Scene: Early evening, I’m at work, about 20 miles from home. My husband calls. He doesn’t sound happy.
I don’t feel 40. 40 is old, and I’m not old. I mean, I feel tired all the time, and I refer to everyone I encounter under the age of 33 as “that kid”, but I’m definitely in my prime.
Also, I tell the kids at work about The Time Before Cell Phones the same way my dad talks about walking to school uphill in the snow, but that doesn’t make me old.
I’m officially at the point where I was around for the 1st time several trends were popular (chokers, oval shaped nails), and all of my favorite shows have somehow been “rebooted” (et, tu, 21 Jump Street?)
I’m older than Carrie Bradshaw, all the Friends, and I’d probably be more likely to hang out with the parents from 90210 than Dylan or Kelly. I don’t know any of the current rappers (and by the way, that is not music. How can they listen to that no-talent lazy mumbling?! Back in the ‘90’s and early- 00’s, the rap songs had clever lyrics and wordplay and melody!Autotune my ass!) and I watch TV with the closed captioning on. Someone fitting my description was recently overheard complaining about the amount of salt used by a local Mexican restaurant.
My feet hurt. I lost my keys again. If it’s 9:30 and we’re not in bed, we get nervous. My thyroid doesn’t work. I rode in the back-back of a station wagon. There are like 4 days a year that I don’t bitch about the weather. Nobody says “word” anymore. I still ask my husband to “tape” stuff on TV for me. We’re in a constant battle over the thermostat. I had a Bart Simpson t-shirt and Batman earrings (Michael Keaton Batman). I think Yo Mama jokes are hilarious. I cant believe they don’t teach cursive anymore. I have a talk radio station as one of my pre-sets. The Olympics are pretty much out at this point. WE ONLY HAD 5 CHANNELS AND YOU HAD TO GET UP TO CHANGE THEM. The pool can’t be warm enough to get my ass in there. I make ludicrous claims like I invented twerking (this is absolutely true). Coffee is no longer a sipping drink. I rescued the Princess in Super Mario Bros before my brother and I still feel really good about it. In my head, a large pie is $8. These kids today, boy, I’ll tell you, they don’t know how easy they have it.
I recently climbed trees 40 feet in the air to do a high ropes course that 20 years ago would have scared me shitless. I’ve done kidney stones, broken bones and tubes that have blown. I screwed over a car salesman. My relentless advocacy for my family strikes fear in the hearts of Doctors and Specialists across the state. Backspin, My G. Nothing is too edgy, too offensive or too out there for me. I scrap with Horizon, Verizon and Amazon. I know all the birthdays and anniversaries, the activities and appointments. I’ve got 3 half marathons, 3 sprint triathlons countless 5Ks and a bikini show under my belt, all in the last 5 years. I’m Santa Claus, Hanukkah Harry, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, and a Leprechaun that wasn’t well thought through because I’m still cleaning up rainbow confetti 10 months later. I kick my kids’ asses at Just Dance. I honestly believe I could win a rap battle if I just had enough time to prepare. I’m the person everybody calls when stuff hurts. I have a tattoo, dammit!
I can’t be old. It’s just a fact. Im not finished yet. I have plans, and ideas, and stuff I want to try. I have lived the hell out of this life so far and I’m not ready to put on a pastel tunic and round up the girls to sit on the lanai with a cheesecake. I’m still relevant! To the people that matter, anyway. And even though I’m not old, I’m not quite batshit enough to deny that I’m getting old-er, and I’m down with that. Wait- are people still saying “down with that?”. I have to ask the kids at work tomorrow. Somebody remind me, I’m going to forget.
Sometimes I think about having another baby. I don’t necessarily want another baby. I feel like my family is finally complete, and I don’t feel any of the maniacal urgency that I felt getting to this point.
I have this one friend who knows where all the bodies are buried.
Feel me? We were college roommates, post-college roommates, post-post college soul mates, and now she goes by Auntie B. Together, we’ve done it all, from Spring Breaks, to wedding dates. From hook ups to break ups to makeups. From final exams to mid-pregnancy emergency cervical exams (true story).
Auntie B has so much dirt on me, I might as well change my name to Weinstein. She remembers the time that we dot dot dot fill in the blank any number of a hundred different ways.
We were babies when we met, and now she loves my babies like her own. She’s been there for my proudest days, my wildest schemes, and my ugliest moments. And still, she keeps my secrets.
More than that, she keeps my memories. Check that; she doesn’t just keep my memories; she is my memory.
She knew me back when; she knew the girl with the black pants and the roll-on body glitter (don’t judge), the girl who thought she knew what stress was, and what the answers were, and all the words to all the songs. She knew the girl who knew how to get away with it (whatever IT was at the time), she was there when we didn’t get away with it, and she was down for it all.
And on the hard days, the days when it’s all just too much, she can still find the glimmer of that once-upon-a-time-girl when I’m sure she’s been lost forever.
She knows all the best stories. The inside jokes. The things that no one knows. The things I’ve done, and said, and can never un-say. Through the parties, the punchlines, the costumes, the clubs, the boys, the babies, the darkness, the fights, the funerals, the failures, the heartbreaks, the miracles, she stuck. We made it. 20 years and still kicking it (what, whaaat).
The most amazing thing for me is that my kids will get to know Me through her. Me as I was, back when I was That Girl. They’ll (eventually, and with heavy redactions) get to hear the stories and the memories and pretend to not believe her when she tells them about their crazy Mom back in the day. She’ll help them slowly realize that I used to be a person, once, back in the 1900’s. And, hopefully, my daughter will learn what it means to have a real girl-friend, who then becomes family.
Time marches on, people change, responsibilities encroach and erode the hopeful excitement of the teens and twenties. Things change, but not all things, and sometimes we can just roll with the changes like the tides, different but the same, or better even. Like how things always taste better when they’re slow-cooked, the flavors deepening and melding together, until you don’t even remember what you put in the pot so long ago, anyway.
So, thank you, Auntie B. Thank you for remembering, and thank you for still being able to find Me amidst all the chaos and the fine lines.
Not to brag, but I have well over 2 friends. We don’t always see each other, or talk, but damned if I don’t get tagged in a dozen or more Facebook posts per day. So there you have it.
It’s not easy to make friends once you’re a mom, especially a working mom, double especially a working mom over the age of faux 29. That’s why I got this brilliant idea for a Mom Friend Dating App. Like Tinder, but for coffee and commiseration instead of dirty sex.
Here’s a sample profile:
1. Number of children:
a) sadly, yes.
b) hell no
c) I’m a weirdo who says things like “fur babies”
a) outside the home (I have to wear pants)
b) I’m the stay at home, volunteer-type (I choose to wear pants)
c) Trophy Wife (no pants)
4. Thoughts on GMOs:
(this is a trick question. If you think about GMOs with any regularity, we will never be friends)
5. You come to my house and it is messy:
b) there is no b
6. Can I Yell At Your Kids?
a) my children are special snowflakes and can do no wrong
b) OMG yes please, I’m fucking exhausted
7. Tell me about your car:
a) minivan clean
b) minivan with goldfish dust and lollipops stuck to shit
c) other but only because the minivan died
d) FUCK YES
9. Want to hang out:
a) yes, but I won’t
b) yes, but I can’t
c) yes (but then when the time comes I will realize that I can’t)
10. What are you wearing:
a) yoga pants
b) sweat pants
c) jeans but they’re stretchy and/or old, I have never put them in the dryer, and I plan to change into yoga pants or sweats at the first opportunity
d) anything else please stop here
11. Maybe We Should Meet For Brunch:
a) OMG yes!!! That would be so much fun! Let’s get Mimosas!
b) Brunch isn’t a thing
12. Are You Involved In Some Kind Of Multi-Level Marketing That Would Make It Appear That You Want To Be Friends And Then You Invite Me To A “Party” And I Get Coverage At Work But You Are Trying To Get Me To Buy Something At Your House Like Maybe Crystal Jewelry Or Protein Shakes:
a) Of course not! That’s so shitty!
b) But you have to come! It will be so fun! There will be sangria!!!
a) Regular (workout, shopping, Netflix, maybe a book here and there)
b) The Pinterest Type (run)
c) Religious (this could include CrossFit)
Do I look Like I’ve Gained Weight?
My 8 year old son misspelled the word “bitch” in the car today and we laughed and laughed. When the hysterics subsided and I corrected his spelling and pronounciation, my husband suggested that maybe we should watch our language in front of the kids.
Say what, now?
I grew up in Bklyn, with parents that never even considered censoring what we saw or heard. When I was 9 or 10, my dad rounded up the kids in the neighborhood and took us all to see Goodfellas. He could not for the life of him understand what all the other parents were so upset about when we got home. This shit is why they have Good Samaritan laws.
My best friend wasn’t allowed to see Dirty Dancing until we got to college. Dirty Dancing!! My parents bought me an unedited VHS of Flashdance when I was 4, and I watched it daily. At that point there were 2 other kids to take care of and I think my parents just kind of figured there was dancing, I was quiet, things were good. Plus, Jennifer Beals being Jewish was a huge bonus. To this day, leg warmers are my thing.
I’m the first to admit, I think it’s fucking hilarious when my kids curse. Especially when they do it well, and in the proper context. Last Halloween we were trick or treating by these monster McMansions in my mom’s development, and my kids rolled up on this huge, beautiful house with a koi pond out front. The door opened and the lady of the house appeared dressed as Wonder Woman and gave my kids full-size candy bars. Did I stutter? Full. Size. Candy. Bars. Anyway, WW opens the door and my daughter sticks her head into this woman’s foyer, looks around, and goes, “Mommy!!! They’re rich!”. And my son, my sweet little boy, screams at the top of his lungs, speech impediment on blast, “Yeah!! They wich as fuck!”.
It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it was top 10 of 2017 for sure. But, because I’m above all else a classy lady, my girlfriend and I ducked behind some expensive shrubbery and laughed in secret.
My father in law was once horrified when he walked in to my house and I was cuddling with the twins on the couch watching “Straight Outta Compton.” He looked at me accusingly and said “Are you sure they should be watching this?” I said, “Don’t worry- they’ve seen it before.” My oldest has a habit of asking people if they’ve touched his drum set (if you haven’t seen “Step Brothers”, we can’t be friends).
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said “don’t repeat that!” or “whatever you do, do not say that in school!”, I’d have my own fucking koi pond.
Nope, foul language doesn’t bother me. Probably because my kids are awesome. I will take a loving, smart, funny, respectful, amazing kid with a potty mouth over a prissy little asshole any day. I think part of the problem we’re facing right now is that everyone is so focused on words, and looking for things to be offended by. Fuck that. I love to laugh, and I love watching my kids laugh. Like really laugh.
And believe me when I tell you, that bitch was rich as fuck.
What I Made For Christmas:
- French Toast Casserole with whipped cream and fresh strawberries
- 2 Pepperoni Pizza Strombolis
- 2 Ham and Cheese Strombolis
- Baked Brie Wedge with brown sugar and pecans
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- Crock Pot Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham
- Roast Turkey Breast
- Mashed Potatoes
- Rigatoni Pie
- 2 Apple Pies
- 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies
- Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
- 3 Layer Chocolate Cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting
What My Kids Ate:
- Whipped Cream
- Ritz crackers (leftover from the broccoli casserole)
- 400 licks of chocolate frosting (don’t worry- I turned the beater off first) and various batter-covered spoons because salmonella is a myth
- A microscopic, Real Housewives-sized pseudo-bite of a child’s spoon of mashed potatoes followed by 15 minutes of gagging and dry heaving
Balls It Took For My Kids To Complain They Were Hungry 15 Minutes After I Finished Cleaning Up:
So it has recently come to my attention that women in my town (and more importantly on my Instagram) are now getting eyelash extensions, or some such. Like, they’re going to the salon and having beautiful, long, lush, false eyelashes professionally applied to the tune of several hundred dollars every couple of weeks.
And with that, I surrender. It’s over. I can’t hang.
Dont get me wrong, I DO NOT support natural beauty in any way, shape or form. I workout, I color my hair, I usually strive to maintain the illusion of 2 separate eyebrows. Most people wouldn’t even see my mustache unless they were super close. I make an effort. But I have to draw a line.
Now, this is not a moral, ethical or otherwise ideological line, mind you. I support any kind of aesthetic improvement any woman wants to make to feel good about herself. Get it, Gurl. Respect. It’s just that all of a sudden it hit me that I will never have the kind of funds to hang with the kind of bitch that throws down good grocery money on an eyelash weave. And don’t even get me started on the rest of her face. Botox and fillers and plumpers and peels. Fat freezing and sucking and lasers and fucking microblades.
JLo, Mary and Joseph it’s overwhelming! The local Groupon possibilities are endless, and Lord knows I love a bargain, but I’m a little wary of awarding my face to the lowest bidder.
It’s too much. I don’t even know where to start unfavorably comparing myself. When my fucking eyelashes are all of a sudden half an inch shy of fucking BritneyFitdotcom, I’m throwing in the towel on the motherfucker. What’s next? What other aspect of my face have I heretofore naively neglected to realize was inadequate? Is it my molars? Tell me it’s not an earlobe thing.
So here I go, schelpping my twins with me to the gym everyday, fighting an inevitably losing battle, no makeup, boobs I was born with (or, more accurately, not born with), ratty ass yoga pants from around the time my first child was born. There are beautiful women everywhere, with that perfectly preserved, carefree kind of attitude that I imagine comes with the abundant resources of time and money. I’m sweating and grunting and wondering if my pants are old enough to be see-through yet, while the local townspeople glisten delicately and choose their Instagram filters. I’m trying to figure out what corners I can cut, what can be super-setted, will I have time to maybe get in a few minutes of cardio at work this afternoon, do I need to pick up dog food, should I call the accountant, what is a bitcoin, I’m scared of ISIS.
When my workout is done, or at least as done as it’s going to be, I head over to child care to grab my kids. My son lights up when he sees me and comes running at me like runaway train. My daughter jumps up with a thick stack of mermaid pictures with her best attempt at “I love mommy” on the top of each page. They’re laughing and talking over each other trying to tell me everything I’ve missed in the past 48 minutes, and not once do they mention my eyelashes.
Is your kids homework the worst part of your day? If not, do you want to grab a couple of your friends with cool ethnic names and come over and practice divvying up a bunch of apples?
Mothers, join my new movement
Re: glasses of water, butt wiping, cutting food into specific shapes, tying shoelaces, administering bandaids, seconds, refills, toothpaste extraction, story telling, story listening, snack packing, sunscreening, crust removal, itchy tags, correct spelling of creepy yet popular YouTubers, goggle adjustments, toy disputes, tucking, re-tucking, and anything else that any adult in the house besides me is perfectly capable of.
The Revolution Starts Now