Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

When I was little I just adored Halloween. This is despite no one in my family really being into the holiday, not being the type that enjoys being scared and not really doing anything special. When you are small there is something special about being out at night, when it is dark and your mom knows. We'd be out in our totally store-bought my mom does not sew costumes, reeking of polyurethane off-gassing. We'd have on heavy coats and some years snow pants. My dad would go Trick-or-Treating with us--that alone was special as we rarely had time alone with my father. Now I know he was sipping off a flask the whole time but Iowa in October is cold yo.

We'd run and run from house to house and feel that delicious weight of your pumpkin full of candy.

I haven't dressed up in costume in years but of all of the fun that I cannot wait to do with my kid Halloween in on my list.

Except we have been in flood watch weather all day. Cold and windy and actual FEET of water on the ground. But I had already dressed her in her Supergirl costume so we went to the mall event.

Oh you guys, it was so sad. Kids in line to get candy. No running. No booze for parents. The candy even was shitty. But when you have a not quite two year old she thought it was magical. She only waited for a couple of pieces of (crappy) candy. She just wanted to run around in the mall and see the other costumes and you guys? I think she had the best night ever.

I would have been sad if she were school aged and wanting to get candy. But tonight it was perfect.

Except for the unacceptable and appalling adults in gulp sexy costumes. Like dressed as pleather cops with prisoner in chains at the MALL WITH YOUR KIDS.

But other than that, perfect.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Secret Can Blow Me

I am not going to stun anyone here when I say that I was less than thrilled when my new work assigned us all The Secret as a group book. For those fortunate not to know about The Secret it is a book (and an accompanying dvd) that has been touted on Oprah and is a huge best seller. All about how to use positive thoughts to become rich and get everything you could ever want.

It is basically every ugly thing I hate about every religion packaged into a handy, and much more offensive, package. It claims that this is all LAW and SCIENCE when it is no such thing (bonus, my boss claimed that it was the same as gravity). The book also basically blames all bad things that happen to people on their negative and fearful thoughts. So rape victims? YOUR FAULT. Your layoff? YOUR FAULT. The Holocaust? 6 MILLION NEGATIVE NELLIES.

I know I am oversimplifying and millions of people swear by this book. It just touches every single nerve of mine. It preys on the gullible and sells them exactly what they want to hear--you can be rich and have all of your dreams without work! No wonder the author is now a millionaire.

Now I do think that you can learn something from even the most ridiculous. And, honestly, keeping positive thoughts and being mindful of that energy can be a powerful thing. I do believe that there is power in that.

However, when some one in the office said they thought their stepdad died of cancer because "he was just so negative" my head exploded. Really. I am typing this with my brains smeared on the kitchen twenty miles away. This explains a lot.

And I have been thinking about nothing of how I want to be six feet tall since Monday. I haven't grown a centimeter. Maybe it doesn't work this way?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mama Guilt

There are things that happen that are beyond our control. Things that make me ball up my fists, take deep breaths, rage into my pillow. I hate how black and white people are--how they refuse to accept that our experiences are different from each other's. That I can decide to do THIS and it doesn't mean that I think you are wrong for doing THAT.

The Mommy Wars--which I think are largely a media creation--are just that. I have friends who stay home, friends who work full time outside the home and friends that are somewhere in between. All of these situations are hard. I can say with certainty that I would be a shitty stay at home mom. That shit is HARD YO. And it would not work for my family. But if it works for yours--and it does a lot--then I am glad that you are doing it.

Breast feeding vs. bottle. DEAR GOD WHY do we get in each other's faces for this? Aren't we lucky that most of us have a choice of what to do? Some people do not--breastfeeding doesn't work, they can't pump at work, their baby refuses a bottle--and you know what? I think it is time to say that they are not the only ones who get a choice. We all get to choose what is right for our own damn families. And if you want to breast feed until your kid is five, well I am still going to think you are a nutso, but I won't say it to your face. That is your child, you decide.

And this. That shit is why I don't do labor massage anymore. Something I REALLY loved. Because really? Now we are judging women for their birth experience? You are a lesser mother if you weren't a goddess? Fuck that. Seriously. Let us put women in the situation where they can feel guilty for ONE MORE THING that they cannot control. Because you can control where you intend to birth, HOW you intend to birth, but it doesn't always work out the way you wanted.

I planned to give birth vaginally. It didn't happen. I labored for 29 hours, twisted around in a dozen different positions, worked really damn hard and . . .got an infection, failed to progress and had an emergency c-section because the baby and I were fading fast.

I am thankful for that c-section. I have a live baby and I am alive. Which if I am honest, where my most important birth goals. I loathe how people patronize me for it but I know they are wrong.

I feel guilty for a million things as a mother. The way I swear when she wakes up early. How impatient I get when she won't nap. How I really HATE giving her a bath. The relief I feel almost every night when she goes to bed.

I don't feel guilty for my c-section. Or weaning her to a bottle at six months. Or working full time. Or not working full time now. I don't feel guilty that I let her have plastic toys or watch some TV. I don't feel guilty that she drinks juice.

I own my guilt. And there is a lot of it. And I don't need anyone creating more for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Daddy Issues

My father and I are fighting. Actually that is a gross mis-statement. He is being a passive aggressive douchebag and I am pretending that I don't care and getting more and more worked up about it. It is our pattern--one that I like to think that we have worked through and changed. Every time it pops up I remember that you don't ever really work through these things. You have to keep trying all of the time.

My father has been proud of me exactly two times in my life. The day I gave birth to my daughter and the day I got a big promotion at my last job. Now I know I am lucky to have a father--one that is my friend most of the time--but it is hard for me that all of the other good things that I have done and are a part of who I am don't mean anything to him. He was not proud all of the many (all) times I made honor roll in school, of the scholarships I won or the other awards. He wasn't proud when I graduated high school or massage school or got married. He wasn't proud when I bought my first house or the second house. He wasn't proud when I found jobs in tough markets and got promotions. Or when I quit a job that was really hurting my family and got brave enough to do something else.

My father and I fought for years. Most of the years that I was teenager and a couple after. And then we realized that we could try to get along or lose each other forever. I am very proud of us that we work so hard to be friends. My father thinks he shouldn't have to work so hard to get along with his daughter.

He's mad at me because he feels guilty about my grandpa and everything he doesn't like about me are things he doesn't really like about himself. I know that. I also know that he is worried about money, and other family members and other shit and it is easier to be mean to me than it is to deal with that stuff.

I know all this and I accept all of this and I can't help but be angry with myself. Because after thirty-one years of us doing this to each other you would think I would know how to deal with it. To not crave his approval.

His approval isn't coming. And that really IS ok. Because I am proud of the person that I have become and all that I do.

I just need to accept that no, he will never feel the same way.

Friday, October 02, 2009


I feel pulled in a bunch of directions. I spent yesterday feeling like I was having three days at once.

I had to drop off some pictures at my dad's office. My folks are leaving tomorrow to drive to my grandfather's house and bring home the things we are all taking from it. The house is already on the market--something that surprised me. My grandfather built the house himself in the fifties and it is a tiny little crackerbox. I love it, I think we all love it, but mainly because of how it feels when we walk into it. But when I look at it from a house hunter's standpoint it is small and has strange wallpaper. On the plus side, last year my cousin's husband finally put a shower in the bathroom--for the previous fifty years you had to walk down into the basement and stand behind a foot and a half wall. LUXURIOUS.

I feel conflicted I admit. I think I have been working the denial imagining that he was really on a trip and would be coming back. I know that is normal. I know that it is just part of grieving. I just miss him. And I feel just as heartbroken today as I did in July.

Also yesterday, I tripped on a raised bit of sidewalk while shopping for shoes for baby and carped onto the sidewalk. Ripped the holy hell out of my hand (which is FAB for a massage therapist since you know I use that HAND A LOT). And was rushed by a group of homeless people. Who then started chanting "Sue the city!" HELPFUL. Today my hand looks a lot like shredded meat for tacos and hurts like a mother.

I did get the kid some really cute shoes. And on sale!

Lastly, I completely ROCKED my mission from J. To make a shaming jersey for the "Sally Strikeout" of his team (yeah I know sexist but they are assholes so . . .). Found a pink baseball raglan and lettered it with hot pink fuzzy letters. I rule at being a wife.