Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Portraits of Death's Bitch

I love peaking in people's houses. I especially love when someone's home is a surprise.

A few years ago I made friends with a really wonderful former military psychologist. She was one of the most down-to-earth people I ever met. She dressed simply and never wore make-up. She was a lot like me.

And then she invited me to her house.

It was a friggin' Taj Mahal! It was all marble and huge windows and staircases and more rooms than you can count. It was full of original paintings by artists you've probably actually heard of. It had it's own lake.

Her home was so unexpected and I loved it. It is nice to see really awesome people living so well. Rich people have such a bad reputation.

This past weekend we went to a violin concert at the home of one of the families in our studio. They live in a lovely historic home in the trendy part of downtown. Again, I was surprised.

This women is really outgoing and nice. She's bubbly and happy. And in her home is a portrait of her flanked by her small children in which she looks like death's bitch.

She apparently liked that portrait a lot because she has it displayed in three different places in her house.

It reminded me of something that happened when my son was a baby.

I was just getting to know one of the wives in the squadron. She also had a small baby and she and her husband seemed really nice. And then she invited me to her house for a baby shower.

The first thing you saw when you walked in her front door was her wedding portrait. It was a little more formal than I like, but it was a decent picture.

It was also larger than life. Literally. The portrait was at least 6 feet by 8 feet. It barely fit on the wall. In the picture her head was bigger than a beach ball. Big headed much?

A couple of years later she and her husband divorced. I'm dying to know what she did with that portrait! Oh, then she renamed her daughter (who was five-years-old by then) after herself. Yeah. Like she was named Mary and then she renamed her own kid Mary.

I don't know. It's fun to get a glimpse into people's homes. They say a lot about a person. But sometimes, what they say is kind of scary.

I wonder what my house says about me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Deployment Gremlins Can Suck Donkey Balls

So we're a bit past the 4 month point of this deployment. We've had some rocky spots here and there, but overall, things were going pretty well.

Until this week. See, I made a huge mistake. About a week ago (when we hit the 4th month) I stopped and took a moment to reflect. And I thought, hey, we're doing pretty damn well here. I kind of rock.

And then the universe decided to prove to me just how much I don't rock.

Why didn't I knock on wood?

It's been little things and big things. It's been food poisoning and flat tires. It's been pre-teen drama and a stuck front door. It's been scheduling conflicts and missed deadlines.


And all of a sudden I go from perfectly fine to oh, my god, this sucks. I'm done with this now.

To top it all off, I didn't learn my lesson. Because last night I thought hey, it's been months since the boy banged his head in his sleep. I thought man, it's nice to be past that worry.

And of course, you guessed it, his nocturnal head banging woke me up at 2 a.m. last night.

It's kind of like the opposite of "Be careful what you wish for." I wish I could twist it around and make it work for me.

Hey, I love how I haven't been able to sleep through the night for the last month or so. Yeah, that totally kicks ass.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Freedom 2011

I am so very, very thankful that I am past the stage of early parenthood. All in all, those years were pretty wonderful at our house. But society has such intense reactions to new motherhood and I don't miss those at all.

I don't miss the parenting magazines and books. (Though I never read many.) I don't miss the impassioned advice about everything from breast feeding to picking preschools. (Though I never listened to much of it.) I really don't miss the intense and often forced or strained relationships with fellow stay-at-home moms.

I especially don't miss all the judgement. The intense judgement.

So many new mothers are so fearful of messing up that they develop these strongly held beliefs and anyone who doesn't jive with those beliefs is harshly judged, mostly so the insecure new mother can look and say, "See! I am such a better mother than her!"

What? We've all done it.

People look at a stay-at-home mom with babies and toddlers and they want to share with her. They want to teach her and give her advice and lure her over to their ways of thinking so that they can feel right and vindicated!

People look at a stay-at-home mother with school-age kids or preteens and they think...

Well, I don't know what they think.

And I don't care!

Woo hoo! Freedom! It is so freeing not to care.

For the first time in my life I am feeling a bit old. But that's okay. I feel like I have gotten to a place where I know so much. I am seeing the results of my sacrifice and decisions. And I feel good about them all.

I am one of the few stay-at-home mothers left in the car pool line. And I am the only one without a doctor or entrepreneur for a husband. And I am happy. You know what? We were smart. And lucky. And good planners.

I know without a doubt that we have done the right things, made the right choices, not just for our kids, but for our marriage and ourselves too.

It feels so good to be on the other side of the playground. I know this may be the lull before the storm of parenting a teenager but I have faith in the foundations we built. And as always, I am enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.

A future that in a few years will not include deployments.

That's the most freeing thing of all.