I was conceived and born in the late ‘60’s. You know the time. Hippies and free love. Woodstock (I secretly harbor some resentment toward my parents for not having the desire to attend) and Mama Cass.
I was a child in the 70’s which meant our parents weren’t neurotic. Or overprotective.
A bike ride didn’t come complete with a helmet and a mom following behind in her car. Half the time we didn’t even wear shoes, running the risk of scraping the tops of our feet on asphalt, practically exposing bone. Somehow, that injury never deterred us from continuing the practice.
If we wanted to go to a friend’s house that wasn’t within biking distance, we had to figure out how to get there. Like the remote control, “Mom’s Taxi” had yet to be discovered.
My mother had no idea where we were half the time. The general rule was to head home when the street lights came on. I mostly stuck to that rule although I do recall once breaking it. I never did that again because punishments were of the corporal kind and were not taken lightly.
Last week my daughter had the distinct pleasure of encountering a mother who actually apologized to her young child for embarrassing her by scolding her in public for looking under my daughter’s dressing room curtain.
And when I say “scold” I don’t mean a smack on the butt like I would have received had I done that. I mean a “oh honey you shouldn’t do that” kind of scolding.
Sorry, I’m veering off-topic.
Just going to the playground could have meant a death sentence.
Playgrounds came equipped with merry-go-rounds. If you didn’t hang on for dear life, you could be catapulted to a concussion. There was always a “Who Can Spin The Merry-Go-Round Faster?” competition. Extra points for every kid who got flung off.
Teeter-totters were based on the honor system. You relied on your partner to not jump ship. And if they did, it always resulted in a teeth-rattling landing.
Let’s not forget about the steel slides that could potentially give all exposed body parts — from your behind down — third degree burns.
We played on arsenic-treated wood and for sure did not have anything soft to land on when we fell. And falling was almost always certain. We went home with more bumps and bruises than Mohamed Ali after twelve rounds in the ring.
Even with the introduction of Atari and Pac-Man, we didn’t stay inside. Our mothers preferred us out-of-doors regardless of the weather. We were thrown out to the wolves, potential child abductors, and dangerous playground equipment. Left to our own devices to make good decisions.
We were surrounded by danger. And it was the best time ever. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. I feel a little sad for these kids today with their helicopter parents (guilty as charged) and cushioned playgrounds. They’ll never know what it’s like to live life on the edge.
Unless you count the times a storm knocked out their WiFi. In that case, never mind.
Purse. Pocketbook. Handbag. Satchel. Trash bag. There are many names for it. I guess it’s all in what you prefer. And perhaps your mood.
Men don’t feel the need to carry around items they most likely will not use during their time away from home. Does that mean they are smarter than us?
We’re just more prepared. Even though there’s a pretty fat chance I will not need that pair of earrings from the last wedding I attended in 2012.
I don’t even wear earrings so that one’s just as much a mystery to me as it is to you.
It’s not like we’re going camping. I don’t even like camping. So, why carry on with my day as if that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing? All it does is cause frustration and a bad neck.
Anyway, the contents of my purse have morphed over the years.
When I was a teenager in the 80’s this included a black eyeliner pencil, a BIC lighter to melt the black eyeliner pencil with, and the occasional maxi pad. Back then I was always caught off guard. Knowing when you would get your period came with the wisdom that age brings. And a certain number of ruined Jordache jeans.
There would be a roach clip, but don’t tell my parents. The buckle that fell off my beloved Chinese Slippers, a glass roller ball tube of Bonne Bell lipgloss — bubble gum flavored, of course. And a pack of Hubba Bubba.
I had the keys to my beat up Chevy Nova among the rubble, and a handwritten note that a friend passed to me during History class. Oh, and dimes in case I had to make a phone call from one of the many pay phones that hung in the lobby of my high school.
In my twenties, I graduated to tampons and finally learned to permanently leave them in my bag. My lip gloss was replaced by brown Revlon lipstick. A box of fruity Chiclet gum, quarters, a spare pair of L’eggs that came in a plastic egg would be in there. And keys to the Geo Storm that remarkably behaved like a lemon.
My thirties brought on Pampers, used breast pads, a rattle, and loose Cheerios. A flip phone, chapstick, my checkbook, and six month old receipts. Maxi pads as well as tampons (I don’t want to talk about it), and keys to both my house and my ever reliable and roomy Nissan Pathfinder.
Although you would no longer find Pampers or maxi pads in my bag when I was in my forties, you may have found a random Poise pad thrown in there. Girlfriends and wine suddenly had that effect on me. My flip phone was replaced by an iPhone. Water bottles, bobbie pins, sock glue, and the like for all the irish dance competitions The Kid was fond of dancing in.
A tin of Altoids, and stale gum that inevitably fell out of its wrappers and stuck to anything it came in contact with. Ruining perfectly good leather wallets and…ahem, Chapstick.
These days you will find Lysol wipes, masks, and hand sanitizer thanks to a little thing called a Pandemic. A wallet that is stuffed with more crap than I care to discuss. Yes, that includes an expired gift card from Chuck E. Cheese and my AARP card.
Tums, Advil, and Preparation H have replaced all beauty items. A bottle of Poo-Pourri, a notebook, chocolate kisses, toothpaste, and a pen can also be found. I keep the pen for when I need to jot down an idea I have. Also, to leave behind a note in case someone kidnaps me.
I can sit and wonder what I’ll carry in my next decade, but I’m going to take a quick guess and say it will probably be hard candy and Bingo cards.
I’ll get back to you on that in about six years. Whoa. Did I just say that out loud?
When I was in the throes of teenage-dom, you couldn’t pull the phone out of my hand without the assistance of a grizzly bear with a crowbar. This was during the hormone-induced-boy-crazed stage of my life where every ring of the telephone meant the difference between life and death. I’m sure I burned more calories running for that 1982 telephone than I do during HIIT class.
The rotary phone wasn’t easy to talk on either. Ours was stuck to a wall which was a challenge all on its own. The dial was what nightmares are made of, and the handset was attached to the base by a curly cord that would twist up into itself. Unless you took the time to unfurl it, the basic act of moving was a near impossibility.
But that curly, twisted-up, wired cord was my lifeline. And I was dead without it.
I got that cord so stretched out, I could practically talk in any room of our modest little home. My favorite was stretching it from the kitchen to across the hallway and into the only bathroom we had. I would lock myself in there and talk until a member of our five-person household was banging the door down.
I would talk for hours upon hours on that phone. So much so that my ear would sweat itself into hives. More often than not I would be interrupted by the sound of an operator coming onto the line with the news that my mother was trying to get through. Anything short of a natural disaster did not an emergency make.
I nearly died and went to heaven when the push button was invented. Then the party line became a thing where you could have three people on the phone at once. That right there was just short of orgasmic. To make things even better, the cordless came along and changed everything.
Of course, that was followed by the digital phone where you could actually see who was calling. I think they call it “Caller ID.” That was almost better than the invention of bread.
Obviously, the telephone has evolved over the years. Enough to want to make Alexander Graham Bell roll over in his grave.
What we didn’t see coming was the invention of the car phone. Everyone remembers their first. Mine was no lighter than a baby seal and came in an attractive case that resembled an oversized toiletry bag.
Now we have cell phones that are so small they fit in our back pocket, and are smarter than most people I know. They have the capability to contact someone without actually calling them, order dinner, book a vacation, count calories, teach CPR, and take better pictures than a Nikon camera.
These days you don’t even need a landline. The cellular phone has taken over.
Like the telephone, I too, have evolved.
I am no longer a fan of talking on the phone, unless it’s to my daughter, parents, or a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time. And even then it’s questionable.
I’m not really sure what happened. Perhaps it’s due to my overuse of the thing when I was fifteen and the novelty just wore off. Or it could just simply be because I’m sick of talking.
It sounds like an oxymoron of sorts allowing those words, “sick of talking” to pass my lips. If there is one thing I have a gift for, it’s the gab. Although, mostly that gift is put to use during a movie, long car rides, and inopportune times that have forced people to ask me to close my trap. Can you imagine?
Anyway, these days I prefer texting to calling. It’s more convenient, faster, and not such a time suck. Sure, I run the risk of misspelling a word or using the incorrect use of “your,” but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Even if it is blasphemy.
When I was a young girl, my mother taught me how to knit. Or she tried to. There’s only so much you can do when your daughter is a lefty and can’t do so much as wipe her own face with her right hand.
We got as far as the knit stitch. My mom had to cast on and off for every project I did. That is, if you want to call my fifteen 7″ x 1″ Barbie scarves a “project.”
I will say this though: My Barbies had the warmest necks this side of the Hudson.
But as quickly as my new hobby started, it stopped. That was it. Done by the tender age of ten.
Until I saw something on the inter-webs last October and decided it was time to revisit that old forty-year dead hobby of mine. Except I didn’t remember how. And even if I did, I would only be able to do the knit stitch.
I had a friend who I knew would be able to get me started. Also, I know you can learn how to do anything from building a car engine to how to clean your toilet with Coca-Cola on YouTube.
Long Live YouTube.
I called my mom who immediately packed up all her knitting accoutrements, from needles to patterns, and put them in the mail to me. I could almost hear her say, “Sucker!” Because what I was really doing was helping her clean out her junk room.
I’m on to you, mom.
Anyway, I was going to be THE knitting phenom. I was going to have this untapped talent. I would be able to make everything from blankets to sweaters with those little sheep patterns on them.
I’m not quite sure what gave me this impression. Maybe because I’m really good at coloring inside the lines. Or it could be because art class was one of the classes I didn’t cut in high school.
Who knows? But I was pretty sure I was going to be good. Even though I hadn’t held a pair of knitting needles in my hands since 1977.
It turns out I wasn’t a knitting phenom. It wasn’t a God-given talent. If that’s even a thing. But more on that in a minute.
So, what exactly gave me the inspiration, after nearly forty years, to pick up my (mom’s) knitting needles again?
It would be this:
It all started with an accidental peek at a chunky blanket I spied on Pinterest. Or Etsy. Okay, I’m not sure where I saw it. It just saw it. Somewhere. And “they” said it would only take 4-5 hours to make.
A piece of cake.
Like I said, I had an epiphany and was 110% sure I could do this and do this well.
Me. The girl who uses the side view mirror of her car to pick off random mailboxes. The girl who has more squirrels running around in her brain than all of the Connecticut backwoods combined.
Anyway, I just HAD to knit one for my daughter for Christmas, who happens to be away at college.
I thought she could snuggle and think of her dear mommy every time she used it.
Because that is precisely what eighteen year olds do. Right? Right?
That friend of mine cast on for me and taught me how to do the purl stitch. We started with thirty-two stitches. After three days, I managed to increase it to forty-one.
I don’t know so don’t ask.
After approximately seven rows in, I decided to rip it all out. Because chances are I would have increased in stitches even more and my blanket would resemble a trapezoid something or other (thank you, Google) then, well, a blanket.
Also, I kept forgetting if I was supposed to be purling or knitting. So in addition to it being asymmetrical, it would be bumpy too. You know, kind of like my middle aged body.
Two words: not pretty.
Now of course I could only rip it out to the cast-on row, that first row, because I didn’t know how to cast on (yeah, I know..YouTube. Well, I forgot to look. Squirrel).
Then I decided to completely change the pattern. By accident, of course. The actual only decision-making was the act of choosing to take this project on. The rest just had a mind of its own.
Somewhere in there, I realized I didn’t like the knitting needles I was using so I hit Amazon and got myself new ones. And then didn’t like them, so I went back to the originals.
So far I have increased stitches, ripped, changed the pattern by accident, and switched needles. Twice.
A blanket pattern that claimed it would only take a half day of daylight hours to knit was now my life’s job. And it took almost my whole life to make the thing. Okay, so two months.
Christmas was fast approaching and my anxiety level was increasing. Not to mention the tension in my shoulders and back. Where is it said knitting is therapeutic? Sure. If you like to be tortured. I know a bed made of nails that is more relaxing.
Anyway, after hours and many weeks, this is the finished product. I, at least owe you a good laugh:
So, have I hung up my knitting needles? No. Because practice makes perfect, right?
We’ll see because I’m making all my nieces and nephews who are having babies, a baby blanket. Whether they like it or not. I apologize in advance, but you know, I’m an expert.
Needless to say, we didn’t go to Fire Island. The idea of us walking in the dark in a place we’ve never been to didn’t really appeal to either of us. Lord knows I love food, but I didn’t need to work that hard for it. Ocean or not.
DH remembered a restaurant someone recommended…an over-priced italian place right on the sound. We decided that sounded like a nice place to celebrate our anniversary dinner, so he called to make a reservation.
Unfortunately, the only open spot was at eight, but at that point we were pretty happy with anything so we took it.
Since we had so much time to kill, we decided to go into town to see if we could find a cute place where we could have a cocktail on the sidewalk. Well, not ON the sidewalk exactly. That would be weird and probably illegal or something.
We quickly settled on a trendy little spot (with some tables outside) with THE BEST margarita with muddled cucumber. Don’t knock it ’till you try it. I raved so much about it, the server actually got the bartender to write down the recipe for me.
But I totally digressed there.
When the maitre de showed us our street-side table, I noticed a woman leaning over the fence/wall, right where we were going to sit. I maneuvered myself around her bobbing and weaving body and sat pretty much right under her. I didn’t ask her to move because I don’t like confrontation. I was fine with her hair hanging down into my plate. Really, I was.
At first I thought she had an impairment. A disability of some sort. But then the stench of alcohol permeating from her pores was so intense I almost didn’t have to order a drink because I was beginning to catch a buzz off her breath.
After about five minutes, the man she was with was able to finally pry her off the wall/fence and into a waiting car. Just in time too. My blood alcohol level had most likely reached .08%. And that was before I ordered a drink.
We slowly drank our cocktails, but somehow we still had some time to kill. We stopped into a liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine to share for a nightcap later on our private balcony, then ducked into a dollar store to purchase a couple of wine glasses, and headed off to dinner.
It was dark when we pulled into the parking lot, but the restaurant was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was beautiful. There was a wedding going on and the atmosphere was lively. The way I like it.
DH spoke to the hostess and explained it was our anniversary and asked for a table out on the back deck. We were led outside to a table “on the rail” except the rail was a solid concrete seawall that came to my neck.
I know there was salt water on the other side because we were told so. I just couldn’t see it. Unless I stood on tippy toe. Even then it was so dark out, I would not even have known there was water out there save for the working lighthouse a mile or two out.
DH ordered a beer, I the house wine. My wine tasted like swill. I had barium better than that. Somehow I was mistakenly under the impression that the house wine in a fancy italian restaurant would be good.
Not sure where I got that idea from.
For dinner, I had the clams as an appetizer and the spaghetti and meatballs as an entree. Simple, sure. But I wanted something comforting for some reason. Besides, we were in an italian restaurant. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to order?
Needless to say, half the clams wound up in my napkin. They were so chewy, if I didn’t actually take them from the shell myself, I would have thought I ordered cow balls.
And the meatballs? My Irish grandmother made better. I made better and I don’t even make meatballs. As for the sauce, I was pretty sure it was taken right out of Chef Boyardee’s kitchen.
Sorry, Chef B.
We had a nice time though. It’s about the company, not the meal. We laughed it off. Anyway, it seemed to be par for the course that weekend.
After we got back to the hotel, we uncorked our bottle and sat on our plastic adirondack chairs on our private terrace, and sipped wine out of our dollar store glasses while overlooking our little piece of water.
But it doesn’t end there.
On the other side of the shore, there was a building. We didn’t know what it was because it was dark, but we did see a couple of cars pull into the parking lot and turn off the headlights while their vehicles were still in motion.
We immediately went into Magnum PI mode. Trying to crack a crime that may or may not have been happening. A couple of dark figures got out of their cars and walked into the shadows. Was it a drug bust? Disposing of a body? A heist?
Most likely just a couple of kids sharing a joint, but it was fun to imagine something sinister.
Fast forward to the next morning (because you don’t need to know the in-between…wink wink). That long-awaited spa-like shower I was looking forward to taking was not to be.
The faucet was broken. The water temperature couldn’t be regulated nor would it turn off once it was turned on. The water was hot and getting hotter by the minute.
Well, there was always breakfast.
After we got dressed, we made our way down to the 5×6 foot lobby to eat.
On our way down, we saw a lady come out of the front door with a package of Pop Tarts. I turned and made a joke to DH about it.
When we entered and made our way to the “buffet,” we saw that our choices were stale bagels, three types of cereal, and frozen Leggo My Eggo waffles.
I was desperately searching for the Pop Tarts that suddenly didn’t seem so bad, but the early bird catches the worm, and I lost out.
I settled on the bagel and cranberry juice when what I really wanted was a diner and a stack of pancakes. DH had the same but with a cup of coffee.
We took our Top Shelf breakfast back up to our balcony. Across the way, where the night before the Crime of the Century was going down, we saw was actually a fire training center.
Yes, a building on “mock” fire with firemen trying to put it out with big hoses, and all the works. It was cool, but just the topper to the end of our weekend.
As we were leaving, DH told me how much he enjoyed our little room. Anyone who knows him, knows he is not a traveller and especially abhors hotels. His comment was worthy of a heart attack, but made me happy nonetheless.
Long of the short, but long story…I discovered that Long Island does not mean The Hamptons. After all that it was a great anniversary celebration, Hamptons or not.
When DH and I got married twenty-four years ago, we didn’t have a formal honeymoon. We couldn’t afford one because four months earlier we decided to spend the money we saved for our wedding as a down payment on a house.
Good idea? I think so. A house lasts way more than a five hour wedding and is the smartest thing a young couple can do, but I digress. (FYI – we were lucky because our parents helped foot the bill for the reception, which was awesome by the way)
In other words, we were house poor.
After the last guest left our wedding reception, DH looked over at me and said, “wanna go to Cape Cod for a few days? We can use some of our wedding money to pay for it.”
Of course, who am I to turn down a spontaneous vacation? I am not a planner by nature so this fit my personality to a “T.”
We didn’t have the internet to help us, so we basically got up the next day, threw a packed suitcase in the trunk of our car, and with map in hand, drove the three hours or so it took to get to the Cape. We hoped there would be hotels with vacancies. If not, there was always the car.
The first night we chose a sketchy looking “hotel” that was right off the main road on the Cape. It was one of those one-level motor inns. I’m sure our little stay didn’t cost more than $50.
The floor was uneven (when I say “uneven” I mean there should have been a railing installed on the wall to hold on to so guests wouldn’t run the risk of falling and injuring themselves), the bedding…umm, let’s just say the Red Light District has seen better linens. And I believe I saw a cockroach scurry across the bathroom floor.
We got better at choosing places to stay each evening during the week, with ants replacing cockroaches. And polyester blend replacing plain, old polyester.
We laughed it off and filed the experience away in our memory banks under “Shit Not To Do.”
This past weekend was our anniversary. DH wanted to look at a motorcycle that was for sale on Long Island so we decided to turn it into an impromptu weekend getaway. This time we had about forty-eight hours to (somewhat) plan it out.
Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. We couldn’t find a single hotel room anywhere.
Except one. And we soon understood why. Suddenly the memory of that first night on our honeymoon came rushing back (what good is a memory bank when you only deposit but never withdrawal).
When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the sign right away. It was a throw-back from another era.
Inside the tiny lobby, there were model cars of Thunderbirds and Corvettes. The furniture had a bit of an old, retro feel to it as well, and the clerk was dressed in a costume from the 1950s.
I looked at the girl and said, “oh, so this place is supposed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time on purpose.”
Except we suspected that perhaps it was just an excuse to not do any kind of renovation at all. You know, since 1956.
After we checked in, she informed us that breakfast was from 7-10am. Awesome. We asked where it would be served.
“Oh, here. In the lobby,” she replied.
DH and I looked behind us. “Umm, here?” Yes, here. There probably was enough room for approximately 4.5 people to stand comfortably in the lobby but whatever works.
After we made our way up the “rustic” (aka RUSTY) set of stairs that led to the upper balcony, we located the door to our room and opened it with a real key.
The room was a bit old all right but no “retro” furniture to be found. Our suspicions were starting to prove correct.
Aside from the peeling paint on the wall and broken lampshades hanging above the bed, the sink in the bathroom was clogged and water stood to the rim.
DH called the nice 1950’s lady and she apologized and ran a new key up to us for the room two doors down.
Room #2 wasn’t perfect either, but surprisingly it smelled clean. And it was a place to lay our head for the night. This time around we were too old to have the option of sleeping in the car. So, it would have to do.
I walked over to the window to check out the view of the parking lot, and noticed two tiny ants crawling around on the sill. I gave them a little smack and decided I would keep that little tidbit under my hat. No need to upset the mister.
“What did you just hit?” he asked.
“Oh, nothing really. Just a little ant.”
That little ant turned into about 300 within five nanoseconds. Apparently I disturbed the nest when I tried to kill their brother.
Without giving it a second thought, we picked up our bags and headed for the lobby. When the 1950s girl saw us, she took a deep breath and said, “oh no, what’s the matter now?”
While I try to wrap my head around the news of your retirement, while I let it sit and I become used to the notion, I think of how much you have impacted my child’s life these past 12 years.
I know I’m not a hardcore dance mom. I can’t tell you the difference between a horn pipe and a slip jig (just kidding…one is heavy shoe and one is light, umm, right?). I couldn’t name many of the judges and didn’t even know there was an online irish dance forum until 2013 (that’s an exaggeration…it was 2011). But I do know what I know, and that is you have had a tremendous effect on our child’s life.
You were such a huge part of her childhood. You helped raise her. She is the person she is because of you. You have taught her so much in the years she has been under your wing. I can’t thank you enough for giving such a huge part of your life to make such a difference in her life.
We chose you, not only because you are amazing teachers, but amazing men. You are strong in character and superb role models. The manner in which you have conducted yourselves the past few years, most especially this past year, speaks volumes of who you are. I couldn’t be more proud to call you my child’s dance teachers. You have taught her to rise above, to always be kind, while others were less than so.
So, here we are, just days after your announcement and I wanted you to know what you have done for our child.
You have given her confidence and courage. Taught her about teamwork and commitment. You have introduced her to lifelong friends. Taught her about disappointment and how to pick herself up and dust herself off.
You have given her the gift of true sportsmanship and compassion. You have taught her how to take care of herself, be passionate and disciplined. You have shown her respect and how to respect. She has learned how to push herself to her limit, to persevere, and not give up.
All of these things, and more, are skills she will take with her throughout her lifetime. The memories you helped to create will be told time and time again to her own children (Future Irish Dancers of America?).
I cannot begin to make you understand how much we will miss having you so close within our lives. I will think of you often when she competes, dances across the kitchen floor and ties up her ghillies. You will always have a special place in all of our hearts.
Please enjoy the next phase of your lives, and always remember the lives you have touched during your long, wonderful career. You should be very proud. We love you.
I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”
So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.
Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.
I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.
I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.
I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.
And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.
But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.
I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.
I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.
But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.
Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.
I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?
Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?
Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.
But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.
I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets. We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.
I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.
The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.
Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.
I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.
I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.
Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.
I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.
Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.
September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.
I want to apologize for not really being around. Besides my little Jeter post the other day, I’ve been out of commission. I’m not sure most of you know what happened. I talked about it on my Facebook page but I know not all of you follow me there.
The Kid was struck by a car a couple of weeks ago. She’s okay now. We had a scary night in ICU where I lost 20 years off my life, but she is a miracle really and is doing really, really great. So, now it’s back to normal. It’s good to be back.
I was reminded of a story from a very good friend of mine. This friend has been in my life since 1979. Probably the one person, besides my family, who I have known the longest.
As you know, I was supposed to be on the Dr. Oz show. I commented on my Facebook page about how I was going to pee my pants because I was so nervous. This has nothing to do with anything about what I am going to talk about, but since when do I not get off topic at least once during a post?
I never made it to the Dr. Oz show because the accident happened the night before. I know, tough decision. The Kid or Dr. Oz. Hmm. I mean I was in the city anyway. I’m kidding people.
So, getting back to my pee story from my youth. I have several pee stories but this one is particularly funny.
I was about 15 years old. I was hanging out with my oldest friend when her mom offered to take us to the local high school parking lot to let us practice driving. Yes, we were underage and without a permit but I think because of statute of limitations or something, all involved are protected.
My dear, oldest friend was a terrible driver (sorry J, but you did fail your driver’s test, remember? Was it twice? Hmm?). I was in the back seat, J and her mother were in front. Driving with J was like being on one of those bucking bronco guys set on the highest setting. I was being thrown all over the backseat (yes, this was also before seat belts were a big deal. And yes, I’m that old).
I tried so hard to hold it in, but I just couldn’t. I never laughed so hard. Okay, so that’s a lie. I have laughed as hard and peed too. Because I have a problem. And the problem has gotten worse since I bore my child because we all know what children do to our bodies.
Anyway, I let it out. All of it. All over the vinyl seat. But I didn’t worry. I knew it would dry up nice since it was vinyl. No one would notice. Except it was my turn to drive. When I got out and J’s mom climbed into the backseat so me and Jen could be up front, she saw it.
And gave out an, “Oh Mo! Not again!” Yes, again. I had done this before on her dining room chair, in her yard, on the floor. My friend J has this ability to make me laugh hard. Even now I have to strap on a Depends if I’m going to see her. Her laugh alone makes me lose it.
So yes, I have a problem. And I have many, many more stories just like that one. So please. If you are going to plan on being funny and making me laugh, just warn me ahead of time so I’m prepared. I should probably just start carrying around a diaper bag. Should I have it monogramed?
As far as my friend J is concerned? I hope you all have a J in your life. J’s are awesome. Love you girl.
I was taught how to type in the 80s. You know, when they had special classes just for typing. And you sat at a desk that had a real, live, actual typewriter. Not one of those things with the autocorrect built in where if you pushed some button it would go and correct your mistake. You know, the kind that had the little tiny computer screen above the keyboard. The typewriter I was taught on was the kind where you used carbon paper to correct your mistakes. The kind with the big handle at the end of the carriage called the RETURN that you manually, with your hand, pushed over when it dinged to tell you that you were at the end of the line. THAT kind.
This said class was taught by an old lady (love you Mrs. Darling even though you are dead now — RIP) who would walk around with a ruler and smack the back of your hand if you so much as peeked at your fingers. Peeked, I tell you. Just so you know, I never got smacked because I never peeked. Because I was a damn good typist and was a natural. I really was. In the day, 95 WPM was my time. I said, in the day.
Anyway, I was also taught to double space after a sentence. You know, make two spaces after a period. One, two. Well, it seems that the rule has changed. Somewhere, somehow, it changed. The rule now is that it is only necessary to type one space after the end of a sentence.
How do I know? For starters, The Kid has been yelling at me about it for about 2 years. For some reason, it drives her bat-shit crazy when she sees me type and I put in a double space after the period. “It’s not necessary, mom. Why do you even do that? It’s so weird.”
Of course, I completely ignore her and tell her she knows nothing and to carry on with her day. Then last week I was looking to enter a short story I wrote into a writing contest. Guess what one of the rules was? You got it. Single space only after a sentence please. Hmm.
Then, the other day, another blogger shared a post that yet another blogger published. This dude talked about the sin of the double space after a sentence and how it should absolutely, positively NOT be done. In fact, he went on to say that people who use them “are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste.” Ouch. That’s a bit rough, wouldn’t you say? Geez, man. I only put in an extra space after a sentence. I didn’t walk down 5th Avenue in cut-off, white-washed denim shorts, spitting chew on the sidewalk while hacking a loogie. Dang. Can you even spit out chew and hack a loogie at the same time? I wonder…
So, who says this? Apparently, Typographers do. A typographer? Holy cow, what is a Typographer exactly? I never even knew such a profession existed. I suppose there is something for everything. (If you are just absolutely dying to see this guy’s post, you may do so here.)
I’m not going without kicking and screaming though. Do you see how many spaces I’ve been including after each sentence in this post? That’s because I have been doing this for 30 years. How the hell am I supposed to just suddenly stop my thumbs from hitting the space bar twice after that’s all I’ve ever known. It’s like chewing with my butt. Impossible.
Oh well, I guess I’m classless and lack education. Whatever. I’ve been called worse. space space. You know?