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Mother Load

I pull up to my house and see our pitch backs and goal nets arranged in a way that suggest that my oldest son had concocted some creative and convoluted new game for his brothers to compete in. The front lawn with balls and equipment strewn about, looks so lived in and loved. Granted, on a colder not as bright day, it might instead look like we’re a bunch of pigs, albeit, athletic ones. But right now, blinded by sunshine, the thought of them out there fighting, I mean, playing together gives me the warm fuzzies as I open the trunk to retrieve the groceries.

Through the open screen door, I hear my husband bellow, “Boys! Go help your mother!” For some reason it strikes me funny that he is talking about me. If he would have said, ‘Go help mommy,” I probably wouldn’t have blinked. I’m used to being mommy, but somehow, it feels odd to realize that I am in fact the ‘mother’.

I stand by the trunk gleefully waiting for the mess of them to tumble out – My nearly 13 year-old with his surprisingly strong body and sweet baby face, my 10 year old, full of sass and sparkle and my 7 year old with his mop of curls that mirror my own and a face that everyone wants to squeeze. My boys, I think sentimentally, coming to help their mother.

Any second the screen will fly open. Annnnny second. Maybe they can’t find their shoes? I think but discard that theory immediately. Who am I kidding, to them shoes are an overrated, optional accessory.

I wait another 30 seconds, sigh and gather up the bags. Slinging my pocketbook over my shoulder, I rest the two heaviest in the bend of each arm, carry two more in each hand and lumber toward the house like one of the monsters in an episode of Scooby Doo.

Opening the screen requires acrobatic maneuvering and strength that only two day a week attendees of Parisi sport training classes can master. I am crouched down, the bags that I refuse for some idiotic reason to put down, cutting off circulation in my arms. My thighs give a little shake just to let me know how vulnerable I really am, but I overcome and somehow manage to get my middle finger, white from asphyxiation, to pull open the door.

It is remarkably quiet in a house which should be a flurry of activity in their race to get out to me. “Tell the boys to help,” my husband calls to me from the office. I can’t even answer as I lug the bags to the kitchen. Of course the boys are nowhere to be seen, which means one thing. I listen by the basement stairs. Yup, Minecraft.


Automatically I start unpacking the groceries, the Norman Rockwell image vanished. At this point, it’s just easier and more relaxing than calling the boys up. Besides, if I really want support I know exactly where to find it.

I remove the tub of Rocky Road from the bag and instead of putting it in the freezer, get a spoon and plop myself down at the table.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to help yourself.


Sometimes, you just have to help yourself.

Helping myself some more.








You’re the one that I want

It’s been so long since I’ve had you. I’m dreaming about you day and night. Sometimes I see you with another and I want you so bad it’s hard to look, but I can’t turn away either. You’re so close I could touch you, taste you, but I don’t, because if I do, I’m a goner.

You play it so cool. I try to erase you from my mind; to distract myself with others. But they are just sad substitutes. Sure, they are sweet, but they aren’t you. Only you make me melt. And I know I do the same to you. I’ve seen it. And when you do, you’re quite irresistible.

I know we’ll be together again soon. I have never been able to stay away from you for long. I’m addicted, even though you’re not the best thing for me. Somehow I don’t care. I want you anyway. I must have you.

But for now, I needed a little distance. I was in over my head, not capable of going one night without you.  I was using you for all my emotional and physical needs, and I need to be able to cope without you as a crutch. It’s a test of my strength because sometimes with you, it’s easy to lose myself.

One of these days, I will be done with all this pretending. With all this running around with others who aren’t you. Who don’t satisfy me the way you do. Who don’t make me feel as good. I’ll always come back to you. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it.

So I’m counting the days. And truly, the day I get my hands on you, I will consume you. But until then I wait, and I pine for the moment when you will touch my lips again.*



Me and You. 4 Eva.


*It’s been two weeks since I’ve eaten any ice cream. I usually do this once or twice a year when I think I’ve just completely lost control. Thankfully, it never lasts.

Talk to the Spoon

At this moment, I am spooning giant scoops of ice cream from a tub of Edy’s slow churned Rocky Road from my freezer, drowning it in sprinkles and eating it compulsively, my head cradling the phone as I eat.

I am listening to him, but it’s all just words; the same old tortured words of a tortured existence.

Today’s problem of the day has gotten itself pregnant and is now two problems. He has no protection from himself, so there is always the risk of multiplication.

During conversations like these, I am unable to keep the spoon out of my mouth. Luckily his diatribes need no response. He can talk on and on about his suffering with almost no interruption, leaving me free to torture myself.

I see his form, even though he is over the bridge and I am through a tunnel, sitting awkwardly on his bed; his face drooped as low as his body. The cigarette held carelessly in his hands. Smoke floating up past his glazed over eyes; the ashes falling on jeans riddled with the cigarette holes of frustrated days gone by. He might fall asleep like this if he stopped talking. He might fall asleep even if he doesn’t.

My spoon scrapes bottom. My stomach is extended, my heart divided. I reach for the tub again. It calms something out of control inside of me which threatens to explode in these conversations, but with every bite I grow angrier with him and with myself, so instead of being soothed, I boil.

“I want to stop talking,” I hear him say, his voice a cloud over my head.  I want you to as well, I don’t reply. “I know I’m talking too much.” He repeats.

The recognition is brief. It is hard for him to focus on about anything but himself and his pain for anything more than an acknowledgement. Yet, he pauses to ask how I am; which should be considered some kind of progress, even though it’s fleeting and not quite genuine, because I know it is difficult for him.

I could interrupt and fill the space with my noise, but my tongue is numb and I can’t muster the effort to even pretend to be normal tonight. So, on he goes, moving without transition from one problem to another, one pain to the next.

I have heard enough to last ten lifetimes.

Still, he can’t stop talking. I can’t stop spooning. And we both can’t stop hating who we are at this moment.

ice cream spoon

Hurt so good

I Scream for Ice Cream

I’m sitting on the couch in a sweatshirt and sweatpants shivering. “It’s so cold in here,” I complain to my husband. “Can you turn off the air?”

Husband, sporting shorts and a tee shirt, plops himself down on the couch. “It’s summer.”

“Not in here it’s not.” I pout.

“If you’re so cold, maybe you shouldn’t be eating ice cream.”

Really? Logic? Is that what you’re going with?

I almost stop mid spoon to roll my eyes. Almost. Any retort must wait until the Edy’s slow-churned rocky road with chocolate sprinkles melts down my throat. Ohh. That’s good.

He knows that for me, ice cream isn’t just a nightly treat. My attachment – attachment sounds so much saner than addiction or obsession – goes much deeper than that.

When I’m sad or stressed, ice cream comforts me. When it’s time to celebrate, it’s a party in my bowl, with happy sprinkles, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Every day I find it emotionally soothing, a reward, a gift, but I’m also physically drawn to it.

I want it. I crave it. I must have it. I swap meals for it. I dream about it. I plan my day around it. I bribe my kids to go with me to score a pint. Watching vanilla and chocolate soft serve slowly swirl into a cone leaves me dreamy and relaxed. I carry cones in the side compartment of my car, and my own “mix” of toppings in my bag. I may or may not have picked a lost scoop up off the floor and eaten it. You have no proof.

What? Doesn't everyone carry their own container of sprinkles?

What? Doesn’t everyone carry their own container of sprinkles?

I think it’s genetic. My brother is a great consumer of ice cream. When handed a bowl of titanic proportions, he can be seen raising a mischievous brow and saying with a sarcastic lilt, “This all you got?” My father, basically lives on ice cream and cheesecake, and just might be the most unhealthy person still living.  My cousin, and soul sister, once told me that unless she has to sop up fallen ice cream and squeeze it into her mouth via sponge, she will eat it. And the late great, grand dame of the family, never concluded a meal without dramatically licking her lips before a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Was there really any hope for me?

So when my husband rises from the couch to go to the kitchen for his own snack, I hand him my empty cup. “Could you get me a refill?” I ask. “And hand me that blanket.”

He rolls his eyes and pulls a sprinkle out of my hair.

Okay, I admit it. I have a little problem.

I’m cold. I’d like to lose five pounds. I’ve probably already had enough… For an elephant. But I can’t help myself. I love it.

Hello, I am Ice Scream Mama. And I am an Ice cream-aholic.

Please don’t send help.




Oh for the love of ice cream, someone call AAA!

We had 25 minutes to meet my husband and oldest son at his baseball game, which was only seven minutes away, when I passed my favorite yogurt store and made an impromptu decision – fantasized about for the entire day – to stop and get myself a cup.

“Nooooooo!” my two younger boys groaned from the backseat. “No stopping!”

I shot them my mean mom stare. “I don’t want to hear that. I do everything for you guys. You can eat ice cream for me. Sheesh.”

They just rolled their eyes, and shook their heads at my pathetic desperation. Who were these judgmental ice cream haters?

“It’ll just be a quick pit-stop.” I say, overly cheerful. The nearness to my fix makes me a little wild-eyed and fidgety.

We park in the closest spot, and within minutes, I am ordering myself a peanut butter and cappuccino covered in chocolate crunchies. Neither my five or eight year-old want anything. Really?

We’re back in the car lickety-split. “See, I told you guys. Perfect timing!”

I put the car in gear and go… straight over something. Oops. What was that? A curb? A small divider? Eh. Whatever. I’ll just keep going.

I hit the gas. The front of the car dips down over the curb? Bump? Divider? We stop. I try to go forward, but there is an ominous scratching sound. Uh oh.

“What’s that noise, mommy?” My eight year-old asks.

“Uh, nothing.” I hit the gas again. The screeching noise returns and the car won’t budge. I put it in reverse. Won’t budge. This could be bad.

“Are we stuck?” the backseat interrogator asks.

Out the window, people walking past stare at us with their mouths hanging open in horrified amazement, or possibly amusement.  A car goes by and the driver stares directly at me. I can read the slow motion words on his lips. “Oh Shiiiiit.”

There was nothing left to do, but get out and see the damage.

car stuck close up

Oh shit.

By now, a crowd had gathered to gawk and giggle at the dumb mom who can’t drive, and her amazing unmovable vehicle. Can’t go forward. Can’t go backward. Hear it wail in agony. Or, that might just be me.

I needed to call AAA, but first I needed to call…. my husband. Da Da Dummmm!

I was afraid, first because the car had recently been fixed from the bump in the night a few months back. Second, because last week, I did something similar over a rock.

car accident

Impressive, right?

My son’s game was minutes from starting.

“Hey, where are you?” My husband answers, all business.

“I had a little accident.”

From the backseat peanut gallery, “Mommy ran over a parking lot!”

“I did not run over a parking lot!” I huff.

Long exhale from my husband. “Is everyone okay?”

“Everyone is fine. Not sure about the car, though.”

“Okay, just call AAA. Don’t worry.” Don’t worry? He must have been surrounded by parents and children. Hope they all come home with him.

I look over to my yogurt; the crunchies perfectly melted into the sweet creamy goodness. If I wouldn’t have stopped, we would be at my son’s game right now, and my sons wouldn’t be chanting from the backseat, “Mommy can’t drive! Mommy can’t drive!”

I leisurely reached for the cup. Wasn’t like we were going anywhere.

car stuck tow truck

My hero!

car stuck tow ramp



Are We There Yet???

We were in the car for two and a half hours already. Howard, me, the three boys, Smiles, our bearded dragon and two salamanders we had hijacked on our last visit, who we now intended to return to the wild. The boys had played their video devices and watched a movie. It was time for the badgering to begin.

“Are we almost theeeeere????” Michael whined loudly.

“About 20 minutes.” I called back.

“Lizard check!” Howard yelled.

Smiles tank was precariously positioned in between seats and luggage, with an overhead heating lamp plugged into the cars’ adaptor hanging over it, since it should never be below 80 degrees. Howard had been randomly calling for checks on Smiles every five minutes or so.


“I can’t take it!” Michael cried. He was not a great traveler. None of the boys were but Michael was the loudest. Plus, his distress seemed to morph into physical symptoms. “My belly hurts!!!”

“We’re going to stop at the next exit. You can use the bathroom.”

“Lizard check!” Howard yelled again.

“No!! I don’t want to stop.”

“You can go to the bathroom.”

“I just want to be there!” He howled.

“Lizard check!”

We were stopping at the next exit whether he liked it or not. Already I could feel a restless excitement, my mouth watering in anticipation. It was like, how you can hold in your pee until you finally get to the door of your house, but then the urge becomes unbearable. Getting your keys out, opening the door, it’s almost as if there’s no way you can hold it one more minute when you’ve been holding it for an hour. That’s how I felt one exit away from Twin Cone, my country crack.

Twin Cone is one of those off-the-highway, stand-alone ice cream joints that scream 1950. It has flavors like Panda Paws and Play Dough. We pulled in and I took everyone’s order. My family is too lazy to even get out of the car. The waitress must deliver the goods to their waiting hands. Michael decided it was too much work to even go to the bathroom.

I get in line and tap my foot impatiently till I finally place my order – a cup of vanilla, a cone and a cup of peanut butter chocolate chip, a Play Dough, a Sponge Bob pop and sides of chocolate sprinkles and crunch. I run each ice cream over to the car as it’s completed. I also try a sample of low-fat chocolate yogurt. It is adorable on a mini cone, but tastes borderline disgusting. I dip it in sprinkles and eat it anyhow. I’m not one for waste.

Aww. Isn’t it cute?

I settle in the car, positioning my cup and the side of topping for optimal dipping. Everyone is busy licking and getting sticky. I place a spoonful in my mouth and let it melt on my tongue. Ah. I’m ready for another hit when Tyler asks for water. I pass it back and go for my spoon again.

“Mommy! It’s dripping!” Julius calls out and I place my ice cream down to rummage through my bag for wipes. I clean his lap and then his face.

“I need one too!” Tyler says. Why does my 10 year-old look worse off than the 4 year-old?

“I’m good” Michael says, by far the neatest of the three.

“Can you check on Smiles?” Howard requests, apparently his scheduled “lizard checks” from the boys not sufficient. His cone is almost polished off, while I’ve barely begun.  Checking on Smiles would require a trip to the back of the mini-van, kind of like walking through an airplane mid-flight with everyone’s luggage stored in the aisles.

“Can I eat my ice cream first?” I snap. There was a rising pool of melted vanilla around the edge of my cup that was making me edgy. My crazy needed to be fed.

“My belly hurts!” Michael wails. “I can’t eat this!”

I turn around and see his ice cream teetering on the edge of the seat. One bump and it’s on the floor. “Tyler,” I say nervously, “get me Michael’s cup please.”

After an exaggerated “why do I have to do everything” grimace, he hands it over where I place it safely in the garbage (Howard).

I get two spoons in before the calling winds up again.

“Mommy it’s dripping!”

“Mommy I’m done!”

“Oh no! I spilt!”

“Lizard Check!”

I’m about to explode, but decide to just ignore everyone and drink my ice cream. I stir in some sprinkles. It is cool, creamy goodness. I’m not answering anyone for a few minutes. I’m on a break.

“Are we almost there?!” Michael whines.

“Almost.” Howard says. “Less than 10 minutes to the bungalows!”

“Yay!” The boys cheer.

“Who wants to go river rafting?!” He booms.

“NO!” The boys protest.

“Then it’s settled!” Howard roars, with that crazy glimmer in his eye. “We go rafting!”

Everyone in the back seats begin to cry.

I continued eating. There was nothing I could do anyway. We were almost at the bungalows. The fun was just getting started.

If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right

I had just returned to the kitchen, having settled a dispute between two warring Jedi knights in the other room, when my friend’s accusatory gaze pierced me like a light saber. She stood over my open freezer looking at me with raised brow. “You want to explain this?”

I averted my eyes. The “this” that she referred to was eight half gallon containers of Edy’s Grand Light Ice cream of various flavors lining my freezer. “What?” I shrugged defensively. “There was a really good sale.” I hoped she wouldn’t notice the four frozen yogurt cups resting comfortably on the shelf above.

“That does not explain this.” She snorted. “Have you taken up competitive eating?”

“You know I love ice cream. What’s the big deal?”

She looked at me almost sadly. “Really? You don’t think there’s a problem here?”

Clearly she did. “No. Like I said it was a good sale, two for $5. You can’t beat it, except once. It was amazing! I got them for $1.99.”

“Oh my God, your eyes are glazing over like donuts! You need to see someone.”

“Please. I mean, yes for many reasons, but not this.”

“Fine, then let me see your bag.” She held out her hand.

“Why?” I clutched the bag closer. Obviously, there was something in there she shouldn’t see. What? I wondered, as she grabbed it from me, fishing around my Let’s Make a Deal sack. Then, a superior sounding, “Aha!”

Uh oh. That didn’t sound good for me. I looked up to see her waving a small container and cringed. It was my “emergency sprinkles” cup. You know, for when you’re on the go. You know, right? Uh oh again. I decided to take the offensive defensive and jutted out my chin.  “I like to be prepared. So what?”

“So, you don’t think there’s an issue here?”

“Of course not.” I choked, sounding something like a dragon with flames stuck in her throat.

“Fine. Then, stop eating ice cream for a week.”

We stared each other down. As if on cue, children’s screams sounded from the other room and we both ran, okay walked with powerful stride, into the living room. Thank God, I thought, saved! I was never so happy to see a child laying on the floor whimpering and the rest jumping from one of my couches to the other.  In the mayhem, our conversation melted softly away.

At the gym at 6:45am the next morning, in between knee shaking lunges, I replayed my friend’s impromptu intervention and honestly assessed my unusual attachment to my daily treat.

Hoarder – check.

Indulged more than once a day – double check.

Ate alone, with company, for emotional comfort, reward, misery, joy –checkcheckcheckcheck.

On a first name basis with yogurt store owner – Joe check.

I want it. I need it. I have to have it – big screaming check.

Well there it was, plain as vanilla . I was a creamaholic.

Clearly my consumption was out of control. I would do it, I decided then and there. I would get the monkey off my back, or out of my mouth for that matter.  Of course, this was all just sugared up swagger since I still had eight containers (two Rocky Road – mine, two Cookies and Cream – mine/kids, French Silk – mine, Chocolate – mine, Vanilla – kids, Fudge Tracks – kids) as well as the frozen yogurt cups (mine) waiting for me in the freezer. Mmm. Just the thought of them made my salivary glands sweat. I had to get rid of them, fast. So I fixed my jaw and set about with great determination the terrible task of polishing off my goods one by one. Only a scoop left in the container? Might as well add it to my bowl.  I took to the task like a Roman at his last orgy.

When I got down to less than two tubs, something in the dark recess of my brain cracked, transforming me from typical suburban mom into a love struck teen, I began stalking the yogurt store, manufacturing reasons to be “in the area”, sitting in the car talking myself out of going in, only to trip over myself (and some other sugar crack riddled mom) in mad rush to heaven’s door. Floating out on a cloud of peanut butter cappuccino topped with chocolate crunchies, breathing deep contented sighs, I gained some insight to my pharmaceutically dependent father. It was not a proud moment.

As a child of divorce (see above) followed by a hasty and tumultuous remarriage and two additional step brothers to the one I already didn’t want, ice cream soothed and numbed me. As I developed from child to budding young whale, it became clear that ice cream, might not completely have my best interests at heart. In high school, I can mortifyingly attest that the boys all found my carrot eating, paddle ball playing mom way hotter than me. Cue two to three years of resentment binge eating.

“You really don’t need that,” short shorts mom says.
“You’re so right,” muffin topped, hanger-zipped jeaned 16-year-old responds, placing scooper deeper in the container for an extra big helping, licking the spoon for the most obnoxious effect.

It took some maturity – and a bunch of skinny/bulimic college friends – to realize that I needed to exercise more and switch to frozen yogurt, because even though my mother was annoying, she really was hot.

That night, after consuming the last of the Fudge Tracks (my kids’ container – yes, I have no shame), I had done it. I had rid my house of ice cream. It had taken more time than expected given all those extremely unfortunate, yet unavoidable stops at the shoe store which happened to be next to the frozen yogurt shop. “I just must have navy Espadrilles today!” But now my freezer was empty. I lay on the couch bloated and satisfied. Tomorrow was so far away.

Day one on the wagon, I woke with determination. I would do it. I would not waffle!* I had a nice healthy breakfast, followed by a nice healthy lunch. Around 4pm, the anxiety set in. “What have I done?!”  At 5pm, panic. “Get more!” followed by a body chained to table effort to suppress the intense desire to run to the store. I breathed deep and imagined popcorn. Or a nice cookie. Feh! Popcorn had no pop, cookies were crummy! Ice cream! My brain screamed. I scream for ice cream! I heard my father’s thick, semi-conscious voice in my head, “Addiction runths in our family.” It’s not nearly the same, I reasoned, uneasily recalling my friend’s disapproving judgment.

Then, it was dinner time and we were in the house for the night.  Now I’d done it, if I wanted something I’d have to drag my three children out with me, luring them with postponed homework and treats of their own. Definitely pathetic. It screamed addict. They’d probably see right through me too. It was even possible that they would say no and I’d have to make an extra trip to the candy store to bribe them. Even more pathetic. But I really REALLY wanted it.  Desperate, I wondered if i could get someone to deliver it to me. Not my husband.  He was wise to my game. What friend could I call…? My seven-year-old son Michael called down for a cup of milk. “Get it yourself!” I snapped up at him. Crap. I was strung out.

It continued like that for the next seven days. Cranky, anxious and reeking of cinnamon mints, I survived. By week’s end, I felt healthier, was two pounds lighter and the intense cravings had somewhat subsided. I managed emotionally torturous conversations with my father without my crutch and the freezer held, wait for it…. actual food!

That’s why, when lunch time rolled around, I bee-lined straight for my yogurt store and bought myself a beautiful cone of peanut butter and chocolate covered in sprinkles. Reward! Euphoria. Blissed out on my drug of choice, I decided that my pleasure outweighed my pain. My booty would continue going to boot camp. I would battle an extra few pounds. It was just too good. Besides I was not my father, I could lick it if I wanted to.

*Just so you know, it’s not like I have never gone a day without ice cream or frozen yogurt. When I travel or when I’m sick, I almost never have it. And there have been snow storms…