Revelations

I’ve been spending some time with my dad while Judy and Bubba visited her parents in Florida.  This has probably been the longest stretch of time I have spent with my dad – alone – in years.  I told him that if he wanted to make plans with friends my feelings wouldn’t be hurt; plus, I like their friends.  As he pointed out, though, his friends all have kids which is great fun, but also means dealing with, well, Kid Stuff.  Naps, meltdowns, Dora, whatever.  He was excited to spend some time with his “favorite daughter” – the child who DOESN’T pee on the bathroom floor.  What can I say?  I’m a big deal.

Anyway, my relationship with my dad can be trying at times.  In so many ways I am absolutely his daughter and yet not five minutes after we’ve had a good laugh together I will be ready to walk out the door and never come back.  I have probably financed a lovely summer home or yacht for a very lucky therapist.

We’ve been having a lot of fun, thank goodness, and not because I have stuck to the Customary Safe Topics: Bubba, Baseball, Sports, Betty White and/or Jessica Simpson*.  In fact, we have discussed politics, religion, my wedding, family dynamics and other Things We Usually Avoid Unless There is a Specific Situation Which Needs Addressing.  Lame, probably, but it keeps the peace and saves my energy for more important things.  Like… lusting over some Star Wars cookie cutters. 

This time with my dad has been a great bonding experience and in a lot of ways has shown what a long way we have come in terms of being able to relate.  Or at least express differing opinions in a respectful manner (a skill neither of us has quite perfected, especially with each other).  It’s also nice to be able to look at him and say, “Yeah, I am very much my mother’s daughter but I got more from this guy than pasty skin and a disdain for the DH.”

But it has also brought into sharp focus the very different natures of the two people responsible for my presence, my DNA, my long toes** and curly hair.  And also how for my mom, being married to my dad – even though it was a relatively short time in her life – played a huge role in who she is now.

My mom is known for her perfectionist, control-freak (for lack of a better term) ways.  She is responsible to the point of stressing out on behalf of other people.  She takes on everything she can – regardless of whether it is “her job” – and will push herself to the point of exhaustion.

My dad is also at times a control-freak perfectionist, but as I often put it, “Over shit that doesn’t matter.”  He cares about how his clothes are hung up, but often has a “It’s not my problem” attitude toward certain situations.  Some minor, some not.  I know that a good deal of my mom’s attitudes and hyper-awareness of her responsibilities are a direct reaction/compensation for my dad’s nonchalance. 

So here I sit, seeing parts of myself in each of my parents and trying to be a product of the best in each of them.  I want to be reliable like my mom, but also be able to let go like my dad.  A strong partner (and hopefully parent, one day), but also not take everything so damn seriously.  Not an unusual balancing act, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.

* Don’t ask.  Seriously.  It will just give you a headache.

** They are like fingers on my feet.  For reals.

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In My Defense, There Were a Lot of Shiny Things to Distract Me

While I didn’t suffer from my customary movie theater-induced narcolepsy, I did find my mind wandering a bit during Iron Man 2.*

For your enjoyment, a glimpse into the inner workings of my brain:

  • DAMN, Robert Downey Jr. is smoking hot.  Normally not into the coke heads but in this case we’ll make an exception.
  • Really, kid?  Five minutes into the movie and your mom is dragging you to the bathroom?  Hey!  Don’t STOP in front of me – keep walking, Dumbass!
  • Oh for the love…ANOTHER kid being escorted out?  As the first one comes back?  Great, please stop in the aisle in front of me and block my view.  Awesome.
  • Well, helloooo, Sam Rockwell!  This movie is just stacked with hotties, now isn’t it?
  • Wait, are his palms orange?  It’s pretty obvious he’s been doing the fake tanning thing, but no one told him to WASH HIS HANDS?
  • Oh.  Maybe that’s intentional, like his character is unaware – SHIT, Christen, WATCH THE MOVIE.
  • Christ on toast, if another kid gets up and walks in front of me I am going to trip someone.  I don’t fucking care.  Also, who the hell brought, like, an entire kindergarten class to this movie?  Holy Inappropriate, Batman.
  • Why is Pepper such a shrill harpy in this one?  I’m not her biggest fan to begin with but at least she was a little more feisty in the first one.  I kinda hope Mickey Rourke fries her ass if she doesn’t sack up fast.
  • Holy crap, I want this mix of “Another One Bites the Dust” and “It Takes Two” played at my wedding.  Like, as I’m walking down the aisle.  That wouldn’t make my mom cry, right?
  • Yes, Lady Behind Me, Tony Stark’s blood toxicity level IS alarming.  It’s also a movie and he’s the protagonist.  I wouldn’t get too worked up; I have a feeling he’s going to be OK.
  • Serious, if these fucking kids don’t sit their asses down I am going to call in an usher.  And then hate myself a little bit.
  • Oh Robert Downey Jr, please keep making these movies.  The soundtrack alone is awesome.

 

*In the great “What movie should we see?” debate, Iron Man 2 won out over Date Night (which I offered to see again in order for my dad to experience its glory), MacGruber and yes, Letters to Juliet.  He admitted it was pretty awesome and I have to agree, even though I probably missed half of it due to a mini rage stroke over all those kids just walking all over the place and going to the bathroom eleventeenthousand times.

I Don’t Know Where I Went Wrong with Him

Me: “Do you maybe want to see a movie?”

Dad: “Sure.  What movie?”

Me: “I’m dying to see Iron Man 2.  Interested?”

Dad: “What about that other movie…it looks like The Notebook?”

Me: “Do you mean Letters to Juliet?”

Dad: “Yeah, that one!”

Me: “Don’t talk to me.  Seriously.  I can’t deal with you right now.”

Dad: “I’m KIDDING. …  So, is it like The Notebook?”

Me: “The fact that you know anything about The Notebook makes me want to put myself up for adoption.”

Because We All Know I Will Need a Stiff Cocktail That Day

The Tipsy Society is seriously after my own heart with this one: http://tipsysociety.com/2010/05/hump-day-happy-hour-meets-the-tipsy-wedding-project/

When talking to florists I’m all, “What flowers do I envision?  Um.  You know…something…pretty?  I guess?  That has, like, stems or something?  I like pink!  And orange!  And doesn’t cost more than my first car?”  But when it comes to the drinks I have all these concerns and requirements and opinions. 

To sum up: CKD is a Bad Bride and Known Lush.  There.  I said it.

When the Adults Are Worse Than The Toddlers…

I read an interesting editorial-ish type of article recently.  The last three paragraphs resonated with me so much that found my neck hurt from all the nodding I was doing.  I don’t always 100% relate to or agree with everything written in Jezebel, but this one hit sort of close to home.  Here are the parts that really got to me.

All of us, child-free or child-having, has been subjected to a poorly-parented kid. That would be the one screaming in the middle of the nice restaurant who isn’t being removed, because mom or dad wants to eat their meal hot and has learned to ignore the wailing. That might also be the kid who, after eating all the sugar packets at the table (because it’s easier to let him than to tell him not to) goes careening around the restaurant babbling and bumping into things and other diners. Or it’s the kid who delights in throwing everything up, down and around: food, silverware, sugar packets, torn-up napkin bits, toys and anything else with which mom or dad supplies him to keep him from screaming while they eat even though the mess is disruptive and thoughtless. Mom and/or Dad, in those cases, is enabling the bad behavior, if not causing it, by their desire to live as close to a child-free life as possible by ignoring the screaming, or the mess, or the child, to the detriment of anyone else that hasn’t learned to tune out that child.

At the end of the day, the real issue is the parents, not the kid. I don’t hate kids, and I’m more than happy to interact with them in kid-appropriate spaces: parks, family-friendly restaurants, diners, museums, amusement parks and even movie theatres if I happen to subject myself to a showing of a child-friendly movie at a reasonable hour. But if you’ve brought your kids into a bar at night where I am drinking (and where you used to drink when you were child-free), no, I’m not going to watch my language in front of your kid. If your kid is kicking my seat after the second hour of Grindhouse, yeah, I am going to turn around and ask him to stop and you to make him (and I’m going to think you’re a terrible parent for bringing him). If your kid tries to climb up my leg while covered in ketchup while you snarf back wine and tell your friends how adorable he is, I am going to have something to say about that. And if the patron of my local liquor store, say, asks you to leave your 4-foot-wide stroller outside so that other people can get in and out and they can conduct their business, I’m not going to feel sympathy for your potentially stolen stroller that costs more than my car. You had the child, your bought the status-symbol stroller and you’re the one now asking the world to change to accommodate you rather than you changing to accommodate the needs of your child and the rest of the world. Life’s not fair, man, and kids change it. You might want to do everything you used to do before kids, but that ain’t how it works.

On the other hand, if you’re a single lady struggling to get a small stroller up or down the subway stairs, I’ll totally help. Hell, I’ll even hold your (very polite) child by the hand and help her down the stairs while you carry that stroller if you ask me nicely. I don’t mind if he wants to stare out the subway car windows by standing on the seats or points at my hair and wants to know if he can touch. I like that you brought her to a museum, and her laughing at this Disney cartoon makes it more fun for me to watch. Running around the park is awesome. I could care less about your mommy happy hours, or the early bird kids specials at the restaurant or even tripping over a stroller that you valiantly folded and tried to get out of the way. But at 8:30, I don’t want to see you giving me a nasty look for laughing too loud at a dirty joke told over a $50 steak and a $15 cocktail, and your kid better not be seasoning the carpet with your au jus. I chose my path, you chose yours. You act like a parent, then we’ll both act like grown-ups, and everyone will be better off. It seems like a fair compromise — and one that, by becoming a parent, you kind of already signed up for.

Basically, if you chose to breed, you implicitly chose to parent.  But there are definitely childfree people out there who get uppity at the sound of a baby crying who need to learn to share.  (Not that I totally did that last week or anything and sort of still feel like a jerk for staring at the mom and kind of giving her a “Can you DO something about that loud-ass kid already?” look.  In my defense, I wasn’t feeling well and was cranky.  Also, am an asshole from time to time.)  Kids learn from multiple examples and if EVERY adult around them is acting like a great big baby, where are these kids supposed to magically pick up how to be respectful people?  From the dad who ignores the kid trashing Starbucks?  Or the cranky lady who yells at him to do something?

I don’t really know where I am going with all of this, other than I know I am One of Those Horrible People Who Has Dared Not to Breed and Therefore Has No Heart or Compassion but dude.  I’m trying.  Really.  All I ask is that your kid doesn’t dump his sippy cup on me.  Deal?

Holy Mother of…

Lately I’ve had this theory that my parents are fucking with me to get back at me for…well, being ME as a kid.  And a teenager.  And probably for the time I was a shit last week.  My most recent evidence of this came up not even 24 hours ago.

Last night I called my mom to let her know our wedding invitations had arrived (!) and asked if she wanted to come by and look at them.  We made small talk, she mentioned that Dave had made a yummy dinner if we wanted to stop by and then… 

She answered, “No, not tonight.  We’re on our way to the emergency room.”

Me: “WHY are you going to the hospital?  Are you guys OK?”  Thinking that surely it must be to visit a friend since she said “We’re on our way to the emergency room” in the same tone as “I’m on my way to a pedicure.”  Basically, no big whoop.

Her: “I think I have a blood clot in my leg, so I need to get that figured out.”

Me: *Almost faints from hearing the words “blood clot”*

I offered to meet her there but she declined nicely, saying that the exam rooms are small so they’d likely make me sit in the waiting room with “A bunch of gross sick people and I don’t want you to catch something.”   Ed and I stayed home and I tried to remain calm and take my cues from my mother’s “Let’s not panic until we have something to panic about” attitude while Ed was basically being Dave what with all of his declarations that “This is NOT good, you know.  Like, this is serious stuff.”  Thanks honey!  Be a dear and pass the Valium?

Long story short she did NOT have a blood clot in her leg and is at home with her leg elevated.  We have big plans to hang out and I will do my best to keep my voice from getting too shrill when talking about how if she thinks she has a blood clot she shouldn’t work a full day then drive home from her office – which is an hour and a half away from home – and THEN casually trot off to the ER like “Hey man, whatever.” 

At least she had the good sense to be relatively OK, but holy hell, now I need to go to the hospital to deal with my alternating hyperventilating and feeling like my heart was going to stop beating.

Well played, Mom.  Well played.

Get Crackin!

I’ve been “scolded” for my lack of posting by a couple of friends, one of whom has just gotten back into the blogging game.  And while I don’t think of myself as someone who is easily peer-pressured into shit, I know I need to keep up the writing.  Why?  Because the longer I go between posts the less motivated I am and more insecure I get about writing.  That’s not good.

So, I’m back and plan to “Get crackin!” as my fellow writer put it.  The thoughts are there and I just need to slow down, put them into focus and hit publish.  Not that hard, really. 

It’s on, bitches.