Monday, April 28, 2008

letter to an old friend


a thousand apologies for not writing sooner. i don't know how to catch up anymore, i guess. twice i've sat down to write you, and frankly, didn't really know where to begin.

it's harder to mark time when there are not obvious milestones around anymore. i remember when bailey was first walking, pulling up to things... then when allie was first able to hold a crayon and make some kind of recognizable symbol. i remember bailey's first day of kindergarten. seems like yesterday and another life all at the same time.

Allie turned five last week:she'll start kindergarten in the fall. she's able to write her name, and speaks like your all-consuming american 13 yr old most days. she's got a quick wit and is her mom in spades, which as i know more than anyone, has it's good points --and BAD. :)

tony left on april 12 2003, so there's a kind of a time marker, i guess. i feel more over my divorce than i ever have, although if you would've asked me a year ago, i would have said the same thing. maybe one day i'll wake up and forget his face. then maybe one day forget his name. HA.. i'm guessing not...

bailey is 9 now, about to finish third grade: yep, that means she'll be in fourth grade next year. you know what that means. buckle the seatbelt, pull the bar down over your knees: here comes boys. and tampons and pimples...and, .. oh my g...boobs.
okay, maybe not all of them in fourth grade, but i do feel like i'm in that dip right before you start to clack, clack, clack up that huge hill on the texas cyclone. .. you just know there's a big drop on the other side of that hill. . that hill is my daughter the teenager. she's just sitting there,like a huge hill i'll be dropped off of...soon.

let's see...what else? i'm not sure how much i told you about the 57 yr old guy i fell hard for last year. honestly jennifer, i don't know that i've ever met a man before that i felt more instantly connected to and so accepted by. it was weird,and cool and so completely un-doable... he's back in singapore these days, and we never talk anymore, but it was just enough to make me really want someone in my life, and also bring to light that i am lonely. i try to look at it as an experience and one that really gave me hope someone is on my horizon--that will really understand me, but also like that possible? hmmmm....
work is... ugh.. it's just a job. i daydream about writing a quirky little novel or doing a snarky-attitude memoir about being a sexy single mom... (HA)... but in the meantime, i quote car insurance and eat food from paper plates at a desk.

all in all, old friend, i am very content and hopeful these days, all of my trademark cynism aside. i created one of those vision boards that oprah goes on about. haven't seen any of the stuff jump off that corkboard and into my life yet, but supposedly you just put the pictures on there and let the universe do the work, so i'm all in on that plan.

i wish we lived closer, so that once in a while when i get that wild rush to jump in the car, i could come visit you... course there are other friends who do live close enough... and i don't ever get that wild rush! are we too busy? or just too lazy? :) depends on the day for me.

with lots of love: past, present and future-

Thursday, April 03, 2008

now leaving Fun Country

i am from Fun Country. years of therapy and this is what i come away with: Fun Country.

i move and work out of a 'good times' space. if it feels good, do it. if it's gonna get me tipsy, drink it. if it's chocolate, eat it. if the card works, charge it. whatever the cost, whatever the means; what the fuck, let's have some fun.

you probably lived in Fun Country during college, where you enjoyed all-night drive thrus, resin-stained fingers, hangovers on Wednesday. a stereotypical college kid sucks the juice out of Fun Country and wipes his mouth on his shirt sleeve.

after 7 years of skipping class and getting by on bullshit, i got my degree. dad joyfully forced me off the bank account and left me to decide what i want to be when i grew up. nevertheless, my native tongue remained smooth on my lips. and by not deciding what i wanted to be, i decided not to grow up. pay it when the pink bill comes. tonight, get some cash and hit happy hour. up all night, sleep through the snooze alarm. late for work again. dig out clothes from the dryer and wash a fork from the sink. life was catch as catch-can, but dangit, i was having a good time.

my divorce knocked my feet out from under me. but moreover, it was a valid excuse to embrace reckless abandon of all things grown up--and no one would give me shit about it. even in my own mind, i excused my irresponsibility in the name of "you deserve it." i felt a calling to run away from my life, and i heeded the call.

after leaving the marriage debt-free with a nice savings account, a few years in Fun Country left me with overdue credit card bills that grew exponentially with every late payment. my kids weren't babies anymore and had by now figured out that mom went from work to the bar and might come home before they went to bed, but more likely the nanny would tuck them in. and wake them up. and cook for them. i behaved like a spoiled kid... course, i come by that honestly having been raised as a spoiled child by a couple of spoiled parents, but that's fodder for another day. therapy did give me a little more than just insight into my Fun Country citizenship.

i was a 40 year old teenager, with the body of a 52 year old woman. now that ain't fun. but i partied on dude, screw the consequences.

the problem with Fun Country is that it's hard, nary impossible, to move into grown-up land when you refuse to acknowledge anything in life that isn't a good time. and while all night drive thrus are a lot of fun, 2AM french fries and strawberry shakes at midnight don't sit on a 36 year stomach as well as a 25 year old one...and the scale begins to show what heartburn doesn't. more than bumpy thighs and afternoon alka-seltzer, living in Fun Country stunted my growth--in my mind, in my head and in my heart.

my therapist put words to it, but it took another 2 years of wandering for the words to become action. but eventually, this old kid got tired of laughing in the face of reality. instead of making a resolution in the haze of another wednesday morning hangover, i made changes one weekend at a time. starting with reconnecting with my kids. then myself. writing instead of talking. moving instead of sleeping. sleeping instead of drinking.

it's been about a month since i started packing boxes and making my move from Fun Country. i've had to pack away a few friendships, seal up the snooze alarm and close up the late night kitchen full of munchies. slowly, i'm getting some distance between me and my studio apartment in Fun Country. my bills are all current. my kids wait for me in the evenings, and aren't disappointed. cabinet clutter is clearing and my vision board is up and running.

i still see the exit signs for Fun Country in my rearview mirror (let alone the evidence of living there on my waistline), but i'm focused on the windshield, looking forward. and i see an organized little house in my path.

it's cliche: you can't drive a car with three wheels. you can't sit in a chair with a missing leg. you can't ride a unicycle with a pile of bricks on your head... can you? anyhoo... you can't be an effective adult if you're make choices like a child. you gotta have some balance.

for now, i'm not having much fun.

paying bills on time doesn't always leave enough cash for vodka with the boys after work. cleaning the house and keeping two kids organized is a pain in the ass. credit counseling? there is nothing fun about that. coming straight home, waking up early, getting to work and making sure the oil is changed all on time--it takes discipline. i miss Fun Country.

there was no discipline in Fun Country, maybe a bit of endurance, certainly a dash of gusto, but no discipline. But there was also no security, no sense of accomplishment, no self-acknowledgment. no balance. to keep the pendulum in the middle, i have to swing it way far to the right for a while, because it was so stuck on the left. the thrust will pull it back to the middle and maybe, just maybe, if all goes well, i'll have a balanced pendulum in a month or so.

the key to moving out of Fun Country was admitting that i needed to live a disciplined life if i wanted to feel balanced and centered... and grown up. i had to move out of my swingers pad and into a suburban home, fit for a successful single mom and two little darlings... and a nanny. i decided i was ready to leave Fun Country, but no sense in speeding out of there too fast.

i haven't left Fun Country forever. Summertime julie will get a condo for a week in Fun Country while the kids visit their dad in july. i'll swing by from time to time, around the holidays. Fun Country is a great place to visit, but i wouldn't want to live there.