November 3, 2015

Yeah ya right, brah!

(Note: I wrote this last year and didn't publish it because I thought it was dumb.)

Every year I promise myself that I’m going to write a Christmas letter to myself, so that when I unpack the boxes the following year, I’ll be greeted with this lovely wave of nostalgia - a yardstick of sorts to assess our growth. I never do it. But somehow you muthas have convinced me to stop hoarding all the words, so voila.  My Christmas letter to myself is now my Christmas letter to you, as promised.

I can’t even describe how hard this is now—publishing the words.  I'm not sure when I became so vulnerable. I think it's something that just happened when I started morphing into a real human again. The grief was like a protective armor, and I'm nothing if not resourceful. I wore the armor out of necessity, but was almost giddy at the invisible shield it provided. I was never good at stopping the words from coming out anyway, and then you lovely humans took sight of my shield and bestowed me with this platform. It's no wonder the Diary became a beautiful collaboration.

My darling boys are now 13, 8 and 5.  My face hurts when I type that, because my smile is so wide. God I could not love them an inch more. They just burst my heart wide open.  I'm doing it, madpeople. I'm succeeding. Even when I'm not. 

My big darling teenager boy is such a source of pride for me right now.  In every aspect, he is just blooming and blossoming. His little boy-ness is completely gone, and I pray that I was able to extract every drop of it before it disappeared. With age I see him honing his wit. His subtle humor keeps me gliding most days. I always thought him to be so much like Dave.  With Dave out of the picture, I see myself in him more and more. He is resourceful in the way that he uses his humor and shakes off the bullshit. I'm teaching. He's learning. Right now I think we're getting an "A-" in life. To that I say, “Fuck math.”

The middle darling and mini-me is now 8.  The child has zero filter and feels all the feelings.  He is fire. I didn't learn how to channel those feelings as a child, and my early adulthood was so tumultuous because of it. I would never take any of that back though, because those years provided the basis for nearly all of the hysterically insane stories I now tell about myself. I still feel compelled to teach him to lasso the emotions. I'm pretty sure I will have zero success because, like me, he already knows everything. It's a trip to look into a kid's eyes and see your very own. He's so gregarious; everyone loves his personality. He tricks people into thinking he's always smiling. I don't even mind that he saves the explosions for me. He whistles like an old man, always reminding me of my dad. I can't help but smile.

The littlest darling who was not even two yet when Dave died, is now 5.  His chubby cheeks are finished, the dimples on the backs of his hands are gone, and with him I feel it all slipped away....and I know I didn't extract every drop. This causes my heart to feel injured. The lump in my throat starts to hurt. There’s no turning back. He's got no memory of Dave, so he makes up his own. Out of desperation, I allow it. Oddly it seems to affect him more, because he doesn't have the memories to cling to like the other boys. When I finally started to date again, I realized that his little heart was so desperate.  The first time my boyfriend entered my kitchen, little darling announced that we should go put flowers on daddy's grave. A few days later my boyfriend fixed my dishwasher. To my bewilderment, he did this with little darling perched on his shoulders. When he left, baby darling kissed him and told him he loved him. I held my breath. It was quite overwhelming and surprising, although I acted like I hardly noticed. The boyfriend took it in stride. I was worried it would be too much. I texted him later and said, "I know this is alot, all this baggage, all these kids." His response? "We all have baggage, J. You don't get to be this age without it, do you? I wouldn't care if you had 20 kids."

I shan’t say more about the BF, except that he calls me his ‘enchantress’ and he speaks French, softly in my ear. Is there really even anything else to know? Perhaps one day I will tell him about the diary. Then I will immediately regret it. My male friends assure me the diary would captivate any man. I say I shall be judged in the here and now. His natural affinity for words and language is so like my own, so I can only assume he would understand the creative thrill. We share the same sarcastic humor as well. But I believe it is ill advised to hand over the sarcastic musings of your alter ego on the first date. Or the hundredth date. Or ever. I know in my heart that my happy ending exists.  Never have I even considered that it’s not a possibility.  I exist.  Therefore I know it does.

Oh for fucks sake though, have I convinced you that we moved to this enchanted grassy knoll where little dwarves do our laundry?  I shall just throw in a scene from last week, so that you'll be assured that in my absence from you we did not turn into some people you would pin under the “muthafuckas to be like” category. (Listen, if you are new to me and I just jolted you out of your chair…I curse to keep the pearl clutchers away. I get nervous when too many people read this.)

Big darling was conducting some business in the bathroom, with the door ajar about an inch. (I’ve learned to resist any reference to the term ‘shit magnet, by the way. The universe is LISTENING.) Little darling, who currently has a spitting 'issue', had just spit in middle darling's face.  Middle darling punched him in the back, and a chase ensued.  I happened upon them just outside the bathroom. The two littles were screaming about the spit and the back-punch, and the big one was displeased that the fracas was occurring too close to the bathroom door. By this time the door had been pushed ajar further. I hastily decided that this spit was the last straw, and the spitter would be taught a lesson. I grabbed the little darling's head between my hands, and carefully positioned it in front of middle darling's face. "Spit back at him!" I screamed. At once all eyes stared back at me, perfectly round and wide. Time stood still. I took note of the faces I could see. Big darling on the throne, in total shock but with the corners of his mouth beginning to curl into a smile. Middle darling, who at first thought he was in trouble. It took him more than a second or two to process that I was commanding him to spit back in the little guy's face. Then he too suppressed his smile as I watched him slowly gather the saliva in his mouth. The little guy sensed what was coming and started to buck, but I was holding him firmly. And then, BAM. Mostly on my hands, but his face was still splattered. 

I still mostly have no clue what I'm doing. But my heart is pure and I'm parenting these boys the best way I can. It's still a happy house. They break something every day, it seems. They're messy. They exhaust me. But they've grown to know and appreciate my limits. They know when to scatter and when to hug and when to plant tender kisses on my tear stained cheeks cause I've just had enough.

I’m 46 years old and I do feel like I finally know the secret. The secret is that the world is your genie. It’s all yours for the taking. Visualize it, open your heart to it, declare it and then receive it. Too often my life is a blur and I can’t focus on anything. But it’s a big mistake. I know I need to slow my roll, and so do you. There’s no better investment in our time.

Our Christmas tree topper. We don’t have a star on top. I can’t find one I like. This annoys big darling, the funny yet subtle one. Yes, it’s a sock.


  1. Still love you. And, like you, I am finally surviving this shit. So glad to see a post from you. Missing my mutha! xoxo

    1. Good to hear from you too! And glad to hear you are surviving! I knew you would! Xoxo. I swear I did miss you all!

  2. what a great surprise to see a post from you. I hope you will continue, your words have changed and I sense the anger has subsided.

  3. So good to read your writing again. Wishing you all the best from Austin!

  4. Here is your star

    Love from the Netherlands, Europe

  5. Love the "Letter", Love the sock, and I love you......glad to hear from the Mad Woman again, its been awhile-but I know you been a busy Lady and Mamma and such! Your "happy ending" reminded me of what the Linda Goodman book says- Destiny is what is possible for all of us! Fate is the obstacles and challenges that are placed in our pathway which must be overcome thru effort and understanding! Quote: "He who slays dragons must first know their habits. To overcome your fate, you must first know your fate" Peace Luv Rae D. your Sista in Ky

  6. What a fantastic post. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. This is awesome. Thank you for being such an ass-kicking inspiration to those of us who have survived trauma. And thank you even more for being a tremendously talented author, a fucking hilarious chick and for sharing it with us when you're moved to. CA-->NY bicoastal comin atcha

  8. When this popped up on my email, I really thought someone hacked your blog! Oh, so happy to see a post from you again Mad Woman ;)

  9. I miss your writing. Hope you are doing well and know that you've inspired.