Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Plymouth 2013, The Wedding: Part II

I was not mothered by a compassionate person. Narcissists aren't programmed like that. I do remember when I was young, younger than 11 or 12, that she had some pretty progressive political views and that made her, for a time, seem like someone different and cool. But then I grew up.

Hot husband hasn't been able to spend too much time with my family, but when he does, he kicks back and enjoys the ride. These are vibrant, loud, free-thinking, loving people and observing them in their natural environment (ie. A party) is a sight to behold.

Something that he said when we got home made me realize that I learned all my goodness from them. I am giving and tolerant because of them. I can laugh at myself and express myself because of them.

My family sings, dances, plays instruments, makes jokes (mostly about themselves) and generally gives zero fucks to anyone who may be judging them.

No, these are not impervious people. Yes, they have anxiety and fears. No, they don't think they're better than anyone else. Yes, they worry and feel sadness. Their humanity is thick like the humidity we were nuzzled into that day in Plymouth.

And along their achingly human way, they GO FOR IT. And I mean as a group. There is not one dud in the bunch. There may be detours (and some of those may last for years), there may be bumps, but this tribe CARRIES ON. Especially when the wedding venue kicks them out and the paradigm shifts immediately to the after party.

*cut to my personal detour back to the hotel to check in with hot husband and the two youngest Sgueglias:

Ruby and my magical au pair, Mimi were coming with me to the party but they needed to change and I needed to get laid. Two hotel rooms IS KEY, PEOPLE. For crying out loud! Spend the extra $204 to have sex with your husband! Libido sated and small babes tucked into bed with their delicious dad, me and my lovelies were off*

My cousin Mary's house was the destination and when we arrived, the driveway was packed with cars and a half dozen more snaked down the street. I could hear the laughter from 10 yards away. Ever since my grandmother and her cranberry juice & vodka drink flinging in the face of THE ONE WHO HAS OFFENDED died, parties in my family just aren't shitty.

We stayed till the fire pit needed more wood, the guitars needed tuning, the wee ones  were sacked out on couches and the little voice coming from my heart begged me to never, ever leave.

This is love. This is how you get married.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plymouth 2013, Day 2: The Wedding Part I

The hotel we stayed in had an indoor pool. A pool of any type is KEY in keeping my boy centered (and exhausted) while we're away. PJ loves it, too. Her Fragile X has made her a born "rehearser". The kid tries and tries and tries and tries till whatever she set out to do, is done perfectly. Right now she's trying to nail down her back-stroke and the butterfly (both of which she taught herself).

So after a hilarious early morning run to the Dunkin down the street from the hotel (Why so funny you ask?  While me and Link and P. are eating our bagels and donuts and cappuccinos with extra shots of expresso, burly dude after burly dude comes in and orders iced-blueberry-mocha-lattes with extra cream and three splendas and double chocolate coolattas with whipped cream. Who are these men?!? These are men who are not afraid to be associated with fancy coffees, that's who! These are Massachusetts men! I was so wishing my grumpy, sleeping, leggy Ruby was there so she could share in the madness with me) we suited up and headed to the pool.

If you have never experienced the jhoooshing, and wheeeeshes and mmmmmmmms of a twisting and tensing and smiling and spitting 5 year old Fragile X boy, than you have not yet been in the face of pure joy. The kid LOVES the water. And while PJ zoomed again and again and again down the pirate ship themed slide and flailed majestically across the deep end tightening up her dolphin kick, Link and I stood at the edge of the pool for what seemed like 10 million years jumping in and out and in and out of the pool's shallow side.

Time flew and before I knew it, we had grab Ruby and Mimi and eat up some lunch before the pre-wedding crunch of GETTING READY was upon us.

The easiest thing to do was to hit the hotel's restaurant. That goddamned place! Because as soon as we walked in, Link started fussing. Whining, squirming. I feel like there should be a world-wide Fragile X task force that reports to a centralized website on restaurants around the globe so we f'n know in ADVANCE that a place has crappy energy/vibes/atmosphere! Good thing there is wine. And that is all I can say about that.

So, yeah. Our hotel rooms were madness by the time we got back from lunch. All available cousins were primping and preening and teeming about. It was hectic. Link was running in and out of rooms and into the hallway. PJ was crying off and on about letting/not letting anyone help her with her hair/make-up. Ruby was pissed in general. Beautiful and pissed. I had no time for a shower after it was all said and done just a high-school-style-leg-shave-on-the-edge-of-the-tub. I don't even think I washed my face. Mean Ruby did my hair (beautifully) and we left. At 3. The wedding was supposed to start at 3.

It was 5 minutes from the hotel, if that. But I made sure we'd be extra late by missing the road. Twice.
When we arrived we flew into the venue and smack dab into the bride who was about to make her entrance. Classy.

Like a tornado, we careened towards some seats that happened to be RIGHT IN FRONT. Link, nap-free Link, was in my lap and about as relaxed as a greased octopus.

You know that part of a wedding ceremony when the officiant asks if there's anyone who thinks the couple should not be married? Well, this wedding's version went something like: Are we ready to witness the marriage of these two people? To which Lincoln Anthony Sgueglia promptly (and loudly replied) "NO!"  His beloved status within the family saved his blond ass from a mutiny, I am sure.

10 minutes later, he was asleep in Mimi's arms in a quiet, cozy part of the venue and remained thusly till his devastatingly handsome father (soaked from a 3 hour motor cycle ride in the rain) FINALLY arrived and calmed my heart and soul like an Alka Seltzer of love.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Plymouth 2013. Day 1, Part II

Stephen, Billy, Cathy, Peter, Maggie, Billy, Matt, Jimmy, Jim, Mary, Mary, Philip, Richard, Chris, Joey, Shawna, Grace, Marie, PJ, Paige, Collin, Joe, Gail, Lori, Noel, Leah, Karen, Michael, Tommy, Joe Joe, Dan, Abby, Madeline, Don.
And that's not the boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, friends whose names I can't recall right now.

These people were the army that showed up to form a phalanx of love and acceptance and joy around my family.

Some of them I hadn't seen in over 15 years, some of them I'd never met; yet here they were: Happy, fun, funny and as in love with my baby as I needed them to be. Without asking, without a question of doubt, they trusted and shepherded my boy that night.

They let him push their baby on a 10 minute walk across town in the dark (duh. yes. with help). They scooped him up and showed him all the painted pictures of sea creatures in the very, very loud restaurant we ended up in. And it bears mentioning that one of the cavalry who carried him around that first night, my cousin Billy, is not your average dude. Not in looks or psyche or approach to life. Billy (William O'Keefe) is a wildly talented painter and musician who lives on the streets in Cambridge, MA. He has an inarticulate mass of orange hair, the color of pumpkin flesh that lives by its own laws on top of his head. He's thin, bony. His face pale and chiseled. He smells of oil paints and cigarettes and Lincoln adores him. Explain that.

The answer is: FAMILY.

They shared their food and their laps and their water. Their laughs and dance moves and utter fucking love of life.

Lincoln fell asleep that first night in the arms of our sweet Mimi and we took turns carrying him back to the hotel with some of my cousins and the lovely Ruby.

And the next morning he woke up kissing my face and asking for "eat" and water and his iPad as my gorgeous cousin, Lori, in the next bed was saying the most wonderful things about him and his magical personality.

24 hours in and I was ALL IN. I never wanted to leave.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Plymouth: July 2013, Part I

In bed, sipping coffee. Kids are gone, house is quiet(ish) except for the occasional and adorable monologues by the hot husband at foot of the bed. Outside my window there is a squirrel sleeping on a tree-branch; allegedly already exhausted from the heat.

I'm procrastinating a little. Buncha stuff to do. Post weekend away stuff: Unpack, do laundry, organize the overnight bags, clean the puke up from the back of the car...

Let me back up a bit, k?

Day 1

The ride to Plymouth on Friday to see my family for a long-over due reunion/wedding was pretty f'n great. I was open minded, packed lots of snacks, water, apple computer products and accessories, Toy Story paraphernalia, minions, you know, the usual. There were no urinary tract emergencies, expended crying jags, extended crying just some annoying bouts of unwanted sisterly physical contact. I was feeling lucky.

Excitement was at a fever pitch when we got to the hotel (my kids love hotels, like unnaturally so. And the vibe out immediately on the ambiance & the possibility of room service and unlimited down pillows).  And I was caught up in it, too. Link was so good and so happy go lucky that I took it for granted he would remain so.

Fast forward 30 minutes and we're sitting in the little tavern inside the hotel waiting on some grub and mah boy is tweaking. A little at first, just some background whining and fidgeting which I thought would be quelled by the crayons and paper the servers brought us. Nope. Within minutes, things were worse and me and Mimi and Ruby and PJ were all in it. Each one of us offering our own brand of comfort but nothing worked. Even when his food arrived he was still randomly screeching, hitting me and crying. I knew he needed to eat, so I didn't want to leave. I poured another glass of wine from the bottle I ordered and dug in deep with my baby.

Eventually, his brain received the signal that glucose was flowing, that the hunger pangs were gone and his thirsty, thirsty self had more water available than he could possibly need. He ate. The girls and Mimi ate. I picked at their plates and had glass #3 of my Chilean Sauvignon Blanc at the ready.

Ruby, who although had been an insufferable jerk to her little sister the whole day, was ready and able to scoop up baby boy and carry him back up to our room as I settled the bill. Fragile P, took up Lincoln's real estate in my lap and seemed to relax, too. The unknown and Penelope are not friends and this trip could be potentially nerve-wracking for her. Because even though she was familiar with the town (we'd been to Plymouth a few times before) and some of my relatives, there was still a whole lot of mystery in her mind. Having me to herself for a moment was like a little alka seltzer for her sweet self.

When we were all reunited upstairs, it was time to suit up the young'uns to take a dip in the hotel pool. We had two adjoining rooms so I didn't always know where everyone was and I lost track of Ruby for a minute. When I found her, she was crying in one of the bathrooms. Ruby is taller than me and is built more like a woman than I am, so physically comforting her can be a little awkward for me. Like my arms don't go all the way around, I can't kiss the top of her head with out standing on my tip toes. But when I did hug her, she melted and cried harder.

"Why do people have to stare at him like that, mom?"

Ah, "other people". Those fuckers and their self-control and typically functioning brains.

Apparently on their way back to the room, Ruby had the unpleasant experience of seeing people see her brother. And when that happens, it feels awful. It feels like I-will-get-my-flamethrower-and-scorch-you-judgmental-bastards-to-the-hell-you-came-from.

"Aw, Rube, don't worry babe. In a few hours there will be an entire ARMY of family around our baby."

And as usual, I couldn't have been more right.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Night

I may have just received the most excellent compliment of my entire life. My eldest, loveliest child said to me a little while ago: "Mama, I love hearing your voice. It makes me feel so safe."

This, after listening to me talk to her little sister about how it's OK if we diverge from a plan, take another way, make a different choice. That in doing so we don't get in trouble, we find ourselves.

The whole parenting thing really has its perks.

As I lie here in the dark with the littlest elf, Penelope by my side, the older, most delicious one is in the kitchen making Penelope's lunch for camp tomorrow and my dreamy, baby boy is asleep on his bedroom floor.

"Wanna get in the bed, baby?" I asked him after I had finished tonight's rendition of "Mother Says Goodnight To All Things".
"You sure?"
"Shhhhhh. Stop it."

So there he is. For now. I'll go in later and snuggle him into his pillow and watch him curl up like a potato bug when his body hits the coolness of his soft, soft sheets.

And here I am, blissed right the hell out to next week.

If I ever get a super power (like a for real, comic book, JJ Abrams blockbuster style one) I want it to be the ability for me to stop and soak in moments like this for long enough that I create change in my body on a cellular level. Long enough to form new synapses and pathways of self-respect and confidence. Long enough to love myself enough to make it real when I re-start time and wait, ever so patiently for the next magical moment with my crazy, wonderful children.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013

A chick of the most excellent variety told me today that my wedding story blog post was one of her most favorite pieces I've ever written; I'm going to counter that sentiment with my husband being the most excellent piece I've ever had.

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. And while I know that in terms of the universe, that is a mere 10,000,000,000th of a millisecond (probably). But it terms of my life, it is everything. Everything.

I fell in love with this man as I was falling out of love with another. In the dark days of that break-up, I would construct elaborate and wonderful fantasies of me with the man that became my husband.

In my imaginings, he lived in LA, far away from NY and my mean and horrible, cheating bastard of a boyfriend. He had an apartment in the hills with floor to ceiling windows that offered panoramic views of the city below. He would hold me while I cried. Watch me drink myself to sleep and keep vigil till I stirred again. He drew me warm baths and made exquisite love to my broken spirt and nursed my love for him out of my bone marrow.

The reality? He held back. He watched from a distance. He was a gentleman and never got too close until he did. Until we kissed in Battery Park on a park bench (after many, many port wines at the Red Bench). Until we walked home clutching each other like we shared a lung and couldn't breathe any other way. Until we said goodbye that night and I told him (I remember the words, the mood, the atmosphere in his apartment like it was yesterday) that he was my heaven.

And then he gave me an incredible gift; the most beautiful necklace. He gave it to me after he told my split-secondly-ex-boyfriend (who also happened to be one of his very best friends in the world) that we were in love. He told him first before anyone else found out. He didn't ask for permission, he spoke the truth.

Six months later we were married. And we remain thusly. And gloriously and magically. And REALLY.

One night (afternoon?) after the latest round of ridiculously, incredible sex I said to him: "I can picture our fights right now; loud, passionate and intense." Uhm... yep. The fights burn more calories than my trips to the gym and sex... keeps... coming (to use a pretty great pun).

He was there to pull his children into the oxygen breathing world. He was there to wait it out till I could reasonably and comfortably and confidently get back in the saddle after I gave birth.

He was broken and held together with tears and snot and love when we got Lincoln's diagnosis.

He frets almost uncontrollably over the maturity of his first-born; her physical and emotional safety unmatched in his heart.

He KNOWS his children and he navigates their intricacies like an orchestra conductor.

And he loves me.

Broken and weird and strange and unwrapped, me.

I would be lost. I would go on, but I would wander and have no touchstone. The years have not all been bliss; but they have been ours and my charmed life would not exist without him.

Happy Anniversary, baby.