Saturday, February 25, 2012

I May Dress Like An Asian Nail Lady/ Homeless Woman, But At Least I'm Not An Evil Bitch From Hell

It seems like every single time I venture into Wal-Mart, I see someone I know. Especially people that get on my nerves.

For instance, my neighbors might be two of the oldest and weirdest people on the planet. They smell like onions, they dress almost identical to one another, and the neighbor lady has asked me on more than one occasion to save my used, microwave popcorn bags for her. They are annoying and smell weird and I'm pretty sure they watch my house with surveillance cameras, BUT...even when I see them out in public, I am courteous.

I breathe through my mouth, greet them and struggle through the pleasantries. They are never the wiser to the fact that on the soul is causing self-inflicted wounds to deal with the pain of talking to these people.


However, I'm nice to them. I stop and talk to them because.... IT'S THE NICE THING TO DO.

So... the other day, I'm pushing my son in the basket at Wal-Mart, quoting lines from his favorite book, and laughing when, "it" happens.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone that I've known since middle school.

Now, this person isn't an acquaintance that I sort of talk to sometimes about things that do not matter. This person is/was my friend. We had sleepovers and borrowed clothes. We talked about boys and played MASH. We went skating and always kept the other one informed on who said what about who. We were tight, yo.
I could say I always seem to see people I know when I'm dressed terribly, but who am I kidding?
I do sort of dress like an Asian nail lady. However, my inability to be stylishly dressed has never squandered my friendly nature when I see my friends in public. It is my natural instinct to wave, smile (possibly squeal in excitement) and flag them down. Now, it is possible that I'm the annoying person that people try to avoid in public, but I don't think I am.

I don't smell bad, my greetings are normally short and to the point and I have never asked anyone to save their used, microwave-popcorn bags for me. I'm normal...mostly.

Anyway, so I see my friend and excitedly wave.

I see her see me.
I see her smile begin to form...
I see her look at me, from head to toe....
I watch her smile diminish.....slowly.
I watch her straighten her already perfect posture, jut out her obnoxiously perfect chin, tuck her perfectly coiffed hair behind her ear, and adjust the shoulder strap of her 500 dollar purse.
I watch her walk closer to where I'm standing (by the greeting cards and Valentine's stuff)...And then...
I watch her give me this very tight lipped, pitying smile as she walks right by me.


This is the girl who once used my toothbrush because she forgot hers, and didn't want the other girls at the slumber party to make fun of her for not brushing her teeth. This is the girl who once borrowed my jacket to hide the conspicuous stain on her pants where she had been ambushed by terrorists during their monthly visit. This is the girl who I would spend hours talking to on the phone, and doing those stupid teen magazine quizzes with. This is the girl who couldn't get her pantyliners to stick to her unders very well, and in a moment of genius decided to use masking tape...I am the girl that ripped the masking tape from her buttcrack when it got all wadded up back there. We have cried, laughed, and survived middle school and high school together...and now...because I care very little about the brand of clothes that cover my body, and use a purse that most grandmothers are too stylish to carry...she strolls by me like we are complete strangers.

I want to be very clear about something.

I'm not big on how things look. Things can look a million different ways. What I'm interested in is how things really are. I think my most redeeming quality is that I am always the same. I may not always be tactful or tasteful. I cuss too much, chew too many pieces of gum at once and have never had an unexpressed thought in my life...Even with all of these things that probably I need to work on, I have nailed one thing down to a fine art: A person will never leave a conversation with me and not know what I'm thinking or how I feel, and personally...I think that is ten times more valuable than any name brand you can stick on the ass of your jeans that, by the way, were about a size too small.
I don't want anyone to take what I'm saying the wrong way. Some of my favorite people and very best friends that I have ever known live in enormous homes, carry expensive purses and have an exorbitant monthly income. However, they have never turned their nose up at me strolling into their house and plopping down on their couch because I am their friend...ugly purse and all.

In short, I may cuss like a sailor and chew all five pieces of the 35 cent pack of gum at one time.

I may talk too loud.

I may laugh like a donkey.

I may dress like an Asian Nail Lady/Homeless Woman but...

I'll never be an evil bitch from Hell.*

*Unless you treat me like scum of the that case, I will write a blog and tell everyone I know, (and some people I don't) about the time that I ripped wadded up masking tape from your buttcrack.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Easy Friendships

Sometimes, friendships develop and flourish with such ease and seamlessness that it's downright frightening. Over the last month, I have come to understand, sometimes, people are just destined to be friends. Their lives, by some unseen force, are interlaced and they soon discover they are unable to imagine their lives without their friendly counterpart.

I have a lot of friends. I do not say this to boast or to put anyone under the impression that I might win a popularity contest anytime soon. I say this because it is fact.

I have a lot of friends. This single, declarative thought led my overactive mind to another stunning moment of clarity:

Sometimes, friendships are just easy. I have friends that I won't see for months and when we do finally make time in our busy lives to see one another, it feels as if only a single second has passed since our last get together. These gatherings are all too brief, followed by hugs that are too tight and everyone saying in unison, "We need to do this more often."

We don't say these things simply to fill the air with empty promises. We say them because we mean them. We miss eachother, but we have come to the understanding that while our lives change and evolve...Our friendships with one another stay the same. They are rooted in a history of sleepovers and giggling late into the night, first kisses and the passing of notes folded into the tiniest of squares. These friendships are what we will base every new friendship on for the rest of our lives. They are important...and easy.

I, like every other person in the world, has the "occasion" or "activity" or "hobby" friend. This friendship is developed because the two of you share one thing in common, and it is almost always something that no one else in the world likes. I am part of a bizarre friendship that is rooted in our mutual love for cake. We talk once or twice a week. Our conversations normally begin with, "So, I was eating this amazing cake...", but they quickly move onto more important topics. We give each other advice, make each other laugh, or make eachother cake. Regardless of how shallow the basis for our friendships seems...we care about one another. This, is also an easy friendship.

I have internet friends that make me smile on my darkest of days. Some of them I have never met, but I cannot begin to imagine my day to day life without them. Most of them are remarkable human beings who have a wonderful grasp on the English language, and how to use proper punctuation.
Some of the most important people in my life are people I've met through a mutual friend. Friends of friends, who now know more about my bowel movements than my doctor does. (You're welcome.)
All of these friendships....Easy, Peasey, Japanesey.

Easy because they are effortless in their nature, not because they are under valued by either person.

Over the last year, I have become friends with a woman, and to be honest....I cannot even begin to tell you why this classy lady wants to be friends with me.

I talk about poop, alot. I have no filter between my brain and my mouth, and I use the "f" word at least fifty times a day.

She is a wonderful person. I value her friendship, her calm nature and her caring spirit more than I could ever tell her, but I still occasionally scratch my head and think, "Why would she want to be friends with me?" This friendship; Effortless. Smooth as silk. (Even though I don't understand her want to be my friend...I value it. Truly)

Like many of you, I have a best friend. He knows who he is.

 See how easy that is? Without even mentioning his name, he will read this and think to himself, "Awwww...she wrote about me in her blog. I need to send her some chocolate in the mail, and go down to Ardmore and visit for a weekend or maybe a week or a month."  This friendship? The easiest of all. We love eachother. We know it. There isn't another soul alive who would listen to all of the things I've put this man through over the telephone...He's sort of stuck with me.

So, while I've realized that many of my friendships are easy ones. Some aren't. Some friendships are hard. They require gentle handling, and careful attention. They require phone calls and visits. These friendships are ones that have been cracked and repaired on more than one occasion, and sometimes they do not survive the tension.

Like a wire hanger that has been bent back and forth too many times;the last time you try to put it back in it's original shape, it breaks.

These friendships...these are hard. They aren't effortless or easy, but they are still important.

A person can get used to these effortless friendships that require little maintenance and upkeep. In turn, they often neglect the ones that require more work.

I am guilty of this. I get accustomed to the gentle pace and forget about the flip side to the friendship coin.

Pam Brown once wrote, "A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely."

I guess the big discovery of the month, for me, is while some friendships are hard...they don't have to be.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Fragile Combinations of Motherhood

I often write of the wonders of childhood. How a child's life is made up of fragile combinations. The irresistible upward motion of precariously stacked building blocks. The smooth symbiosis of peanut butter and jelly.The glory of playing in the rain, but the chill of the wind that follows.

Today, I write of the fragile combinations of Motherhood.

Five and a half years ago, I was completely unaware of the changes that take place in one's life when they bring children into the world. I now understand that my ideas of parenthood were full of blind optimism.
When most people begin the process of having children, it always begins with one simple statement:

I want to have a baby.
On the sixth day of March in the year 2006, I took a pregnancy test at 2 o'clock in the morning and saw two pink lines. There I sat in my bathrobe, on the toilet  in my tiny bathroom...wearing the VW bug househoes that my brother had given me three Christmases prior; I was crying and thinking to myself, "I'm going to have a baby."
That's right, folks. I was going to have a baby. With all of the infinite and worldly knowledge I had acquired by the ripe age of twenty-one... I was going to have a baby.

Here's where the fragile combinations of Motherhood begin: Yes, I was going to have a baby. I was going to have a baby that would keep me up at night, and drain my finances. I was going to have a baby that I would later nickname ,"Hurricane Abigail" because of the havoc she wrecked on my body.

Yes, I was going to have a baby, but babies grow. Quickly.
The first year of parenthood went by in a blur of diapers, spit up explosions,unpaid bills, and sleepless nights. Before I knew it, we were celebrating Abby's first birthday, and I was thinking to myself, "I want to have another baby."
I was two years older, and had an entire year of parenting under my belt. However, I was still operating under the notion that babies don't grow. In my blind optimism of being a new parent, I pictured my children staying small forever.

I want to have another baby. Thus, Samuel Ryan was born in July of 2008. After an exhausting pregnancy, and an excrutiatingly painful delivery, he had arrived...and he was the ugliest newborn baby I have ever seen in my life.

Another example of the fragile combinations of Motherhood: Mothers have an infinite amount of love for their children, regardless of how ugly they are the first time they see them.

I want to have a baby.
A single, declarative sentence that has been the precursor to countless lives. I was blithely unaware of the fragile combinations of Motherhood until yesterday.

A dear friend of mine lost a child in an automobile accident. Her son was thiry years old.

I sat on her couch with her, held her hand and realized that even with the difference of our ages, and the gap in our years of parenting children... We had more in common than I realized.

We are both mothers.

We both uttered one sentence that would irrevocably change our lives forever; I want to have a baby.

We are tied together by our journey through this life as mothers to babies who don't stay babies forever. Babies who grow too quickly, leave home, make their own lives and have children of their own. Babies that sometimes leave this world before we're through raising them.

Yesterday, when I was talking with my friend, I told her that Abby asked me if she could walk into school by herself and that it had killed me. My friend looked at me and said, "You know, my boy always wanted to walk himself into school. I know it was twenty five years ago, but it feels like it was yesterday."
The fragile combinations of Motherhood. The cool softness of a baby's elbows that are too quickly roughened by playtime scrapes. Spending your life teaching your child skills to help them gain their independence, and then weeping like an infant when they tell you, "Mommy, I can walk into the school by myself." Wishing for just two minutes of quiet when they are young and rowdy and the house is too small, only to find yourself twenty-five years later....hoping to see them walking through your front door to visit.

We mothers have more in common with one another than we realize. The fragile combinations of Motherhood bind us together. Forever.