The one with the regret

The one with the regret

I’m not the kind of person who typically regrets anything. I have a huge parenting regret though, and I didn’t even realize it until this weekend.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 13 years old. That’s just over a quarter of a century dealing with an eating disorder for those of you who know me and are doing the math. I WISH I was as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat. Mother eff…I REALLY wish I was as fat as I was when I was when I was 3 months in to post baby, depression fueled anorexia. If you know me now, you’ll see that I CLEARLY beat anorexia though. I mean, I’m not morbidly obese or anything (even if that’s what I see in the mirror…thanks to the eating disorder brain), but my body definitely says “loves tacos and tequila…and all the rest of the food.”

Here’s where this leads to the regret. I think it must be a universal thing that kids love the water. I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love to swim, slip-n-slide, run through sprinklers, or anything that involves a swimming suit and water. I live by some amazing lakes, we can swim in the river, and we have a pretty kick ass rec center pool. Do you want to know how many times I put on a swimming suit and took advantage of any of those experiences with my kid? Aside from a year or so where I had someone in my life who was seeing me naked on the regular, so it didn’t really matter how fat I thought I looked in a swimming suit at the lake with him and the kids (his and mine, not ours), I can count them on one hand. That’s not to say my kid was totally deprived of all water experiences. I just didn’t experience them with him. I sat on the sidelines, like so many other moms, terrified of what people would think of me if I just put on the damn bathing suit and joined my kid in the water.

This weekend, my best friend brought his kids to the tiny town I live in. They stayed at a hotel, partly so they had their own space with no questions back home as to the sleeping arrangements at my place, and partly because it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a toddler in my house, and it is NOT a toddler friendly place. (That, and I don’t have TV, so I needed something to help with the cool factor that I would have otherwise been COMPLETELY lacking…) Of course, since there are no Hilton properties in my town, and I refuse to willingly spend any of my money on any Marriott property ever, I just picked the nicer of the 2 hotels near my house, and made sure the pool was in working order before I made reservations for them.

Because this friend is one of the few people in the world I feel 100% comfortable around, you can bet I joined them in the pool, and you know what? Those kids didn’t care one bit that I am without a doubt packing around a few thousand (slight exaggeration) extra pounds. They didn’t care that once my top was wet, it clung painfully and uncomfortably close to my food baby. (Alright, alright…it wasn’t PHYSICALLY painful and uncomfortable….but you guys…I have an eating disorder brain, and the mental struggle was real.) You know what they did care about? They cared that I could balance on one foot, while the 9-year-old stood on my thigh, counting to 3 before I pushed him as high as possible out of the water so he could come crashing back down in to it for maximum splashing. They cared that I could lift the 3-year-old out of the water and on to the side so he could jump back in to me, and make sure I kept his head out of the water over, and over, and over again. They cared that I could do that for 2 solid hours, two different times that day. ALL they cared about was that there was someone there, playing with them, in the freaking water. The sheer joy was infectious. I haven’t had so much fun in the town where I live in YEARS.

I missed out on the one and only chance I had to experience things like this with my own kid. I missed out on that kind of pure joy because I was too damn worried about what other people would think if they saw me in a swimming suit, and after this weekend, I regret the hell out of that.  It’s one of the few things I’d change if I could rewind and try again. So learn from me being soooooo incredibly stupid, and just put on the damn swimming suit and play in the water with those tiny humans of yours. They’ll never forget it, and either will you.

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Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

I had quite the text message exchange with a friend who was looking for some dating advice today. It went a little like this:

Friend: Hey, I met this guy. He seems pretty cool and he wants me to go to a football game with him this weekend.
Me: Not that it matters, but met him, met him or Tinder met him?
Friend: Tinder met him.
Me: Tell me more about the football game?
Friend: It’s the one in Salt Lake.
Me: Ahh…So he wants to take you to the Utes game at Rice Eccles tomorrow?
Friend: Yeah. That’s the one. He said he has tickets on like the 50 yard line. Are those good? I just don’t know if I WANT to go to the football game.
Me: *in complete disbelief of that luck* Where exactly on the 50 yard line?
Friend: Like the 5th row or something.
Me: 5th row down from the top, or up from the field?
Friend: Up from the field. Why, are those good tickets?
Me: Why exactly do you not want to go to the game?
Friend: I just don’t know if I like him enough to spend the time tailgating and at the game with him.
Me: What about him do you not like enough to spend that kind of time with him?
Friend: Well….he’s really fun to talk to, and I know it sounds shallow, but I don’t really think he’s all that cute.
Me: As shallow as it sounds, with tickets like that at Rice Eccles, he doesn’t have to be. Besides, you swiped right, and didn’t un-match with him, so there’s that.
Friend: I don’t know why I ask you for dating advice.
Me: Either do I. Go to the game.
Friend: What if I REALLY can’t stand him after the tailgating? Can I just leave then?
Me: No. But you can change in to purple and cheer for UW, thank him for the freaking amazing ticket to the game, and tell him you have a friend with much better taste if he needs someone to go to the USC or Oregon games with him.
Friend: You suck.
Me: Not for free 😉
Friend: I should have known you’d say that. I’ll snap you from the game.

This is why you don’t ask your smart ass single friend for dating advice. Or maybe any advice really….

Eight years ago today

Eight years ago today

It was 8 years ago today, I know because Facebook memories told me so, that I took my kid, and the girl who I had spent the previous 7 years as her “other mother” (a name given to me by her own amazing mother) to a music festival 3 hours away. It was Friday during the first week of school, and I picked them both up as soon as it was over and we took off to a town 3 hours away so my kid could see the band he wanted to see the most, Finger Eleven. I was the meanest mom in the world for not letting him skip the 3rd day of school so he could make sure he saw all of his favorite band, but that was quickly forgotten as soon as we arrived at the festival, and again when we went back for the second day.

Not that it had anything to do with the music festival, but that was also probably the last year that my kid didn’t actually hate me. I don’t mean the “You won’t let me play with my friend, you’re making me do homework, I can’t have McDonald’s for dinner for the 4th time this week,” I hate you either. The kind of I hate you that I was getting thrown at me was the “It’s your fault I don’t have a dad at home, or someone who wants to be my dad, because nobody can stand to be around you, you never do anything for me, I’m practically raising myself because you’re always at work, it’s your fault I am not doing well in school, we never do anything fun,” kind of hate. You know, the mean, spiteful kind of hate. The punching holes in my walls, breaking everything in the house, underage smoking and drinking, kind of hate. It’s the kind of hate that has left me crying in the shower on more occasions that I will ever admit, wondering where I went so horribly wrong as a parent.

This weekend, I had the chance to talk to another friend of mine, and was completely blown away when I heard that they were having similar problems with their oldest. I listened for 3 hours as this person told me about all of the problems and trials they were having with one of their children, even though the family background couldn’t possibly be more of a polar opposite to the family background at my house. This child was raised in a 2 parent, affluent household, with FAR more conveniences than my kid had, and with the added benefit of one parent working, and the other at home, able to be there for the children at any given time of any given day. This family shouldn’t be having the same problems with their kid as I am with mine. It just doesn’t make sense…at all, right?!

Towards the end of this 3 hour conversation, I realized that we had so much more in common than I ever thought we could. Both of us felt like we had failed at some point as a parent, and couldn’t for the life of us figure out where we went wrong. Both of us saw our value as a person tied directly to how these humans we had raised turned out as adults, and as the conversation wrapped up, we realized we had BOTH come to the conclusion (her through professional counselling and me through boozy conversations with my best friends) that we both gave our children all of the tools we possibly could to be decent humans. They were loved. They had all of their necessities taken care of. They each had plenty of opportunities for the fun extras. They were safe. They had seen first hand how they SHOULD treat other people for their entire lives. How they chose to use these tools was not a reflection on how they were raised, rather it was a reflection of who they were choosing to be, no matter how heartbreaking it was as a parent to watch them turn in to little assholes who didn’t care about anyone but themselves.

So be kind to people you meet; you never know who’s raising teenagers, and in the stolen words of one of the coolest people I’ve met this year, “Hug your people y’all.” (Seriously though, those people raising teenagers who are being assholes for no apparent reason definitely need your hugs.)

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The one where Hell ALMOST froze over….but not really

The one where Hell ALMOST froze over….but not really

There was a conversation in my office the other day about how Millennials take longer than previous generations to accomplish major life milestones. For instance, they’re waiting longer to get married, have children, buy homes, that sort of thing. The argument was that Millennials are spending more time and placing more value on education than previous generations, and while that may be true, I think it has more to do with the fact that getting married, having children, and buying a home cost so much more freaking money than they did in previous generations.

When I interrupted the conversation to point out that the Milllenial making these observations was married before he could even legally purchase alcohol, I was countered with “Well how old were you the first time someone proposed to you?” First things first….I am not a Millennial, and secondly, technically…I was last month years old, which is still WAY past when Millennials are typically getting married.

A few months ago, some incredibly intelligent, college educated professionals asked me to take part in a little project with them. Of course I was happy to join the cool kids, because this sort of thing was definitely my cup of tea. Why they thought I was even on the same level as them was completely baffling, but hey, it was a chance to hang with the cool kids, who for some reason thought I had something to offer in this project.

Fast forward to the end of our project. We were all at dinner last month when we realized that the results for this shindig were still far from being complete, and the restaurant closed 30 minutes ago, so we moved our little soiree to the hotel lobby. As it got later, we were all sitting around on our phones when out of the blue this happened:

Party A: Hey, if “highly improbable result” happens, we are getting married. Like tonight.
Me (in my head): Well…we are in a hotel. Maybe we should test drive the car first.
Me (out loud): OK! Twist my rubber arm.
Party A: laughs
Party B: I get to be the best man!!
Party C: I guess that makes me the maid of honor.
All: laughter all around

Obviously it’s too hot in Utah in the summer for Hell to freeze over, which is an event that’s almost certain to happen before I get married, so that shotgun wedding was out of the question. I mean there was also the fact that the highly improbable result we were looking for didn’t happen either, so Party A dodged a bullet, although if Party C has any say in the matter, not permanently…

“You need to reduce the stress in your life”

“You need to reduce the stress in your life”

My eye has been twitching for the better part of the last week. It’s been driving me absolutely insane, so I called my doctor to chat about it. After a brief conversation, he told me I need to start killing the stupid people and get massages on the regular. I mean, his exact words were “reduce the stress in your life” but I think we all know what he really meant by that.

I told him there were 3 ways I could see to reduce the stress in my life right now. One of them would be to quit my career and just focus on the morning job, which isn’t possible because then I pick up the super fun “I can’t pay my own bills” stress. And of the other two, one of them is illegal in this state, and the other is a bit immoral (this part isn’t the problem) and requires a willing second party (but this part is), so both of those options are out the window too. He laughed, I laughed, and then he offered to refill my xanax prescription so I can at least shut my brain down enough to go to sleep at night, because he correctly assumed that I am also not sleeping.

This is why I can’t change doctors…like ever….because this one gets what I need before I have to ask for it. And because next time I see him, he’ll probably jokingly ask if my method of relieving stress required a decent defense attorney that he may need to forward my medical records to.

So you think want an independent woman?

So you think want an independent woman?

“I just want a woman who can take care of herself. I don’t want someone who needs rescued. If she can take care of her own shit, we’re going to get along fine.”

Doesn’t that just sound great? First of all, to clarify, I do not want a woman, independent or otherwise. It’s cool if you’re a girl and that’s what you want, but I don’t. That “I want an independent woman” thing, that’s just something I hear…a lot….from people who really don’t know what the hell they want, but they know THAT sounds good.

I may have lost a friend over this a few weeks ago. I mean, they’ll probably get over their hurt feelings and be just fine, but who knows. Sometimes hearing the truth is just a little painful. Still, I was at brunch with a friend a few weeks ago. We were commiserating over how stupid dating is lately, and how it’s a giant pain, because really, once you focus on actually dating, instead of just meeting cool people and letting things happen if they’re going to happen without stressing over defining the “relationship”, dating is a giant joke anymore. Anyway, this friend told me “I don’t know why it’s so hard to find a girl who isn’t just looking for a paycheck. I feel like everyone I’ve met is just looking for someone to rescue them. Like they don’t know how to function on their own, so they need someone else there to fix everything for them.”

Dumbfounded, I looked at him and asked him to elaborate further. He said “The last girl I dated just always needed something. She never tried to pay for anything. She was always on the verge of having her phone shut off, needed help with daycare, was having car problems, you name it. I just felt like I was there to pay for EVERYTHING.”

Ok, fair enough. I would feel like that too. But then I asked him why we don’t hang out more often, and he said “We get along great, but you are ALWAYS at work, or out of town, or volunteering somewhere. It’s hard to make our schedules work out. I can’t just call you one day and say ‘Hey, let’s grab dinner’ and have you be able to do it.”

“Do you realize how absolutely stupid that sounds,” I asked him. “Seriously though, can you just sit and reflect on that? First of all, there are PLENTY of times when I can just drop everything and grab dinner, or lunch, or whatever, but you’ve got to be worth the time it takes to do that, because when I do, I’ve got to rearrange my schedule to fit this stuff in somewhere else, and usually, unless you’re already a good friend, one of the best bitches, my kid, or you’re incredibly hot and way out of my league, you’ve not really done anything to be worth the effort it takes to shuffle things around with no notice.”

He looked at me and responded “It’s just so hard, you know. When I’m on days off, I just want to be able to do things spontaneously. You’re a good friend, so I don’t care if it takes a while to hang out with you, but if I’m dating someone I want to be able to just take off and do something. I don’t want to have to jump through hoops to find a day or time that works.”

Cool. Here’s your problem though: you can either have a girl (I mean, this is the same for guys too) who can drop everything and do whatever you want whenever you want her to be able to do it, and you’re probably going to have to pay for a disproportionate amount of things, or deal with her drama, or any of the plethora of “problems” that one runs in to with people who can’t handle their own life OR you can have a girl who can handle her own shit, but you have to put forth a little effort when you want to do something with her, because she’s busy…handling her own shit. You don’t get to have it both ways, because not everyone can find their trust fund honey who has the ability to take care of themselves AND never have to work. There’s just not enough of those to go around, so before you say “I just want a woman who can take care of herself,” realize that this means you’re not going to be her number 1 priority; she’s already given that position to herself.

I don’t know how you do it

I don’t know how you do it

This morning, I received a text from a friend that read “Good morning beautiful friend.  THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY! I don’t know if I have ever been so thankful. Holy crap… I almost could not get out of bed this morning. I cannot wait to sleep in tomorrow. I don’t know how you do it…”

The “it” she is referring to would be the working 6 days a week, with at least 3 of those being days when I leave for work at 5:30am and get home from work at 9pm, only to wake up and do it all over again. The “short days” are still rarely less than 10 hours, and she doesn’t even know about the fun new trick my body likes to play on me where it wakes up at 3am and then finally lets the anxiety ease around 4, just so I can wake up again at 5 to do it all again. Sounds fun doesn’t it?

There once was a time when I could sleep in on the weekends, but now I wake up at old person o’clock, so that’s pretty much shot too. In all honesty, I’m beginning to understand why my paternal grandparents used to wake up at 5am, have coffee on the porch, and then switch to vodka and water by 10am, with the vodka content consistently getting higher until they went to bed at 6:30pm or so, only to repeat the process the next day. Some days this sounds all too appealing, minus the cigarettes they chain smoked of course. Some days, I wonder why they didn’t just start with whiskey in their coffee before they moved on to the vodka. It would have saved them the horrid taste of Las Vegas water.

Anyway, I digress. We’ve had this conversation several times, my friend and I, and she usually ends it with “You are a total bad ass.” Then I say it’s not true, and she points out how I manage to juggle 2 jobs, the kid (not so much anymore, since he’s couch surfing with friends, but for the 19 years leading up to that…yeah), several different organizations that I volunteer with, and how I somehow still end up finding time to help people out when they need it.

Still, I don’t feel like a bad ass in the least, so I’m glad from the outside looking in, it appears that way, but the truth is, I’m just doing whatever it takes to survive. Someone once told me “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Welcome to my life.

In the same conversation, she told me I should make a move on 2 of the guys she thinks are interested in me. I’m sure they’re NOT, but it’s flattering that she thinks I’m even on the same level as either one of these guys. Actually the exact words of the text were “Marry the hot doctor or lawyer who are checking you out.” And why was this completely unpractical, never going to happen but God bless her for thinking it’s a possibility, fairy tale advice sent? Because in response to her telling me I was a true bad ass, I said “I’m just surviving is all. I’ve spent 2 straight decades in fight or flight mode. I’m tired of it, but I don’t know how to get out of it either.”