It has been a minute since I have posted. I feel like the old me in the yellow dress, filled to the rim with Vueve Cliquot is a million miles away. Everything has changed. I guess if I am honest, I have never been much of a risk taker. Don’t spit your drink! Just hear me out. Yes, I have done some insane ish but never without a diabolical plan and having weighed all of the possible outcomes. I have always known the level and depths with which I may crash land and frankly, it has been overwhelmingly fun. In my twenties, I was certain of a few things. Success. Adventure. Abilities. The next big thing. My thirties, not so much. Marriage. Transition. Child one. Transition. Child Two. Transition. Suburbs. Transition. Child Three. You know the drill.
Somewhere, along the line it all got away from me. I relinquished control. The jury is still out on whether or not it is a good thing. To be honest, regularity in all of its forms scare the hell out of me. I never wanted to be regular. I will admit to the intense desire for normalcy and an Ozzie and Harriet existence dominated my youthful thoughts because it was a far cry from my upbringing but I always thought my adult life would be like “The Spectacular, Spectacular” instead I have manicured lawns, civic organizations and gasp* evil of all evils, a loving husband and more munchkins than can fit on my lap.
When I am honest, I have to admit that no amount of calculating prepared me for marriage or motherhood. Therefore I must hold my heart in hand, push down the lump in my throat and jump.
I found myself in Midtown today, sitting in the glam, uber-chic, celebrity endorsed dermatologists office. I have been “dating” this particular practice for the better part of twenty years and although today’s visit was supposed to be solely mom duty and toddler scar maintenance related, I found myself getting injected with a cortisone shot and lamenting the state of my skin, neck and general beauty woes. At the end of the visit, I found myself with a beefed up anti-aging regimen and a long term maintenance plan that includes fillers and lasers. I have to admit that I am excited at the prospect of turning back the clock on the ravages of aging and pregnancies but what is ironic is that I ran from medical interventions with a vengeance when it came to childbirth, preferring Bradley Method, doulas, and birthing sans drugs; but when it comes to vanity, shoot me up, laser me down, poke, prod, intervene and turn me into the bride of Frankenstein if you have too! I will admit that I am not going down without a fight. I guess this is how I interpret, “Motherhood Changes Everything.”
Today was a day that I needed a pep talk. Frankly, I felt isolated and unsettled. I am unsure if these feelings were a product of a snow day that disrupted my family’s routine or hormones but the end result was unwashed children allowed to gasp* lead an unstructured day, and copious amounts of internet absorption in between marathon baking sessions. At the end of the day, not withstanding therapeutic French toast, corn beef, popcorn, quiche, brownies and chardonnay, in my carb lover’s/comfort food induced haze, I figured out that all I needed was an unstructured day to appreciate my life choices that have led me to a place where I could choose to reflect and live unstructured, for at least a 24 hour period.
I woke up this morning and realized that I am a grown woman. Who knew? The architect of my own existence and in control of my life. This realization took me nearly twenty-years but I think I finally get it. Here is a short list of some of my grown-ass woman realizations:
I need morning coffee to be a nice person.
Ditto for exercise.
I am responsible for my household and everyone/thing in it.
My husband is responsible for me.
We choose this arrangement and it works for us.
I like liquor.
My body does not.
Moderation is key.
I like to party.
I like breakfast after the club at about 2:30 am.
My body does not.
Moderation is key.
I have a big heart.
Not everyone deserves it.
Choose your friends and family wisely.
I hate bills.
I like services.
Be grateful for the ability to have services and pay my bills.
I like children better when we are all active together.
Play more and adulthood, bills and all, is infinitely better.
Liquor, candles, toys and a sexy bedroom, make married sex infinitely better.
Everything has a place, when I respect this maxim life is infinitely better.
The only reason I am writing this post is because I am constantly asked, “How did you do it?” By conventional standards, I have a pretty nifty life. House, Devoted Husband, Cute little boy, Cute little girl, self-employed/stay-at-home, and a little “me” time to boot. The only thing missing from the picture is my adorable little over-priced, dog and everyone knows how that ended. Carpe Diem Maximus, Carpe Diem!
Although, like every good Christian Sista, I of course give the glory to God for all of my many blessing and accomplishments, I do see a trend in all of my similarly situated friends. I do see the divide between us and them. I am only speaking of the “Single and Waiting” not the “Purposefully Single”. For simplicity’s sake, I will call us, the married and happy ladies, RH an acronym for Realer than Housewives! My sexy single friends, we will call, SS, no explanation needed. However, let the SS be a reminder that if you want a husband, your ship has not sailed.
The common thread in my RH crew is not looks, education, geography, or economics, its purpose and/or what is trendily called the “manifest mind”. My SS girls have one glaring commonality and that is the patience of Job. When I take a solid look at the entirety of the RH crew are stories so similar, we approached men like our education and money, most of us were serial daters, even when publicly “with” someone exclusively, I am probably the only one who will admit this truth. What can I say? I am from the Bronx, I keeps it REAL!!! We all had multiple proposals from different men. We also actively pursued our lives, education, travel, paper chase all the while making key decisions that made Mr. Special feel that the only way to get priority over “the distractions which included other men” was to wife us. But I think the biggest thing that the RH crew have in common is that we would dump a fool with the quickness, if he was not speaking “our” language. We did not stay, with Time Wasters! Our language was simple. . . he had future goals that we thought we could live with and support, wanted kids, liked the idea of marriage(either grew up with it or wanted it desperately), was generous, had a healthy spirituality, adored us and it showed(even when they screwed up), and he constantly admitted to a marriage timetable that was concrete and realistic. When we left men that did not speak the RH language, we were not afraid because we knew that men were like buses, another one was on his way; and when we forget this maxim our RH sisters would remind us over a bottle of Malbec. The other aspect was that rock hard abs, race, even height was not a non-negotiable. If we lucked up on our deepest Idris Elba fantasy than cool but not a deal breaker. RH’s have some very big things in common, the ability to walk away, know what happiness looks like for them, and to be honest with themselves and the men in their lives. Most of my SS girls are ridiculously patient, hard core about some necessary physical trait, quiet about their true desires until it’s too late and very tolerant. In short, they tend to be sweet girls, whom some man is benefitting from without investing whether accidently or due to a lecherous nature. At the end of it all, if you are an SS and you find yourself thinking, “Damn, this describes me!” it is not too late, set goals, cut the dead wait, sign-up for Plenty of Fish and walk like a B* who owns the world and you inevitably will!!!
Your future Realer than Housewives Sister
Not really. I don’t think I have the discipline ;-)
Thanks for the follow SirSharpe!
As my little gal unknowingly nurses my broken heart with imaginary soup, I can’t help but think about what could have been. My heart understands failure because I know success. My mind accepts the loss of possibilities even before my body is able to grasp the reality. We joyfully reorganized our priorities for a future that would not be. The evidence of God blessing me with my greatest dreams “terrorize” me daily and nightly, as well. I am blessed to nurture, love, enrich and be made whole by mischievous, earthly angels. Every day I know joy and laughter. So on the days that I know loss and pain, I will wipe away my tears, look to Him for strength, wisdom and peace, while cloaking myself in all of my many blessings.
Order my steps in the Lord.
I love this time of year and everything it brings. The power to control my kids with threats about gifts they haven’t seen. Long lazy days and quiet nights. The ability to sit still and reflect on the past year and prepare for a different tomorrow. On this morning, my soul is still, my heart is content and peaceful and I am grateful to God for the ability to “just be”. I am not perfect. I am a work in progress but I would like to think that I am the current beneficiary of the award for having a good heart. As every day has felt like Christmas. I am overwhelmed by the joy I feel in the “little things”. Hand prints on my wall, pee pee in the potty (ok, a biggie), simple and profound truths from little mouths and adult male domesticity. It tickles me that we still have bills, a house that needs repair and plenty of daily concerns but as a whole I feel like a millionaire. I guess this is what it feels like to be “Saved”. Full of love, full of light, full of family. On this morning, I am grateful for Christmas.
I remember my first year in law school. The excitement. The expectation of greatness followed by the feeling that I had been dropped off on some alien planet of uber-competitive, shit-boring, ego-maniacal zombies. I remember first year grades, OCI, Socratic Method and generally feeling like a failure. I remember that in spite of my state as a working, non-traditional law student in a traditional, full-time school that there were individuals who threw me life rafts that kept me afloat during my roughest times. Edward De Grazia, Kathleen Cleaver, Eva Hanks, David Carlson, Leslie Newman, Mom and most of the members of BALSA, I am forever grateful. As a whole, I felt like a failure as a law student even though I passed the bar, gained clerkships and employment.
I am an attorney. I will never be partner. Am Law doesn’t know that I am alive. I have never felt legal greatness. I have paid thousands to lie on a couch and ask, “Why?” Why the drive to pursue a career that did more to destroy my self-esteem than coming from a broken-home. I can deal with divorce but obtaining a JD left me with crippling anxiety.
Twelve years later, the “Why?” is answered. I am a success. My life, law school debt and all is perfect. Tonight was the culmination of everything I ever unconsciously hoped to achieve. I was at 57 East 57th Street, enjoying holiday tea, with a room full of the most beautiful, talented, driven, dedicated, loving, amazing sister-friends I could ever hope for. I met my husband while working at 39 West 56th Street. He interned at my first crappy legal job in the “coveted”(sic) entertainment industry where I was overworked and undervalued, he worked at 40 West 57th Street where he was overworked but not undervalued. Our first date was on the corner of 57th and Sixth Avenue. We dated, broke-up, dated, broke-up and inevitably built a beautiful life together that gave me a wonderful baby boy that led me to the Manhattan Chapter of Mocha Moms and quickly giving birth to an amazing baby girl who kept me heavily involved in this Chapter. Funny enough, it is filled with lawyers, semi-benched by their uteruses. My mocha sisters have taught me so much about family, survival, dedication, organizational accountability and love. On this evening, steps away from where my adult life began, as I held the most beautiful bouquet of roses and a box of twenty-one of the most touching gratitude notes. It hit me like a Mack truck. I am a success. I love my life. I am a Mocha Mom. When I close my eyes, at least I will be able to answer the greatest Socratic question of all. The answer to Why? The answer to MY Why. My personal truth that the greatest blessing in this life, for me, was to give of myself wholeheartedly and in return to be accepted just as I am. For this lesson, I am eternally grateful. Big Law be damned.
Dear past and current members of the Manhattan Chapter of Mocha Moms. Thank you with all of my heart and all of my love.
Late night, early morning on the eve of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think of all of my blessings. I have guests in the spare room, the bird is cleaned and brined, the yams are stewing, the rice is done and my house is quiet. I can feel my Nana’s spirit embracing the woman I have become. I feel her encouraging me to take pride in the life I have created, my simple love of domesticity and the need to hold on to the traditions passed down and to create new ones where none exist. I feel pride in the ability to bless her great-great grands with a home full of friends, lovingly prepared food, laughter and reverence. One day I will show them Nana’s faded picture and they will say, “Mommy, she looks just like you”. I remember Nana. Do you?