I hate Costco. I hate Costco the way alcoholics hate bars. The way recovering smokers hate Neil Diamond concerts.
My children, they amplify the situation.
We call Costco the $100 store. It’s the place you walk in needing two things and walk out with a tab well over $100. “We need diapers and toothpaste.” I mark it off the list. An hour and seventeen items later, the cashier says, “$234 dollars please.” Every. Single. Time.
My children begin to foam at the mouth about a mile before the turn in. “Are we going to COSTCO?!” my four year old yells. “Yes!” I reply. My two year old says, “SAMPLE? SAMPLE?” And then the foaming, it gets worse until the time we actually walk in to the store and I’m carting around two rabid dogs who refuse a leash. They seek out the sweet little sample ladies like drug dogs on a bust. They can smell frozen ravioli from seven isles over.
I’d be proud if this was a marketable skill.
Usually at some point during the whole charade known as “shopping”, the children begin to melt down. The samples have been licked clean, the isles of canned goods stretch out in a foreboding hike and the massive amounts of bread selection tower like mountains.
They totally. Loose. Their. Minds.
At this point I turn to some lovely couple in the bread isle. They are discussing the merits of Whole Grain vs Whole Wheat. I lean in and whisper, “We’re walking birth control, I swear.”
They don’t laugh.
And so it continues. We smack in to isles of people quietly hoping to get their dinner and perhaps a vat of mayonnaise before heading home. We echo through the store as my two, yes, I only have two, children whine and fight and I think, perhaps, start speaking in tongues.
We finally hit the checkout.
“Hi, thank you, that will be $234” as I slide my card. I look over to the spawn of my loins, the physical love of my husband and me, about the time they begin pulling the “Childrens’ Hospital Donations” sign off the wall. The checker is disapproving. The people behind me wonder what kind of mother I am.
I look at my cart filled with diapers, bread, milk and cheese. I see the huge boxes of graham crackers and cheerios. I wonder, not quietly, why Costco doesn’t sell massive quantities of condoms among the vats of oil and 4lb bag of chips.
Then I remember, they have us. Who needs birth control when you can shop with the Flingers?
This image brought to you by the reason I only code.
As a girl, with a mom of girls, I never truly “got” the Mama’s Boy thing. But it happened before he was born. I thought it was because he was my second born, the baby I could comprehend before I saw him, the kicking that I already understood deep inside my belly.
Now I know it was because of him. Who he is.
I have two children and I connected with them both. I understand my daughter from a “been there” perspective. I can read her and I remember what it was like being a four year old starting ballet. I understand when she just needs time without her younger sibling and I identify with some of her frustrations with school friends.
But my son? My son gets ME. My two year old will ask, “k? Mommy?” If I cough. He will come up and grab my leg on a difficult day and squeeze until my eyes fill with a different type of tear. He will pull his fingers through my hair absentmindedly as we watch Einsteins. He puts one hand on each of my cheeks to turn my head to him so he can kiss my lips goodnight.
His heart is as big as the sun and as warm. Most of the time, barring his two year old genetics, when I ask him to do something he will say, “OK, Mommy!” and he comes to get “screen on!” (Translation: Sunscreen) or “SHOES! ME DO IT!” or “HALP?”
He pats me on the back when he hugs me and his tiny hands make me forget what I was doing.
My son is growing up to be a man I will be proud of. He has his daddy’s compassion and logic. He’s all smiles and laughter and blocks and cars. He snuggles a blanket and a WWE figure at night.
He is boy. He is man. He is mine.
The day he meets a woman who he can care for, I will welcome her in to our lives. I will be happy for my son as he continues in to his own life, as he walks in to his own future. But I will tell her as they dance their first dance as husband and wife to be good to him.
I know he will be good to her.
It’s who he is.
**April, 2013** Hello and welcome! If this is your first time here, I’d love to meet you. I’ve recently written about being diagnosed with Adult ADHD, spent much of last year traveling and went back to work full time as a Program Manager for Media at a large global company. My children are 8 and 6 and I love talking to people with similar stories. Be sure to say hi and pull up a chair. I’ll grab the coffee. (Or tea for my UK friends with milk and sugar.)**
I walked in to the keynote, searching the thousands of faces to find “my people.” I wonder in and out of tables bumping in to elbows and computers. I recognize a few features but I continue to bump, walk, bump, walk looking for my table.
I spot the table of women more familiar than their pictures or email addresses. Vivaciously, as only I am known to do, I yell out, “There are MAH BEESHES! Wuz up Mothah Fuckahs!” I glance around the table taking in each face that I adore. I see Angie, Dawn, Molly, Shonda, Sam and Karen and…. who’s this? I don’t recognize the lovely lady in the red hair so poised next to my flamboyant friends. “Hi! I’m Mrs…” It hits me about the same time Angie pipes up, “This is Ree Drummond? THE PIONEER WOMAN.”
There is a silence and my mouth hits the floor.
I stumble over to hug her, gush, possibly lick her feet. She says in her polite southern accent, “I was just admiring your belly.” I laugh as she touches my two year postpartum belly. “This?” I exclaim, “This is old left over from before.” I can tell she feels bad. She recovers and says, “At least yours is in the front, mine is all in the rear.”
I hug her. I could package her up and take her home with me.
At some point during the keynote I look over and she looks as thought she feels just terrible. But! It’s her lucky day! She’s talking to me. Remember? The girl that did the five most stupidest things possible last year at BlogHer? The girl that went up to four, no five, different people thinking they were OTHER people only to get three sentences in before said mistake person clears up my error?
The girl who spilled, and broke, a glass of wine. Totally sober, mind you.
The girl who says all the wrong things at all the wrong times.
The girl who fifteen minutes earlier asked, “Does this dress make me look pregnant?” only to find out, from her idol that yes! Yes it does.
I’ll never wash the dress that Ree touched.
Thankfully Ree is the kind of classy gal that can laugh with me over this. “Remember that time…” I picture saying to her in a year at the next conference where she wins some more big awards. And then I’ll ask when the lady next to me is due. And it’ll be my humiliation.
To everything turn turn turn…
Pictures can be found on Flickr
** update, it happened again. March 2, 2010
I picture Jesus sitting at his laptop alone in his hotel room in Jerusalem. He’s kicked off his sandals (marketed simply as “Jesus Sandals”) and stretches as he launches notepad. He has an inspired word and he begins to type. He starts: “I am Jesus. I want to share with you some ideas I have. Simple, easy ideas that will bring us all together. I want to give us community and peace and harmony. This world is a fucked up one, but I believe we are each able to contribute to the happiness of others. Cut the bullshit. Let’s love.”
He eyes his writing wondering if it’s too harsh. He hits the backspace key 413 times Click Click Click Click Click… He stops short and leaves the “I am.”
He ponders there for a while unaware of the consequences of this action, the impact it will have on his life and those for two thousand years and beyond. He wavers for a moment and stands to grab a drink, his favorite, wine.
Pausing long enough to fill another glass, he hits publish with those two words. “I am.”
It’s powerful and people comment.
There is hate-mail.
There is blasphemy.
There is confusion.
He steps up to defend his writing wanting to express the rest of the sentence unable to complete his thought. His community is angry, he has failed as his attempt to connect, he is hurt and saddened by the response.
It was supposed to be different.
This is how I picture each entry before I hit publish. I waver at times, wondering if anything truly meaningful will be well received. At times I hover above caring and calling the bullshit. Sometimes I’m not sure what the bullshit is. I hit delete 413 times unable to find the words to bond and not divide.
I stop short and hit publish all too often.
We are Jesus.
You are Jesus.
I am Jesus.
Last year I popped my BlogHer cherry. I went with my my close friends and we were there for each other to share shoes and do makeup and hair and in general ease the fears of our own insecurities. Or rather, they eased mine. (They don’t know a lot of bloggers so it was, “Hu, who’s that again? Who’s Isabell?” and I whisper “She’s kinda a big deal”)
Because I am… well… me, I do things in a Flinger sort of a way. Let’s recap the top five Flingerisms from BlogHer 08 and why you can rest assured you will do better, shall we?
1. I randomly hug pregnant women when pregnant. Two different occasions I found myself hugging (randomly) Kristin Chase and Amalah. Twice. I threw myself at them and their lovely pregnant bellies and they were so kind and so sweet they STILL TALKED TO ME later. Those ladies? Got class.
2. I met Maggie Mason and I had no idea. This is pretty much how that rolled out:
me: Hi! I’m Mrs. Flinger! Nice to meet you. :: pauses for recognition because EVERYONE KNOWS MISSUS FLINGER. (cough)
her: Hi! Welcome to the party. I’m Maggie Mason.
me: :: chokes on wine :: MAGGIE MASON!? AS IN THE MAGGIE. MASON. (realizes am using outside voice and gets awkward.)
her: Yes, that’s me. :: shakes hand :: Make yourself at home. (Thinks to herself, “freak”.)
3. Kelley noticed, and called me out, on my dirty feet. I don’t like shoes, ok? So sitting there in the keynote I hear, “Missus FLINGER! Look at YOUR FEET WOMAN!” and I see the lovely Kelley pointing at my retched feed. It was funny. In a “guess you had to be there” kind of a way. As in….. later….
4. I licked Isabell Kalman and it looked like bad porn.
(Really, SHE ASKED ME TO. I swear, this was not a rape-licking)
5. I spilled Teh Wine at Guy’s house. On my swag. And washed my feet in his pool.
1. Meeting Aimmeeeee (I give her shit about her spelling) and having her blog the following conversation:
Greeblemonkey: Oh look! There’s paella!
Flinger: I don’t think I read her!
2. Having some freak show hit on Jenny and me and getting him kicked out of the hotel.
3. Making Cat Schwartz say she knows who we are on video:
And, really, there are too many more to admit here. Just, look, you’ll be fine. I promise. Hang out with me and you’ll look like a freakin’ STAR.
Sometimes I have The Ugly. The Ugly tends to show up when I’m emotional, irrational, bloated, tired or overwhelmed. The Ugly can start from anything: a facebook update, a tweet, a post, a real life jab.
The Ugly? It sucks.
It sucks out my happiness, my joy, my security, my stamina, my confidence. It reduces a good, healthy, happy 33 year old woman in to a 15 year old girl with zits and generic jeans.
The Ugly, it is bad.
I often recognize The Ugly as just what it is: Ugly. I see it from my place of confidence and can see through its irrationality. But when The Ugly strikes, its loud voice takes over my own and pushes all the confidence down in to one big pile of jealousy.
The Ugly can wear anything but it usually shows up in sweats and makes itself at home.
The Ugly can be a bitch and take up all the sanity in a room.
The Ugly can bring a pack of beer and drink it all.
The Ugly often has no patience.
The Ugly piles on. On the todo list, on the “things you fuck up” list, on the “people you’ve let down” list.
I am not the sum of The Ugly, but rather someone who falls in to its trap. Most days I can shake off The Ugly.
Today, I’m arm wrestling with it. And I’m hoping I win.
P.S. I wrote this last week and today saw Amanda wrote about competitive people and it hit me: That? Is. The. Ugly. It’s the competition where there is none. It’s the jealousy of losing when there is no race. So.. just.. wow. And thank you.
Whatever issues I’ve had with facebook, and I have, are gone today. Suddenly today I saw the most amazing use of facebook and I’m thankful over and over for it.
I’ve mentioned my friend Amy who’s breast cancer took us from her family and friends entirely too early. It hit home too close and too hard for me. It was hard.
I was unable to make it to her memorial here in town. I was sad for that fact but I forgave myself because I knew I would’ve lost my shit if I’d gone. I mean The Big Ugly Crying.
But the community that Amy created around herself and those who knew her is a wonderful one and I did miss out on celebrating Amy’s life with them. Until today.
Today I went to her Facebook page just because I was thinking of her. Today I realized a lot of people are going to Amy’s facebook page because they are thinking of her. They are talking to her, leaving her notes, telling her about her children and about daily life and sharing stories of love and comfort and remembering.
Today I hugged my daughter and son a bit tighter because of facebook.
Today I remembered a great friend because of facebook.
Today I realized how we touch people in the world beyond what we even comprehend because of facebook.
I hope it’s ok that I share this story, it’s the one that touched me the most from her page. A friend shares, “Your baby girls misses you today Amy. She was tearfully talking about you today. But don’t worry, R came up to her and said “Don’t be sad, your mama will always be in your heart.” and then gave Maddy a big hug and kiss. After R was done Maddy told her she needed another hug and she laid her head on R’s shoulder and cried a little bit more. R patted her and stroked her cheek and then they sat together holding hands for a while. Your daughter is such a wonderful little girl. And I love to see our girls supporting eachother when they need it. And don’t worry, I cuddled both of them until the smiles returned.”
Today I forgave facebook. Because I needed to read this. As do so many more.
*I changed the little girl’s name because I don’t know how they would feel about publishing it. I know Amy has written openly here on my blog about Maddy so I feel ok with leaving her name as is. I hope this is ok with those involved. Much love to everyone who is.
I walked by a glowing extremely pregnant woman. Her friend handed her a bag with some baby booty in it. I chuckled. I couldn’t help myself. I CHUCKLED. They looked up at me and I recovered, smiled, and continued on my way.
In my head I was picturing what the card would say. I chuckled again. It could be any of the following:
Outside: Congrats New Momma! You’re going to spend the next five years trying to get your pre-baby body back!
Inside: Good luck with that.
Outside: Congrats On Your New Bundle! They don’t sleep through the night until they’re teenagers.
Inside: Good luck with that.
Outside: Dear New Daddy! You thought you had Blue Balls in High School?
Inside: HAHAHAHAHA. Good luck with that.
Outside: To the happy new parent: Write down the last day you had sex.
Inside: So you remember it in three years when your brain is sleep deprived. Good luck with that!
Oh, comeon. Add your own! It’s fun!
And only mildly depressing….
It’s 2:45AM. I’ve been asleep for two hours. I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!’ I’m in his room before I open my eyes.
I get him milk, his Thomas Trains and put him back to bed.
It’s 6:00 AM and I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!” I’m in his room before I open my eyes.
I pick him up hoping to give his sister a few more minutes of sleep. He asks for milk. I turn to get him some.
He starts screaming.
It’s 7:00 AM and he’s still screaming.
Finally, having had enough of this, I coax him in to eating a banana and watching LIttle Einstines so I can get the family ready to go.
It’s 7:45 AM and the family is ready to leave. I get the tiny man’s shoes and he yells, “TRY! TRY!” which is short for “I’ll do it you mother fucker!”
I let him try.
He screams out of frustration, “HELP! HELP” which is short for “why are you just standing there watching me you mother fucker!”
I coax him down the stairs. I attempt to take his hand. “TRY! TRY!” which is short for “fuck off.”
I walk a few stairs down and he yells, “UP! UP!” which is short for “why are you leaving me here, hold me now mother fucker!”
It’s 8:20 and I’m dropping him off at day care. I have a full schedule of deadlines, meetings, phone calls and deadlines. I turn to leave. He lunges at my legs. I pick him up, kiss him, whisper in his ear, “I love you even if you are two.”
I walk away missing him. Even if he’s two.
I was thinking about rebelling. Not in a present tense, but rather in a pattern-of-maturity. A “hindsight” if you will. “Enlightened Rebellion” even.
I realized my husband and I were together in High School when most people go through their rebellion. Our friends may have skipped class or chugged beer or started smoking but we were both first-borns too busy pleasing teachers and parents and each other. We were fairly straight laced aside from a few back-seat make-out sessions. We were home on time, we never did drugs and we never got pregnant. We stayed out of trouble and stayed in school.
We were model teenagers in a sense.
We broke up, went though our own “self discovery” a phase that got us to different colleges, new friends, new places. We tried on new people and jobs and lives, all while staying out of trouble and living as we were expected: Strong contributing citizens of society.
Then I turned 25.
I went in to what I can only call as “my six-month rebellion” where I stayed out for entire weekends at airplane hangers where friends would sky-dive and smoke pot at night, drink too much, and go to McDonalds for fries. It was stupid at best, dangerous at its worst. I did my first tandem skydive as a giant middle finger to my old life. I was fresh and new and starting over as a new person.
I’m so incredibly glad I did.
My husband, however, continued to work and be amazing. He continued to pursue a career, a path, a plan. He never did rebel. He never washed his hair free of expectation. He never jumped out of his proverbial airplane.
I contemplated this fact earlier today. I thought of all our friends who did rebel, who went through their time maturing to flip The Man the giant middle finger and face their new spirit and their new selves only to find peace and comfort in settling down later.
I wondered if there was in inverse relationship between rebellion and mid-life crisis.
I don’t see him heading off with another family or even a sports car. I don’t see him jumping out of an airplane or smoking pot when I’m at BlogHer. But I wonder: I wonder what life’s turns require rebellion and which require steadfast boring ticky-tacky houses with manicured yards or the lack-there-of. I wonder if nearing forty (In seven years, but still! It’s coming!) will be harder on those who never rebelled at fourteen. And I wonder how to cultivate this in our family, for our children as they mature in to their own people and in us as we hit our mid-lives.
How do we maintain our sanity in a suburb of Seattle in a townhouse we paid too much for and work too hard to pay off?
Did you rebel? Did you come back? Did you settle down? And when are you buying your motorcycle to flip off The Man?
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