Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lurve and Tang: A True Story

I've been kind of sappy and nostalgic and emotional these last few days, which definitely isn't my baseline. I thought maybe it was because life has been so crazy lately, but really, except for the real estate transaction bonanza, it's not a whole lot crazier than it has been for the last three-to-five years. Then it occurred to me that for the first time in over 20 years, my hormones are actually my own. They are not at the mercy of chemical birth control or tiny humans growing in my belly. And I'm not sure how I feel about it! Is this that "PMS" that everyone has been talking about? Yowza. You people weren't joking around.

Anyway, in light of my recent state of sap, and cleaning and sorting things for the impending move, here's a mini retrospective on my love. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded why you married someone, especially at those times in your life when you've recently argued about a mop.

First, I came across one of our wedding programs. On one side were the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Wedding Song," which I love to this day:

...You're the other half of what I am
You're the missing piece
And I love you more than ever
With a love that doesn't cease...

And on the other side was this letter:

Dear Mom and L -

A lot has happened in ten years, and I wish you'd been here to experience every minute of the wild ride. I grew up. Sorta. I'm not a trainer for the 'Niners, but a lawyer instead. It still sounds funny to say that. But I love my work. I do good (and medium-well ;)), and I learn something new each day. Little Brother is headed into his senior year of high school... no longer a little kid that falls asleep amidst a sea of markers and crayons, but an (almost) man with big ideas about how to turn those markers and crayons (and paints and pens) into an exciting future. Little Sister is married, and she's a MOM!!! I can't get used to that either! But it's an incredible thing... your first grandbaby!

My favorite story to tell, however, is this:

I met a boy. And I loooooove him. And the best part is, I know you would, too. He's smart and he's handsome and he's funny (but don't tell him I said so :)). He likes adventures. He makes great margaritas. And he makes me smile every single day. I feel so lucky, not only that he and I found each other, but also that I was fortunate enough to get plenty of lessons in love from the two of you. Thank you for teaching me that friendship and laughter and silliness are just as essential to a relationship as commitment and strength. Thank you for teaching me that true love doesn't fit in a box, and can't be captured by words. And thank you for providing inspiration and encouragement in love and all of life's endeavors over the years.

I'd like to think of the two of you here today, in Tahoe, where I always feel your spirits so strongly. I imagine you at the top of one of these peaks, tired and happy and completely content after a long day's hike, setting up camp and preparing a feast of Tang and re-constituted Chinese chicken salad. After dinner you settle in around the fire with your books or a deck of cards, but as the sun begins to set, you take a few minutes to watch the festivities.

You hear music and laughter wafting up the mountain.

You see family and friends dancing the night away.

It's almost as if you're right there.

It's almost as if you're right here.

Miss you.

Love you.

- M.

Then, I came across this little convo between DM and me, probably from a month or two ago:

Me: You're my fave. Thank you for helping out with our lives so much lately. I just can't seem to get ahold of the reins.
Him: We are a team. You only need one rein. I got the other one. Sometimes. And sometimes it's okay for us to be a runaway wagon.
Me: Well thank you. You are a good partner. I don't know if I'll ever grab hold of that second rein again.
Him: That's okay. I like a wild ride :)

As my grandma likes to say, "Hang on tight and don't stand up!"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

an apology to my son

I'M BAAAAACK! Not so much "better than ever" but you get what you get...

To quote my main man Jack Johnson:

And if it ain't this then its that
As a matter of fact
She hasn't had a day to relax
Since she has lost her ability to think clearly

(From a song that until 30 seconds ago I thought was called "Taylor," but, apparently, is called "Posters?")

I should apologize to you, too, for being MIA lately. I'm spread a little thin, which has led to this latest episode of "digital constipation." That reminds me - don't let me forget to tell you about the time my sister gave me laxatives and I almost died, and then ten years later when I forgot this important lesson, which resulted in a visit from some friendly members of Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Station 109.
Anyway, as DM just wrote to a friend, "After 14 years, I've finally discovered Mack's tipping point:

Buying a house, furnishing said house and turning it into a 'home,' selling two other houses (and organizing the repair and maintenance said sales entail), packing and moving a family of four, two kids in two new schools, and switching one kid's school two weeks in (more on that another day), a spastic dog who may or may not like to snack on small children, interviewing new babysitters so that we might actually be able to get in a full day's work, cross-country travel, weekly birthday parties and the purchase of creative and age-appropriate presents they entail (God Bless Amazon Prime), a husband who demands time for surfing and football, the magically multiplying laundry pile, attempting to keep our place from looking like a Hoarders episode between housekeeper visits, a 1.5 hour daily commute, throwing an accidentally enormous farewell pool party, the small matter of her full-time employment, then add insomnia, and hey, searching for another puppy to adopt because, well, why the f*ck not?!" (That last part is clearly indicative of some sort of chemical imbalance and/or masochistic streak).

So. That's what's going on with me. How about you?!

But. Back to the task at hand. I saw this article the other day about a reporter who's name was in the Ashley Madison database (solely for "research" purposes ;)) and how it made her think twice about what she writes online about her kids, because, apparently, THERE IS NO LONGER SUCH A THING AS PRIVACY AND THERE NEVER WILL BE EVER AGAIN?!?!?* Ms. Patterson writes, "When our kids were less than 5 years old, our fears defined who they were. But now, at ages 10, 8 and 6, we get to see what remarkable beings they’re becoming." It was a good piece and it made me think twice, mostly because DM is always saying I better erase all traces of my blog before our kids are teenagers otherwise they will never forgive me.

I, personally, don't think what I've written is so bad. I actually imagine printing out these hundreds (thousands?) of pages and giving it to them when they have their own kids, so that they can see that they come from the highest pedigree of insanity, and they shouldn't feel alone. I think it shows the evolution of me and my attitudes as a parent, and of my children from baby blobs to real, honest-to-goodness little humans. I've called them raging psychotic A-holes, and angels sent from heaven above. I think (I hope!) that my love for them is apparent. And obviously I think I'm hilarious so there's that ;)

But maybe that's just because I don't have the gift of perspective that time provides. Will I feel the same way about these posts in ten or twenty years as I do about this mortifying letter I wrote for a class in high school? Probably. I remember coming across my old journals when we moved into our current house, and after flipping through them, I just tossed them all, because they were too embarrassing to read. The tone - let alone the content! - was literally unbearable. Thank the LORD they were not memorialized online for eternity!!!

When I was in law school, I wrote regularly to my BFF who was in the Peace Corps in Mozambique. (Did I tell you about the time I sent her a care package that never arrived, and it was "returned to sender," tattered and torn, two years later?! I had moved from Sacramento to San Diego and it still managed to find me there! And it was like a time capsule! US Magazine: Jen and Brad. Oh NO! ;)

Anyway. On my wedding day, she gave me all of the letters I had written. And I still have them. It's an awesome idea in theory. But even they are uncomfortable to read. It's just a testament to what nice friends (and husband) I have, that no one tells me to shut my pompous pie hole! Like, who talks like that?!? Me, apparently! I guess if nothing else my words will serve as a cautionary tale, much like the letters from my 16- and 25-year-old selves.

All of this is a very roundabout way of saying that I apologize in advance to my children. I hope this goes without saying (but lately I feel like things that should go without saying need to be said). I love you both so much. So much I sometimes think I might die. (Stand by, Station 109 ;)) I wouldn't trade you and all your you-ness for all the tea in China. You are unique little snowflakes and I am so proud that you are mine. Even those times when I'm embarrassed to be seen with you in public, I know that despite your rabid temper tantrums, frequent lapses in judgment, selective hearing loss, and volume control issues, you are sweet, good, loving, generous and thoughtful little beings and I will never get over the wonder of having had anything to do with bringing you into this world.

And I'd like to give a special shout-out to my son, my firstborn, my boy. I'm not going to go back and read every post I ever wrote about you because, ain't nobody got time for that. But I will just go on ahead and admit that, In The Beginning, I used to think you were our "spirited" (read: challenging) child, while your sister was our "textbook" (read: angel) baby. Well. I was mistaken. You're both challenging and angelic in turns, and it is presently your turn to be angelic while your sister is (much, much) less so. I remember a wizened mother once told me that one should never be lulled into thinking that you have an "easy" child. Every child makes you pay, it's just a matter of whether you pay up front, or incur a debt to be paid, with substantial interest (think adjustable rate mortgages), down the road.

So, I stand corrected. Our lives used to revolve around you and your moods. If Jack wasn't happy, wadn't nobody happy. You were the familial thermostat - from freezing to boiling and back again, we suffered simultaneous hypothermia and heat stroke. But, as with anything else, it was a phase. About which, if it weren't for these words I've written down, I'd probably get momnesia and forget all about. We have now come to rely on your infectious, sunshiny smile each and every morning. You go to great lengths to make our lives easier, almost all of the time. You are kind and helpful. You are the best big brother, and you bend over backwards to appease and accommodate Colby-Jong-Il, the diminutive dictator du jour.

I'm sure the roles will reverse again and again down the road (or maybe they won't). But remember children, you can't believe everything you read. No matter what crazy mutterings your mother may spout, know that she loves you more than the world. Always has, always will.

"Our heads are round so thoughts can change direction." - Allen Ginsberg

* Random unrelated side note on privacy: I don't understand how it's legal for all these real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia and Redfin and whatnot to leave pictures of your house up, INCLUDING THE ROOMS IN WHICH MY FAMILY AND I SLEEP, for ALL the creepy pervs of the interwebs to see?!? Sorry for the shouty caps but honestly! Some lawyer should look into that.