Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hey! Actual decent news!

I've lost ten pounds! I joined Facebook! And February is almost over! I still have a job! My amaryllis finally bloomed! Girl Scout cookies are in! Exclamation points are good! At making things seem great!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

12 years ago today

12 years ago today I was at Wishard Hospital waiting to have an abortion. They are the only hospital around here that will do them, and you have to bring cash. No checks. Guess they have a lot of people whose checks bounce.

I had gotten up early, taken a shower, put makeup on, did my hair. My husband (1.0, AKA Mr. Fuckball) drove me downtown and stopped at the ATM to get the cash. We had already taken our daughter to day care.

It is surreal to describe this. It was all like an out-of-body experience, where I was watching myself do the unthinkable, as if I were a dog on a leash being pulled by an angry owner. This day of the year, February 5, is one I would gladly erase from my mind if I could, whatever the cost. And maybe the five weeks leading up to it, too.

I had taken the pregnancy test on New Year's Day that year. It was positive. I'll never forget the fear in my gut when I told my husband I was pregnant and he looked at me with cold eyes and said "How. Did. This. Happen?" The fear of telling him was miniscule compared to the dread I felt when he said that. Later that same day I timidly approached him and told him I would have an abortion rather than continue the pregnancy, and he exhaled heavily and then cheerfully said, "you know, I think that would be best." Conversation over. After all, he had made it very clear to me that he had only agreed to have one child, and that was after several years of negotiation. Didn't I understand that this was wrecking his life plan?

That day as we sat in the waiting room, I felt a pressure building up inside me. They called my name and I went back to the examination room where they did an ultrasound to determine the gestation date, then sat me down to fill out paperwork. The woman at the desk looked at me and said "Girl, you look scared to death."

I went back to the waiting room. My husband was reading a magazine. I sat down, and the pressure in my chest rose to my head and burst out and I started sobbing. I couldn't read the paperwork. I sobbed quietly until my husband finally asked me what was wrong.

Let me say that again: He asked me what was wrong.

I couldn't answer. I just kept crying. I couldn't tell him that the first time I'd had an ultrasound, when I was pregnant with my daughter, that I was awed and thrilled and so happy to see that I was actually pregnant. This time it was simple confirmation that I had planted this wrecking ball in my husband's carefully calculated life.

In that waiting room, surrounded by other women, I bawled and bawled. My husband finally said, "I was afraid this would happen. You don't have to do this, let's just go."

Such was my state of mind that when we got home and I wrapped my mind around the fact that I was going to have another baby, I remember looking at my husband and thinking that he was the greatest guy in the entire world for not making me have an abortion. It was all my fault, I was wrecking his plan, but he was going to be the good guy and accept that his wife had fucked up and suffer through it.

It only took me three more years to realize that I was continually fucking up my husband's life plan and that maybe it was time for me to move on.

But I still have my son. Some years I forget this date, which is good. I don't like remembering that day. But some years, when I think about how close I came to not having this child, the light and love of my life, the sweetest boy ever born, that sickening fear in my gut comes back. He was, and is, worth everything I went through. I kissed him to sleep last night, and I kissed him awake this morning, and I will kiss him to sleep again tonight. I am his mother, and no one will ever take that away from me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Creaky McCreakerjoints

Here's the new blog, where I bitch and moan about my suffering: Road to 50 (witty, eh?). I blog instead of eating chocolate, and let me tell you, the chocolate was better. And so was the wine.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day one of 84 days

Ugh. So today I started my first day of the Project. I dimly remember attempting to get back in shape last year and failing miserably, but this time I have joined a group of other people. Which is really the antithesis of my nature - I hate joining groups. I hated Girl Scouts, I never belonged to a sorority, I hate those professional "women's" organizations full of perky ex-cheerleader types, and I sure as hell will never join Toastmasters. It's all too Amway for me, too full of helium-infused bubbly chatter that makes my teeth grind.

But this one is being led by my kind and gentle yoga teacher. I trust him, and I like his style, which is more calm and patient encouragement rather than drill-sergeant barking. I do not respond well to being pushed - I tend to push back. But I have to admit - the fact that I sucked it up and joined a group and will have to report on my progress over the next 12 weeks is a motivating factor. I would be too embarrassed to fail, so I am grudgingly following the groupthink, not unlike an alcoholic who finally goes to an AA meeting.

So it's Day One of the Project. I got up at 5:30 a.m. to do my aerobic exercise. I switched from a huge mug of coffee with 2% milk to a tiny cup of coffee with skim milk. I am hungry. I am bitchy. My joints hurt. I hate everyone, and it's only 10:30. Yay me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy new year, y'all

How are you, my readers? (Both of you.) How was your Christmas? New Year's? Kwanzaa? Festivus?

Although I don't make resolutions for the new year, I do look at my list of Things I Must Do in My Life to refresh and rethink. Ten years ago I took a very hard look at my list because I was on the verge of turning 40, and the list became longer and more important since my life was NOT working out as I wanted. This year I couldn't even find my list.

But that doesn't mean I don't have it stored in my dusty old brain. Over the next month I am going to review it and post about it and I am curious to see what sort of responses I get, if any. Do you have a life list? How much of it have you done, what do you regret, and what are you yearning to accomplish?

I will share mine soon. I am starting a project with my yoga teacher called "Bridging the Wellness Gap" which is a program that I hope will improve my health, fitness, and mental wellbeing. This is all part of the Road to 50, which will occur in September of this year, and damned if I will be a slobby old frump on my birthday. Divas do not do frumpy, unless it is cleaning day and you must shuffle around in your t-shirt and sweats and tiara.

Happy 2009, everyone, and let's hurry up and get to January 20.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving is addictive

I love to give things to people. I like buying gifts, because if you pay attention people always tell you what they'd really like.

My best Christmas memory as a child was the year I was nine years old and helped my dad pick out a gift for my mother. My mom and I had been shopping earlier in the fall when she saw a coat at Sears that she absolutely fell in love with. It was beige suede with a beige mink collar, and it was beautiful. It was also expensive.

I don't remember how it came up, or how it came to be that my dad decided he could afford it, but I remember being so proud that I could go with my dad to the Sears store and show him the exact coat that she wanted. We bought it, had it wrapped at the gift wrap counter, and stopped at the candy counter on the way out.

When my mother opened the gift she screamed with happiness -- I've never forgotten the look on her face. I was so happy and pleased that I was such a "grownup" and helped my dad make her Christmas special. My mother wore that coat until I was grown and gone to college even though the thing was practically disintegrated.

I thought about that great feeling when I went to the grocery store last night with my son. We were buying canned food for the food drive at his school, and he was excited. We picked out about four grocery bags full of stuff -- canned veggies and fruit, instant mashed potatoes, chicken and dumplings, etc. My son was very careful about picking out some things that he thought other kids would like -- spaghettios and chicken noodle soup, and of course mac and cheese.

As we checked out and loaded the bags into my car, he smiled goofily and said "Mom, I feel so GOOD that we did this." It brought tears to my eyes. I hugged him close and told him I knew just how he felt, and we went home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feh the halls

OK, put the tree up. Got the wreathes. Decorated stuff. Feh.

My heart's not in it, and I don't know why. If I didn't have kids I'd skip the whole thing.

But I do, and they make it worthwhile. My sweet son put on his fuzzy reindeer antlers and helped me decorate the tree and sighed with happiness when it snowed. We will bake cookies this weekend and get out the frosting and the colored sugars and make a glorious mess all over the kitchen. My daughter sings carols in her baby voice and tells me that if we don't have money for presents that it's OK with her.

I suppose because the mood of the country is so bad, it's affecting everyone. Millions of jobs lost, children sliding into poverty and hunger, and a man loses his life because of a stampeding mob at Walmart. How can I focus on shopping for gifts when the world is such a mess?

My kids are safe in the snow globe I have built around them: a comfortable home, school, basketball practice, homework, friends. But that snow globe isn't the real world any more than Christmas makes everyone loving and giving. There are days I want to give all my money away and live in a cave, but who would that actually help?

Anyway. I think I'll write a check to my favorite Christmas charity and offer up my heart to the universe, and see what happens.