Friday, November 22, 2013

The Prince Had A Birthday

You are five. You are five and I am still here, still sane. I didn't die of grief, I didn't lose my mind.

I have grown with you, changed with you and learned to be a better person, friend, wife and mother.

You are five and you walk around the house saying "luff you, mum". You hand out kisses to random and available body parts as you float by. You say "come 'ere! Follow me!" when you don't' want to take those little trips up and down the stairs alone.

You tell us to "STOP IT!" when we're pissing you off and demand hugs when it's just too much to stand there by yourself not being hugged.

You swallow pills and tolerate nasal spray. We can brush your hair, clip your nails and clean your ears without needing a propofol drip to keep you calm. You prefer soft pants and striped shirts and you let us know these things when we're helping you get ready.

You do your homework. You ride the bus. You make choices in the cafeteria and you have friends.

You adore your grandpa, sharks, whales Woody and Buzz and anything made of chocolate (or cheese. or pasta.)

And oh my god you love us! Lincoln, your trust and openness and complete devotion to our family has made us impossible to defeat. Every one of us basks in your wonder! We all strive to meet your level of awesome. You carry us through and are always waiting on the other side with your sparkling eyes, a sweet, soft touch and that smile.

Thank you, baby boy. Thank you for coming and staying and saving us. Thank you for showing us magic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Watch This Space

Yesterday was a Maker's on the rocks kind of day. Yesterday split me open a little and a little of me spilled out. I'm not a "sharer". I don't cry. I don't yell. I keep my emotions very neatly wrapped up like perfectly organized bamboo baskets full of steaming and precisely cooked shu mai.  Not so yesterday.

My grips are falling. The metal is rusting, the rubber eroding, the ropes fraying.

Yesterday I took one hand off and swung a bit. Threw my head back and felt what so many people must feel every day! I felt my emotions and I acted on them and I tore my armor and let the air in and I didn't feel a million creepy bugs crawling around in my belly. I didn't want to throw up. And I wasn't embarrassed (But I probably should be. People: I just don't know how to act sometimes.).

When I left work yesterday I knew bourbon was in my future. Warm and beautiful and laced intricately with some of the very best memories of my life.

That one drink shared with a gorgeous woman who knows me and keeps my heart close to hers, was bliss. It was otherworldly. Surreal.

The light I let in let me see something. It told me something. You know that feeling of excitement and electric energy moving through you quickly in pulses you couldn't begin to measure the speed of? It felt like that. It felt like I knew I was getting the best Christmas present in the whole wide world.

Yesterday was a revelation. Today begins the revolution. (I couldn't resist)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Me and my, me and my, me and my… Friends

My friends high-five me over 200 year old headstones in decrepit graveyards. My friends take me to decrepit graveyards.

My friends get me to a place where I can let go and cry and laugh at myself for being such a shitty non-crier. They covet my jewelry. And my clothes. And my hair products. And my bags and then they let me give them any and all of those things whenever the hell I feel like it. They tell me I'm beautiful.

They are amazing mothers to all of their children wherever those children may be. They recognize the glory and the magnificent difference in their progeny and they honor those differences like the gifts they are.

My friends adore eating and cooking and cleaning and do so with relish. And they hate to cook and clean and eat and wish there was a pill to take care of all three.

My friends love. They love their men, their women, their lovers and partners and friends.

They talk about sex and shit and periods and migraines and manicures and grey hairs.

My friends remember the movies my kids like and the funny things I say and the bands I like to listen to.

They tell me about new wines they've tried and want me to try and want to know what I've been drinking (everything).

My friends have been with me before I had sex for the first time and shepherded me through the aftermath of unprotected sex at 16, before I took the first punch from an angry, asshole man. They took me as an honored guest through their own personal and exquisite hell and let me greet them on the other side of that odyssey to only be more loving and more wonderful than they ever were before.

My friends were there to see my babies be born and to watch my babies when another one came barreling to earth. They tell me they miss me when I'm not around and know how I feel before I even feel it.

Each one a delectable and unique treat that is always there for me to unwrap and savor just when I need them most.

Take a shot of Tequilla during the 10 second ad and then dance! Dance like your friends are all watching!

Monday, November 4, 2013

4th Grade Teacher Crush

I met with Penelope's teacher this morning after a failed Halloween afternoon appointment with her. What was I thinking not canceling that shit anyway? Anyway. We got together today and I am still reeling.

She is every bit as wonderful as Penelope says she is. She is strong and blond and beautiful and engaging and willing to do whatever she can to help my kid.

She didn't flinch when I told her we don't expect Penelope to be an academic. That instead we expect her to be happy and successful. She didn't flinch when I told her that my kid's incredible reading ability is for function only, that reading for story and pleasure couldn't appeal less to her.

She actually read all of the information I sent to her on girls with Fragile X. She wrote down everything. We made a plan so PJ doesn't have to see her pretty shitty grades on math tests and reading comprehension tests. The plan will give my girl confidence and not break her stride.

We made coordinated gagging sounds over the motherfucking Common Core.

She told me Penelope is gentle. That she doesn't raise her voice. That she is polite and helpful and raises her hand to answer every single question that gets asked in class. She also told me that if she needs to know what went down during the many, many drama-fueled 4th grade outbursts in class, she asks PJ for the truth. Ever watchful, observant student of human nature, PJ.

And she also agreed to come to speak to the class about Fragile X (Penelope's idea). She asked if I would do it for the whole grade so all the kids and all the teachers can benefit.

I'm gonna be smitten for a while with this one.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Secret Weapon

I am who I am because I am the mother to Lincoln. I did not know what I was capable of until he revealed himself to me.

This is important. This is special and unique and rare and I do not take it lightly. I am lucky. My gift was given from within and is impossible to ignore and every single day I am telling you that I feel joy and love and peace that can not be named when that boy wakes up and says "hi, mama" to me.

He is why I can keep on loving and not give in and change and move and grow.

He is why I can't be bitter. Why I am calm. He is the reason I don't yell at my kids. The reason I understand that they, like me, aren't perfect and really just need a little bit more time to adjust…

That my father never met Lincoln is a tragedy because everyone who meets him knows he is magic. That he is a prince. That he is here to be good and to let you be good with him. Russell could have used a little Link in his life.  We all can.

Friday, November 1, 2013

RUSSELL J. O’BRIEN, of Grawn passed away Oct. 26, 2013, at the age of 71. Private family services will be held at a later date.

My father died. He lived in Michigan near his people. Michigan was a place the Quincy, MA O'Brien's migrated to many decades ago and when he and my mother divorced, I think it was the only place he felt was his. His mother lived there and she took care of him, protected him. Me and Lillian O'Brien may have been the only two people who loved him after the divorce and when she died and I grew up thousands of miles away in Nebraska, he disappeared into Michigan, made a new life and took his last breaths there.

I've written about Russell before. I've always described him as wholly unremarkable. He embarrassed us as kids with his overreacting and loosy-goosy emotional outbursts. No one liked him. His father hated him. My mother's family treated him badly (except for my cousins, those fuckers are always spreading the love! They are like a coven of good witches, seeing the best and broadcasting the news).

But when I was young, I was in love with my dad. He perpetually reeked of petroleum and I soaked that smell in like %100 oxygen. He had a soft, mushy belly that I would mold into loaves of banana bread as he watched Barney Miller and M.A.S.H in his olive drab naugahyde recliner.

He made my school lunches. He cooked most of my dinners. He was never mean to me and he never yelled at me and he never hit me.

He also disappeared. There was limited contact after he and my mom split I spent a summer with his wretched sister in Charlevoix, MI and he came to my high school graduation. The last time I saw him I was in my early 20's and he and my brother and I went to the movies and the diner just like a little divorced family should.

Then there were sporadic phone calls wherein he asked me for money. Lots of money. And the last real conversation I had with him I invited him to become a part of my family. I was married, had a beautiful daughter and told him that if he wanted in, he needed to call once in a while. Send a card for his granddaughter's birthday, maybe one for Christmas. I said he needed to try.

But he couldn't. And I moved on.

When I told Ruby he died she started to cry and I said No! Don't! I'm not sad, baby! Don't cry. And she said I'm crying because you're not sad and you should be able to be sad when your father dies.

Hot husband said the same exact thing. 

Those two. My loves, my heart. My god! My father died but he has been gone for so long already that I don't know what to do with myself.

He was married and I called his wife to tell her that I'm sorry she lost her love. That I'm sorry if he was in any pain and that I never thought he was a bad person.

She said he'd talk about me all the time. Me and my brother.

Is that enough? That's what I have swirling in my belly: The words of a stranger telling me that for at least the last 15 years, I was on his mind. Is that enough?