Thank you, mom and dad for saying, "Sure. Whatever you need..." so very long ago when we asked you for some space. I never dreamed we'd still be living here, and I'm sure you didn't either. Thanks for never reminding us about the words we make ourselves eat every year that goes by: "just until we get on our feet."
Thanks for your presence in the boys' lives and the every day gift of having Nana and Grampa right up stairs.
It's not perfect, but our family is unique and has given two little boys twice the love and attention that others get since the day they drew breath. In our society, so full of single parents who struggle to give enough, that's one growing pain my kids will never ache from... and I am forever grateful.
It's hard to say that stuff. It's hard to live in your mom's basement with your family at the age of 34... (feel free to gasp. I just did upon reading that in print.) It's hard to feel like a grown up when you are an adult living with your parents. It's hard to know who you can tell that stuff to... hard to swallow your feelings of inadequacy and failure when people you haven't seen since High School note your address (which is still the same) and ask when your parents' passed away. It's hard, at the age of 34 to have to choke down the same meatloaf that made you gag when you were 7.
But it's harder to be worried all the time because there's not enough money. It's harder to be constantly unavailable to your kids because you can't think about anything but the bills you can't pay. The gift of being able to give to my kids all those worry-free moments in my day is invaluable. I should say my "Thank yous" more often.
Other "Thank Yous" that bear a note here are to the people who caught me when I got the wind knocked out of me a few years ago. The ones who shored me up when all I knew about my life was washed out from under me by a 22 year old tsunami who wanted another notch in her belt. Thank you to all the same people who trust my choices and understand that only The Dad and I know what could be rebuilt and how firm the foundation is. I am grateful for this and all the experiences that illuminated what I was too scared to explore of my own free will - I can take a hit and still be who I want to be. No matter what other people's choices set into motion, I can choose my actions, my words, my dignity. I write my history the way I want to look back at it. I can be vulnerable and pathetic sometimes and know with certainty that those times are not the ones that define me. I can manage the mess that I make of my life and help my kids to come through it too. My life as a teenager and as a younger woman used to be comprised of "I can't," or "I could never," and now I know I can... whenever I'm ready. There is deep gratitude in my heart for all that the last ten years has brought me.
With all of that said, I now I have to turn my attention to the retail world, because I DID venture out on Black Friday and was saved from incarceration ONLY because I was wearing my flops and my feet weren't hot. Hot feet make me cranky. Everything else in the universe was aligned in such a way as to prevent an enjoyable retail experience. I started my period, so consequently woke up feeling like manslaughter could possibly be part of the day's agenda. If I was to measure the day by the first words I spoke, it would've been clear after roaring "Get OFF me!" at the children at 7 a.m. that the day was going to suck donkey balls. Look out Wal-Mart... The Sassmaster cometh. At 11:02 a.m. I had a Nintendo DS Lite in hand and I should have gone back home. I'll leave you with the following as we hurl ourselves into the Vortex of Excess and all the caloric and financial debauchery associated with the Holiday Season...
- Target stores, please devise a system for tagging and identifying the employees who "Don't Usually Work in This Department." If their only job is to stand around in a Santa hat and ooze out of their signature red "Target" shirt while re-folding sweaters, let us know... It will save us the aggravation of the post-question blank stare and could save the life of the ass hat you bumped out of the stock room who doesn't know what "sherpa-lined" means.
- Don't try to do any amount of Christmas shopping with the children around... hiding presents from their view looks an awful lot like shoplifting. Side bar - have you noticed how many Mall Security folks are short and surly???
- Piling that shit on your credit card and paying 18 - 28 % interest for however long it takes you to pay it off cancels out whatever money you saved on it. Think about that next year before you peel yourself out of bed at 4 in the morning to freeze your ass off waiting in line at Toys-R-Us.
- Gifting any of the following items to my children will mean a swift and painful ass-kicking: Candy Land, umbrellas, Moon Sand, and anything that eats or shits.
- Teacher gifts... please listen carefully. Your child's teacher does not need or want pot pouri, bath products, lotion, or candles. Chocolate, margarita mix, or a handful Vicodin in a decorative tin are all acceptable if you insist on spending your money. But seriously? Don't spend your money. Grab a pen and a folded piece of paper - remember those?? Write a note that thanks him/her for giving his/her time and energy to your child. Say thank you for something that you know has had an impact on your child. And end it with your sincere wishes that the holiday break is well enjoyed, and let 'em know that you know it's well-deserved.