Your take?
–Dave is wrong, it’s not even real cheese. That’s why they are required to call it cheese product. The only “food” that belongs in an arousal can is whipped cream.
2) Is there any way you can think of to make the elder Gosselins go away? I AM ALL EARS.
–Stop caring about them. No more watching their show or buying magazines with them on the cover. Hopefully they’ll go the way of Vanilla Ice.
3) Who is your ridiculous “I can’t admit this to anyone in polite company lest I be banned from life” crush?
–Keanu Reeves, ever since I was introduced to his lack of acting skills in Bill and Ted.
4) If you could fuck it all and pursue your dream (assuming, of course, you were going to be GOOD at it), what would that dream be?
–When I was younger, I wanted to be in a singing group (think Wilson-Philips). Too bad I am completely tone-deaf.
5) They say “living well is the best revenge.” I think they are wrong. Do you?
–revenge on who?
6) What is the most humiliation you’ve experienced in public that you’d be willing to admit to The Internet?
–other than the time my mother told everyone I wanted to get a bra, it would have to be the time I passed out in computer class because of an illegal substance (which is a post for another day).
7) Are you honest with The Internet? Like, if I came over to your house tonight (heh)(I’m coming over, yo)(heh) would I be surprised at who I found?
–For the most part, yes. There are some things that I fudge, but I think we all do that.
8 ) If you could have one talent that you don’t currently possess, what would it be?
–That whole singing thing. I’d love to not be banned from singing my child to sleep.
9) There’s not always room for Jello. Is there?
–God, no. In my life there is never room for jello.
10) What’s your guiltiest of the guilty pleasures?
–that would be my cancer sticks. The only time I’ve successfully given them up was when I was pregnant, and that didn’t even last a month after Nate was born.
Remember forever ago when we discovered that I was a fashionista at an early age? Apparently, I passed this trait down to my little brother Carl. Case in point:
I can’t even find the words. That shirt came from Goodwill and was my older brother’s long before it was his. Those shorts, they’re not shorts, they’re swimming trunks. And, the shirt is TUCKED into them. Carl tucked in everything, even his pajama shirts. But what I can’t get over is the fanny pack. The HOT PINK FANNY PACK! Oh, man, I’m going to get something good from this blackmail photo!
Edit: I just found this picture of Dominic wearing the same shirt:
And, before you say anything, yes, we did go have our picture tken with the Piggly Wiggly Pig like he was freakin’ Santa Claus. That’s just how white trash we were.
So, y’all remember when I used to post on this blog? I know, it’s been a while. I just feel like there’s nothing to say. No, I never called that irish Scottish guy. Or actually he never called me back. So, that makes me feel great. Not that anything would’ve happened, it just makes me wonder what it was all about.
There’s been tons of family drama over my grandparents’ stuff. Stuff that means something to us, and means dollar signs to others. Others who were never around. Other’s whose wife started going through their stuff the day after my grandmother died. The same wife who couldn’t stand to be in the same room with them for more than 20 minutes now thinks she’s entitled to antique furniture and silver. The same wife that got mad and told me I had no right to ask for my grandmother’s wedding rings. The same wife who I want to freakin’ punch in the throat. My brothers want to video tape it. They say it’ll be the next youtube sensation. Young girl knocks out old bitch.
But that’s OK, I got the rings, and the dress.