October 2011


I used my birthday gift card from Kohl’s to buy myself two new shirts and a new pair of jeans this weekend.   The shirts are cranberry and pumpkin colored and cotton, and I love them.  I wish I didn’t have to wash them so I could wear them all the time.  My mom bought me a pretty necklace for my birthday as well.  It’s nice to have new things.  I’ve been really good about my money lately, which has meant no treats. 

Every Monday for the last month I’ve gone down to our Hartford office and worked on a fairly large project that involves actual physical paper and which will make me feel totally accomplished when I’m done. 

J and I are at Starbucks right now (no, I’m not splurging; a gift card was another of my gifts).  As soon as he got home from school I whisked us away.  I love that he rides up on his bike right after school two days a week; it’s a far cry from when he was little and I’d drop him at daycare at 7:30 and have to get him at 5:30.  Anyway, he’s got a chocolate frappucino, which he’s sucking down like his life depends on it.  He’s doing his homework while I work.  There’s cool music playing in the background.  I feel like we don’t spend enough time together sometimes, and while this isn’t exactly quality time, it’s better than being in separate rooms at home.

Speaking of Starbucks, it’s not the Starbucks where the manager asked me out.  He never called.  That’s fine with me.  I’m not sure I wanted to date someone 15 years older than me anyway, and I definitely don’t want to date someone who didn’t call me to make plans within a week…that just means he can take me or leave me, and I think someone should have at least a little excitement about me, no?  I know I’m picky, but at least I’m not unhappy settling.

I’m finishing Season 8 of Stargate: SG-1, which means I’ve got about 30 hours left of the series.  I’ve been watching too much of it, and although I’ll be excited to finish it, I think I need to slow down for the time being…read some books…watch a movie that doesn’t involve inter-stellar travel.  I’m really not normally a scifi girl.  I think I need an action movie mental palate-cleanser or something. 

My next two weeks will be filled with Halloween preparations and Cub Scout wreath-selling, which will be an odd justaposition.  I can’t wait for the holidays to start.  I want to bake desserts and feed them to the people I love.  Is that weird?

 

I left the club early.  It had been a surreal, sober night.  I didn’t feel like having any conversations, and my attempts may not have been as smooth as I’d hoped.  Although I’d spent days making my own mask and fan for this evening masquerade, my heart wasn’t in it even before I’d arrived.  I was exhausted from too many late nights at home, laying in bed thinking or watching tv…just not wanting to sleep.  I can’t believe I was awake enough to go; I knew I’d need to leave early enough to be awake enough to drive home.

On my way out I passed a girl sitting on the stoop of the apartment building next to the club.  I’d seen her earlier hanging onto a parking meter, swaying drunkenly and looking abandoned.  She hadn’t been bothering anyone then; now she was just quietly crying.  She was pretty young, and I find myself using youth as an excuse for a lot of people’s behavior lately.  I sat down next to her and talked to her, went back inside and bought her a bottle of water.  I instructed her to drink the whole thing and keep an eye out for her friends before I left.  It made me feel like such a mom, even in my silly wig and corset.  I suddenly wished J wasn’t sleeping over his friend’s house and that I’d be going home to him in the apartment. 

I got home at 2:00, stripped off all my finery and got into the shower.  I took off my makeup with Vaseline, took out my braids and even managed to take out my contact lenses in there.  I threw on a cotton t-shirt that said “When Mom is happy, everyone’s happy” made myself a snack, and crawled under my down comforter.  It felt so good to feel so much myself again that I don’t think I’ll be going out dancing again anytime soon.  Maybe I’ve lost my enthusiasm for the pretty lights and music.  Or maybe I felt like I wasn’t myself there: that people’s words and looks were as flimsy as my paper fan, and that only stripped down in my plain and chubby form could I actually trust who I was and what others were seeing in me. 

I was tired the whole rest of the weekend and ended up with a terrible headache today.  I took a nap and woke up feeling much better this evening.  I wish I had another day to clean and decorate my house more, to go through my fall clothes and hang up my favorites, to go to bed with shaved legs in new clean sheets (which always reminds me of being a teenager).  But I’ll just do those things tomorrow.

(I wish I had a better ending.)

Back when I was dating Eric for like, 5 minutes, I got caught up in the moment (the whole thing was caught up in the moment honestly) and told him about a gift I’d always wanted but hadn’t told anyone about.  Both our birthdays are in October and somehow one topic led to another and I spilled.  Somehow that makes me feel like my birthday has something of a broken promise about it, maybe moreso about the idea of being in a relationship again than the gift, but it’s there nonetheless.

On the rare occasion when I get caught up feeling lonely I really kick myself hard about it.  I am always counting my blessings, I really am.  I even do it with Bing Crosby’s voice singing away in my head.  I do it while I’m washing dishes or making Sunday dinner or reading on the pappasan.  I do it when my wrists hurt and when I drink tea from my favorite teacup and when I see J riding his bike around the neighborhood out the window.  I do it no matter what the scale says and no matter what my bank account balance is.  You have no idea how privileged I feel to be here.  Sometimes I feel like an alien, marveling at my own emotions, tickled to no end just to be alive – nevermind under such grand circumstances. 

My mom is throwing me a little birthday party at her house this weekend, and although I complain I don’t need the attention the truth is I’m really glad she does it.  It makes me feel loved.  It’s weird – this is my first birthday in four years where my dad and my sister H are in my life.  He’ll probably get me a present, and I’ll let him.  She probably won’t, but if she does, although she owes me thousands in back child support, I won’t criticize her.  (She’s taking nursing classes – I’m more than a little astonished at this turn of events.)  My older brother will probably send me a text message from California.  And my baby brother and sister, who everyone knows are dearest to me, will be at my mom’s party too, along with both my nephews. 

How in the world did I get here, I wonder. 

I’m not sure I mentioned it but I organized a weekly coffee with some amazing single moms I know.  We’re all home-based, we all live in the same town, and all our kids are friends.  It’s been so nice to get out of the house and to talk to them.  They’re really kickass women with a great deal of drive and moxy.  They’ve been through a lot, just like I have – though in a different way, and being with them is reassuring and well, fun.  They make me feel better about being where I am, literally in town and also as a mother.  When I’m with them I never think about what I don’t have; I feel like a writer and a singer and a career woman and a great mom and basically a smart person.   I really, really love that.

I haven’t thought about it for a while, but I’m suddenly reminded of J’s name.  When I adopted him I had the chance to change his name around, which I took advantage of because everyone called him by his middle name, so I moved that forward, and I got rid of his bio dad’s surname and gave him mine.  I also wanted to add in my own middle name as part of it, so I added “Sean”.  It means “gift from god” and though I’m not theistic I did like that idea that he was a gift. 

And now, thinking of that makes that stupid little present I asked for seem like nothing at all.

Life has finally settled into something of a routine here in my little world. 

J is back at school and so far it’s going well.  I usually don’t get calls from teachers in the first month anyway, but I’ve seen him maturing lately so I’m hoping 5th grade is getting off to a good start.  So far he’s only had one unfinished assignment sent home.  He’s doing his homework better; this year he has a larger desk at home and I’ve figured out little things, like letting him rest his feet on a basketball will make him less fidgety and letting him type his assigments helps him to write.  He’s enjoying switching classes at school and the responsibility they’re giving him with time management and challenging work (oh, heaven, finally – challenging work).  I started letting him ride his bike to school, which gives me palpitations a little but I know it’ll be okay. 

He’s still doing cub scouts and I’ve enrolled him in flute lessons outside of school, with the aim for him to be able to rejoin band next year in middle school.  It’s expensive but I’m balancing it all.  He decided a few weeks ago that he wants to be a Buddhist and vegetarian.  I think Buddhism is right up his alley even if he doesn’t realize it completely yet.  He’s doing well with his new diet, although he does confess to missing steak. 

Mostly, I’ve just been looking at him lately and wanting to burst with pride over how he’s growing up, and cry over how he’s growing up at the same time.  It’s hard to explain. 

For my part, things are good.  Much better than my pissed rant (which honestly only lasted about as long as it took to write).  Work is getting better.  I figured out if I go down to our main office at the beginning of each week, I can set myself up with work for the week that offers some variety and urgency to my queue.  Plus it’s energizing to see everyone.  I’m working at coffee shops a few mornings a week.  There really is too much benefit to working from home for me to complain about it.  I realized I suffer generally from a lack of self-motivation in many areas in my life and I’m just going to have to put on my big girl undies and figure it out.  It’ll be good for me.

I’m making some friends in town – building a support network, as it were, but also just enjoying the company of other women like me.  I’ve been out a bit in the city, too, although I always assume that people there aren’t friends but acquaintances.  I can’t imagine someone calling me up and wanting to come out to the ‘burbs for a drink and to watch House or something.  I wish they would, though.  They’re very interesting people.  I don’t mind the juxtaposition with the two lives anymore…just two sides of the same shiny coin.

I’m still feeling the aftereffects of my personal epiphany this summer.  I’ve honestly been enjoying life more, just being in the moment and not thinking at all about how I fit in to situations or people’s lives or about how I’m perceived.   It’s been a little odd to lose that voice in my head after all these years.  It makes me a little sad that I wasn’t like this sooner.  Life is what it is, though, and I’m just glad I did change. 

My birthday is in a few weeks.  I’m not sure how I feel about being 34.  Seems old.  At least for me.  But I’m doing pretty well, I think, and besides, I always did love life and cake.