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30 Days of Truth, Day 6

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Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.

Now we’re talking!!! I was just about to throw in the towel on this 30 Days of Truth, nonsense.

I hope I never have to go on another date.

Oh… I mean it.

I can’t even fathom having a conversation that lasted long enough for a man to ask, and that feels wonderful. After the dreadful time I’ve had, trying to coexist and cohabitate with the opposite sex, I’m cutting my losses and beginning my collection of yarn and cats.

With yarn, the worst that can happen is an overabundance of hats and toys. Knitting brings me such peace… and did I mention that it utterly decimates your sex drive? It turns out that you can’t worry about blow jobs when you’re counting stitches and working cables. My ex used to threaten to hide my knitting needles.

The cats are dual purpose. They’re wonderful fluffy bits of love that will deter even the most determined man, in large enough numbers. I have three… which is definitely not enough to scare off an ardent fan. Once you get to 7, 12 or 16 cats… then you’ve attained true cat lady independence. Ever walked through a house with 16 cats?

You’d only do it once. 🙂

Aside from them fucking with my yarn, it’s perfectly wonderful.

Unlike dating.

I think back, (or better yet, read back) and can’t believe I had such low expectations for myself. The internet dating was a blast after I decided to do it purely for the writing material, but as a real woman, looking for love?

No.

Two thirds of the men dating online are looking for sex, only. The other third is creepy. There’s two or three guys that you’d actually want to get to know…. but they’re married.

Dating someone locally means hiding from someone locally after it doesn’t work out. I live in a small town, and that is a REAL problem.

Most importantly, my baby girl is at an age where she’s realizing she doesn’t have a daddy like the kids she sees. Her dad pays his child support and calls, but he’s not present physically. She saw him a handful of times last year. So if I were to date, she’d have to make sense of it, and I just don’t feel like it’s fair to add to her already confusing situation. Her dad is already engaged and being a dad to three other kids. She deserves to be my #1.

Is it lonely? No. I suppose it may get lonely at some point, but the animal shelter is only ten minutes away.

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Along the way…

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uv

I’ve been silent… and just plain exhausted, for two years. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in my own head and stopped writing. Having my words held against me during my custody battle, stole the joy out of blogging.

I’m really sad that I’m missing those two precious years from my journal. Regardless of the very public nature of my blog, it keeps the significant moments in my life that run together in the daily chaos, somewhere I can find them. The struggle of single parenthood means you spend twice as much time doing, and half as much time reminiscing. Blogging has allowed me to do both.

I burn the candle from both ends at an Olympic level. Last week, it caught up with me. I’d been up for 3 solid days and nights with a sick toddler, and our entire world was peppered with vomit, diarrhea and snot. Hers and my own. We were a hot mess, literally. Flu, my ass… I’m pretty sure we had the plague.

And I needed to wash diapers. FML.

Sneezing, coughing and struggling to throw the wet bag full of ungodly-smelling diapers into the washer… whilst sterilizing jars in preparation to can chili and black beans, because I STILL have tomatoes from the garden this summer.

Oy vey… I had to sit down and laugh/cry… because this was certainly not the Happy Ever After I envisioned when I fell in love with her father.

I wasn’t all wrong about her Dad. He helps in the ways he can from a few states away. He lets her live the life of a normal kid, and not one forever split between two parents that wanted her more than they ended up wanting each other. It’s not her fault that we aren’t together, and I’m thankful her life isn’t fractured on a weekly basis. He got engaged this fall, to a woman that suits him perfectly. They’re a happy couple and he’s a father to her three kids. All is well that ends well… aka: I work hard to bite my tongue. I lose my temper and text war breaks out every now and then, because while his not being here allows her to live a normal life and I’m grateful, she also deserves to have her dad around.

After the most recent argument, I spent a little time cleaning up my blog and deleting random mindless crap from the past few years. Reading back through the blogs I wrote is always good for a healthy reminder of why things are the way they are. I don’t always like to read back, but it always reminds me that once upon a time, I thought he was the one. I’m glad I wrote about it because it reminds me not to be a bitch to him, now most of the time.

I do believe my ten days two years of puke, mucous and shit entitle me to a little righteous indignation, but my 39 years should also grace me with enough maturity to be kind. I’m grateful that I gushed embarrassingly then, so that I can remember now to not say what does not NEED to be said.

I’ve learned a lot by being quiet. Leaving something unsaid is far more powerful than having the last word, and given how short life is, I sincerely hope that the words I leave with people on a daily basis, are kind.

Except Thomas Murray. That guy can still go fuck himself.

Love at first bite.

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I dated a lazy hippie for 7 years. He was delightfully entertaining, but perpetually broke. He was pretty & funny… and when you’re a divorcee in your twenties, that’s enough.

Not so much in your thirties.

He was still cute, but aged rapidly in a smoky haze, and his stoned view on life was boring. I was sick of paying his way and sick of being ignored while he talked politics with random stoned strangers.

I extricated myself from our friendship… and the breakup was as miserable as the worst days of our relationship. I’ve been able to miss his sense of humor lately- but I’d probably still roll my eyes at him one last time.

I came to terms with being single again, at the same time as my mother was going through a messy divorce. I decided to take her out for Halloween, we dressed up… and someone drugged our one drink. The last thing I remember was a 22 year old boy leading my giggly mom out to dance, and me kissing the Dread Pirate Roberts.

I woke up with my mom, a hangover and a business card with a number.

Aaron was a great boyfriend, and showed me some of my very favorite things. I will never smell a fresh bay leaf and not think of him. It was old fashioned romantic, and he was quick to introduce me to his amazing family.

He took me on a business trip and introduced me to his mom and dad. He showed me the natural beauty of his beloved Santa Cruz and surfed while I wiggled my toes in the sand. I fell in love with every new and exciting element of him and his mom was amazing enough to overlook every last one of his personal flaws. His family was the one I’d always dreamed of having.

His Daddy took us to dinner at Alexander’s Steak House, where I ate an heirloom tomato salad that would change my life.

Simple tomatoes, balsamic, sea salt and black pepper. So phenomenal I asked for a paper napkin and saved a few seeds.

And the rest is history…

2015

He married a friend of mine, I cut back to 150 tomato plants and adopted a kitten. ♥

rainbow

In other words… I lived happily ever after.

Plan B.

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I woke up before dawn on Sunday, to a sweet smiling toddler with an an avocado obsession.

B- Cado, mommy. Cado.

We’re out of ‘cados, so we have to get up and get dressed to go find some at the store. I’m exhausted and in desperate need of coffee, but realize as soon as we walk in to Safeway, that I’ll need something to distract her with if I really intend to wait in line. Everyone else wants coffee this morning too. I consider the immediate options available to me and remember that she’s learned the magic of a band-aid this week. Her last tattered Minnie Mouse bandage had fallen off on our way out the door this morning. We rush down the health/first aid aisle first… in search of some new cartoon icon band-aids  to replenish our stash.

I catch sight of an old man, slowly searching through the disposable razors, the antacids and shaving cream. I hear him grumble about not being able to find something.

I’m a server. I really cannot stop myself from helping someone, no matter where or when. I’m tired… but I love the grey-hairs and he is looking more anxious by each frantic second.

So I offer.

J- Can I help you? I hate to eavesdrop but you seem to need a little help and this is the only place I shop. This is my store. I hate to say I know where everything is, but I do.

He looks relieved and because his phone is on speakerphone, I can hear his wife, clearly.

W- You never look. I could be standing beside you holding it and you couldn’t find it in my hands. For Pete’s sake.

He turns his back to me and barks briskly into the phone.

H- Would you like me to put the nice woman who offered to help me on the phone? I’m doing my best.

W- Oh My GOD damn it, Howard, you asked for help? How embarrassing.

I smiled at him to let him I know I was not a crazy person, and he opened his mouth and leveled me.

H- I’m looking for Plan B or the Morning After Pill.

W- It’s not called the morning after pill anymore, it’s just Plan B.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I fought back laughter and leveled with him.

J- I’ve only gotten it once and I had to get it from the Health Department.

Which he relays, loudly, over the loudspeaker on his phone.

H- It’s not here Dear. She got it from the Health Clinic. Is this, Oh for hell sakes, stop shouting at me.

W- We sound like perverts. Come home. I’ll get it myself.

Meanwhile, I’ve led him to the condom/pregnancy test/tampon aisle. The pharmacy is closed and it’s the only place I can imagine it’d be.

It’s not there. You can cure a stinky vag, replenish your feminine hygiene basket and prevent pregnancy… all in the same 10 feet.

Alas, you cannot stop a misfire spermatozoa from landing his lady outside of pharmacy hours.

She’s furious. He’s frustrated. I’m crimson and biting the inside of my cheeks to hold it together.

W- Let the poor woman go. How embarrassing.

H- You’re embarrassed? A complete stranger just led me to the condoms and pregnancy tests.

I’m coughing to keep from laughing. He stammers a “thank you” in my direction and I walk away before dissolving into giggles. I was shopping for Band-aids, so we went back down the other side only to hear more of their conversation.

W- I should have gone myself.

H- It’s the Superbowl and the pharmacy is closed. I can buy condoms or pregnancy tests, which feel late and early, considering.

W- Take a picture and send it to me.

H- I’m never shopping here again. Pour me a scotch.

Wouldn’t you know it… that coffee line had emptied by the time we’d secured our Doc McStuffin’s and Hello Kitty Bandaids after the wild goose chase for the Plan B.

Never a dull moment. Never a bad day.

A Little Bit Closer

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No Vegans Allowed

Meet Alex:

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My new breakfast and current partner-in-crime. He doesn’t want his face to be shown because he thinks it objectifies his delicious body. I just want to show everyone what I had for breakfast…

Now meet me: clearly the fatal attempt of the pretty girl straddle isn’t working and my new lover should be more than slightly embarrassed for me… and him.

My lover is probably the flossiest person I have ever dated. He’s got better hair than I do, perfect teeth, rubs my feet, and too boot, he’s a top-notch kiteboard slayer, which I totally make sound not so cool, but it’s actually one of the sexiest sports to see live. Especially when you get to take them home after and warm them up… Anyway, he’s pretty awesome and I’ll stop with my gushy love-bird mess because it is making me want to vomit, which we will get…

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Whole

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broken

I talked to a friend today about feeling broken. It’s human nature to take things that hurt, personally. If I know one thing well, it’s disappointment.

I really have been through hell the past two years. Hell… and I’m talking about the hardcore bitch version of hell, not the painted-on-hands princess sort of idea of what hell may be like. Envision having a bad day, a few hundred times over… That was me. Resiliency had become my uniform. I’d perfected the art of accepting anything and expecting nothing.

I’ve stepped up to the plate again and again after being blown out of the water and devastated by another bad experience. I left plenty of baggage behind while continuing to search for love and happiness. The problem with love and happiness is that it isn’t hiding, and you can’t find it. The problem with real honest-to-goodness committed love is that it has to find you.

That quote that says “Women who chase men, only catch the slow ones”? That’s the gospel.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies with me and who I choose if the pattern is always repeating. I see a charming snake of a disinterested cheater/liar smile at me and now know that my racing heart is the universe telling me to RUN. My taste is bad so I am choosing to no longer sit at the table.

Some men are equally as vulnerable as we are. Shitty women are just as poisonously bad as shitty men and there are some scary bitches that could make a sympathetic victim out of the biggest douche bag. I know a few… and one in particular came to mind today. I’m reminded again that some men experience the same things we do. They have soft spots, tender feelings and just as much desire as we do to love someone. We need to be just as careful with them as we want them to be with us.

The women that talk about their husband like he’s the best thing since sliced bread? They’re married to one of those nice guys. They’re loved by a healthy man who safeguards her happiness as much as his own. That’s all it takes. I know some very happily married women. It’s awesome and I’m proud. I point to them when I teach my kids about what marriage should look like.

Unfortunately and more often than not… nice girls end up loving the guy who can be the biggest asshole while simultaneously making her feel the most unwanted or insecure… and nice men end up loving the black widow sort of entrails-eating women we don’t like either. Ask any woman. We all know a woman who’s skeletons make us feel SO much better about our own full closet. I may have done some crazy shit in my time, but I know a few women who’s secrets make me blush and that’s saying something.

What it really boils down to is this: there are some really bad people out there. There are some really great people too. I know a few men that give me absolute faith in their gender. My happily married friends are inspirational.  My baby sister loves and is adored by, her husband. I know the finest women.

Sadly enough… if you don’t play the games, you lose the war. It’s tragic, pathetic and unavoidable.

The world is full of broken people but if you’re attracted to people who break you, you need to love yourself enough to be alone until that changes.

Feeling broken sucks and unfortunately there are people in the world who approach love like a contest, a lottery or a war. Save yourself. Just say no to anyone who doesn’t have the best intentions where your heart is concerned.

I’m healing from the disappointment of being wrong, again. Until I can have faith in men again and believe I could love one that tells the truth, I’m ruling out men entirely. I brought a whole bunch of baggage with me this time and I’m blissfully happily single as a result.

Relationships are supposed to feel good and add to your life and that’s not my experience anymore. I’d rather take another walk with my baby. Catch a movie with my teenaged daughter. I’d rather sew the baby a quiet book to play with and learn from. I’d rather plant my garlic.

Basically I’d rather love the people who love me back and not waste any of the time I could be spending with friends on someone who isn’t making the same investment.

I’m single, but I’m whole- not broken. I’m alone, but not lonely. Finally smart, but not naive.

Join me 🙂

Grandma

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I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

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