Sunday, December 25, 2011

Xmas 2011 is in the books, people

So. The past 24 hours have been intense. I am one rusty emotive machine.

The good news is that I can certainly whip up some pretty tasty passion. The bad news is that I can spread the moldy leavings all over people that I love.

In the past 24 hours I have called my husband terrible names. I have cried (sobbed, really) in a post-coital heap that would make Kubrick blush. I worked my santa magic and had my babies eating out of the palm of my hand. I've napped & had too much too drink. I've snuggled deeply and hopelessly with my son and been the grateful recipient of more 'I love you's' than I can count from my daughters.

Christmas is cool. I really liked Christmas this year and I think as my shedding becomes less difficult, more subtle and manageable, I'll like the plain old regular days ahead of me more and more, too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Life does not suck here at 7 Stepehn Smith. The fire roars, the Christmas tree glows, the
Sauvignon blanc glistens and the WNYC enlightens.

I mostly feel pretty good. I mostly actively delight in every piece of this new life. However, no matter how far, how drastically, how vigorously I move, I still live with a monster.

Several weeks ago I started seeing a very smart, very aggressive, very tender, very motivated therapist. The good news? Apparently I can be fixed. The bad news? I am so jammed up, so tight and controlled that I have no idea how to start. I'm 41 and creeping right up on 42's ass... I don't have years and years to do this. I have shit to do and children to tend to.

Fuck! Is anyone else listening to the radio right now? The carols they are playing are playing right into my cerebellum... 'Tis the season, indeed.

2011 was all about us ingesting, digesting the lusciousness of Lincoln and moving our life and family closer to... to... to more tangible things. And it was a bitch of a whore to navigate. 2011 fucked like a pro.

And here I sit, on the precipice of 2012 terrified of the work before me once again.
It was my son's birthday last month. He turned three. I couldn't write about it though. He and his 7 year old sister have so destroyed and mangled my macbook that it's impossible to sit at my (ha!) desk and use my (ha!) computer. Add it to the list.

What else is on the list? Which category should we start in? Things destroyed by dog? Things destroyed by dog of significant value or low value? Things destroyed by children? Things co-opted by children? I really feel like I am facilitating squatters around here.

Wasn't my womb enough?

And the fuckinmuthafucker of a dog. Fuck. That. Shit. Look, I love him and I wanted him but he most certainly did not get the "They saved you, don't devour their shit and leave it in ribbons all over the porch/tv room/dining room/hallway" memo. He must have missed the "If you jump on and nibble at small people, they will hate you" memo, too.

I wrote that about 5 weeks ago. The dog has a new (loving?) home and I'm still without a computer. Oh, woe is me. I'm writing this on an iPad. Feel sorry for me yet?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tempest in a teapot

Hell hath no fury like an 11 year old girl going through puberty and ain't no heart big enough to love the crap out of her.

Ruby. A gift.

She stuns me with her thoughts, articulations, moods, ideas, expressions of love & fits of passion.

The other night I said "I'm not the fucking maid!" in response to finding that she had (artfully) painted strokes of nail polish on the downstairs shower stall, soggy towels on the bathroom floor and perfect curls of eyeliner pencil frosted with the merest slips of melty, deep blue color smeared into the vanity.

I was pissed and she was stolid. She didn't waver till I uttered the obscenity and then she crumbled. I apologized for the word, but not the sentiment, for the anger but not the message and then I left it alone.

Later, when she was fresh out of tears, I told her that I really was sorry for swearing. And she said, that's ok. And then she said, when I'm all upset all I want is you, mom. I act like I don't, but I do. She closed with a kiss and an I love you.

I asked her to try to be patient with me in a few years if (when) she says that foul word to me. I told her I hope I'd have as much grace and presence of mind as her.

Minus the F-bomb. This shit goes down in my house EVERY DAY. The kid blows my mind like Mikey with the pop-rocks & coca cola. She asks me hypothetical questions (and she prefaces with: This is hypothetical, mom). She tells me she knows it's weird she's addicted to love songs even though she has NO IDEA what it feels like to have an unevenly broken heart that's deeply rolling. She asks me to buy her meringue cookies simply on the basis of their appearance.

Two days ago, she said she's considering vegetarianism again not because of the moral conflict of humans eating meat (we're not the only mammals who do, you know. Animals eat each other. It happens) but because of the filthy practice of turning the sweet hog into savory bacon. Yes, she said "savory".

I'm not kidding. She's extraordinary. And she's changing. Evolving into a most stormy and delectable thing. I don't wish her one second older or younger. I want to eat her alive and rub my tummy. And for now, she wants me to, too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Motivation is Everywhere

Since we moved, I've been poking into my brains for the perfect first post in the new digs. Plenty of inspiration. PLENTY. But those trifles will have to wait because tonight I was pulled to the keyboard to officially record a most troubling find:

While I was in the bathroom (on the toilet) cleaning up from a rogue peeing episode by Lincoln all over my lap, pants, undies, legs (more on that later. maybe), I discovered TO MY FUCKING HORROR a grey pubic hair. A G R E Y P U B I C H A I R

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ask and ye shall get a really long answer

At the pool the other day, a woman made her way over to where Link and I were yucking it up/making out and asked me what his "disorder" was.

Her face was warm, motherly. Her own son really cute & playful with a huge mop of brown curls that he'd lick pool water off every once in a while.

It was the first time that a total stranger had the nuts to ask about Lincoln in public. He was super pumped up that day, twisting his arms up and twirling his hands like a Deadhead all the while saying "gheeeeeeeeee" with the biggest shit-eating, drooling grin. In between sets, he'd maul me with hugs and kisses (read: HEAVEN).

My boy don't come off like other boys. He acts the way we all want to act and it shows. I know it shows and this woman kindly, gently asked me what was up.

What a relief to have someone FINALLY FUCKING TALK TO ME ABOUT IT! I am a bit of a braggart (this point perfectly, dryly pointed out by Ruby mid-conversation). I love to be interviewed. I'm kinda a show off.

And the other day I got the really fantastic opportunity to show off my child's light and spread it around like the swirling whirls of fireflies.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Turn, turn

I am moving out a house that two of my children were born in. I am moving into a house where a father died. The weight of these pieces falling into place hit me smack dab in the ventricles today. On July 11th I think there won't be enough Lexapro in circulation to keep me from sobbing uncontrollably at the closing tables.

One of the days we were looking at our new house I found a four leaf clover near the driveway. It's the size of a lentil and I saw it immediately when I looked down. First one I've ever actually spied growing in my life up until that point.

The very first time we toured our new home I was initially underwhelmed. Like bored. But as I walked the halls, opened doors, crept around the grounds, it grew on my like the spongy, welcoming moss that envelopes the earth around one of our trees.

We will be happy there (we'll be happy anywhere, don't get me wrong). But this house feeeeels sooooo riiiiight. And I feel equally at peace leaving our current home. It served us beautifully. My hot husband and I have grown so much here. So many fights, evolutions, jobs, worries, hopes, births, birthdays. We've had sex in every single room. Except the garage. I think. Mighta been drunk that time.

We owned the shit out of this house, damn it. And we'll own the next one, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I promised

Because of him I love the smell of petroleum. When he'd come home from work (he ran the printing press at our local newspaper) the smell of gasoline & ink clung to him like powdered sugar on cake and I drank it in like lemonade.

He was my favorite. He didn't yell (at me). He never drank. He made my school lunches & I look just like him.

When my parents told me they were getting a divorce, it was his soft, mushy white t-shirt clad belly I buried my face into and cried.

I knew he was far from perfect. I knew my mother, her mother and all of her sisters hated him. I knew he was embarrassing, running like a MADMAN onto the football field when a Pop Warner kid went down. Gut churning, sweat flying, tackle box full of EMT tools bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. I knew the neighborhood kids (and adults) thought he was a buffoon when he'd come bursting out of the house, SCREAMING & YELLING and demanding justice for his kid during a game of kick-ball.

I loved him most anyway. Like I said, he didn't yell at me. He never hit me and he promised me the world. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. He PROMISED. He promised.

I was 11 when my parents divorced he disappeared and over the years his lack of remarkableness settled in like soot.

He came to my high-school graduation and when I was about 20, he took my brother and I out to a movie and to the diner for dinner.

He has never met my husband or any of my children. The last few times we talked, he asked for money. Like, lots of money. Could we buy his house for him and let him live in it? Could we pay for him to re-locate to another state?

And the very last time I heard from him, I got copied in on one of those fucking mind numbing, infuriating chain mails that INSIST that Jesus WON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE unless you forward the fucking thing to 20 people. Dick doesn't even know that I'm an Atheist.

Now I know he also has Fragile X. The gift that keeps on giving and he didn't have to spend a dime! Sweet, isn't it?

Friday, June 10, 2011

I promise, the next one will be about my father

When I was 16 I had an abortion. My mother had no idea. Or maybe she did. I have no idea. When I had my follow up appointment at my local Planned Parenthood I told her it was about time I went to a gynecologist. She didn't argue, didn't encourage. So off I went. When I got home I showed her the receipt that had the diagnosis codes and descriptions. The paper clearly said it was a post termination check up and that I was given birth control pills. She said nothing.

I had been back living in her house just a few months when all of this went down and maybe she didn't want to drum up any more trouble with my step father? I still have no idea.

That year was so insane. I was kicked out of my house and sent to live in Holbrook, MA for several months, stalked by my step father, physically assaulted by him, doing shitty in school and the day I drove to Rockland County to have the abortion, I was pulled over by the police and taken to the station and interrogated because my car and person fit the description of a runaway. Do you parents know where you are they asked? Uhm, HELL NO! Can we call them? NO! They finally let me go, go to have general anesthesia and drive myself home 3 hours later.

My mother was not a willing participant in her life. She didn't want children, but she was supposed to have them so here we are! Yay!

I have a few really lovely memories of her and I remember for a long time (a few years?) thinking she was a fun, good person.

But I also remember getting paddled with a spatula for lighting the matches left in my room by my uncle who was staying with us. He worked nights and slept in my bed all day when I was at school. He had a brown paper bag with porn, cigarettes and matches under my mattress. So this guy was allowed to jerk off in my bed and smoke butts but I get wailed on for lighting those matches in an ash tray?

I remember pooping in my pants long after that was acceptable. I was punished. Sent to my room to feel like a loser with shitty pants and no dinner. I was handed a harsher sentence for soiling myself than I was for driving our Pinto wagon into someone's hedges & porch.

My mother didn't drive me anywhere she didn't absolutely have to. She farted in front of my friends. She gave me a package of maxi pads the day I came home with my period soaked culottes (I was 11).

My mother had a pretty shitty childhood and couldn't wait until mine and my brother's were over. She has no idea what kind of people her children and grand children are.

I don't feel sorry for myself. And I'm not angry. Mostly because I have the greatest inlaws in the world. They are the parents I waited 28 years for.

I've just been thinking a whole lot about that 16th year of my life and how it solidified the structure of the relationship I have with my mother today. Have you ever been to Hong Kong? The scaffolding that surrounds the spanking new high-rises that go for miles and miles into the air are made entirely of bamboo. Lashed together with rope. Take away the rope and that's about right.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


What is better than having an ENORMOUS B.M. right before you go shopping for new jeans? That's right: N O T H I N G.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No, you can't have her.

My big kid today told me this: "Everyone in school hates their parents, but I love mine". I asked her if she actually said that out loud. Her reply? "Of course, what do I have to lose?"

So today I fed them all chips, seltzer, choc chip cookies, donuts and pound cake. They're happy, I'm happy.

Today, I am a good mother.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WARNING: Dream Post

This morning my husband told me that no matter how fat and flabby I get, that he'll never leave me. And I believe him.

I've recently lost 15 or so pounds and I can firmly put my ass back into pre-Ruby pants. And that's alright. Alright indeed.

That feat is made all the more miraculous by the fact that I've been taking 20mg's of Lexapro for the past 3 months. If the FDA wouldn't have my head, I'd invite all the ladies over for daily trick-or-treating for some of this sweet mama candy. Side effects be damned! I'm skinny AND my libido is through the roof. UNH!

Anyway I *have* been having extra bizarro and off the wall dreams, though. Never a slouch in that department, I think the Lexapro brain is making all kinds of random connections while I sleep and churning out some fucked up fodder for my nightly visions.

Last night, I was (for some reason), bounding around my yard in teeny, tiny chinos and a tight grey tshirt. This get-up was really a bonus for enhancing my santa-esque midriff. Jiggles like a bowl full of jelly indeed. I was short, chubby and flabby and dancing around my yard IN FRONT OF MY HUSBAND'S NEW GIRLFRIEND. She was really nice, though. The kids seemed to like her.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hell & D Part II

We certainly take for granted the amount of and intensity of experience we have every single day on our unit. We hold and process on a spectrum of "healthy". Some of us keep it all in, some of us pretty much wear it from the inside out but most are in the middle. And most of the time, most of us just get through the day. We see what we see and we get through the damn day.

So when you get sucker punched in the face with the reality of your job it's kind of unnerving. Whenever I have the privilege of taking care of a deceased baby I feel the hit. I take my time, take care and talk to the sweet, limp, cold body and try to make the two of us not so alone in the room where these things take place. I don't always cry, but I always weigh the moment. I'm seeing so many things at once: A dead body, an infant who most likely wasn't old enough to live outside it's mother's belly. I'm seeing a mystery, science, love, fear... all of it. I weigh the moment and it is dense and heavy like stone.

The day after our patient dropped to the floor I was given the opportunity to see her. Her 36 hour postpartum body needed to be assessed by an L&D nurse. She was so still. Her uterus hard as a rock (as it should be) and her skin warm and pink. Tubes everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Machines thumping and whizzing. Her ICU nurse asked me about her breasts, should she be lactating? We developed a plan to try to get her breasts producing in the one in a million chance she'd be able to feel her sweet baby's sucks one day. I went to talk to her family about our thoughts. I never saw our patient again.

Back on my unit I went to the room where her husband, family and friends had been staying. I did my quick "nurse knock" and I walked in. Holymotherfuckingshit. HOLY SHIT. I was twisted instantly. I did not, could not understand what I was seeing. Nothing about the scene in that room made sense to me and I wanted to cry and run and leave. I had no intrinsic skills. Everything I did and said felt like it was coming from another mouth. Another brain.

I take care of women and babies. My patients are always women and are most always accompanied by women. Husbands, boyfriends and baby-daddies aren't foreign, are mostly welcomed but are never my patients.

When I walked in the room and faced the husband of our patient and I saw him laying in a patient bed, under the covers, eyes red, arm across his forehead, exhausted, pale, I took a bowling ball to the chest. It's not supposed to be like that. And to make the scene more marked with the absurd, he was surrounded entirely by other men. Men who looked at the floor, who were touching his bed, holding his hand & comforting their tortured, devastated friend, brother, son.

I will never forget it. And I never want to see it again.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hell & D, part I

So, you know... life is a bitch. A bitch because that shit is closely followed by death.

I think a lot about what will be the thing to tug me back to the keyboard and write. When I'm driving a million, jillion things drift in and out of my mind and for moments of time every single day, I am brilliant! I have the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TO SAY. But then I get home and someone needs a hug, a sandwich, a clean ass, a stern word or a damn drink.

It has been a month of flux. And while I can say I am happier than I have been in years, there has been damage. Sadness. Grief. Stress. Tears. Layers have been peeled and the icky sticky underneaths have revealed gifts I wasn't ever prepared to have. I don't think I'm particularly worthy of good things (not feeling sorry for myself, it's just the way it is in the mind of Chez OBrien) but I am receiving my bounty with gratitude (a gift in itself).

Yesterday afternoon, at the memorial service for the 32 year old patient who died on our unit last week, I was thrust into the infinite space of love and light of a friend so precious. I don't touch her enough but yesterday, I couldn't let go.

How do you pound on the chest of a dead woman for an hour to give her newborn baby one sliver of a chance to feel her mother's warm skin one last time and then come face to face with her mourning and devastated family? How do you do that with grace and humility? My friend did that. My badass, beautiful, brutally strong friend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not far from the tree... sort of

Yesterday I realized that there is one fantasy I've had for my son's future is actually a guarantee. Guaranteed only by his Fragile X-dom.

My son will always be sweet. Will always love and respect women. Will never be a dick-head or a bully. He won't be aggressive or mean. Thanks to Fragile X, my son will be a good man and for that, I am grateful.