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About Face

They pound into the backseat like an explosion, popping with energy, youth and hormones and the car heaves with the extra weight. I give a small smile in greeting but then concentrate on the road. I am just the driver. My job is to not say a word, suck in as much information as possible and deposit them at their destination without calling any attention to myself.

It’s hard when all I want to do is stare at them, at their maturing faces and expressions, but of course that would be weird so I just stare straight ahead wondering about these almost unrecognizable creatures who I have known for years.

I sneak glimpses through the rear view mirror at the angular lines and skin dotted with the blemishes. They are morphing into new people every day, every second. I want to study them and find the little boys who I remember. Where did the curvy cheeks and smooth skin go?  The sticky smiles? The Hot Wheels and Pokemon cards? But really, where did the years go?

My son sits in the front seat next to me and keeps me in line, changing the radio to a more preferred station, giving me a stern nod when I start singing along. That is not on the list of things moms are allowed to do. I comply, of course. I want to be allowed to chauffer them places. I want to get to know them as they are now, these little boy men.

I arrive at the chosen house of hangout and watch them shoot out like firecrackers. They remember to thank me politely and I know their mothers would be proud. My own boy jerks his head to the left, momentarily tossing his surfer long hair off of his golden eyes to give me a sideways glance and a shy smile. “Bye, mama.”

Oh that face. I wish I could preserve it, set it in stone, hide it away in my heart and in my house and never have anything change. He is so beautiful and I know he will grow and become a handsome young man like they all are, but I have just this moment become desperate to stop time and hold on to this boy. I’ve already lost the baby who nuzzled me, the sweet kid who clung to me, and soon I will lose this face as well.

It’s almost too much but life forces me to accept that. Because I know that while I can capture a moment, I can’t capture my boy. He will grow and change. He will rise and fall. He will love me and leave me. And all I can do is sit back and be grateful that I’m along for the ride.

I love this boy!!!!

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Boys through nov 2009 024 IMAG0261 430 IMG_0286

My baby turns 13 this month. Puh Puh Puh. I love this face. I love this boy. Always.

This face has my heart, no matter what it looks like. Always. Happy almost 13 baby.

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.*

 

love

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.

I’m not going to write you a love song…

I’m not going to write you a love song because you asked for one. I’m going to write one, because I want to; because I need to and you deserve one.

Because for close to 25 years, you’ve been with me, supporting me, holding my hand, while allowing me to be me.

Because you’re honest and loyal and still full of the values that first attracted me to you when we were just teenagers; but probably back then it was more about your smile, swagger and the sweetness in your chestnut eyes.

We traveled the ups and downs of college, having a commuter relationship, unable to let go, at a time when we probably were supposed to.  But being with you was the best part of my life. How can you let go of the part that makes your heart leap?

In our wayward 20’s, I dragged you around from country to  country. You didn’t need it like I did, but you jumped on board and off we flew on one adventure after another. I loved those times, just you and me, with backpacks and without a plan.

Back at home, with the city laid out before us and youth on our side, we chose to hibernate together, playing rummy 500 and snuggling on the couch. There was no one we needed to see. Nothing we needed to prove.

And then came the children we tried so hard for; first in a fun way and then in a not so fun way.  And finally, we were blessed, three times, with sons lucky enough to have you as a dad; someone so involved and proud; someone whose greatest day would be spending every moment playing with them.

How lucky we are. How lucky I am. Because I’ve had someone I’ve been happy to see every day for more than half my life. Someone good on the inside and sexy on the outside.  Someone who still makes my heart leap, and all it takes is a private little smile and a warm hug.

We started so young, with our whole life before us, and now we’ve spent years living that life, building it up, appreciating it and enjoying it.

You’ve been a part of all stages of me, woven into my heart, so no matter where we go, as long as I’m with you, I’m home.

Us.  Circa 1989


Circa 1989 to infinity and beyond…

Congratulations! You have a girl! Nah, just kidding.

His tie was the kind you find on crazy people. Or comedians. Turns out he was both. Except he was also one of the OB/GYN’s in my practice. We were supposed to rotate through all the doctors, since technically, you never knew who would be on call when you went into labor. Somehow, I didn’t get around to meeting Dr. Biden until I was 7 months pregnant.

“Hey there.” He said, sliding his stool in between my open legs. “How’s my girl doing?”

My husband and I exchanged a glance. We had never met this doctor, and he was looking at my vagina. He couldn’t be talking to my vagina, could he? That might qualify as inappropriate.

Wait. Maybe he meant the baby? But we had decided not to find out the sex. We were big into the surprise, no matter how much it irked my grandmother.

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “Are we having a girl? We don’t know the sex.”

He dramatically rolled his stool away from my open legs and snapped off his rubber gloves. I closed up shop, and sat up, looking at him expectantly.

“Oh, I don’t know.” He shrugged, “But that’s all I deliver.”

What was he saying? My husband and I looked at him apprehensively.

“Yep. I got two girls at home, and that’s all I deliver.”

Was I in the psych ward? I couldn’t stop staring at his Sylvester and Tweetie tie. Someone was definitely a bit Looney Tunes.

“Okay,” I braved cautiously and slowly. “So… what if I have a boy?”

“He does it.” He pointed to my husband.

“Me?” Howard asked, appalled. You couldn’t take Howard’s pulse, without him getting woozy.

“Yup, you.” He stood up to leave.  “Got any other kids?”

“One. A boy.” I answered automatically, still confused and distressed by this entire encounter.

“What’s her name?”  He asked, with half his body out the door.

“It’s a boy.” I repeated. “His name is Tyler.”

“Well, she’s going to be a big sister soon!” Wide crazy grin, and he’s out.

“What the hell was that?” I asked my husband.

“That was crazy.” Howard concurred.

“Do you think he was just covering up for accidentally telling us the sex of the baby?”

“Definitely possible.”

“I really hope he’s not on call when I deliver.”

“Copy that.”

March 22, 10:30am.

I got to the hospital already 7cm dilated. Howard ran thru 3 red lights to get us there, which is so impressive for my by the book attorney husband. If I wasn’t about to have a baby, I might just be turned on.

Through major contractions, I struggled to answer the questions required from a nurse who was as impassive as I was aflame. While I grit my teeth and writhed in pain, she apathetically repeated her unanswered question. “Allergies?”

Before I could scream my answer, a new question from a new voice interrupted.

“How’s my girl?” I heard, taking my pain to a whole new level.

My doctor had arrived.

“If you think you’re in pain,” He joked. “Try being shot three times.”

WTF? My face must have been quite the contortion of agony and horrified bewilderment.

“Oh yeah,” he continued, moving to lift his shirt, “want to see my scars?”

“No!” me, my husband and several of the nurses shouted simultaneously.

“Ignore him.” One of the nurses said to us, “He’s always messing around.”

“How bout you and I mess around?” Dr. Biden said suggestively and I think my amazement actually momentarily overrode my contraction.

It went like that for bit, one inappropriate comment after another. We were assured multiple times by the nurses that he was in fact a real doctor. And a good one. When the time came, my baby was out in three pushes.

On the last, I saw the doctor pull back from my body and motion to my husband. “Come here, now.”

My husband, already woozy from just being in the vicinity of a bleeding person, looked as if he were going to pass out. He shook his head.

“Come on, someone has to.”  Dr. Biden pulled away from my body further, and there was a beat of panic in the room.

Shakily, Howard moved in, seemingly at the last moment, and brought our baby out into this world. With the help of a nurse, he placed our newborn on my stomach.

“Congratulations! You have a girl!” Dr. Biden announced.

“We have a girl.” I thought, full of emotion and joy.

“Uh, no we don’t.” My husband’s voice interrupted my baby is out of my vagina euphoria. I snapped back to crazy, hormonal new mom.

“What the hell do I have!!!???”

“I’m looking at penis here.” Howard said and we both looked at the doctor wearing his best ‘who me’ face.

“What? I told you, I only deliver girls.”

Happy birthday, my feisty, green-eyed boy with the mischievous smile and fetching charm.  You could put the sun out of business, the way you light up a room and warm my heart. You have been the happiest surprise right from the start.

*When I went back to the office at 6 weeks, I heard Dr. Biden was out on medical leave. I’m betting on psychiatric.

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Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

Can you stand that gorgeous face?!

 

Dead Grandma Totally Messes With Me

Before I even had a hint of the infertility problems which would plague me, before any of my babies were ultimately born; my grandmother envisioned me with a girl. She was prone to ‘seeing’ things, mostly dead people, but she also had an extremely refined intuition or esp. She’d offhandedly say things, like, “Oh, so and so just died.” While we were busy processing that information, the call would come in. So and so was dead.

So it was no surprise to me, and I took it as almost a certainty, when 11 years ago, she called and told me I was pregnant. I had been quietly trying for almost two years by the time of her call. I was seeing doctors, and was on an emotional roller coaster month after depressing month.

“Why haven’t you told me you’re pregnant?” she asked, her strong, smoky tone full of reproach.

“Uh, because I don’t know that I’m pregnant. Wait,” I held my breath like I was speaking with a doctor holding test results, “Am I pregnant?”

“If this old witch still has it, you are.”

Five days later, full shock and glee, I called her back. “I’m pregnant.”

I could hear her blow her cigarette smoke into the phone before she offhandedly replied, “It’ll be a girl.”

I had a boy.

She scratched her red head (what other color would a witch have?) and said, “I guess it’ll be the next one.” Nearly three years later, she was wrong again. Almost 3 years after that, when I had my third and last child, she was so convinced it was a girl, she snapped at me.  “What do you mean, it’s a boy!? Well, I’m sorry!”

I certainly didn’t care, but my grandma was not one to be wrong, ever. She didn’t take it well, but decided to love my boys regardless. They each were a shining, joyful light in her life.

By her 90th birthday celebration, she still remained convinced that I would have a girl. Somewhat dramatically (she knew no other way) she said, I would be naming the child after her, implying her death was near.

In the Jewish religion, a name is passed down after a loved one passes. My grandma had been housebound for the last decade with a variety of issues, but none of them life-threatening. Still, as she put it, over and over again, her suitcases were packed and she was ready to kiss her old ass goodbye. We listened to this talk for years, but recently, it seemed she might actually be getting closer to taking that trip.

I was over 40 by then. Given my age, and the fact that I had never become pregnant without assistance, I told her that, she would have to rely on another grandkid for that girl. Besides, I insisted, she was an ox with special powers, she wasn’t going anywhere.

Her response was a dirty look, but she conceded that maybe, in this one instance, her radar had been off. I don’t think she really believed it. She just no longer had the energy to argue. When I think about it now, I love that she remained truly convinced that she was right; such beautiful, dogged stubbornness.

Six months later, she died. I held on to her promises to haunt me and she didn’t disappoint; showing up in many ways, most notably as a fly on my wall, something she had always wished to be in her last homebound years.

I miss speaking with her, knowing I could just pick up the phone and hear her raspy voice. I know she hears me out there, but I’d be much happier to have her hear me over here. I try not to think about it.

But this week, I was late. Yes, that kind of late. A solid, bloated, hormonal and crampy, full week late. I knew I couldn’t be. I counted days and considered. It was not possible. Still, her voice was loud and bossy in my head; you will have a girl. Against all reason and sanity, I went and purchased a pregnancy test, cursing her under my breath.

I’ll spare you the suspense. I wasn’t pregnant, and two hours later, my friend, ‘Dot’ arrived. I laughed at myself and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

As the year anniversary of her passing draws near, I love that she can still mess with me. And since I don’t plan on having another child, I’m definitely going to be just a bit more careful about ‘things’ in the future. My grandmother doesn’t like to be wrong, and I don’t trust that witch at all.

grandma & jack

Boy, did she love her boys, but would it have killed me to have a girl?

 

Read here for a (blogging) good time! #pay it forward

*This was last week’s Blogger Idol assignment – to give a shout out to to some great blogs you love. Read below, if you don’t already know them, you should check them out…

And if you’re feeling like giving back a little, go to www.writersarethenewrocks.blogspot.com and vote ice scream mama. I would so appreciate. 🙂

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I never understood the whole internet dating thing. I mean, fall in love with someone you never met? How bizarre. How in the hell? And then I did. Multiple times. Sometimes at the same time. Often, I go back and forth between them all.

This wasn’t me at all. I married the first boyfriend I had, and now here I was slutting around the internet with people I didn’t really know. But they made me laugh, and sometimes they made me cry. So I didn’t get dinner and a movie, they brought out serious, real emotion in me, stuff that lay buried under massive loads of laundry. I didn’t expect any of it. I didn’t mean for it to happen. It just did.

I hear my husband calling me. “Are you still on the computer?” or “The kids are hungry and playing with scissors!” But I’m in love. And when you’re in love, everything else takes a back seat, right?  

My cynical husband will roll his eyes. He believes there is nothing genuine out there on the internet. But now, having immersed myself into this world for the past four months, I am floored by the people I have found. People who put their hearts and souls out there every day. People who struggle. People who live wild, crazy lives. Mommies. Lots of mommies.

So whether they know it or not, I am in love and stalking, I mean following, so many rocking blogs. Here are a few that bring a little extra something something to my days.

Ask Outlawmama why her skirt smells like pee, or how she and her husband get their sexy on – and she’ll tell you a story. A real, funny, generally embarrassing story that will have you nodding your head with glee. Maybe that’s why she’s constantly at the top of the charts at YeahWrite, an amazing weekly writing competition for bloggers and writers. Outlawmama knows just how to capture a moment. It doesn’t matter whether she’s talking about her bad bangs or her bad self, she makes me laugh at life and all its crazy.

When I want to hang out with my best friend, I turn to Ateachablemom. She’s in the trenches with snot on her shirt and insecurity in her eyes. She right in the thick of that wild jungle called mommyland, just trying to do better and doing the best she can. She’s constantly learning and teaching. When you’re with her, you know you’re not alone. She’s me. She’s you. She’s fabulous.

Watch The Landy climb big snowy mountains. Watch the Landy work out! Watch the Landy race in mud! I never thought I’d be into this blog about an Aussie guy on a mission to climb a mountain. But dag nabbit, he rocks! He is a real man, with a sensitive side who waxes poetic while jumping from planes, roaring through rapids, lifting small buildings in a single bound! Every time I read his posts, I want to cheer – GO LANDY GO!!! I swear you won’t be able to help yourself.

I met Pile of Babies here on Idol and got to know her and her blog a little better through our interview assignment. All I can say is – Awe.

First with her, because we were in different time zones and at 7:30 pm her time, 10:30 pm mine – she had a quiet house with her twins already asleep while my three boys were running in circles in their underwear.

And then there’s her blog.

I simply loved every single thing I read. Meredith takes all the stuff in life that makes you want to pull your hair out, and instead has you peeing your pants. You will be both amazed and amused by her bravery to tell it like it is, and do it with insight, humor and a ton of snark. Mostly, you’ll be laughing your ass off. Not many people could write hilarious posts like, “Your threats do not scare me small person.” and “Having twins is not adorable but thanks.”  If those titles alone don’t make you check out her blog, well than you must be, “Drunk, or 4 years-old“.

So forget the dishes, the kids and whatever other mishegoss you have going on, and go hang out with these guys. I promise, you’ll be totally entertained while you laugh, cheer and virtually fall in love.

It’s a beautiful thing. Just don’t ask my husband.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love You Forever

The room swelled with people, some talking and hugging, others laughing and shoving deli meat sandwiches in their mouths. It was a party, except the guest of honor was dead.

We were at our friends’ Aiden and Alyssa’s house to pay a Shiva call for Aiden’s mother who had just passed. A year and half ago, she had been diagnosed with a blood melanoma. Until recently, she had not shown any real symptoms or signs of being sick. The doctors said that it was treatable and until the other day, it had been. She was there in the morning when they drove to the hospital, but 12 hours later driving back, she was gone. Just like that.

At the house, we chatted amiably with many people, about many things, but only very briefly touched upon the reason we were there. Aiden held it together admirably and everyone was relieved to follow suit and pretend. There’s nothing about death and final goodbyes that doesn’t create instant discomfort and clueless awkwardness for those bearing witness. So we ate little cookies and ignored the elephant in the room, or in this case, the small, sweet blonde mother and grandmother who wasn’t.

Now that I’m over 40, I keep running into this problem in life; it’s called death, and no matter how I try, there’s no getting away from it. It seems, and I never actually realized this until my late 30’s, but people die. Yes! I know. I was shocked as well. Of course, I know people die. I’m not an idiot. Lucille Ball is obviously no longer with us, or Dick Clark or Patrick Swayze or Farrah Fawcett, but somehow, when people I knew actually died, it totally threw me for a loop. Not just grandparents, but friends. Young people who were supposed to have their whole lives ahead of them, apparently, did not. They died of unnatural causes at unnatural ages. And now I seem to be at the age where parents start dying. I am not happy with this!

When I got home that evening, I gave my mom who was babysitting, an extra hug and ran up to do the same to my boys. They were almost ready for bed, and by almost I mean, jumping around in their underwear giggling like hyenas. I corralled them all into bed and Michael, my middle child, pushed a book in my hand. “Read this, Mommy.”

“Of course.” I said automatically, but when I looked down I wished I hadn’t.

“Love You Forever” by Robery Munsch. My book nemesis. Someone had given me this book when my oldest was born and I cried like a baby from beginning to end. Back then, I blamed my hormones and new-mom status, but returning to the book two years later, the same thing happened. A few years after that, I tried again, and still could not make it through without breaking down. I have successfully avoided reading the book for over three years, and tonight, fresh from a Shiva call, it was in my hands again. “Baby, let’s read something different.” I tried.

“This is the book that makes you cry, right?” Michael taunted, his elfin face smiling mischievously.

How did the little rat know that?  “Maybe.” I said defensively. “But I just think you should pick something else. It’s a baby book.”

“I want to see if you cry.”

Oh, a challenge. Bring it on. “Fine.” I agreed, secretly steeling myself. I knew exactly what this book was and I was prepared. I could make it through I told myself and started reading.

I barely began, and I knew it was over. Tears rolled down my face and my voice quivered as I read the poem that threaded through the story of a mother’s never-ending love, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.” My extremely sensitive children cracked up laughing as I struggled to finish. By the end, I was a complete mess. My boys loved it. “Again!” they all squealed as I tried to control my heaving.

Exhausted from my emotional evening, I tucked the boys in; snuggling a little longer and hugging a little tighter. The book’s poem played over and over in my mind; its theme penetrating every sappy bone in my body. Even thinking about it now with the book safely tucked away in between a hundred others, hopefully never to be pulled out again, I can feel the tears in me rise. From the moment they are born, our babies are everything. Even when they grow and go, a mother’s heart goes with them, but there’s only so far it can go. Poor Aiden. Poor Aiden’s mommy. Poor everyone.

Damn. I hate that book.