My Shitty Husband

I didn’t realize it was my (former?) anniversary until I saw it on Facebook. “Three years ago today . . .” it said. And there was a picture of so many of us, my people, huddled together in and around and on top of the outhouse that my then fiancé carefully crafted so that it would be useful at camp after we used it as a photo booth.

IMG_5898

I couldn’t find him in the picture.

I thought the hard part of divorce was the decision. I remember a nearly full year of agonizing and crying and mourning. Of walking through every possible scenario to save whatever was left. Then one day, I wasn’t mourning anymore. I was done crying and done hypothesizing; the unraveling of our union proceeded with remarkable ease.

But here I am, five months later, and I realize that the hard part is NOW.

The hard part is when you miss your really shitty husband.

The hard part is when you have cramps like Vesuvius and your kid is surly and you think you’ve failed at raising him AND the fucking dishes never end, man. Never end. You just want to read your book, walk the dog, go to fucking yoga, man. You realize that there is no one else to make the coffee, and no matter how shitty a person is, if they bring you coffee in the morning? You remember what that feels like. You still wake up some days and roll over, thinking that a hot cup of coffee will be right beside you.

Even when your shitty spouse seems to do nothing more than make life difficult, there is someone there to yell at. Someone who, for better or worse, knows the only way to stop the tears, catch your breath.

Our life together was not healthy or fun, and the rare good times were too far apart to even create the illusion of happiness. But he was . . . there. Even if the burden of home fell on me, there was another human around. In Case of Emergency.

As a teacher, I spend the end of August and beginning of September coiling, coiling, coiling so tightly that I actively fear the release. I know that something is next, but I’m never quite sure what. It could be a weekend of sleeping, a thrown coffee mug, or a midnight drive. But usually, it’s just a couple of hours of uncontrollable sobbing. (I blame society, not nature, for the record.)

Maladaptive, yes, but there are few people in the universe, who can both push you over the edge and soften your fall. My shitty husband could do both.

 

And I miss him this week.

Recipe for Numbered Days

Wake early. Make coffee. Notice the sunlight warming your shoulders through the kitchen window.

Choose one album whose story you can follow as you putter: cook, start laundry, find a million dirty cups. Press play. Feel your shoulders, hips, stockinged feet begin to move.

Pull your snarled hair up and secure. Smile at your reflection – a slash of white, earned, you have no intention of coloring.

Turn on the oven. Peel strips of bacon and layer them on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven and forget about them. Heat two cast iron skillets on the stove. Ease the pages of your red, Betty Crocker cookbook binder open; they are stuck together with drops buttermilk, smears of eggy fingers, years-old flour dust.

Triple the recipe:

1 = 3 eggs + one for good measure

1 c. flour = 3

1 c. buttermilk = 3

1 c. blueberries = entire bag

and so on.

wash – crack – sing – stir – sizzle – flip 

Eat pancakes over the stove. Ignore the hot blueberries burn your tongue. To feed the masses, you must first feed yourself.

Drink your coffee while you listen to the last song of the album. Realize that this moment is the first song in yours.

Wake the one, two, three, four teenaged boys inhabiting your house – one yours, three borrowed. Listen to the thud of elephant steps on the stairs, laughter, guitars.

Revel in your status as ‘that house’ and realize ‘that mom’ always has to do a fuck ton of dishes.

Let the boys – paradoxes all of them – scruffy and smelly and intelligent and articulate and infinitely scatalogical – commandeer the music. Cock your head and really listen to the clarinet solo. Be impressed.

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Watch the food disappear.

Send them outside. “Pitter patter, boys. Go make music.”

Pour another cup of coffee. Sit on the front steps.

Look. Listen. Feel. Remember.

 

xoxo

Heather

 

Thursday

And if I loved you Wednesday,

Well, what is that to you?

I do not love you Thursday —

So much is true. 


And why you come complaining

Is more than I can see. 

I loved you Wednesday, — yes — but what

Is that to me? 

— ESVM



Oh, friends. 

You heard me say, yesterday, how I did not believe in so very many things: fate, true love, kismet. But just maybe something was at play today. 

I have slept, eaten, and read well. I drank too much coffee and ate an enormous breakfast; I took a long, hot bath and fell asleep-with wet hair- in my bathrobe. I woke up at lunchtime and ventured into West Stockbridge for coffee. I finished some reading, had a lovely visit with Joel from the Cali-style mobile store which included a tour of the factory. I bought a felt puppy for Baby Fern. It was gorgeous, sunny and sparkly and clear and warm. 

I drove by the Millay property at Steepletop and realized that I should hike today — storms are in the forecast for tomorrow. The property is situated off a three-ish mile dirt road. 

  
  

  I ditched the Subaru, threw on my backpack and hit the trail. 

 

  I had no idea what to expect. 

one of my favorites – look it up and read the entire thing

  These poetry placards line the trail. 

precisely, Vincent
 
  
 
The Millay Poetry Trail

  

 I had no idea 1. How long the trail was or 2. That the grave sites were situated at the end of it. I have unrealistic expectations for a husband simply from reading about Eugen. He once said if his wife wrote one good poem a year, then he had done his job. 

Mama Millay

  

I wrote to a friend: “I am sitting in a family graveyard.” I sat for awhile. I gathered stones and stacked them next to others. I talked to myself, to the trees, to one very loud bird, and to Edna and Eugen. 

 

I was passed by a young gentleman runner. He caught back up later and walked me to the end of the trail. He was a composer, one of the artists-in-residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts. More on that later. 

  

I reached the lower parking lot and gathered my keys when I saw a man open the shed door. “Do you work here?” I asked him. He replied “yes,” and I asked permission to walk the house grounds. He smiled and showed me to the main office. Martha gave me a sticker so I could be official, and Michael, who I learned is the staff gardener, pointed me in the direction of the main house. Then he said “oh, I’ll show you some of the highlights.”

  

  

  

Millay’s last writing cabin

 An hour later, we finished back at the main house. 

The new caretaker was moving into the apartment Norma and Charlie Ellis (Millay’s sister and BIL) shared, and he and Michael talked as I prepared to get into my car. “Do you want to see it?” He asked, and I knew I was about to meet my new best friend or get murdered. I weighed my options and figured that if I had to go, this was a pretty spot to bite it in. My mother will be proud. 

It was bright and warm, and I walked the same floors that Edna walked when she used the apartment to write in while her shed was being rebuilt. His excitement was palpable. He knew how special this place was. 

I stayed awhile longer and we sat by the stream sharing Stories. This new caretaker, Prescott, had a lifetime of knowledge not just about the property, but the entire area. We acknowledged the rare gift of today, and of Millay’s spirit – connecting Maine and Steepletop yet again. 

More tomorrow. 

Xoxo

Heather

Aftershocks

A post in which I use a tired metaphor because my brain is tired and I can’t really think of anything else.

If I were a geologist, I would have seen the earthquake coming. Unless it’s one of those disaster movies (why do I love them so much?!) where the fancy ass scientists don’t recognize the warning signs and only the nerdy crazies know what’s coming but nobody listens to them. In that case, someone would have noticed, but I digress.

I didn’t.

I should have. (Shit. Does that make me the obtuse and narcissistic scientist? Let’s pretend no.)

I barely got out in time. I am, if we’re sticking with this metaphor, still driving as the ground crumbles behind my back tires. But we all know that I will make it. You all know that that dusty truck ALWAYS drives toward the rainbow.

But now I recognize pieces of my life are beginning to settle into old and new places.

I am consumed with hope simply because it has been so long.

It’s itching at my clavicles and my heels. It was there all along.

This is new. Before, I drove and sobbed and contemplated and reckoned carefully. I am sure I am not finished driving and sobbing and contemplating, but it is no longer ALL.

And the aftershocks are coming, I know. I am going to do just what I always want my characters to do: keep my running shoes on, pack water, look up.

xoxoxo

Heather

 

 

An Announcement,Some Bravery and One Poem

The Announcement: Time to preorder friends. My across-the-web friend, sister, and mentor, Glennon Melton of Momastery, is releasing her second book. Love Warrior. It is about marriage. But it is also about us. (Do you love that I’m telling you about this book I haven’t even read? I can do this because I have been reading with Dear G for so so long. I know the story that gave rise to THIS story, and I trust in G and her infinite wisdom and grace).

This is some of what she has to say:

“Listen to me: Some loves are perennials—they survive the winter and bloom again.    Other loves are annuals—beautiful and lush and full for a season and then back to the Earth to die and create richer soil for new life to grow. The eventual result of both types of plants is New Life.

New life for annual and perennial plants. New love for annual and perennial loves. Nothing wasted. No such thing as failure. Love never fails. Never never. Are you still married? Your love did not fail. Are you divorced? Once? Twice? A third time? Your love did not fail. It made you who you are inside of THIS VERY moment. Love never fails.”

 

Some Bravery: Glennon (see above) has this idea that life is brutiful, the inextricable qualities of brutal and beautiful. I’m reminded now, more than ever, that they truly cannot be separated, and that one colors the other in a constantly shifting perspective.

Right now? Life is messy and complicated and heartbreaking. Life is beautiful and amazing beyond belief, and I wonder if this part of life is the psychological equivalent to what Phillip Petite felt like while walking between buildings, suspended directly in between beauty and freedom and impending death. I need to tell this story, yet, this is not all my story to tell. But I have learned so much. So much about addiction and love and mistakes; about my own capabilities, and the patience of my friends. I have learned I am learning I will be learning.

Yet.

I am waylaid by beauty.

 

And one poem. 

 

Untitled

 

When your husband no longer loves you

or you, him

 

you teach him how to roast a chicken,

how to prioritize — which task

needs doing first.

 

You begin to help more.

 

You think about the bandit who cut

your wedding cake when no one was looking.

The haircut, your hesitance. The scale

with which Father Bill confirmed you were

the most mismatched couple he

had ever seen.

 

You think about the difference. What

it feels like, now, to kiss someone who wants

to kiss you.

 

You can’t actually remember how long

because it feels like forever. Like you have

not been loved in forever.

 

When your husband tells you he wants

to love you, you are relieved. Not

with the want, but the admission.

And this makes you feel less crazy.

 

You remind him not to overfill the

washing machine.

You get off the couch.

 

You make dinner again.

 

You play cards at night, kiss chastely,

say “please” and “thank you,”

and mean it.

 

You become okay with not knowing

what happened.

 

It just is.

 

You are here, and something is next.

 

 

Much love, friends.

xoxo

Heather

Storm Envy

I am jealous of the disaster-level snowstorm that is now descending upon the mid-Atlantic.

big_snowstorm

I, of course, know that big storms bring big problems, and that people and structures are put in danger because of these storms. I don’t wish that upon anyone.

What I am jealous of is the stop-everything-gather-food-and-family-and-do-not-leave-home imperative.

You see, I am a teacher and mother to one teenager, two rivalrous dogs, and far too many chickens. And even when everyone is at odds, I enjoy the moments when we are all home (when weather removes any chance of escape!) more than any others. Power goes out. Eventually we get bored. The dogs fall asleep, as does my husband. Or he and Colby both finally run out of any other option for entertainment and play board games with me. We sit by the fire, scrounge for food, huddle under blankets. We are present. There is nothing to do next, no place to go.

It is the end of January and we have had 0 of those moments this year. It has been endless and brutal. Lovely at many moments, but utterly exhausting.

Our lives are busy in the best ways: great friends, various interests, hockey and hockey and hockey. But when the busy is paused – man, those are the moments.

Friends, I hope you are all safe and warm.

And also that I will get at least one big snowstorm, preferably BEFORE April, this season. I mean – I don’t live in Maine for the mosquitos.

xoxo

Heather

 

Fourteen for ’14

Well, hello.

I’ve been thinking of you all for some time now. I’ve scripted topics and sentences and ideas and questions in my head, while wondering how to explain my absence.

Here’s what I’ve been doing: Recovering, reading, walking the dogs; gaining weight, folding laundry, parenting a teenager; learning how to be married (not as easy as it looks, friends); surviving my parents’ move down the Eastern coast, thinking, walking the dogs, feeding the chickens; petitioning Matt for a cow and/or a goat and/or a puppy, taking fertility drugs and turning into Attila the Hun, et cetera.

Today, though, I have a list.

Fourteen (favorites) for 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.18.03 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.15.07 PM1. Eleanor and Park and Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Immensely readable, thought-provoking, and empathetic, both of these books present fully human characters (with some not-quite-realistic situations). Eleanor and Park skews young-adult, but I recommend it unreservedly so that we can remember that young people have stories beyond our imagining. Landline is decidedly adult fiction with an adult, harried-mom/career-woman protagonist, but the juxtaposition of cultural norms and artifacts presented in the time traveling plot are entertaining to youngish or oldish adults.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.19.16 PM2. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – Cue aging skin. This is the only thing that has not instigated allergic reaction on top of existing allergic reaction. Easily absorbed, doesn’t give me hives or acne, and quells the flaking skin exodus that is now my face.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.20.18 PM3. Yeah. Those are my abs. Sure . . . The pants ARE Athleta’s Bettona pants. Stretch pants that look like fancy pants. Need I say more?

kale4. Don’t kill me – kale. never enough kale. I can’t help myself. We, having soccer-season-brain all around, stupidly forgot to move the cold frame ONE. FOOT. OVER. to cover the kale. As soon as we took the electric fence down the deer feasted. So no freezer crop of kale for us. While I’m happy they had a snack, kale from the store tastes like, you know . . . not the same.

5. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler – It’s been a long year and Clomid is not my friend. I’ve found myself among many, many friends dealing with similar issues, and though we are still not pregnant, we’re okay. This book, though, is something I wish I had at thirteen and twenty-two and thirty-two. While some of it is a little woo woo, the science is there. All things fertility related (how TO get pregnant, how NOT to get pregnant, how to survive menopause) are covered, exhaustively. Lots of helpful charts and resources. This is much easier to read than the four million websites and message boards available online.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.23.42 PM6. Coffee By Design’s Frosty’s Favorite coffee (known to be found at Giacomo’s in Bangor, ME). – The best. That is all.

7. Boyhood a Richard Linklater film with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette – One of two movies I’ve been able to convince Matt to go see with me. A friend and I did argue, though, that this should have been titled Adulthood. Beautiful, intellectual, and entertaining.

8. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia – Because I’m convinced a little bit of color will help me pull it all off.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.26.03 PM9. Boi-ing concealer by Benefit – The patron saint of parent-teacher conference week. “Who’s excited and well-rested?! You’ll think it’s me!”

10. Mark Bittmann’s Spanish Tortilla recipe from How to Cook Everything – We’ve needed a way to get rid of eggs and feed everyone something other than straight up eggs (boiled . . . fried . . . scrambled . . . poached . . .). We could eat this every single day.

barred-rock-chicken11. Chickens – So what if we spent the first snow storm insulating the coop (see above kale incident to register our general unpreparedness for winter)?! When I pull in the driveway all the chickens go to the coop window. When I say “where are mama’s pretty girls!?” they all start talking. They will do nearly anything for a handful of cracked corn or some meal works (except for that Steve French – she’s a little bastard).

12. Hand-me-down perennials – Our neighbor was cleaning out her perennial beds and had the foresight to ask if I wanted any. Boy, did I! I spent a handful of afternoons happily digging and splitting and planting. Hopefully the farm stand will have baby perennials for sale early spring, and our perennial beds will have a little more love.

13. Verilux Happy Light Liberty – I don’t winter well. This September I prepared and purchased a light-therapy box. Two sessions daily, and I’m doing alright. Check again in February.

14. Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Bangor, ME – Retail therapy for the perennially broke. This place is a bargain hunter’s dream (especially if said bargain hunter owns a rental property and a broken old farm house)!

That’s it for this list of favorite things (Cue Oprah: “And a chicken for YOU and YOU and YOU”). I’ve had lots of favorite moments, but I thought a list of things would be shorter and less reveling.

How about you? What were your favorite things this year?

Here’s hoping you all usher in the new year happy, warm, and safe.

xoxo

Heather

The end of school, some animals and the sweet spot of parenting.

It’s been a doozy, friends. One for the books. A year to remember. Interminable, exhausting, exhilarating, and joyful. But sweet hallelujah — the school year is OVER.

Have I told you this already? With my endless bitching and moaning and OHMYFREAKINGGODAMIREALLYSICKAGAIN? book slamming? Sorry. Really. No one likes a Crabby Patty, and I ended the year like a napless five-year-old with uncomfortable clothes. In the classroom I was all smiles and “These things happen, guys” when my students were concerned. In the office and at home, well, not so much smiling – a lot more napping and stomping and unremitting diarrhea. But you know what? These things happen.

A student of mine had a similar year; it seemed like they couldn’t catch a break between crisis and injuries and illness. I’d like to write a revisionist history where I handled my setbacks in the same way as my student. However, I didn’t, but I learned a lot.

Some chronic health issues have colored the last few months. While untimely, it has forced me to examine the ways in which I spend my time and energy.

How I spent the last week of school - alternately titled "barfing during finals"
How I spent the last week of school – alternately titled “barfing during finals”

 

And the dogs. My God The Dogs.

Sam is recovering from surgery to repair her cruciate ligament and meniscus. Everyone is saying “poor Sam” but you know who you should feel bad for? Her poor mom. Literally. Poor. She’s being spoiled and loved and well cared for. Her sister is pissed.

Sam demands to be wrapped like a burrito while we ice her knee. She says it's too cold.
Sam demands to be wrapped like a burrito while we ice her knee. She says it’s too cold.
And Bella is BORED.
And Bella is BORED.

Sam has doggie rehab/physical therapy once a week. Consequently, Bella likes to terrorize her at least once a day. Now Bella looks like this as she goes to doggie daycare:

Actually this was on the way home. She loves her new friends.
Actually this was on the way home. She loves her new friends.

Then they can snuggle like the best friends (bahaha!) they are.

It's rough, right?
It’s rough, right?

Oh, and we’re trying to keep the chickens and garden alive. What? Oh yeah. By ‘we’ I mean Matt. Obv.

None of the chickens were harmed in the making of this post . . . yet.
None of the chickens were harmed in the making of this post . . . yet.

 

So between illness and runaway chickens and injured or otherwise assholish dogs, I nonchalantly asked Matt if he would want to go to the beach with us this weekend. July is a hot, uncomfortable mess with Colby going between our house and with his dad. I desperately wanted to do something fun – with all of us. I was so surprised Matt agreed that I kept waiting for him to come up with an excuse not to go. I was okay taking the kids to the beach on my own – I always have been – but I was really hoping for his company.

We made arrangements for a friend to come along (lest Colby be stuck with the old farts all by himself), and I packed the car last night. I took sandwich orders: pb with fluff and nutella (x2), gluten-free pb and nutella (x1 and g.r.o.s.s.), pb with nutella and a banana (x1). I packed drinks and four tubes of sunblock and hats.

I had us in the car by 8 a.m. and we were off.

9 a.m. gas station Red Hot. Great idea, right?
9 a.m. gas station Red Hot. Great idea, right?

We drove and listened to the radio and barely heard a peep from the kids. Thank you teenaged sleepiness and Nintendo DS.

See the kids? Way up there?
See the kids? Way up there?

As I scrambled up some rocks, it dawned on me that we are still in the sweet spot of parenting. (I’m sure you’ve heard me say this already – and I’m sorry if you’re not there yet. I’m not trying to throw this in your poor, sleep-deprived and over-stimulated face. I’m just letting you know: Trust me. It gets better.) I was ahead of the kids, not directly behind or beside them. I could climb a bit, stand ahead, and know that they were coming along (instead of being convinced of their imminent deaths). Matt and I could carry on a conversation EVEN IF THEY WERE OUT OF EYESIGHT. I knew that they were okay.

I run anxious already, but it’s like I never knew how debilitating it was until the fabric of worry and doom and danger that had covered me all started to unravel. I think I lost a strand in the third grade when Colby could finally tie his shoes. Another when we entered into a new school community. Another with some honest conversation. Another here, another there, until WOMP – here I am.

We got home from super-awesome-beach-day a couple of hours ago. Not long after that, Matt left with the dogs and Colby left with his dad. Even a year ago – the sudden absence of all of my people (yes, dogs included) from my immediate reach would have sent me into a vortex of nothingness: where I couldn’t concentrate on anything less something catastrophic happened and I needed to be ready to run. But – here I am, sitting on my front steps with a glass of Pinot and talking to you!

I don’t know if THIS is the result of Colby’s independence or my, uh, maturity (does that make me sound geriatric?). I guess I hope it’s both.

We spent our day here..
We spent our day here.

So I spent the day in thanks. Thankful for the warm air that felt better than my heated blanket EVER will, thankful for the company of my husband who will swim in the cold, cold ocean with me, the soft breeze and the sound of the waves. Most of all, I was thankful for the opportunity to read AN ENTIRE SECTION of the weekend Times, on the beach, knowing that my kid was just a half a beach away, and he was just fine.

System Overload

Sometimes my work life and my home life do not complement each other.

Work, at 12:30 p.m. Students enter the classroom and simultaneously begin talking to me, all thirteen of them. Despite my best efforts, even after a gentle “heads down, make a pillow with your arms, breathe” time out, this continues. For say, ten minutes or so.

I teach in multiple rooms throughout the day, so as the verbal assault continues, I unpack. Take attendance, pull together late work, give reminders. In an attempt at proximity control, I walk the semi-circled desks and check in with students. Any problems with the homework? Where? All set now? Good.

I go back to my desk. Put lecture notes on the board, and begin. And as I talk THEY ARE ALL STILL TALKING! THEY ALL WANT MY ATTENTION AND TO TELL ME:

I GOT A HAIRCUT LAST NIGHT MY BROTHER’S COMPUTER CRASHED I FINISHED THE FAULT IN OUR STARS I LOVED IT I HATED IT HOW CAN YOU HATE THE FAULT IN OUR STARS YOU’RE A MONSTER! I pop in: No, we don’t call each other monsters. We respect each others opinions. Apologize. WHATEVER. SORRY. STUDENTS ARE ALL STILL TALKING: IS IT OKAY THAT I MIXED UP ACT AND SCENE AND ONLY READ THE FIRST SCENE THIS IS STUPID THIS IS BEAUTIFUL MS WEBB WHERE DO YOU LIVE CAN WE COME VISIT YOU? WHO IS QUEEN MAB? DID I DRAW ENOUGH PICTURES? WHEN IS THE FINAL? WHAT’S ON THE FINAL? WILL YOU HELP US STUDY? IT’S XXXXXX’S BIRTHDAY. YOU SPELLED HIS NAME WRONG! NO YOU SPELLED HIS NAME WRONG! MS. WEBB HOW ARE YOUR CHICKENS? CAN YOU TELL US A DOG STORY? ONE DAY MY DOG (every student tells a dog story then a cat story then whether they had a gerbilferretguineapig or goat, their story) HEY – MY NAKED WEAPON IS OUT? IS HIS PENIS OUT? WHAT FRIGGIN LANGUAGE IS THIS THERE IS NO WAY PEOPLE USED TO TALK LIKE THAT. WHAT’S A ‘MAIDEN HEAD’? OH – OHH! GROSS. DID YOU SEE THE BIRTH MOVIE IN HEALTH CLASS? IS THAT WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE? HEY THERE’S A BIRD! BASED ON THE PRODUCTIVENESS OF THIS CLASS, CAN I GO GET A MATH BOOK? Me: Oh, no kid. You can start us off. Begin with Mercutio.

This ends with me finally locating the YouTube bypass code and showing multiple Romeo and Juliet episodes of Crash Course literature. So be it.

I love these dear, sweet, children. But when THAT occurs on top of regular life, when I’m trying to find time in my schedule like I try to find money in my bank account, and I have to go home to my own homework, one teenager (with his own homework), one husband with un-medicated ADD, two dogs (one injured), twelve chickens, and multiple gardens? I need a re-boot.

I had more to say, but I forgot. Here’s a picture of my chickens:

IMG_4062

 

xoxo

 

This is me, trying.

This is how it is, friends, isn’t it?

Our early parenting years are so eager. The babies roll over, cut their first teeth, they walk and talk. We’re always waiting for that next thing. Walking gives way to rec soccer and first instruments. Losing teeth gives way to shaving. Before we (ahem. me.) know it, the growth chart is gone.Baby book? Out the window. Creative lunches with notes? Uh – we forgot about that years ago.

Yes. My name is Heather and I am a slacker parent.

I actually have no clue how tall Colby is. Ask me and I’ll reach over my head as far as I can, shrug my shoulders, and say “eh, tall?”. I don’t know how to check his online grades, nor do I really care to. When people ask me what his schedule is, I purposely don’t tell them because I am TOO GODDAMN TIRED to remember. I just want to pretend there is no next game, no orchestra rehearsal, no doctor’s appointment.

Over the last two weeks, our already haphazard life fell apart. I couldn’t bear the thought of 1. cleaning my kitchen in order to cook,  2. cooking at all, or 3. Dirtying the kitchen all over again for a meal that would last ten minutes. I drove through Wendy’s on the way home from a basketball game. We ate at the table, yes, but ON THE WRAPPERS THE BURGERS CAME IN. It was both genius and disturbing. That span saw many similar meals, lunches of cheese sticks and crackers, and who the hell knows what anyone ate for breakfast. It seemed like there was a thirty-second transition time between any activity: gym-school-school-practice-game-dinner-orchestra-homework-momwork-bed. Not cool. I knew it could be easier.

Over the long, delicious weekend, I worked up the steam to actually . . . try harder, do better.

Here’s the week:

  • 10 miles (so far)
  • dinner – actual dinner on plates with utensils
  • clean underwear ALL AROUND
  • lunches (Colby approved and assisted – I’m not a freakin’ maid! – packed before bed)
  • Clean dishes. No fights.
  • Each day I’ve worked – I’ve finished every task I set out to do. Granted we’ve only had two work days this week, but I’ll take what I can get.

Colby was on his way down after a basketball game last night. He was feverish and … compliant. We have midterms this week, so I knew I could pull off  a short day and work from home for the rest of it. I puttered around the house this morning, prepped a roast for pulled pork, loaded the dishwasher. Instead of yelling up through the cast iron grate from the living room into Colby’s room, I walked my lazy self UP the stairs to check on him. Then back down and up to deliver a Gatorade. (Yes, most days it IS that difficult to propel myself forward OR up for that matter).

The day proceeded. More Gatorade, more stairs, more GETTING SHIT DONE.

After dinner, Matt started washing dishes and I joined to dry and put them away. I helped Colby study for his spelling test. I hadn’t helped him study for so long that I felt like a total poser, an alien in mom jeans and stretch marks. I still may not know how tall his is. These days I seem to know less and less – this is what happens when the babies start growing up and away. But today, I know that he likes pulled pork sandwiches and that neither one of us can spell plagiarism without assistance.

This is me, trying.