Lizzie is bopping around the kitchen, singing the phrase “own your own crazy,” a good message for me right now since I am currently feeding my rabbit applesauce from a soup spoon and I could feel embarrassed about it if I let myself. It is one of the cutest things I have ever seen, especially since the applesauce dribbled down her little rabbit chin and her little white chest (just like a baby) and now she is busily cleaning her fur with her adorable little rabbit paws. When I tried to show Liz how cute Beatrix was, Lizzie said, “That’s just great,” (without even looking!) and wandered off. So I think Liz has a double standard: she advocates for owning her own crazy but she’s not willing to celebrate my crazy. What kind of a daughter is that? Anyway, I’m thinking that middleage is a great time to start owning our crazy. We’re old enough to stop giving a f*** (mostly) about what other people think.
Learned an expensive lesson this week, people. Resolving to turn over a new leaf and actually cook, I went to the grocery store and shopped like a fiend for a week’s worth of meals.
Here’s my lesson up front: don’t plan meals for every night of the week, because as you know, hardly anything in a middleaged mom/wife/woman’s life goes exactly as planned (probably hardly anything in anyone’s life goes exactly as planned), and the food that doesn’t get cooked will sit around your kitchen being passive agressive. Let me explain.
Have you ever felt like a total imposter? I have, so very many times in my life. I start a new job, feeling totally under-qualified, and pretend I know what I’m doing and hope nobody finds out how inadequate I am. It was even worse when I first became a mother: terrified, I’d make up rules that seemed completely arbitrary, and then second-guess myself about whether it’s the right way to parent. I’m always confused about what I should crack down on and what I should allow, and the line seems to be constantly shifting. And when I think I have a handle on motherhood, the kids get to a new stage and all the rules change again.
Stephen King once wrote this great short story called “Word Processor of the Gods” about this writer who discovered that, when he typed a sentence about the picture that hung over his desk, and then deleted the sentence, the picture disappeared. The character thought long and hard — actually, no, he thought for about two minutes — and went on to delete his wife and kid, then gave himself the wife he should have had and the kid he should have had and the life he should have had, and you get the point. Anyway, how often in life have you wished with all your heart that you had a delete button for the things you’ve said and done?
You know how your kids can wear you out faster than anything and you wind up acting more like an immature child than they are? Here’s an example of a 20-minute drive, with Michael being purposely, annoyingly contrary and Liz being teenage-girl-whiney, that has left me with the desperate need to run away from home and become a waitress at a truck stop in North Dakota.
Remember I wrote recently that I wouldn’t be a 15-year-old girl again for the world? Well, maybe I would. In fact, I AM. This has been the best July since I was 15, before I had summer jobs. Wait, scratch that: July of 21 years ago was the best ever, the year I married the love of my life and was a princess for the whole summer. That was awesome. I’ll never forget it.
Other than that, though! This summer rocks. July should be celebrated. So listen, start planning for next summer immediately and follow these steps. I highly, majestically, incredibly and vociferously recommend it:
“Greek” dancing with flower girls at my wedding.
My 15-year-old daughter provides excellent material to write about: our conversations border on being totally unmanageable. She tops me with one-liners over and over and I just try to hang in there. Here’s a recap of some of our conversations from this weekend.
As you know if you read my rant about exercise last summer, Lizzie isn’t the biggest fan of physical activity, whereas I’m a huge proponent of getting exercise by doing outdoor things that you love rather than “working out.”
So, last Friday night: