Stardust

The Mothers Song-

I, the lone adult, lop off strawberry heads,
give them over to eager hands
whose feet march the tiled floors
like a roving army.

I, the kitchen guard enslaved to endless snack orders-
or else chained to the beast in the basement,
that creaking weary warrior
sputtering out half dry clothes,
threatening to take leave of this earthly place.

My cotton-stuffed brain remembers a time when,
I was necessary for more than
wiping faces, asses, refereeing
arguments that start and end with ‘because’.

Dimly, but still there-
is someone who felt worthy of time,
who drank coffee when it was hot
instead of finding it filmed over,
in the microwave no less!

My books, like so much refuse of a life leftover
lay dormant in another worlds room.
I, the mouse nibbling at cardboard corner,
desperate to gain access.
Constantly scared away by a loud noise.


 

The misheard blip-

There is an upset in Spring!
This bud, refuses to burst
instead withering on it’s vine.

All its generation explode in gentle blues,
and lady pinks, but this one,
tightly, prudishly wrapped will never know
the blistering sun or the cool of dusk.

I had mapped out this universe
and now must come to terms with my halted exploration.

A week later, freshly cut stems
grace my table, harvested by loving hands.
They wilt, age, just the same
as those roughly uprooted and discarded;

for Death leaves no one un-plucked.


 


 

Is this where he left you?

“When I grow up, I want to cook for my family”

That’s my daughter Marilyn talking. She’s four (and a half. The half is very important). She hates practically every food except chocolate, and her mom (that would be me) cooks what my son lovingly calls ‘hospital eggs’ (because that’s how bland they are) and very little else. So her random proclamation caught my attention.

“And my kids, they will have both a mommy, and a daddy. Like Sam, and Judah and me.” she continued talking at me. “But not like you mommy. You have no daddy.”

There are moments in parenting when a sticky subject will pop up, you will not be prepared, and all the shower-talks you’ve had with yourself about how you will handle this water-shed moment will evaporate, you will be left with a sand paper tongue and no where to run. This was one of those moments.

I wanted to press that elusive ‘pause’ button. It’s the button I wish I had mid-temper-tantrum with my seven year old so I could gather my patience before I put him up for sale on craigslist, or when they are playing; the three of them, so sweetly with one another and I know if I move to grab my camera, the spell will be broken and someone will knock someone else’s block off. Someone should invent one of those pause buttons.

‘Of course I have a daddy.’ I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t want to confuse her, because for Marilyn, “Daddy” is a sacred word. Daddy is the person who will let her jump on the bed, who will make her a peanut butter and fluff sandwich, who tells her how proud he is of her when she does something important, and even when she does something not so important. He is the guy who drives her to school each day and picks her up each afternoon, the kisser of boo-boos, the person who gives nicknames and bear hugs. Daddy is the one who will continue to play ‘chase around the house’ long after Mommy has lost interest. She will tell you all these things, but she will leave something off the list, something that I, as a child, would have loved to take for granted; Daddy Lives here.

The idea of a daddy who simply is not present in his daughters life does not compute for Marilyn. She does not understand that while my father is not dead, he has ceased to be. I can see her wheels spinning when I tell her that my mommy and daddy could not live together, they fought a lot, and so they got divorced. She understands that. She knows kids who have parents who live in different homes. But the idea of a daddy who just doesn’t come around at all? That doesn’t make sense.

The reasons behind my parents divorce are private and unimportant to this story, but the bare details are that it happened when I was eight years old, and after that I was a very angry child for a long time. By the time I was 15 I no longer communicated with my father on any level. I could mudsling and accuse and explain and defend the reasons, but the truth is, it also doesn’t matter to this story.

After inquiring as to whether or not I had any photos of my father, Marilyn and I sat cross-legged in my bedroom and searched, but we couldn’t find any. As I put back piles of photos, Marilyn held one in her hands, studying it intently. When I asked her what photo she had she turned it around, it was a photo of little me, sitting in my old living room where I grew up.

“Is this where he left you?” Marilyn asked me very matter of fact.

I would have identified with that statement, as a kid, as a teenager. I did feel left. Abandoned. No one asks to be a child of divorced parents, and in 1992 I felt like the only kid in the whole world whose parents were humiliating her to death by daring to be unhappy, and doing something about it. I don’t feel that way anymore, every one deserves to have a chance at a happy life, because this is the only one we get. If being a family man wasn’t what my father wanted, well, he missed out on me, and I’m a pretty okay person. He missed out on my kids, and they are incredible people. That’s his loss, but only I get to choose how I let that affect the rest of my life.

I didn’t expect her to understand this though. I barely understood it until recently.

“That’s the house he used to live in. Yes.” I told her. And then I quickly pulled out another photo, a warm summer in North Carolina with her Daddy and I hugging in the shadows of a store front. “And this is where I found your Daddy.” And then a photo of my three children sitting on the couch “And this is where all my love is.”

Marilyn smiled. “I guess it’s okay then. Because sometimes things are sad. But most of the time, things are happy.” Expectations exceeded.

The moral of this story is that there is no moral. The conversation isn’t over, all the questions have not been answered. But for today, Daddy remains the hero in all the legends, the guy who makes the best pancakes, the strongest man in the world, the worst pony-tail-maker ever and the best person I could have picked to prove to me, our kids, and the world, that there is a difference between Fathers, and Daddies, and good men, never walk away.

 

Sanity: You got it, or you don’t ?

I hate 93% of winter. Let me just get that out of the way, okay? And I consider winter, not from December 21st till the first day of Spring, but any day, at any time of the year when the temperature drops below 50F.

I don’t care if it’s still technically Fall in October and November when it’s 32, or 45, or 49 degrees. It’s technically fucking cold. So therefore, it is Winter.

There are about two weeks in which I enjoy Winter, and it is when all of you who celebrate Christmas, put lights on your houses and actually seem jovial about getting frostbite in order to do so. It’s when you dare hypothermia to invade your bodies in order to do all of that outdoorsy stuff, in the name of the Season. I don’t get it but I like those weeks, I like to vicariously enjoy those things, through you.

So thanks!

But by the 2nd of January? I feel like, by then we’re all in the same boat. All of us collectively shooting Winter, snow, the sad tree with the falling pine needles, the pot holes in the roads and the weatherman (especially the weatherman), the death stare.

By February, of which it is now, I start questioning my sanity, and most of yours. So I thought we could just have a little chat, in which I tell you some things that have recently happened to me, and you can either rest assured that I am in fact, losing it, and you aren’t, or join me when the men in white suits carts me off to Happy Acres. Okay? Great!

Why is it, that in the early of November, when the temperature dips into those dreaded below 50F I feel the undeniable urge to jam my children into All The Layers of clothes? Gloves, hats, face masks, scarves, sweaters, coats, snow boots, all of it. But by February, when the wind is actually raw? When it’s not less then 50F but less than 10F? When thirty degrees feels like a heat wave?  They are leaving the house with unzipped jackets and one glove and I couldn’t give less of a shit. “It will build up your immune system!” I call after them as they leave the house.  

I have winter burn-out.

In December my children are like little sardines in their winter gear, like A Christmas Story reincarnation in which neither of them can put their arms down, buckle themselves into their car seats or do anything with even a modicum of helpfulness. But not in February, in February I am throwing them to the wolves, urging them to will it to be Spring by their jacket-neglect.

Winter makes me lazy, you guys. During the rest of the year I am craft mom. Marilyn comes home nearly every day and sits on the little ottoman tucked under our living room desk and crafts to her hearts content. That little artist inside of her just blossoms under my gifted craft-store finds and scores, but I hate leaving the house in winter, so our supplies have dwindled to the lamest of lame.

Marilyn is four and doesn’t understand that craft supplies don’t just magically appear in our craft closet. So when she asks me ‘Mommy, can we do cool art today?’ I know I am in trouble. Cool art you see, requires cool crafts. Of which I am fresh out. What she is really asking me is ‘Mommy, can you stop letting me down and disappointing my fragile girl heart and go to the G.D craft store already?!’.

So. Normal parents might tell their sweetest Angel ‘Mommy is so sorry, but she didn’t have time today. Maybe tomorrow.’ or maybe ‘Mommy hates winter, so you’ll get new crafts come Spring, here, have a marker.’ or something similar, right? Can I get an Amen? But not me. No. I shifted the blame to the craft store. (Sorry Michael’s…) and told her “They ran out of cool crafts. As a matter of fact, they ran out of all the crafts.”

Now Marilyn hates Michael’s. But doesn’t hate me. Crisis averted.

Marilyn has no idea what is actually in our craft closet anymore, in the basement, because of another choice I made in my winter burn-out state of mind. I made Marilyn afraid of the basement. And I kind of did it accidentally on purpose.

We’ve talked about it before, we’re Jewish. Ta-da and Surprise!
So the holiday season of Christmas is this magical light filled fun-fest that my kids don’t get to exactly participate it. (I know, so sad, pray for them.) But they know who Santa is, and Marilyn was down right obsessed with him this past year.

We do celebrate this other holiday, you might know it as the ugly step sister to Christmas, it’s called Hanukkah, and there are presents! You might identify with this problem: How do we hide presents for birthdays or holidays without giving away the place we are hiding them, so our children don’t poke their dirty little noses in and spoil it all? Well that’s right! We scare the shit out of them. Oops!

The only proper place for me to hide presents is in the boiler room in our basement. But the door doesn’t lock. So since my kids don’t really need the basement for much, I just made it off limits for the time I needed it.

Unfortunately off limits doesn’t compute for Marilyn and in her head actually becomes must go down to basement. (Funny! Right? How those things happen?). I don’t have a Santa or an Elf on the Shelf to warn (re: threaten) Marilyn with (kudos to whoever created that creepy fellow), but Santa happens to have an evil brother by the name of The Krampas. In one of my deliriously under slept days (thanks to my one year old) when Marilyn wanted to do the dreaded cool art, which is all located (or not located, since I hate winter and haven’t gone to the craft store) in the basement, I told her that Santa’s brother Krampas lived down there.

I might have twisted the story, just a bit, to tell her that while Santa delivered toys to good boys and girls who celebrated Christmas, that the Krampas instead, watched over Jewish children who didn’t listen to their parents around Hanukkah, and ate them, and by the way, he lives in our basement.

It’s February, and she still won’t go into the basement without me. What was I thinking?

Sanity it’s such a funny thing, right? I never imagined it could ebb and flow so fluidly. I thought it was just something you either had, or lacked. There are days when we get dinner timed right, and stories read, and snuggles in, and all the kids are clean, fresh and in bed on time, leaving my husband and I enough time to both fall asleep while watching tv before 10:30pm. On those days, I figure; I have sanity. Then there are days when I go down to where the Krampas lives/the basement to do a load of laundry and my sewer has backed poop water into my laundry room, and then I find a huge hairy centipede in one of my kids’ closets, and I  envision burning the house down to ensure it is dead. On those days, I figure I don’t have it.

I swear I am a decent mother. But one day Sam is going to be asked how he became such a wonderful roller blader, and ice skater and he’s going to tell whomever asks that he taught himself. Because his mother refused to come out of the house during winter and play with him. I know, there is a special seat in Hell just roasting with my name on it, and hopefully, you’ve identified with some of this, and maybe you’ll come sit next to me.

Christmas Envy or why Jews feel the Bah-Humbugs

I grew up on Long Island, New York, where even the Jews had Christmas trees. Everywhere you looked half-lit Menorah’s commingled with Frosty the Snowman and Santa lawn ornaments. Advent calendars and Dreidels brought the same kind of pleasure. Until I was 11, I was positive Santa brought my presents the same as he brought any of my friends, I just didn’t understand what Jesus had to do with gift giving. And now I know why.

Long Island is home of the disposable income. A child of the lucrative mid-eighties my mom wanted to buy me things. Toys were getting awesome by the time I was old enough to appreciate them, game systems had moved far beyond Pong. Who didn’t want Barbie’s Malibu dream house, right? With parents willing to buy nearly anything, the mentality was ‘Go Big or Go Home’, and no one wanted to leave the party.

We lived on a street where people were endlessly competitive. Who had the nicest car, best sled, newest Christmas lights, or biggest most offensive blow up snow globe taking up 95% of their front lawn were real things to consider and covet…. I mean, the first year someone hung icicle lights I thought my neighbors heart was going to fail him, until he too had the ridiculous lights hanging from his roof.

I am an adult now. In a new state, with a young family of my own, and time has shifted before me. My life has gone from one of constantly being watched, to being called on to do the watching. A chorus of ‘Mommy, watch me!’ and ‘Mommy, look here!’ rings in my head day in and day out. The joy of receiving has become the ultimate joy, the purest one; the joy of giving.

I want to give my kids things, yes, but I also want to give them a Jewish identity that got muddled in the attempt to let me ‘fit in’, where I grew up. I’ve joined a Temple here, I send my kids to a Jewish day school, we celebrate all the big and holy holidays, not to mention the not so big and holy ones, we say prayers before meals and try to do our best in making it all seem fun not overwhelming. But commercial America makes my attempts at fun look more like fart-dust. How can a spinning top compare to the endless parade of All The Things that Christmas gets?

Come October of every year, my kids punim’s (Yiddish for: face) resemble something more similar to The Grinch or Scrooge than anything remotely near to Holiday Cheer, and it’s because of Christmas Envy.

Take today, for example. I am in Barnes & Noble, gift buying when a lady in the children’s section approaches me. “Christmas shopping?” she asks cheerfully. (I need to state here, I am not one of those crazy people of any religion or non-religion who expects to be greeted by my particular choice of words. I take great pleasure in being wished a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Hanukkah, or just a ‘have a great day’ because there has never been an article in the paper, ever, where someone died from a wish of wellness).

“Actually,” I tell her, “I was wondering where your Hanukkah books are, I’m looking for…”
“We don’t have any” she cuts me off. “But I can order anything you’d like.” She adds in, smiling.

I am surrounded (literally) by three beautiful displays of Christmas cheer, and one entire pyramid of creepy Elves some people put around their house to ensure their children make use of the therapy benefits their health care will include as adults.

We don’t count at Barnes and Noble, and we don’t count much elsewhere either.

At TJ Maxx and Marshall’s we have one pitiful end cap with the same boring silver Menorah, blue and white over-priced candles and wooden dreidels. Snore.

At Costco there is the same exact four pack of white and blue Hanukkah wrapping paper as last year, and the year before, and the year before that, and a tub of approximately 6,000 gelt (chocolate coins). (And I was grateful! Because I couldn’t even find wrapping paper anywhere else).

I am tired of being grateful to be abused by The Man.

Target has had their Christmas lights out since before the middle of October, but it’s three weeks before Hanukkah and I haven’t found a single package of bows or ribbon (sure to be blue and white).

The Mensch on The Bench, a creepy old man who leers at you from on high while dressed in his Friday night propers rivals the Elf on The Shelf. This is maybe the only new thing to happen to Hanukkah since the Menorah went electric and I want to know Why.

Why is it okay for big box retail to assume that a holiday which lasts one full week isn’t worthy of them bending over backwards for at least as much as the holiday The Big Red Man runs? And I’ve heard it before, you have too, ‘holidays are not about gifts’ and ‘holidays are not about decorations’ and ‘holidays are about feelings’ well Feel This because I like to buy shit I have to store in my garage for ten months out of the year Just As Much As the next mom.

I like to see my husband glare at me from the basement when he realizes that 75% of that ‘clutter’ is actually seasonal decor and the other 25% is ‘great deals on gifts I found in July that I won’t need for six months’. That is just the kind of stuff that makes me downright joyful.

I would never deny my children the absolute pleasure of using a special cup, plate, spoon, fork, knife and napkin for eight nights of the year, except, oh that’s right- I can’t find any.

So Target, Barnes & Noble, Maxx, Marshall’s, Costco, and all the rest of them, if I want to give you my money, you should be happy to take it. Give me thirty thousand wrapping papers to choose from with coordinating bows. I’ll take Judah Maccabee dancing in the desert for one roll and a pan frying latkes for another. Give me huge dreidels to blow up on my non-existent city lawn, and star of David lights to twinkle from my rooftop. You could sell the shit out of some Hanukkah straight to dvd specials. Monster High lights the Menorah, My Little Pony fights the Greeks, Elmo gets his first Torah Portion or Jake and his neverland pirates search for more oil to keep the lights lit.

This stuff is gold, fools- Jewish kids everywhere are salvating as we speak! There are children all over who are just dying for an afternoon family special that talks about yarmulkes and talit, just once.

Until then though, big box stores, you get a big thumbs down from This Goldston. And if Santa is reading, tell Hanukkah Harry to put the pedal to the medal on this stuff, because time is ticking.

Target Gems

I haven’t written much lately.

I wish it was because I was off adventuring Earth’s cradles of life but it’s more mundane than that.

I find myself at the children’s hospital here twice weekly again after a near two year hiatus.

I may touch base on these things at another time, but I’m feeling gun shy about it now. I had gone into this, much as I go into everything in my life, talking about it. I went to facebook and ‘moms groups’ in search of both support and advice. I was met with support and advice, but also, with a critical eye and a demeaning undertone that I wasn’t expecting. People questioned the authenticity of my concerns. I shouldn’t feel compelled to explain why I am concerned that my 8 month old is not rolling over. I shouldn’t need to explain that I am worried because my 4 year old has a more complicated relationship with food than a recovered anorexic. But I do feel that need, and so I’ve been staying quiet on the whole thing, or, as quiet as I can.

So that’s why I haven’t been around. Because the days are being consumed with therapy and then practicing said therapy at home. Because I write stories about my life, but my life is not a side show.

So now that we have that out of the way:

Let me leave you with a story from this past week.

————————

I have crossed the threshold of two-children-families into the no-mans-land of three, also known as ‘is she going to get all Duggar on us?’ And suddenly people are getting kind of weird.

When I’m at the store (okay fine. It’s Target. It’s always Target, there is never any other store.) When I am at Target, with Three Wildlings sitting, standing, hanging off of the cart, I catch the sideways glances.

“A little boy?” I am trapped in the (Yes. Target) elevator with the Three Wildlings and one other mother. Other mother has a super cute dress on, and shoes that have heels. She is wearing makeup and a necklace. Her silent, clean, matching daughter was obviously put on this Earth to remind me of my failures as a parent.

Marilyn has chosen to wear a Steeler’s jersey and green shorts, panda socks that pull up over her knees and purple sparkle flats. She has refused my requests, and later my pleading to brush her hair. Sam is wearing a tie dye shirt and a madras bathing suit. Judah has a dirty diaper. I have a hang-over, but it’s from lack of sleep, not hard partying.

“Yep. A little boy!” I answer too cheerfully, trying to make up for the obvious. “His name is Judah.” She smiles at us, and then looks at her daughter. I can hear her silently thanking God that she is not me. “Sophia here has an older brother.” (I’ m lying, I don’t have a clue what her daughters name was. I don’t always remember to brush my teeth I don’t have the brain space to remember some random kids name). “My husband wanted more, but really, one girl and one boy, that’s perfect.” She smiles at me again, she has perfect teeth. I hate her.

I look at Judah. My lovely misfit who shouldn’t be here according to this woman because I already had a boy and a girl.

He farts loudly.

She pretends not to notice. (Of course she does!) Marilyn looks up at Judah and shrieks. “Judah! You farted!” then erupts into unladylike peals of laughter complete with a few snorts. As the elevator opens I smile viciously. “I just had him for the entertainment factor”

And then we are out amongst the wolves. If you’ve ever shopped with children before, you know it is impossible. I don’t know why we even bother trying. With three, it is particularly unfair. There are more of them, putting shit I don’t want into the cart than there are me’s to take it back out.

“You look like you’ve got your hands full!” This is the gem one woman dropped at my feet while slowly (painstakingly so) unloading her (over the top full) cart onto the conveyor belt while I stood behind her. In my cart was; four jars of baby food and one package of diapers. I had abandoned the rest of the shopping list after Marilyn and Sam cleared the My Little Pony aisle in one large sweep and dumped the entire contents into my cart.

Scene: Judah has decided he no longer wants to sit in his very comfortable cart-cover so I am now holding him in one arm, and pushing the cart with one hand. Meanwhile, I am also fending off a well meaning Sam. “No. I don’t need you to push the cart Sam. Last time you pushed the cart you hit every ankle in a five mile radius”

Marilyn pipes up with “What’s a radius mom?” and Sam kindly informs her that a radius is ‘her butt’. (I raise lovely children). I look longingly at the Starbucks kiosk. It’s just over there, but it’s past the checkout counters, so it might as well be on Mars. Marilyn is on the floor looking at the bullshit they put in the checkout lines. Barbie’s Key chains, smackers lip gloss, baby wipes, candy, some doll she’s never heard of that she is absolutely now going to die without.

I am watching the woman in front of me unload. The offender. “Yeah. I sure do. And we’d like to get home.” I tell her, staring at the back of her head. If she would just look at me, I know I could get her to let us cut in line.

“I wouldn’t have the patience to bring three to the store with me! I don’t know how you do it, not enough hands and all.” she says.

Let me tell you something, in case you don’t know. Parents are very aware of how many hands they have and how full they are. So unless you want to offer to hold a screaming child, pay for my items, explain to my now fake-dying four year old why she actually does not need that nameless-doll, or I don’t know… let me and my five items go before your 4500 items do not refer to my full-handedness.

The Offender took Twelve minutes to check out. Do you know how long that actually is? It’s about the time it takes for your four and seven year olds to concoct a plan to ruin the rest of your day, and then to go through with it, twelve different times.

The faces of the week

At one point during this week all the Wildlings were:

and

and

and as such it made me feel:

But at some point, as it normally does, it went wrong.

And everyone got all:


(She has a fever! At an amusement park! What kind of bullshit is this?)

and also:


(That’s the faces of misery, in case you were unaware)

And while I don’t have a photo of Wildling #3 being miserable, trust me, he was. Wildling #3 thinks the camera is his personal photog, he has the mindset of a Kardashian (which is, look pretty when it flashes, always smile, think of nothing but boobs)

Which lead me to feel more like this:

and eventually this:


This is the photo where I beg for it to be Friday at 5pm, and then remember I am a PARENT and no such thing exists anymore!

Things that happened this week for which I give credit to the above post:

  • Wildling #2 spiked a ridiculous fever at an amusement park
  • She had strep throat
  • Wildling #1 had swimmers ear and complained for four straight days (without taking a breath) that he was mad at his ears (and me, I guess) because he couldn’t dunk under the water at camp.
  • Wildling #3 played ‘tricked ya’ with night time sleep.
  • I started week #2 of Jenny Craig. (I haven’t killed anyone yet, so that’s a positive, right?)

If you want something deeper than this: you might look here:

Another puddle.

Yes. That’s a puddle of water.

But tomorrow is Fuck It Friday! And I’m going to buy myself a gift to really drive home how much I am over this week. Stay tuned. (Don’t you want to know what I’m buying myself?)

My daughters questionable art

Marilyn loves crafts. She loves art.

I used to have a coat closet on the main floor of my home. Now Marilyn has an art closet. I used to have a love seat in the basement, now Marilyn has a desk complete with a built-in pencil sharpener and a drawer stuffed with supplies.

I used to go to Michael’s/AC Moore/JoAnn Fabrics and peruse the store just brimming with creativty. Now I go to the store and come out with this:

So no. That’s not my picture, my house or my stuff. It’s actually borrowed from (www.simplify101.com) but you get the point, right?

It’s a lot of stuff. I gave her my damn coat closet! She happens to be pretty talented, for four. She can color in the lines, she’s very creative, look!

Here she is sporting a Rainbow Headband, tied together on each side by Rainbow Clouds.
She is also showing off a beaded necklace (beaded on a pipecleaner no less, trendy and resourceful) as well as two rainbow loomed bracelets.

Here she is carefully stenciling.

Here she is show casing a gorgeous suitcase she painted for Joe’s birthday this past month.

My point is, the girl knows her art supplies and her way around them. So why, why, why did she bring this home from camp?

I mean correct me if I’m wrong but that is a name tag in the shape of a penis right? Which if you’ve read anything about Marilyn, you know for a while, was one of her absolute favorite words and she could name you lots of other words to call it too. (Weiner, Peen, Pee Pee, Private part, willie, ween, so on and so forth) She is just charming right?

*Ed note: She claims that it was supposed to be a dog bone but she got scissor-happy and cut off one of the ends. I am not sure that I’m buying it.

Fuck it Friday – August 2

Hi internet creeps! Guess what? It’s Friday again!

We’ve had a fun week around here, talking about how kids keep friends (http://wordsfortrade.com/2013/07/28/a-childs-guide-to-friend-keeping/), asking whether or not Grandpa is dead (http://wordsfortrade.com/2013/07/31/is-grandpa-dead/) and compiling a titillating list of things that annoy my kids (http://wordsfortrade.com/2013/08/01/things-that-annoy-my-kids-a-list-for-your-pleasure/).

But enough of that right? Because it’s Friday. And that means it’s time to throw our hands in the air, wave them like we just don’t care and say Fuck It.

Deadline at work? Fuck it.
Kids want dinner? Fuck it.
You weren’t allowed five minutes of peace yesterday (so no shower) and therefore you are starting to smell a tad bit ripe? That’s right, Fuh-uck-iiiiiit. (That’s what perfume was invented for!)

Today’s Friday Fuck it is brought to you by the following things.

These fish tank lightbulbs I bought at Petco two days ago. Neither of them work.

This laundry. And the thirty five loads not pictured. (This is so much bullshit.)

This pillow. Which was white prior to me putting it in the dryer. Because the dryer tried to set it on fire. (Please don’t tell my husband, he’ll revoke my laundress title the way he doesn’t allow me to cook…. on second though… someone link him to this blog. I’ll be eating bon bons.)

And this garbage and recycling that both my husband and my eldest son promised they would do (yesterday).

Lessons Learned?
Petco Sucks, Endless laundry is probably a view of what hell looks like and men and boys alike are liars.

Don’t forget to comment with your special Fuck It Friday addition!

Things that annoy my kids, a list for your pleasure.

I’ve done a fair share of writing about 2/3 of my Wildling clan. By now you probably know that Sam is seven, he is empathetic and always comes home dirty, and that Marilyn is four. She has curly blond hair and is a cold hearted killer. She also knows way too many names for genitals.

We added our third Wildling to the tribe in December. His name is Judah. I don’t write about him as much because he doesn’t talk and therefore, I can’t tell you about him sing-songing penispenispenis over and over again in our local Target or how, like Sam, he wants to know why people with brown skin are referred to as black.

But Judah is still a main character in this circus so I wanted you to meet him.

So there you go. That’s Judah.

He was pretty boring for the first few months, assimilating to his life outside of the womb and what-not. But I think he’s getting the idea that in order to survive in this house, you have to be loud, proud and part of the crowd. (Okay, you can stand apart from the crowd, but honestly, what the fuck else rhymes with proud and loud?)

Because there were no amazing conversations this morning about skin color, dead relatives or impromptu dance parties I figured I’d give you instead, a list of things that piss my children off. You’re welcome.

  • Sam can’t find the socks that he brought downstairs
  • Sam finds the socks but only after getting new socks.
  • Marilyn is out of chocolate cheerios in the box and must eat chocolate cheerios previously put in The Cereal Container.
  • Marilyn wants to watch My Little Pony, but out of the 97 episodes, I put on the one she hates.
  • Marilyn wants to watch My Little Pony and I put on a good episode, but today she’s decided she loves the one she previously hated.
  • Mac-N-Cheese is for dinner.
  • Mac-N-Cheese is not for dinner.
  • It’s bath time.
  • Bath time takes too long.
  • I did not give them enough playtime during bath time.
  • Judah wants a bottle.
  • Judah wants a nap.
  • I put Judah down for a nap and now he is all “it’s play time motherfucker!”
  • It’s raining. They have to wear raincoats.
  • It’s raining. I forgot their raincoats and they need them or they will melt.
  • I give them water. They want milk.
  • It’s raining and they want to play outside.
  • It’s raining and I tell them they can play outside and they retort “Don’t you love us?”
  • The garbage men don’t show up on time
  • The mail man doesn’t want Sam to help him deliver mail
  • The firemen don’t want Sam to help him put out fires
  • The policemen don’t want Sam to help them capture bad guys.
  • The president doesn’t return Sam’s letter.
  • There are commercials on the television.
  • I ask them to put their dirty clothes down the laundry chute
  • Marilyn wants to play ponies and Sam wants to play x-box.
  • Sam wants to play with Marilyn and Marilyn wants to sit catatonic in front of the tv.
  • I ask them to stay in bed past 535am
  • I ask them to wear shoes outside
  • Judah pooped.
  • Judah wants his toy and it’s out of reach.
  • Judah has his toy within reach but now it’s annoying him.
  • I ask them to not flush toys down the toilet.
  • The toilet is stopped up (I wonder why)
  • They want to go to the playground. (In a lightning storm)
  • I am their mom.

I would write a list of things that make them happy, but unfortunately I just put Judah up for a nap, which means he’s now up and emphatically shouting into his monitor that it’s playtime.

Is Grandpa Dead?

“Is Grandpa Dead?”

This is what I hear while I am in the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher. Two of the three Wildlings are huddled in the living room conspiring. I tiptoe around the corner of the kitchen to eavesdrop.

“I don’t know.” I hear Sam telling Marilyn. She is looking at him, searching his eyes. He bends over to pick up a My Little Pony and gives it to her. “Brush her hair next.” he says.

“But is he dead?” she asks again. Sam spots me. My cover is blown. He gives me his typical I-will-fold-under-questioning-please-don’t-question-me smile and says

“Hi, mama. We are playing with the ponies.” (He isn’t lying, he is omitting truth. Well played, sir.)

“Is Grandpa dead?” Marilyn says with the same tone she inquires about Mac and cheese. She will stand toe to toe with me, ‘Is it Kraft?’ she will ask with one golden eyebrow raised in scrutiny. ‘I wont eat it if it’s not Kraft.’

Pause Scene

After years of abuse which ended in an epic explosion of family feuds (details withheld to protect my mom, who will undoubtedly pick this blog post to read even though she has never read another) my parents divorced.

My father left one late summer night, never having said good-bye, and didn’t return for a year. (And that was for a visit, and then he vanished again, but that’s another blog post.) Even though I tried to keep some semblance of a relationship with him. Hoping at some point he would turn into a human worth salvaging, but by then I already hated him.

Highlights of why I severed my relationship with my father:

  • He missed nearly every birthday party, concert, event of my life. choosing not to participate in any graduation, father daughter dance or even keep a consistent address so I could send fathers day cards.
  • He failed to think child support was necessary and as of this day stands tens of thousands in the red.
  • He once told me on the phone, amidst what I would now identify as a psychotic break, that he had killed the kitten he had purchased for me. (I never met the cat, or substantiated the truth of the story)
  • When I was mauled by a German Shepard at eleven years old, I spent a week in the hospital, received 400+ stitches in my leg, and spent a month in a wheelchair. He didn’t visit because it was ‘too painful’ for him.
  • He wrote me a letter at 13 telling me he wished he had drowned when he was a child visiting the ocean.
  • The same letter told me I was excrement. (No I mean it, that was his word choice).
  • By age 15, in the deepest trenches of teenage angst and self preservation masked as self pity, I severed ties. When I told him I couldn’t do this anymore he said ‘If you push me, I will disappear’ and guess what? He did. I guess parenthood was more than he could handle. Lucky for him, he has five other kids to try to get it right with!

But back to the story at hand. My children have never asked about my father, until now. They have three other living grandparents and two great grandparents. My husbands parents are Amma and Zayde, my mother is MomMom, and they have never lacked for interaction with any of them.

Re-Start Scene

I stare evenly at Sam, and then at Marilyn. Sam has his head tilted to the side. “She’s kidding” he tells me. Sam is one of the most empathetic human beings I have ever encountered. He picks up on what people are feeling nearly before they themselves know. Right now I am feeling like this is a cruel joke, where is my husband when these questions happen? Sam takes a step towards Marilyn and forcefully pushes another pony into a hand which already houses one. “Brush this ones hair, Nan-Nan” he says.

I feel back on familiar ground. Normally when they are conspiring it is about one of these issues:

  • Who they are going to blame the latest fart on
  • Who is in charge of the situation (that’s the one I was witnessing currently)
  • Who is going to get to tattle on the other person first
  • How they are going to beg for a popsicle/candy item
  • How they are going to beg to go outside.
  • How they are going to get out of bath time.

It’s never, are we or aren’t we going to ask about Dead Grandpa?

“Who is grandpa?” I ask carefully.

“Your dad” Marilyn says icily. She is the cold hearted assassin in this household. She will ask any question, make any statement, to anyone, at anytime. Remind me some time to tell you how she announced to an entire Target ‘My mommy has a bagina and my daddy has a PEEEEEENNNNNNIIIIISSSSSS.’ and the lack of hilarity that ensued.

“I see. Well. To answer your question… kind of.” I am stuttering, pausing for breath. Being a parent is hard. While all you expecting idiots go to breathing classes and tour your hospital (which you’ll never even see, outside of your room), take a minute and think about this. You need to be taking classes on how to clamp your hand over your daughters mouth while she sing-songs all the names for genitals while also holding the baby and pushing the cart and retaining some sense of dignity. You need to take a class on how to answer Earth shattering questions. You need to take a class on how to gracefully exit shit-on and vomit covered clothing without getting any (more) on your face, in a public restroom, while balancing a toddler on your knee. This is the baptism by fire kind of experience that parents don’t tell non-parents about for fear of decimating the future population.

“Kind of dead?” Marilyn presses me. “Like the kind of dead Fathead and Dada Cat are?” Now Sam is interested, and he asks about two cats that have gone over ‘The Rainbow Bridge’.

“Well.” I am suddenly very tired. I would like nothing better than a nap. I don’t know how to tell them that no, he’s not dead, he just chose not to want children after he had them. He’s not dead, but he’s mentally ill on a severe level, combining a serious mean streak with mental illness and adding alcoholism into the mix. No, he’s not dead, but he’s a bonafide asshole with a capital A-S-S-H-O-L-E.

‘It’s not exactly lying.’ I tell myself. ‘He could very well be dead, after all.’

I don’t know how to explain that sometimes families break up, and the parents who were supposed to guide your life, secure you to the Earth, be your tethers to morality suddenly decide to just Not. I don’t know how to explain that kind of a thing without inflicting sudden terror on my children. I can imagine them clinging to Joe’s pant legs when he wants to go to the post office. “Nooooo…” they will sob “You might decide to never come back!” or the nights lined up in a never ending domino set-up before me. One or both of them will be in our bed. “Just checking that you are still here.” they will whisper like little prison guards before going back to sleep, a vice-like grip secured to an extremity.

“Yes.” I tell them. “Unfortunately, Grandpa is dead.”

“Okay” they say in unison, and then,  “I already brushed Apple Jack’s hair.” Sam bends down, searching amongst the ponies.

“I think you brushed all of them.”
“Okay.” Marilyn tells him. “We can play now.”

And that’s it. They are over it. There is no monumental shift in the dynamic of our life. They aren’t devastated, I didn’t ruin them. They don’t even seem to register that I am in the same room any longer.

So you’re asking yourself, ‘What’s the point of this? Is there a moral?’ and there is. The moral of this story is Don’t be an asshole or my kids will think you’re dead.

You’re welcome.