Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mind is a Terrible Thing (Or How I Waste Mine)

"You would run much slower if you were dragging something behind you, like a knapsack or a sheriff." - Lemony Snicket

I get SO CAUGHT UP in stuff sometimes. There was a point in my life (in the, admittedly, not-too-distant past), when I had to stop playing computer Solitaire. It wasn't that I LOVED Solitaire so much that I was addicted to it. It was more that every time I played I got lost in my own world. 
Yes, she is absolutely nuts...

I would create this whole storyline in my head where someone (usually a king or a Jack...but every now and again it would be a queen) would turn against the kingdom and would exact painful torture methods against the other cards. Or sometimes, it would be a war they were plotting (clubs and spades vs. hearts and diamonds). There were villains and heroes. There were innocent bystanders and ne'er-do-wells. The weird part is that I would do it completely unknowingly and would basically "come to" an hour or so later after some emotionally wrenching scene I concocted on the screen and in my head. (I have no idea what's wrong with just don't ask.) 

Anyway, I had to stop playing Solitaire because I would not only lose time but I really started CARING about all those weird little people I was fantasizing about in my head. I figured if I stopped playing Solitaire the creativity in my brain would seep out into my life. No such luck.

No worries, though: I have a NEW OBJECT OF FASCINATION. He doesn't know it. But I think about him ALL THE TIME.

So, about 4 or 5 years ago, this guy started running from my neighborhood. Literally. He ran away from my neighborhood daily.  And this guy is not your typical runner guy. He wears a baseball cap. And camo shorts. And, over the years, his red hair has gotten longer. He is my own personal Forest Gump because, and here's the kicker: I imagine that he runs all the time.

I see him at different stages of his run. Sometimes he's on this road. Sometimes, he's on that road. His speed never seems to vary and his outfit never changes. But his hair grows longer. He wears it in a pony tail now.

So, I pass him. In my car. And I fight (truly, I FIGHT IT) the urge to pull over and start talking to him. 

"Hey, Running Guy," I imagine myself saying. "Why do you wear camo shorts? Are you hiding from the law? What are you running from? What do you think about on all these long miles logged in your Nikes? Running Guy, do you hold the secret to life?"

I have several different life-scenarios for Running Guy. In one, he's lost his entire family in the Plague of 2008 and he runs to escape the pain and to connect with his young son whose only joy had been to run like the wind blows. In another, he's running because if he stops he is sure to pick up the crack pipe again...the addiction that cost him his shot in the FBI...

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Some people have over active bladders. I have an overactive imagination. I don't think Pfizer makes enough drugs to help me. All I can do is sit...and think...and hope that the Running Guy stops running before I become a verified stalker. 

Do you get all caught up in weird things that you (seemingly) have no control over? How do YOU handle yourself? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Confessions of a Divorced Mom

“Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy's staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”
― Jennifer Weiner

Things 1 and 2 on a Great NYC Adventure...WITH mom
After work today, I headed out into the world to run a few errands.  I perused the fancy dogwear aisle at PetsMart.  (No, I did NOT purchase anything for either hound but I did see someone who HAD to be a stripper with a tiny purse dog with a zebra-print-pink-tulle-fringe tutu.  The dog had the tutu, not the stripper.  Although I could totally visualize the tutu on the stripper.  But I digress.)  Then I hit up Costco and stood there for at LEAST 5 minutes trying to determine if the backpack lounge chair was a Nice or Necessary purchase (I opted for Nice and left without it).

Then I came home to a childless house, said hello to the mongrels and headed upstairs to take a long, hot shower at the end of a long day.

As I sit here, the only sound I hear is the dishwasher running in the kitchen and the sound of paws on the hardwood floor.

I have a secret.  It's a secret that sometimes we divorced parents talk about in giggles and whispers. We know that married (never divorced) parents have NO IDEA about this secret.  We know that those parents often feel really sorry for US.  And we know they feel sorry for our kids.  It's a BIG secret.  And I MAY be kicked out of the Happy Divorced Parents Club for telling it.  But I feel like it's something that should get out:   

sometimes, being a divorced parent is a FABULOUS THING.  

(In fairness, I have to add a caveat:  being a divorced parent can be a truly wonderful thing IF you have an Ex Spouse, as I do, who actively participates in your children's lives.  I do know several [too many] divorced parents who are the ONLY parent.  THAT kind of divorced parenting truly SUCKS. It sucks on a variety of levels...not the least of which is watching the heartbreak in your children on a daily basis.  But, again, I digress.  Let's get back to the FUN of it.)

OK, I realize I can't tell my kids about how awesome it can be to have the house ALL TO MYSELF.  I don't want them to know that sometimes I spend entire Saturdays in my jammies eating guacamole with rice crackers while binging on episodes of The Walking Dead.  I don't think they need to find out that I dance (really dance) in my living room to old Brittany Spears jams (OK, no one needs to know that.  Fortunately, only, like, four people read my blog.  Hi Mom!).

When the kids are with their other Very Involved Parent, I get to just  I get to be the person that I am when all my guards are down and I don't have to put on a happy face or a serious face or a grown-up face or an "I'm listening" face for anyone.  I can wear my Ho Ho Ho fleece pajamas in March (like I would do that) and I can drink too much wine before bed because I don't have anyone to answer to or anyone to supervise.

I adore my kids.  I do.  I love them with every breath in my body and would lay down my life for them in a burning pit of flaming lizards every day if I had to.  But, I have to tell you, I don't always love being a parent.  It's a welcome respite to not have to play referee, understanding listener, stern disciplinarian, knowledgeable teacher or to just hear the word, "Mom."  Sometimes, I cringe when I hear that word.  I really do.  And I know that I am blessed in this life to have these amazing kids.  And I know that sometimes people don't get this chance.  I know all that. 

But, good golly, sometimes I truly do love the break.  Is it selfish?  Wildly.  Do I care?  Not so much right this moment.  I am not, by any stretch, a nurturing person.  Being a parent takes a lot of focus, extraordinary effort and a willingness to devour parenting books and articles by the truckload.  I'm not a natural.  And I get tired.  And my kids are EASY, for the most part.

Sometimes, not ALWAYS, but's just nice to be left alone.  To be alone.  It's just...nice.  (Don't ever tell my kids I said that...I'll tell them you are LYING.)

My life is good.  I realized tonight when I was putting away the groceries that I have made it.  I am living in the NOW.  I am happy.  I am...complete.  I don't know how I got here but I know the road was long. Happy to be back in the rockin' chair...if only for a moment.  I hope you're well and happy and emotionally adjusted in your own right.

Now, where is that wine??

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