I set some not quite resolutions for 2016. The New Year is finally here, which is a good thing, because taken as a whole, 2015 wasn’t particularly great. Okay, I did get married to my dream guy and no one suffered any major health crises, all of which I’m thankful for. Without making a giant list of my grievances against 2015, let’s just say I’m ready to move on from the stress and anxiety it brought. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, old year!
Dear Maxipad Companies,
We need to talk. We need to have a little conversation.
You decorated my maxipads. And my tampons. Why’d you go do that?
Why are you going to so much trouble to disguise my feminine hygiene apparatus?
Who are you trying to fool? Women? Men?
Because, women, we KNOW we all get periods. We get it. My daughters – they’re young and their friends get all embarrassed and giggly about it. When you decorate a tampon to make it look like a party favor, you’re basically telling them they should be all embarrassed, and you’re going to help them out by making it look like something else.
Nearly every morning, I take a shower. When I step out of the shower, I wrap a towel around my horde of curls and stand naked in front of the huge mirror over our vanity. I assess my belly, once smooth and firm, now scarred and soft from the hard work of pregnancy and three c-sections. I grimace with a something akin to irritation at my thighs – no matter how many miles they’ve run, or how many squats they’ve done – they can never quite escape the dimples of cellulite, now exacerbated by time and gravity. I save my harshest criticism for my ass. No longer the petite derriere of a twenty-something, age and heredity (and more than a few french fries) have contributed to its metamorphosis. It’s somehow larger, but smaller – wider and flatter, criss-crossed with stretch marks. Firm? Only when I’m clenching those babies tight enough to crush a soda can. It occurs to me that I’ve conducted this same ritual for decades – in different bathrooms in different homes in different mirrors – and I’ve never been satisfied with what I’ve been looking at. Today, I would give anything to have those 24-year-old thighs or stomach or ass but, when I was 24, it wasn’t good enough. Surely, there’s a lesson in that alone that should go something like “be happy with what you’ve got, because someday you’ll be wishing you had just that.” Let’s be honest, aging works in mysterious ways. Stray hairs are akin to the rings of trees – the number is a sure indicator of age. The random strands are like phantoms – I can feel them there, but my eyesight has declined to the point where I can’t actually see them. The same goes for some of the finer wrinkles on my face. Nearsightedness is God’s Photoshop. The further I stand from the mirror, the better I look – a self-inflicted blur filter.
If you’re here looking for a post that explains how I installed our bamboo floors or how we replaced a toilet bowl in our house, you’re going to be disappointed. Maybe some other time. What I’m about to tell you will save you years of time – I’m sure of it. These words of maternal wisdom are the result of years of careful research and experimentation. I can tell you with nearly absolute scientific certainty (margin of error +/- 68%) that, instead of delegating tasks, you should do it yourself, Mom.
I have a deep and abiding love for my car. In addition to being able to fit just about anything from IKEA in the back, and having the driver’s seat perfectly molded to the shape of my ass, it’s my home away from home. More accurately, it’s my home in the driveway of my actual home before I get home.
As a mom, we spend hours logging miles behind the wheel of our cars bringing our children to and fro. Driving to and from school, various sports activities, and evening events – our fingers spend more time clasped around that steering wheel than our spouse’s hand. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my Toyota and I are in a committed relationship. I look out for her, and she looks out for me. (Yes, she’s a she. The Supreme Court said we can make it official, so don’t judge me.)
I love my dogs. I’ve often said that when I die, I want to come back as a dog. Not as just any dogs, as MY dogs. (I realize that would be a little challenging if I were dead…but go with it!) They have the life – they eat, they sleep and they get loved and snuggled every. single. day. In fact, as I type this, Bella is sleeping to my left and Nikki is curled up on my feet – not AT my feet, ON my feet – which works out for both of us, because my feet are always cold and she’s always furry.
Motherhood and guilt. The two things are tied together like teenagers and cell phones. In truth, it’s as difficult for me to recall a time I wasn’t feeling guilty about some choice I made as a parent as it is to recall a time I took a shower without interruption. It seems as though we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t: I felt terrible when I was working full-time and now I feel like I don’t do enough for the kids now that I’m not. I feel guilty when I don’t get them the thing it is that they want, or I feel guilt about the message I’m sending if I do. I don’t give them enough responsibility – or maybe I give them too much. I want alone time with my husband, but then I feel badly that I’m not spending enough time with them.
I’m a firm believer that The Universe sends signs when you most need them. Recently, I’ve been feeling a little unsettled – which I guess happens when you’ve just moved, your husband gets fired and you’ve recently gotten married. As a woman and a mom, I instinctively want to fix everything, make everything okay – get the house settled, support my husband as he searches for a new job in the field he loves, and get us into a routine that involves balanced meals and game night and all the laundry done and some kind of jar where we put notes about things we’re grateful for…or something.
My baby girl turned sixteen. I have a sixteen-year-old daughter. It seems almost impossible. I remember her birth with nearly the same clarity I recall my own sixteenth birthday. How can both of these events coexist in my memory, so clearly, so closely?
Sixteen years went by in a flash, just like everyone said they would.
I’d like a do-over.
My precious baby girl, I want to do it all over. Do it all better. Spend more time soaking in the smell of your hair, the joy in your laugh and feel of your little chubby hand in mine.
The other morning, a local radio talk show briefly touched on Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk. Laughingly, they wondered at her recent entry into the cyber-bullying discussion. “If she didn’t want to be bullied, she probably shouldn’t have fooled around with the President…” was their conclusion.
Maybe they have a point. Frankly, I think they’re missing the point entirely.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the entire talk, you should. It’s 22 minutes long, and worth watching. In it, Monica Lewinsky reminds us of the details of her particular scandal: the secretly recorded phone calls, the widely circulated photo of her embracing President Clinton in that beret and the fact that it occurred at the dawn of the “internet era” – there was no Facebook or Twitter, but there were anonymous online message boards, and as Monica mentioned, the ability to spread information – and shame – at virtually the speed of light.