Ode to Barry

I am not proud to admit this, but I am, by nature, kind of a pessimist.  I say kind of, because I think I am less of a pessimist and more of a worrier.  I am famous for pre-worrying (again, not proud), and that glass?  It’s usually half empty.  Bad shit is all around us, amIright?

My husband Barry, on the other hand, is an eternal optimist.  He wakes up every (okay, most every) morning happy, ready to get things done, blissfully unaware of whatever shit might hit the fan. That’s because he knows that, whatever it might be, we can deal with it.  Intellectually, I know that to be true, but fretting is my go-to.  Again, not proud.

Throughout this entire disaster called Covid, he’s kind of kept me alive.  Not literally, but certainly emotionally.  Actually, literally, too.  Of the probably 600 meals consumed since March, 599 of them have been cooked by him. And I am talking real, actual (usually delicious – with the exception of that weird thing he did with that fish…yuk) meals. It’s quite impressive, actually. (Edited to add: I will look in the fridge and announce that there is nothing to eat. He will them, perhaps even just to prove a point, pull things out and whip up a meal. I used to feel defensive, now I just sit back and watch.)

My own (not so) little energizer bunny, he – and his brain – are in constant motion.  He seldom (read: never) sits still for very long, is seldom (read: never) without some sort of project to tackle and, truthfully, watching him dart around, often in circles, provides endless entertainment. It’s almost like I can see the synapeses firing.

I am always (every.single.time) ready to go before he is.  I will be in the car, lipstick applied (I miss pretty lips), cooling my heels while he is roaming in those circles, going through a checklist in his head (complete with counting on his fingers) to ensure he has every possible item we might need for any possible situation we might encounter.  Note: we never need any of it and, if we are being honest, he often manages to forget the one thing we did need. Like, for example, the pile of Bed Bath and Beyond coupons we needed for the one place we were going: Bed Bath and Beyond.

His breakfast vs. mine: Can you guess whose is whose? Yes, those are eggs on pizza.

He has two speeds: on and off.  I never shut off, even, alas, while I am sleeping.

He will go anywhere and do anything.  I am a bit more,shall we say, selective.

His way of keeping score vs. mine: (Yeah, he beat me. This one time…)

 As much as he hates needles, they don’t bother me in the least.  I, however, abhor the sound, smell, and mere thought of vomit. One could barf on his feet and he would be unfazed. For my part, I can take or watch someone getting a needle with nary a blip in my blood pressure. This makes us a perfect union.

We have one essential thing in common: we love to laugh and, perhaps more to the point, we crack one another up.  And that, my friends, is the key, particulary during these shitstormy days.

We also happen to be the world’s best photo bombers.  Don’t believe me, well check these out for yourself. No one is safe from our stealthily running up and no one has refused to Airdrop the photo to me. No one.

The mom was in on this one. The kids had no clue we were behind them. The whole restaurant was cracking up, as were the kids when we showed them that they’d been bombed.

These young women spoke no English, having just arrived in NYC from Japan…but knew all about Airdropping.

These two kiddos thought it was so funny that we photobombed them that they proceeded to chase us down the beach trying to playfully scare us. They might have succeeded.

Mom saw us coming. The kids did not. I lost my phone in the process. One of the kids found the phone and ran it down to us as we were retracing our steps. It had fallen out of my pocket as I ran over to bomb. Insert eye roll here.

How cute are these two who were just trying to take an Insta-worthy shot. Barry kindy offered to take a photo of them that did not include us. He said, “that’s okay” while she was saying, “sure!” She won.

And then there is this. Thanks, B. for having my back, being my bestie, and making me laugh (usually with, but sometimes at) you. There is no one I’d rather be with in Crazytown.

On FOMO, Decisions & Judgment

I recently read an article shared by a friend on, where else, Facebook. When I finished it, I commented that not only did I agree with what the author was saying, but I wish I had written it.  And that got me thinking: I have not been doing a whole lot of writing about anything, let alone something that would prompt a, “Damn, I feel the same way!” response.  To be patently clear: I have written many words…all of which I have deleted.  Many, many, many words. All deleted.

 

The gist of the aforementioned article was that this new phase of the pandemic is creating a new wave of anxiety…as if there wasn’t plenty of anxiety to go around already. When every single person everywhere in the world was in lockdown, things were, in some respects utterly sucky, in others, pretty swell.  FOMO was no longer a thing, even among those among us who normally suffer from it greatly.  No one was doing anything, so there was nothing to MO on.  Right?  Now, however, with the world reopening, we are forced to not only worry about the virus but, dammit if FOMO isn’t creeping back in and, damn it all to hell,  the need to make decisions – lots of decisions – is wicked hard to avoid.

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I have said it before, and will say it again: there is a lot I really dig about lockdown. Any decision I had to make was a simple one:

 

  • Take a walk or don’t take a walk?
    • Decision: 5-10 miles a day.  Did it. Continue to do it. It’s literally the only exercise I am getting, but I am getting it.
  • Eggs, oatmeal, or smoothie for breakfast?  (Clarification: there was often a first and second breakfast, so many times it was more a matter of when than which.)
    • Decision: more often than not, two hard-boiled eggs courtesy of this little gadget. (Mine isn’t pink, but now that I have seen the pink one, I want it.)
  • Shower or don’t shower?
    • Decision: Shower every day. Twice when I walk. Which is nearly every day. Except for that time last week, when I had vertigo and the only walk I took was to the bathroom, and that was more of a crawl. It was awesome!
  • Read a book or watch tv?
    • Decision: I had an entirely ridiculous and self-imposed rule of no-tv-during-the-day.  Not much at night, either. Too taxing to choose from the bazillion possibilities. Even recommendations (still haven’t seen Ozark, btw) were too hard to wade through.
    • Decision, Part II: In a brilliant move, I took several books out of the library before they shut down.  Less impressive: I read exactly none of them.
  • Jeans or sweatpants?
    • Decision: Fact – and a well-documented one at that – I put on jeans and a belt every single day. Which, as it turns out, was a fantastic decision because I have not gained one single pound.  Thank you for that, Covid-19.

 

Now, however, as we ease back into life (which, incidentally, will never ever ever be the same), suddenly (or so it seems) there are thousands of decisions to be made, and, boom, FOMO is kind of a thing again.

 

  • Go into stores; not just for necessities, but for filling the holes in our souls?
    • Decision: I have been to Marshall’s.  And TJ Maxx.  And Old Navy.  And Walmart.  And Target. Oh, and Home Depot.  At first, it was for things I needed. (Aside: why is it that not one single of the aforementioned stores has gym shorts? Or, if they do, only in sizes XS and XL?) Then, the excursions became more about feeling normal.  Shut up: going to Marshall’s makes most of us feel normal.  But, truthfully, it wasn’t an easy decision.
  • Get my haircut? 
    • Decision: Back in early February, before the world shut down, I had 5” cut off which, as it turns out, was an epically wise decision.  That said, I was the second appointment on the first day that my salon reopened at the end of May.  It was a joyous day. It was not, however,  a decision I took lightly.
  • Manicure/pedicure?  So here’s the truth.  I have been having my nails done, religiously, for, gulp, 30 years. (In a quest to feel normal, and with my doctor’s permission, I famously had a manicure and pedicure the day before my bi-lateral mastectomy: it runs that deep.) For the duration of lockdown, I had short, unpolished nails and I was pretty much okay with it.  In fact, I might have said (many times) that I was over getting my nails done.  That, it turns out, was a lie.
    • Decision: Once nail salons were allowed to open, I waited several (okay, two) days before scheduling an appointment.  Afterward, despite feeling decidedly more human, I found myself hiding my hands, lest anyone judge my bad judgment decision.  Truth be told, my nail salon had more precautions in place than the urgent care I took my stepson to last week.  Aside: a kid with a broken wrist during the first summer in the history of life that camps are all closed is even more fun than vertigo! Truth.
  • Go to a restaurant? I happen to be married to a man who happens to not only know how to cook but also happens to love cooking and also happens to make dinner every single night.  As regular and avid go-out-to-dinner folks, his menu – delicious as it was most of the time – was becoming a little, shall we say…repetitive.  We ordered take out once or twice, but last week, the first (and only) time since March that someone served us (on paper plates)(with plastic utensils) was spectacular.  Utterly spectacular.
    • Decision: See above.

 

What makes the FOMO issue particularly challenging is the fact that along with one’s envy over other folks’ goings and doings is an inescapable reality: judgment and, well, more judgment. There, I said it. Who among us hasn’t had an opinion about what other people are choosing to do?

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You’re going to the market in March?!? (I made my husband do all the marketing until about a month ago.)

 

You had contact with a human being that doesn’t live in your house in April?!?  (Nope. Even the people who live in my house were kept at a distance.  Mostly because of the pandemic.)

You left the house in May?!?!  (In fairness, I didn’t really leave until my hair salon opened.  Truth.)(In my defense, I have thick, heavy, and copious amounts of hair…it is a blessing and a curse under the best of circumstances.)

 

Judge, judge, judge.

 

Yes, I found myself concealing my perfect nails, painted the perfect pink (gel #135) lest someone judge my decision.  And, until now I have kept the experience of my visit(s) to Marshalls close to the vest.

 

Judge, judge, judge.

 

Some may consider my decisions reckless.  I do not.

 

That said, I will not go into a mall.  I will not walk along the water when there are throngs of other people doing so.  I will not go to a party.  And I try (really, I do) to not judge anyone else if they do.  I get it. (Okay, so I might judge a little.  Shut up.)

 

Here’s are the only things I will judge, and judge harshly:

 

  • People who don’t respect the most anxious among their people. If someone you love, or someone you even know, is uncomfortable – even if you think it is a bit much – suck it up and do as they wish.

 

  • People who don’t wash their hands. Forget the fact that folks should, as a general rule of living, wash their hands.

 

  • People who either don’t wear a mask or wear one under their nose.  Seriously, cut that shit out.

I hope you are managing emotionally, socially, and physically.

I hope you are among people who love, respect and protect you to the very best of their ability.

I hope you are being patient, kind, and understanding of not only others but your own needs.

I hope you are reserving judgment for the things that really matter.  At least most much some of the time.

Are You Losing It? (I am.)

This might just be it.  I am pretty sure it is.  I have some fairly hard evidence to back up my claim, too.

Yes, the more I contemplate, the surer I am.

This was the week that broke us all.

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I thought perhaps it was only me.  My legions of Facebook and Instagram cohorts, however, have proven me wrong.  This week nearly everyone I know, to varying degrees,  lost their shit.  Some rather epically.

A friend who is a teacher is killing herself teaching and supporting and loving and understanding and adapting and morphing and creating and connecting with her students (6th graders…so, um, yuk) and had a total meltdown…during a Zoom faculty meeting.

Another lost it whilst sitting in the parking lot of her supermarket, having been traumatized by the disregard of social distancing of fellow shoppers.  And the fact that they had no name brand toilet paper.  Truth be told, it might have been the toilet paper that truly set her off, but let’s give her the social distancing.

Yet another became apoplectic because her incredibly sweet, adorable, and highly cooperative three year old has become Satan -I think only at bedtime, but does it matter…Satan is Satan – which, I could make a case for, is definitely related to this fucking pandemic.

Another pal,  one who works (well worked is more accurate, more on that in a second) in a hospital where, one could argue, stress levels are even higher than stratospheric, had the audacity to use her kick-ass sense of humor – and perhaps a smidge of sarcasm – in an attempt to lighten the burden of the insanity of working in a hospital during a fucking pandemic only to find herself on the wrong end of a boss who, also buckling under the pressure, couldn’t take it and, um, fired her.

And my sweet friend, the one who is kind, patient, understanding, calm, and gentle, reported to me that, upon spying some schmucks enjoying 18 holes on the closed golf course not only called out to them that the course was closed, but called them assholes.  Okay, she yelled at them that they were assholes. And then burst into tears.

Then there are the kids, especially the teenagers who, nearly to a person, have had more than enough family time, are desperately missing their peers, are bemused and perplexed by the new way in which they are expected to learn, and actually need contact with people who do not share their last name.  Same for the parents, actually. I’d give my left arm to hang with someone who didn’t share my, my husband’s or my ex-husband’s name.  Truth.

For my part, I spent the better part of the past three days crying. No, not crying.  Sobbing.  Convulsing.  Choking on spit.  Dry heaving.  #goodtimes.

Since I do not watch or listen to the news anymore, or, for that matter, read anything other than Buzzfeed, Daily Mail and light fiction (okay, and death notices), I am not sure how long this fucking pandemic has been going on.  I might have accidentally heard or read that it has been about six weeks.  Based on that assumption, I am going to assert that six weeks is  how long it takes to set someone completely off their axis.  Amiright?

Yes, I have every single thing I need.  I have (an abundance) of food, (an ample) supply of wine, (generally) agreeable roommates (when they aren’t being assholes), work to do, puzzles to solve, books to read, recipes to try (currently baking my second challah…hoping this one isn’t quite as brick-like as the last one), shows to binge (hello, “Big Little Lies”), movies to watch, walks to take (averaging 5-10 miles a day), and jeans that still fit.  I have nothing to complain about.  But I will.

This fucking pandemic is getting to me.  I miss people.  I miss eating out.  I miss going to the movies by myself in the middle of the day. I miss spending $2.86 on a hit or miss cup of hot coffee.  I miss my boxing class and the people I punch with.  I miss asking the guy at the deli counter to slice it somewhere between thin and not too thin.  I miss having my nails done by someone other than me.  I miss seeing the kids and my colleagues at the school I work at.  I miss wasting an entire afternoon at Barnes & Noble.  I miss being able to go to the market for two things (which winds up being more than two things) without having to HazMat up.  I miss not having to wash my groceries before they come in the house.  I miss seeing my son and brother who are so close yet so far away. I miss feeling any need to swipe on mascara.  And lipstick?  Who needs lipstick under those godforsaken masks. (Aside: am I the only one who often forgets to breathe while wearing said mask? I seriously do that. Wha??)

I haven’t cried yet today.  I might.  In fact, there is an excellent chance I will.  It might be warranted, it might not.  It doesn’t really matter, though…it’s not like anyone is going to see me.

Fucking pandemics are lonely, even if you are among people you (mostly) love.

Fucking pandemics are isolating, even if you are FaceTiming, Zooming and old school Skyping.

Fucking pandemics are in no way normal. There is nothing normal about either a virus floating around looking for victims or the behaviors they demand of us.  Not. One. Thing.

Fucking pandemics are scary.  Seriously – going to the market or CVS makes my heart race.  In fact, it wasn’t until this week that I was brave enough to do either.  Hmmm, perhaps there is a correlation between being a consumer in the age of Covid and simultaneously losing it. Coincidence?  Methinks not.

Fucking pandemics prove one thing and one thing only: no one has any control over anything ever.  Despite what one of my children might say, I am actually not (normally) a control freak.  These times, however, I am grasping at any kind of (totally perceived and ultimately false) control I can muster. It’s not working.

Everyone is caving under the pressure.  Okay, maybe not everyone, but I certainly am.

Stay strong, brothers and sisters.

Stay healthy, y’all.

Stay as connected as humanly possible, people.

This is going to end.  And then we will all have to adjust, yet again, to a life that bears little resemblance to the one we’ve known.  Should be fun…

 

Pandemic Life

Things are strange right now. Like, insanely strange.  In fact, the word strange doesn’t even really touch the surface, now does it?

I am not sure about you, but I usually do not know what day it is and I never know what time it is.

Each morning, the first thing I do, before I even get out of bed, is ask Alexa what the weather is going to be. It is the only piece of “news” I care to know. I do that in lieu of what I have done for the past 25 years of my life: half watch, half listen to “The Today Show” or “Good Morning, America” or whatever CBS’s morning show is called.  Stopped watching those weeks ago. At least I think it has been weeks. It could just be days, but, no I am pretty sure it has been weeks.

So much has changed.

I cannot go to my boxing classes anymore and, even though they’ve done an amazing job with an online presence, punching the air just isn’t the same as pulling on my pink gloves and ripping the stuffing out of a heavy bag. Now the only gloves I wear are those to keep me – and anyone I come in contact with – from getting sick.

Instead I walk.  A lot.

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But even my walks on the beach aren’t the same.  Gone are the days of the wind whipping through my hair, chatting with whomever I want for however long I want.  Now, I have to stick to one or the other side of the path, depending upon which direction I am headed. I have to wear a mask and gloves, not for warmth, but for protection. I  have to ensure that I time it just right so that there are not a million other people doing the same thing.  Now, I wait for high tide every day – oh, yeah: that’s the other thing I ask dear old Alexa – and I hit the sand, aggressively searching for sea glass. Seriously, even the joy of spying sea glass isn’t the same.

walk

I am reading, but only books that are quick, light, and ultimately forgettable.  Or, if not forgettable, interchangeable. Colleen Hoover, Elin Hildebrand, Harlen Coben? Sure, I planned ahead and took a bunch of “high quality” reads out of the library before they shuttered their shelves, but, yeah, haven’t been able to get into a-one of them. And, to be clear, by high quality, I am referring to those highly rated on Goodreads or a Facebook page I frequent: The Real Housewives Book Club.  We aren’t talking “War and Peace” here, or even the NYT Best Seller List, folks.

With the exception of “The Kominsky Method”, I have not watched a single show.  On my list: Unorthodox, Ozark, Schitt’s Creek (note: I have tried three times, just not getting it), Shitsel, even the damn Real Housewives, for crying out loud.  Like my library books: haven’t watched a-one.  (Oh, we did watch one episode of “Tiger King”…didn’t get it.) It doesn’t help that I have a self-imposed, hard and fast rule that I cannot turn on the television until after dinner. Why such a rule? No clue. Just cannot do it.

I shower every day.  I put on jeans and a belt every day, too.  I may come out of this period lethargic, discombobulated, with permanent heightened anxiety, and crappy-ass nails, but will be Goddamned if I am fat, too.  So far: down three pounds.

Confession: PP (pre pandemic) I went to the supermarket between three and four times a week.  I actually love going to the market.  I have not stepped foot in one since early March.  Barry, bless his heart, is not only my cook and chief bottle washer, but my DS (designated shopper) and, by and large, he is slaying it.  Okay, so he bought Chi Chi’s Salsa and not Paul Newman’s, and he bought cans, not bottles of Diet Coke, and why so cheap with the La Choy Noodles (I might be addicted), but other than that (oh, and next time grab some decent chocolate, would ya?) I am grateful.  (Bonus: he even washes it all down in the garage before bringing it in the house.) But here’s the thing…while he is dutifully adhering to the list I hand him, I deeply and profoundly miss picking up all the extras that don’t show up on any list. Not sure when I will go back, though.  And that makes me sad. And I am longing for supermarket sushi.

The other day, in one of my near daily FaceTime chats with my brother, Rob, he (not so) gently demanded suggested that I might want to consider putting on some makeup.  Even a smear of mascara, for the love of God. He shamed me into it. For one day. The next day, I got up, showered, and considered putting something other than moisturizer on. I bagged the idea – imagine how great I will look when I finally put some on! (Note: most anyone who has ever met me had never seen me without mascara.  This truly does signal the apocalypse.)

I will admit, however, that I do not totally hate this new life.

There is something soothing about it.  I, and the people around me, are scheduleless.  No one has to be here, there, or anywhere at any time, really.  Each day is mellower, despite the insanity around us. And, while I make an effort to leave the house every day (McDonald’s Diet Coke – from the drive-thru with everyone gloved and masked – is even more perfect now!), if I don’t, I am not being lazy…I am being responsible.  And the kids who are still at home?  They are killing it.  All deserve awards for Most Improved Player. Go figure.

I love having Barry home.  To be clear, there are moments that I could kill him slowly and methodically with a ballpoint pen, but all in all, I like having him around.  (And this is not just because he is my DS, although I will admit I find that kinda sexy.) Don’t tell him I said this, but I am going to miss him when he has to go back to his office every day. Without his commute (a mere 17 miles that can, on a good day, take 90 minutes to drive) we can take nightly walks while the sun is still out.  He is willing to stay awake a little later in the evening since he can sleep a little later in the morning. (Aside: he’s a little mashugana about his sleep.) He cooks me a (usually) delicious dinner every night and he is much more on top of the laundry than usual. (Let me explain that. I am more than happy to do the laundry. However, Barry doesn’t like the way I do the laundry (I blame his mother for arming him with mad laundry skills).  I also thank his mother for – when I complained that he was complaining about my laundry habits – suggesting that I just let him do it.  Game. Set. Match.)

Someday we will go back to “normal”, but I am 100% certain that normal post pandemic will bear little resemblance to normal pre pandemic.  Some things will be better. Some, not so much. Life has changed forever…that’s for sure.

We are all in a state of slow motion free fall.  We cannot plan for anything. Rites and rituals are basically non-existent.  It’s strange. It’s disconcerting. It’s life changing.

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I hope you are at peace.

I hope you are able, between the freakouts and tears and panic attacks (you have those, too, right?) to make it through each day – in whatever iteration that might be.

I hope you are healthy.

I hope that the people in your life are, too.

It’s Not Just You

Not an exaggeration: every day – as in every single day – since my last post I have heard from someone who has a kid who is struggling.  Every single day.

 

Oh, and, by the way, here’s a fact: struggling kid = struggling family.  Truth.

 

Old friends I’ve not seen in decades.

 

Friends of friends.  Lots of ‘em.

 

Strangers who happened to see my blog.

 

Difficult people.

 

Super cool people.

 

Rich, poor, city, suburban.

 

There’s no discrimination here, folks.

 

Each has a story starts with the same theme: a kid who is struggling.  Some situations are eerily similar to ours. Others a different flavor.  All are heartbreaking. Each exhausting.

 

I’ve received private messages, texts, emails, phone calls, Facebook messages all saying the same thing:

 

I thought it was just us.

 

Nope.  It is not just you.

 

It is not just your kid (wait: never just the kid…the whole family).

 

Trust me: you are not alone.

And that’s kind of what it all boils down to, isn’t it?

 

That sinking, horrible, unshakable sense that you are alone.

 

The shame you think only you carry.

 

The anger you are sure no one else feels.

 

The resentment. The fear. The exhaustion.

 

The loneliness. That’s the worst.  The loneliness.

 

But this isn’t just about a kid (no, a family) going off the rails.

 

It’s about financial worries.

 

It’s about aging parents.

 

It’s about having a kid on the spectrum or one who is either bullying or being bullied.

 

It’s about the challenges of marriage – no matter how fabulous your partner might be.

 

It’s about  the college fund you never managed to, well, fund.

 

It’s about the cancer, or the heart disease, or the dementia.

 

It’s about being 100% committed to the (entirely false) notion that no one else is feeling your feels, worrying your worries, dreading your dreads, struggling your struggles.

 

Reality: That’s not the case.

 

While we might know (in our brain, anyway) that others share the same issues, worries, and fear, we definitely don’t always know it in our hearts.

 

While we are busy powering through, superhero cape flapping, and making decisions that are equal parts difficult and terrifying, it is hard to remember that we are not alone.

 

When the phone rings and your heart sinks in anticipation of what’s on the other end, it’s hard to remember that you are not alone.

 

When your kid is this or that or your parent is this or that or when your partner or friend is this or that or you are this or that it’s hard to remember that you are not alone.

 

But, really, I promise you, you are never alone.

 

And…That’s A Wrap

In early 2012, I, quite by accident, created this blog.

 

What began as a way of communicating to my friends and family the lightning speed with which my son George was becoming my daughter, Jessie, morphed, over the years, into something that was less about her and more about me.

 

At first, I was little more than the-parent-of-a-transgender-child-trying-to-navigate-unchartered-territory-who-needed-tons-of-support.

 

Then, as time progressed and because a new (sort of/kind of) normal emerged, my experiences as a person, a wife, a mother, a woman, a daughter, a sister, an ex-wife and step-mother were more urgent than those of the no-longer-newly-indoctrinated-parent-of-a-transgender-child.

 

Thank you for allowing me to share, shift and share some more.

 

As parents, we try to do right by our children by making – and helping them to make – good decisions, by guiding them as best we can, but mostly by supporting them.

 

We work hard to achieve that elusive balance between being authoritative and being cool.

 

We convince them – and ourselves -we know what we are doing, even when, much of the time, we don’t. (Okay, maybe you do, but I don’t.  Truth.)

 

Most of us put on a good act, but, in reality, we are just winging it much of the time, hoping that our life experiences have provided the tools we need to support, guide and cherish our children – no matter who they are, what they need or where they might be – physically, emotionally, spiritually.

 

Which brings me to the point of this post:

 

Jess is nearly 18 years-old now (talk about crazy!  How is that even possible?!?!), a rising high school senior (say what?!?)  and, out of respect for her, it is time to retire georgejessielove.

 

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As a ten-year old kid, she was down with it.  Over the years, she’s been a bit more reticent in her support.  And, if we are being honest, there have been times that it has made her life more complicated than it already was, is, and will continue to be.  My intent was never to make things harder for her, but sometimes it did. See above: just winging it.

Also see above: trying to make good decisions.

 

Thank you all for your incredible support over the years.  It has gotten me through some really rough spots.  Don’t think for one second that every kind word, every “you got this”, and every virtual hug didn’t make a difference.  It did.

 

Thank you for, if not appreciating, at least allowing my candor, my sarcasm, my sense of humor in the face of some tricky stuff.

 

Thank you for encouraging me, for holding me up, going along for the ride.  It’s definitely been a little bumpy.

 

I suspect I will blog again some day.  I hope that we find one another when I do.

 

PTE

Confession: I’ve been known to suffer from what I refer to as a PTE – Pop Tart Emergency.  (This is not to be confused with a MFFE – McDonald’s french fries emergency – during which I go through the drive-thru but do not pull away before tasting one to ensure it is hot.  If it is not, it goes back. Duh.)

The two  -PTE and MFFE – are generally interchangeable, a surefire cure  for whatever ails me: headache, heartache, bellyache, you name it. The primary difference is that I have to travel to satisfy the MFFE, while the PTE is easily remedied from the comfort of my own home.  Except, that is, when one of the teenagers who happens to live with me not only finds my hidden stash (don’t judge me – you wish you’d thought of it) but eats them.  As in: the whole box. Not proud to admit, but this might have infuriated me a little.

Upon discovering that my Pops were AWOL,  I inquired – via text so as to prevent myself from yelling at someone about, um, Pop Tarts – as to the whereabouts of my contraband Pop Tarts. I was met with utter and genuine dismay as to why I was annoyed.

Here’s how it went:

Me: Did you take the Pop Tarts out of “the hiding place?!?!?!

(Note: I named the hiding place – but not going to mention it here because, well, then you would all know my hiding place.  That being said, apparently it wasn’t such a crack hiding place…)

Teenager: Yea

Me: Did it occur to you that they were in “the hiding place” for a reason?!?!?!

Teenager: No

Teenagers should be publicly flogged.

pop

 

Oh, I know: their brains aren’t fully developed, they are selfish creatures, they are clueless about the needs of menopausal women, blah blah blah, but seriously – WTF?  Is nothing sacred? Get a job and buy your own damn Pop Tarts! Better yet, replace mine. AmIright?

This all happened about an hour ago.  I feel (a little) badly about losing my shit over missing Pops, but have stopped short of apologizing for my completely (un)reasonable outburst.  I mean, I have to maintain some power, right?

So, off I go to replenish my PTE stash.  Or, perhaps, I will give into the MFFE. Clearly I need to do something.

 

Born In The 2000s…

A friend recently posted an article she had written about how &*%$ing hard it is to parent teenagers. (Okay, she was classier than I am and opted for the word freaking as opposed to what I know she was thinking:  &*%$ing). I shared the post on my Facebook page (1) and a friend commented, “We were just talking about this” to which I responded, “Yep.  But then again, I am always &*%$ing talking about this!”

And there we have it.

Over the past few weeks, I have received several texts and private messages asking me if I am okay, noting that I have been “quiet” lately.  “Quiet”, to be clear, is code for curiosity over why I have neither blogged -at all – or posted much on social media. This, I have learned, is a sign to my followers that something is amiss.  And they are not all together wrong.

So here’s the thing: I have a lot to write about, a lot to say, and a lot on my mind.  As in a shit ton. Remember: I have two kids and two step kids. One (thank the Lord) is a successfully launched, self-sufficient and kind adult. The other three are smack dab in the throes of being teenagers – a job they are taking very seriously.  And, as has been established, raising teenagers is really fucking hard. Oh, sorry, I forgot to pretty-up my expletives. The gloves are off.

Panthera_onca_at_the_Toronto_Zoo_2

In addition to my own bedroom, my house has three others, each belonging to one of the kids: ages 12, 14 and 17.  And, if it weren’t enough that there are bedrooms for them…they are inhabiting them. And, to make matters worse, they have all read – and epically mastered – the manual:  How to be the “Perfect” Teenager.  Following me?

They are all good kids (at least I like to think so) (no, they are)(really) and I love each, but none of them – not one – are what anyone would consider, well, easy.  Not. One. Of. Them.  I am actually kind of okay with not easy, though.  I mean, who wants a go with the flow, fall in line, no-issue kid? That would be boring. And, if we are being honest, I myself have been accused of being “complicated” which, we all know, loosely translates to “not easy,”…but I am ONE person. There are THREE of them.  All at once.  Couldn’t one, just ONE, be easy?  I’d be down with being a little bored.

Complicating matters is the fact that of the THREE teenagers who hold the keys to my house, only ONE of them came from my body – which, incidentally, has never been the same.  With only ONE am I allowed to lose my shit without repercussions beyond the crappy feeling you get after calling your kid a shithead. (2) With only ONE do I have not just power (oh, who am I kidding? I have no power) but huge responsibility to ensure that, whether they be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian, that they not be an asshole.(3)  With only ONE can I bellow, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”  It’s a burden, folks.

So, yeah, parenting teenagers is really fucking hard.  Step-parenting them: nearly impossible. That being said, I have lived through it once.  I am (fairly) certain I will manage to live through it three more times.  And, while I would love to go into (graphic and brutally honest) detail as to what life looks like on the daily – I simply cannot.  Unless, of course, I am hell bent on ensuring that things definitely get worse before they get better. Ya gots me?

Consider this a little insight into why I’ve been quiet.  Rest assured, however, I am not so quiet here on the homefront.

Oh, and to all my friends who are relishing life on the other side – aka EMPTY NEST – please, for the love of God, don’t even think about telling me I am going to miss this all some day.

(1) I shared for a few reasons.  I. It was spot on. 2. I want more people to read my friends Abby’s stuff – she’s a good writer. 3. I have come to consider Abby a great friend. 4. Abby and I have never met in person, but we are basically the same person – so that makes her awesome.

(2) So maybe you’ve never called your kid a shithead.  Props to you. But, if you have never even considered calling your kid a shithead, you should just stop reading now.  We clearly have a very different parenting experience.

(3) Been using that line for nearly 8 years.  Still believe it. Still pray for it to be.