Tag Archives: friends

An Early Valentine

When you are a little kid you give a Valentine to everyone in your class.  You write their name meticulously. You write your name. You go down the list.  One for everyone.

As you get older you might write a little something extra on your nearest and dearest friends but you still give one to everyone in your class.  By the time you are in high school you probably don’t give a Valentine to your friends anymore.  And I think that is too bad.

So, today, the day before Valentine’s Day I want to give a Valentine to you, my readers, and to a friend of mine.


I went to high school with Karen.  But I didn’t really know her until she started pouring her heart and soul and all of her crazy out all over the Internet.  And now I wish that I could have some of those weird years in high school back so that we could say that we have “been friends” for twenty years.  A long, long time from now perhaps we will forget that we didn’t exactly hang out together much when we were in school.  Or that we have only actually seen one another twice in 19 years.  Look at that picture of us, we look like a couple of old friends. Happy Valentine’s Day, Karen.

And my early valentine to the rest of you? Karen moved her blog over to WordPress.  Give her a visit.  You will pop by to say hello because it is the nice thing to do.  And you will go back again and again because she is funny and kind and she will make you feel like it is okay to be a person.

She writes a blog called Honestly Uncomfortable and Uncomfortably Honest.  While her subject matter is sometimes uncomfortable she makes you anything but. She writes about her family, her battles with mental illness.  Oh, and poop.  She talks a lot about poop and I know y’all love that.  She will make you feel like you have known her for twenty years, too.  I promise.

Happy Early Valentine’s Day.  If we were in elementary school I would write each one of your names on a rectangular valentine with a glitter pen.  And then I would  fold it in half and close it with a sticker.  I sure would.

Ups and Downs

It has been a long time since I sat in the driveway thinking “How in the fuck did I manage to do that?” Perhaps you remember the morning I put my car in the ditch.   Maybe you even remember that I couldn’t figure what to do while I waited for AAA because it was so cold outside.  My patient husband suggested I go INSIDE the house.

So, today while I sat in the driveway wondering how in the hell I managed to lock myself and two kids out of the house I kept thinking fuck it, we can just go inside and wait.   Yeah.  No, I can’t.

We cleaned out the car.  We organized my purse, suspiciously devoid of keys.  We took funny pictures.  And we waited for Dad.

Eventually the funny picture taking began to wear thin and I started to sweat.  I do not care so much for sweating unless that is an activity I have planned on.  I love to get sweaty.  Exercise and get sweaty.  Go to the beach and get sweaty.  Get it on and get sweaty.  Sweaty is an integral part of many activities I love.  Sit in the driveway and get sweaty.  It wasn’t doing it for me.

I started to get annoyed.  “Emily, today might be a shitty day.  I might swear a lot today.  A lot, like more than normal.  I need you to just hang tough.”

Eventually we got our keys.  We headed to the museum for the afternoon.  We ate ice cream BEFORE our lunch.  I was trying to rally.  Really, I was.  But I had showered.  I had on cute shoes.  And now I was fucking sweaty.

We ran our errands.  We checked the teacher lists at school.  Em got a haircut and the teacher she wanted. Things were looking up.  But it’s not easy for me to turn a day around.

So when the nice woman with the baby said “How old is she?” I could  feel myself start to sigh inside.  I can be aloof.  I know it is hard to imagine but I can.  “Just shy of seven months.” I thought I was making the “Don’t talk to me, I was fucking sweating today, god dammit!!” face.  But I must have misfired.

“He is, too.  And she is six months and she is eight.”  I have no idea how it happened.  Have you ever walked in to a bar with a royal hangover  in your flannel pants just to get your credit card that you left there the night before and forty minutes later you are smashed and getting hit on and it is the middle of the day?  No?  That was just me?

All of a sudden I was sitting on the floor with one, two, three other mothers and FOUR babies and it was … fun.  And one of them took my phone number!! And we were Facebook friends within twenty minutes of her leaving.  These people had ruined my bad mood.

And I don’t think I ever said anything about “my job.”  The job I don’t really have anymore.   I just said “Yeah, I will have tons of time when Em starts school next week.”  And I didn’t apologize.  Or explain that I am terribly busy Mod Podging my shoes (I am still so in love with my freakin’ shoes!!!!) and making homemade granola bars and becoming Queen of the PTA.  I just said “Yeah, here’s my number.”

And it felt good.

So, today kind of Sucked.  But then it turned Awesome.

Am I on Candid Camera?

I did not actually make the international symbol for “Call me!” as I drove away. But that is the only lame thing I didn’t manage to do.

I am trying my damnedest to stick my neck out.  Or my hand.  And make friends.  Mommy friends.  People from Em’s class or women I see at the park.  I adore the friends I have.  And I don’t make the time to see them as it is, so why should I not try to add more people to the rolodex of folks I seem to ignore in favor of going to bed at quarter of eight by the light of Bravo?

Nonetheless I had said I was going to try.

And this morning while jogging an opportunity presented itself. This is not how I usually dress when I try to pick up chicks.  I saw her car pull up at the park.  She had two girls around Emily’s age, one with her bicycle. She was wearing exercise capri’s and sneakers and had the 2012 Mom Summer Haircut.  I watched her from the other side of the walking track.  On I ran,  pondering changing my route so I could pass by her a few times, scope her out, but that seemed absurd.  And as I finished my third mile around the park I noted that she and her girls were by the swings, which is totally near the water fountain…

So I said… “Yeah, not to say “Do you come here often?” but umm… I do… and that is how I know you don’t actually come here often… so I just thought I’d say hello.”  Then I rambled on a bit about how I’d planned on running Monday through Friday in the morning, between eight and nine and maybe her girls could entertain my older daughter and we could jog or plan on meeting up “and it could be like a thing.”  That is what I said.  A thing. Like I asked her on a date but was  scared to call it that.  Or give her my number.

I can remember a hundred years ago going back to the same bar over and over again because a guy I’d liked might show up there again.  All I ever got was drunk.  Maybe I’ll just keep going back to the park. Only this time I might get healthier instead of broke and loaded.

So… I floundered at the end.  But I was feeling kind of awesome this morning anyway. When I got out of the shower I looked at myself in the mirror.  And with the handheld liposuction, you know where you hold your stomach up, thereby eliminating the hanging post partum marsupial skin (note that I have spared you a picture of this) I didn’t look half bad.  I felt good.

I pulled on a favorite pair of Old Navy cargo pants, elastic waist band, drawstring really, but they were pre-baby pants.  I felt kind of normal.  And good.  Tomorrow is the first day of my summer as a mostly stay at home mom of two and it was gonna be cool.  I grabbed my pita pocket sandwich, my diaper bag and  my kid, slipped on my totally adorable purple flats and headed out the door.  Lucy dropped her toy. I bent down to grab it and did not drop my sandwich or spill my coffee.

But I split my fucking pants.  Eh.  Can’t win them all.  If this gal ever shows up at the park and we chat and she likes me I’m totally gonna tell her this.  “So I was feeling all rad for trying to make a friend.  And then I split the ass in my favorite fucking pants.  You’d better be worth it.”

You can get anything you want… at Alice’s Restaurant

Thanksgiving has always been a time of reflection for me.  Not in the “Oh, I have all of these things to be grateful for…” way as many do.  But in a Virginia Slims kind of way.

It seems I have a tendency to clean “emotional house” around this time of the year.  Perhaps it is the impending new year, or simply the realization that I do have so much to be grateful for and that there is no reason to hold on to what is long gone or to that which really doesn’t serve me.  Whatever the reason, letting go is not my thing, but in November I do my best to look forward.

In 1993 I spent Thanksgiving crying because my high school love broke my heart. But later that afternoon I dismantled the shrine to him in my room (compete with black candles and glossy 8x10s, what?  Don’t judge.)   I think it set the tone for me and many thanksgivings to come.

Years later I had a turkey sandwich in my car and I drove away from the beach to Chapel Hill.  I found an apartment that weekend.   It was harder than dismantling the boyfriend shrine.  But it was worth it.

November of 2008 I sat at table with old friends and new.  I sat across from a man I had met only a month earlier.  I hesitated to say aloud that I was grateful for him. For the future I could already see, smell, taste.

The following year was a difficult one.  I thought I had grown so much, had come so far.   When in reality I had so much further to go.  MQD gave me a push, a shove in the right direction.  And in November 2009 I pushed myself onward towards my future one more time.

Last year we gathered around that same table.  Friends, old and new, and that man I had met.

That man that was my husband this year.  And we had Thanksgiving with those friends that every couple should be lucky enough to have.  The friends that are your family.  And your neighbors.  Without whom you’d lose your mind.

There is very little from this past year I want to leave behind.  My fears, my insecurities, maybe, but even they have taught me so much about who I am in the past year.  I thought I’d try something new this year.

It’s no secret that I am a chickenshit when it comes to making goals.  To saying out loud that there is something that I want.  I have worked hard at letting go for the last decade.  2012 will be the beginning of what I hope is more than just a decade of holding on.  Of putting down roots.  Of making a home.

These are lofty goals.  But simple when you break them down in to actions instead of ideas.

This year I will make at least one new friend.  A mommy friend.  That intimidates me.  I will invite her and her kid to my house and I will not worry that she will see me use the Walmart brand of disinfectant near my children, or that she will sniff out the paper plates that hide in the back of my cabinet  (thereby proving that I am not as green as I strive to be.)

I have fantasized about a spring or summer monthly potluck of sorts for years.  This spring I will do my damnedest to make that happen.  So I can hold on to those friends that I have made here even though our lives are pulling us all in different directions, towards our own homes, our families.

I will swallow my phone phobia and pick up the phone at least once a week.  I was laughing on the phone with my grandmother the other day about how when you don’t have a glass of wine or three in the evenings it is even harder to pick up the phone.  A newborn is not conducive to wine drinking or long chats on the phone. But once a week I will pick up the phone and call.  Someone that makes me happy.

It’s easy to allow the Newborn Cave to swallow you whole.  The velour sweatsuit starts to look like dress up clothes if you put it on fresh from the dryer.  Working from home will allow me to stay engaged with people through a computer screen.  In my bathrobe, baby on the boob. But I am going to give it all I’ve got to stay connected to real live humans.  People that wear belts.  And eat at tables, not at the kitchen counter.

This is me, putting it out there.  I am going to blow dry my hair at least twice a month.  And make a Date.  With someone that is not a personal trainer or a blood relative or married to me.  I will likely show up with a baby on my boob.  But I will be out there.  Maybe even wearing a belt.  And real shoes.  Putting down roots. Making a life that is moving forward, not just away from something, but towards something.

I will reach out to the casual friends that I see at social functions organized by my more… organized friends.  The women that I am so happy to run in to.  That make me laugh until my sides hurt.   (I’m looking at you, Caroline.  This is your shout out, as well as a fair warning.  I am coming to a bottle of white wine and a table near you, Springtime, 2012, be there or be square.) And to the women that I am so lucky to already call my good friends.  Whom I see not nearly enough of.

Because holding on to what you’ve got is just as important as letting go.