A long time ago, in a previous life time there were two seasons. Fall Tour and Spring Tour. Widespread Panic, of course. “Excitement on the Side” is actually a line from WSP’s “Bowlegged Woman.”
Long ago vacations were spent in a haze catching as many Panic shows as I could before I returned to work and my relatively more responsible life. And then I was pregnant (and I still caught a few shows) and then Emily was born and my life suddenly seemed too busy to take a week to run around and “see a band.” I caught a few shows here and there when Em was still under a year old. I can’t be the only music fan that rolled in to a hotel room full of people I hadn’t seen in forever and immediately set up a breast pump.
And then life went from busy to messy with my divorce. I guess some couples have “a song.” Jer and I had a whole god damn band. It was part of what we did together. We got new cars when we were pregnant with Em and immediately sticker slammed them and got matching WSP license plates, COCONUTS for me CHILYH2O for him. You give up a lot when you leave a long relationship: friends, furniture, your favorite sweatpants since they don’t actually belong to you. But I was determined not to give up my band! Continue reading
Last night Jer brought me a box of stuff. Books I had written in elementary school. “The Mysterious Furious Hill” is a real scream. Badges I’d earned that hadn’t made it on to my Girl Scout sash. A report card from the second grade. A picture of my preschool class at Prince of Peace, circa 1979-80. I held that photograph in my hand and I could feel these plastic egg shaped puzzle toys. I could remember Mrs. Fish at my house. She let me “fish” out my name tag with a fishing pole. A magnet, a stick, a string and a safety pin on a name tag. And thirty-one years later, I remember.
How do I remember this stuff? We had a wooden iron in the “playing house/kitchen” area in preschool. I know this because I saw a shelf with a row of fingerpaint in yellow and green containers (the Crayola finger paint containers are the same as they were circa 1980) and in the same moment I saw a wooden iron at Em’s preschool, and I could remember it. As clearly as if it was happening right now. I knew exactly what it would feel like to touch that iron. Continue reading
I don’t talk about MQD an awful lot here. In part because we are happy and functional. And that is neither funny nor interesting. And when I do it is to occasionally mention that he might not find me hilarious in some moment or another. Now this might give you the impression that he is not particularly funny. When actually he slays me on the regular. And roughly half of the time he does it on purpose.
The other night in a moment of classic MQD and Kelly interaction we were having a semi-silent faceoff regarding the television. I watch horrendous, awful TV often. Or rather when I watch television it is often horrendous. So I do my damnedest to not attempt to defend my viewing habits EVER and to make an effort to occasionally flip off the tube and entertain the old chap. After all he was married to me for all of about ten minutes before I got all pregnant and cry-y and wanting to eat ice cream and watch romantic comedies. The least I can do is let him hold the remote. Or gasp, turn off the TV if that is his desire. Continue reading
I maintain I have a pretty sunshiny view on life. This in spite of the fact that I am a pregnant woman, hence I am prone to making my complaints known (or as I like to see it making “gentle observations.”)
This morning’s observation: why in the FUCK does a bagel have to have a hole in the middle? Delicious whole wheat bagel with your 2.4 grams of fiber why must you complicate matters with your hole? I am a capable woman. A smart woman. And yet daily the spreading of my also oh so delicious grape jelly on a bagel is enough to make me want to kill a motherfucker. Why? Why the hole? You serve no purpose! (Incidentally I am a capable googler.) Continue reading
September is a tough month for me. Em’s birthday, her due date and the day Jer and I were married are all within a week of one another. It’s impossible for me to think about one without thinking of another.
I told Em the story of the day she was born yesterday. And it was hard. It is equally hard to call her father and hear him tell her that he loves her. On this day it is harder than any other day for some reason. I don’t imagine it is a picnic for MQD to hear me tell her about Jeremy, either. I do my very best to let Jeremy speak for himself. I never speak ill of him to her, nor do I tell her fantastic tales of a man she sees not enough of. I do what I can to let her love for him carry their relationship. She sees him with her own eyes, not mine.
I just dug up the letter I wrote Em on her second birthday. I had no idea just how much her laughter would carry me through some dark days. When I wrote Em this letter I knew what was coming…. but I had no idea where I was going yet. Continue reading
Dear Emily June,
You climbed in to bed with me at a little before five in the morning on your sixth birthday. “Is it the middle of the night or very early in the morning?”
“It’s night time,” I told you. I am fairly sure I have a limited time left to tell you these white lies in the hopes of buying time in one way or another. You rolled over and snuggled up against me. You were quiet for just a minute before you said “I saw all those streamers, Mom. But I didn’t look at my presents.”
When I was a little girl my mom used to decorate our rooms at night so when we woke up on our birthday we felt special right away. And really I can’t think of a better way to start a new year. I hope you feel special every day of this year, little girl. Continue reading
From my office door
My favorite time of the day is climbing in to Em’s bed first thing in the morning. She has a morning voice that is both squeaky and scratchy all at once.
I rub her back and kiss her on the cheek. These days I smile at those long legs sticking out from that tiny pink blanket she insists on sleeping beneath.
“Goood morning, kiddo. You have to get up in about five minutes, ok?’ Continue reading
I had been waiting for the morning that was not so easy. Em has been a champ about a new school, a new schedule, the school bus. Knowing all the while she will be changing schools again in a few short weeks when we move.
This morning the tears came streaming down her face when we left for the bus stop. She was trying to articulate just exactly what had her so upset. I know she is tired. She has asked to go to bed early for the past week. I told her I’d give her a ride to school today, just to buy us a few minutes so she could wipe her tears from her face.
She was pretty quiet on the ride to school. She stopped crying long enough to tell me that I was going the “wrong way, Mom… are you sure you know how to get there?” But mostly she rode in silence.
We were early when we pulled in the parking lot. “I just don’t WANT to be a big girl.” She was climbing out of her car seat and opening the door. I rounded the car to meet her as she put on her back pack, making my very tall girl suddenly seem so very tiny. “It seems like I am just gonna be a grown up just like THAT.”
Sometimes as a parent I am at a loss. My heart was saying “Go home, fuck school! Eat candy! Watch cartoons!!” But I dug deep and all I came up with was a simple answer. “I know, Em. It IS crazy. I wake up every day and I have no idea how I became I grown up. I still feel pretty much the same as I always did on the inside. Nothing really ever changed for me.”
She hugged me. And she didn’t see me get teary. But she knew. She always knows. “Really?” She pulled back from my neck and looked at me like she just might roll her eyes.
“Really. I still feel like a kid. And THAT is why I am AWESOME.” And then she smiled. And shook her head. I think she thinks I was kidding.
My first child was a sloppy mess from the start. He peed in the house.
The Baby & his Grover
He whined when left alone. And he had very sharp teeth.
He ate the corner of my couch. He stood in his food bowl when he ate his dinner.
My Sloppy Dining Companion
I loved him from the very first night we brought him home. And I was proud of him as he grew in to a big strong boy.
The Handsome Teenager
When I was pregnant with Emily I imagined the two of them fast friends. Fisher and I would lie in bed at night and I would tell him everything I was afraid of.
Snoozing with My Confidant
When Emily was about two months old I was sitting on the couch with the two of them, tears rolling down my face. Her dad asked me in that way that a man talks to a post-partum woman if I was okay. “Yeah, I was just thinking that she will grow up with him and then one day she will have to understand what it is like to lose a dog, and it breaks my heart. I mean she is going to love him so much and he is going to die…” Through the hormones I could see that perhaps I was getting ahead of myself.
There were a million hard things about Em’s dad and I separating. But the hardest may very well have been pulling out of the driveway, Fisher’s head poking through the pickets on the deck. I missed that dog every minute of every day. But as I said to anyone that would listen, you can take a man’s kid and half of his stuff, but only an asshole would take his dog, too.
My Kids at Play
Fate and a cross-country move brought Fish back to me last year. He still smells like corn chips. He still likes to sleep in the middle of the bed. I still get choked up when I think about the relationship that a kid has with their dog.
First Trip on the School Bus
And now Fisher is eight years old. I hope that he is around to walk to the bus stop when the time comes to send this new baby off to school. He’ll be a little grayer, maybe a little slower. I was thinking about whether or not he will have the same patience for this baby that he had for Emily, if he will be as tolerant with the “pony” rides and the dress up games. For now I find peace in the fact that he is already forging his relationship with the new baby. Recently I remarked to MQD that it seems I pick dog hair out of my belly button almost daily lately. That’s what that means, right? Fish is bonding with the new baby?