Date Archives April 2013

The exquisite pain of Boston and Sandy Hook

I needed to get away from the news yesterday. There were some potentially ugly clouds around here, but they looked like they were all talk so I went for a run. Just as I was rounding the last bend on a loop through a pretty, foresty sorta place I like to go, it started to rain.

And then I remembered another time that it had started raining on a sunny day when I was running in that exact same spot: Right after Sandy Hook.

That seemed appropriate because this picture had been haunting me all morning:

This is Martin Richard, the 8-year old boy who died at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

It doesn’t matter if it’s one kid in Boston or if it’s 26 kids in Connecticut. To lose a child has to be about the most awful thing I can imagine.

When I was running in that same spot after Sandy Hook, I was just pounding my feet and noticing all the beauty of nature around me and thinking so fucking what? Then I found myself sort of shout-thinking at the Universal Powers That Be the way that I do when I’m so frustrated that I can’t cope. “Why, why, why? God, why? You KNOW me. You know that I’m ridiculous enough to always look for a lesson in every single thing that happens. You know that I want to see the beauty in everything. You know that I look for it. I’m trying here. I’m trying so hard. But there’s no way that I can see one speck of beauty in what just happened. There’s no way that I can see any beauty in the pain that those parents are going through right now. NONE! Am I missing something? Am I? Help me see it because this doesn’t make any sense.”

That’s when the sky opened up and it started to rain while the sun was shining in the middle of December.  And then it hit me — the one speck of beauty to be found in all the hurt.

To feel such exquisite pain, it means that you had to have loved with complete abandon.

We so often hedge our bets with love. We scope it out first. We circle it. We try to assess the potential for risk before we dive in. We dole it out or reel it in based on complicated and ever-changing equations.

But it’s not like that with our children. The day you smack the word “parent” on yourself, you rip your heart wide open and make yourself completely vulnerable. You know that your child will puke in your hair and keep you awake night after night and sometimes call you horrible names and mouth off and break some of your most precious stuff … you know all that going in.

You wouldn’t accept that kind of behavior from anyone else but you made a deal with these little people. “No matter what you do to me, I will always love you. No matter how you frustrate me, hurt my feelings, confuse me , or wound me so deeply that I want to cry, I will just keep throwing love at you. Even when I don’t like you that much, I will keep throwing love at you. Even when I’m tired and at the end of my rope and I just wish you would go away for 10 minutes, I will keep throwing love at you. Forever and ever and ever.”

I suspect that even Adam Lanza’s mother felt that way about him. I don’t know much about her, but my guess is that she loved that kid with total abandon — and that even in her last moments, she was loving him through her fear and spent her last moments desperately trying to understand.

It’s hard to think about Martin Richard’s mother, who probably woke up in the hospital after her emergency brain surgery to find that one child had been killed and another one had lost part of a leg.

There’s no neat way to tie up a tragedy. Everyone who died in Boston and at Sandy Hook was someone’s child. Those parents are hurting in places I haven’t accessed in myself yet. I’ve grieved for loved ones but I haven’t grieved like they are.

I know — we all know — that the people we love are never going to be permanent in our lives. We come in alone, we go out alone, in some sort of cosmic magic that hasn’t quite yet been explained in its entirety. I’d like to think there was a bigger plan to all of this that I’m not in on. For now, I’m trying to be aware of how the lessons relate to my life. I’m looking at my kids and seeing the magic in them. I’m giving thanks for lunches to pack and laundry to do and fights to break up. All of that means that my little people are here in my life in a very real way. I don’t have to miss them and that makes me so, so lucky.

I’m shooting up a flare to the Universe in my own little way … wishing peace and comfort and healing to all those affected by the bombings in Boston.

Sure hope I don’t have to write any more blogs like this any time soon.

 

I’m only human

This is supposed to be a picture of “frustration.” Let’s go with that. (In other news, why are there no Devil Dogs in my house right now?)

Peeps: I’m due for another Letter to Louie but I have to admit that the post that I’ve been working on for the past few days sorta sucks.  It’s not ready. In fact, this one might need to marinate for a while so I may hold it and start over with something else entirely.

I love you all too much to ask you to read garbage, so let me regroup and put together something that’s worthy of your attention.

In the meantime, why not entertain yourselves with this post about my vagina?

(This is when being a writer is hard and yucky. But you know what? I’m still having an awesome time.)

Read the next Letter to Louie here.

Letters to Louie: Sex and the single momma

Dear Readers: This is another post in my Letters to Louie series, in which I write to the comedian Louis C.K. after having received an unmistakable sign from the Universe that we’re supposed to get married. While this letter is meant for Louie, since you’re already here you might as well read it too.

Dear Louie,

I got laid this weekend.

Yes. I. Did.

There was sex to be had and I was the one havin’ it. There were deeds to be done and I was the one doin’ em.

Excuse me for a brief moment while I take a victory lap around my living room.

You feel me on this, right?

I guess I should feel apologetic, considering that you and I are engaged to be engaged. But since we haven’t met in person yet, I think you should cut me some slack here.

Because I’m not sorry at all. In fact, I feel like I should be strutting onto an aircraft carrier with a big, taxpayer-funded banner in the background that says “Mission Accomplished.”

My fellow Americans, today I announce that the United States and our allies have prevailed. Operation Dryspell has concluded.

Louie, you’re a single dad. You get this, right? You know that if you’re a single parent and you’re in your 40s and you can find someone willing to throw down with you … well, that’s no Walk of Shame you’re gonna be taking in the morning. That’s a Walk of Pride.

I did it for the children.

Louie, I’m going to be honest. This had to happen. Had to. I’ve had so much pent up sexual frustration from months and months of celibacy that it probably wasn’t even safe for me to be behind the wheel anymore. When you think about it that way, I really did it for the good of the community. And for the children.

So let me explain how this happened.

First, yes, I’m dating other people right now since, for some inexplicable reason, you’re continuing to play hard-to-get by pretending that you don’t know I exist.

And you know what? That’s fine. I can deal with your little cat-and-mouse game for a while. Besides, anticipation can be half the fun, right? I appreciate the way you’re building the drama as we get closer to our inevitable meeting. It shows your flair for romance, so thank you.

But in the meantime, Louie, momma has needs. Needs that won’t be met by watching your youtube videos about your very sad hand job (sorry) or your Cinnabon festish.

And the thing about these needs … well, they’re hard for a girl like me because I don’t sleep around (much). And I also don’t agree that there’s nothing a man can do for me that I can’t do for myself with a few batteries and a little technology. (But that’s a whole other story for another time, my sweet.)

Men are sort of a necessity.

I’ve been out with this one man a few times lately. He’s a single dad. He’s nice. We have a really good time together and he’s a good kisser. At the end of a recent date, he invited me to see his place. I told him that I’d drop him off on my way home from the city, but that I wasn’t going to come in. He said, “That’s fine. I’ll wait until you trust me. Besides, we don’t have to do anything.”

I was sitting there thinking, “We don’t? Because if I walk into your apartment, there’s no way I’m walking outta there without getting laid. It’s not you I don’t trust, dude. It’s me.”

Now let me say this: You, Louie, and men in general, should not take this story as a green light to assume that all women always want to get laid upon entering a man’s home. I just happened to be thinking about it that night. As you probably know, we women are complicated and changeable and nothing is ever guaranteed. I’m sure you would agree that it’s part of our charm.

We made out in the car. Then he got out and I drove away thinking, “Who is demure as all fuck? This girl! Where’s my goddamn medal? I’m going home sexless and frustrated … there’s got to be a payoff here somewhere … ”

What’s the big farking deal?

So this last date … I tried to talk myself out of sleeping with him. Beforehand, I tried to tell myself that it would be a really great idea to not shave my legs. I tried to remind myself that turning my face into a landfill for Girl Scout cookies after a bad breakup a few months ago hadn’t been the best idea and that I was way too squishy to consider getting into a gropefest with anyone at this point. I tried to conjure up some moral reason why this would be a bad idea.

And I couldn’t think of one. I’m 41. I’m perfectly fucking entitled to go have some sex if that’s what I feel like doing. I’m not an idiot and I’m not going to take any stupid chances with my health. I got myself spayed like a dog a while ago, so there’s no risk of firing up production lines at the old baby factory.

And then I found myself putting on this little black dress that sorta did everything for me — except zip all the way up. I have nasty carpal tunnel syndrome at the moment and I couldn’t maneuver my arms to reach to the top of the zipper. I got it up to just below my bra line and then it got stuck. I seriously considered just leaving it like that and throwing a jacket on over top. Then I could pull my date into a secluded corner of the Philadelphia Art Museum later, take off the jacket and go, “Hey, uh, could you help a girl out?” I couldn’t decide if that would be sexy or trashy … or both. Finally, I worked the zipper up past the bra line, hooked the top and left it at that.

And then I put on this great perfume that I love that always makes me feel a little bit saucy …

And that was fucking that.

All of nature is celebrating.

It takes me a long time to get comfortable sleeping at someone else’s house.  Later that night, I was finally about to close my eyes around 3:30 AM. That’s about the same time a bird started singing right outside the window. Then another one. And another one. A whole fucking chorus of birds chirping away in the middle of the night. It was pretty but shit … it was already hard enough to nod off, what with worrying about drooling or snoring or committing some other unsightly and unintentional sleep faux pas.

In the morning, I asked him if the birds had a little house party outside the window every night.

“No,” he said. “It was probably because of us. They knew two single parents had just gotten laid.”

Then I explained that I had to leave him, the actual man I had just slept with, so I could go home and write a letter to you, my hypothetical fiance, before my  kids got home from their dad’s house. God bless that man, he didn’t bat an eye.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Can I admit that I think all the “morning after” stuff is hilarious? I love having to hunt down undies and wipe off smeary makeup and then put on last night’s clothes before grabbing a coffee on the way home, knowing that I just reek of “That’s right, motherfuckers. Guess who just got some action?”

I got home and pulled into the parking lot at the Single Momma Townhouse. My neighbor on the right is also a single mom – I assume she’s older than me because she  has three kids and three grandchildren. There are days she just looks tired. A few weeks ago, though, I noticed she’d gotten her hair done. She also started wearing a little more makeup and putting together some nice outfits. She looked good.

Then I saw why. A guy — a cute guy — started showing up over there pretty regularly.

I don’t know her well, but I was so happy for her. “Good for you, honey!” I wanted to tell her. “Take a point for our team! You give me hope!”

Sitting there in my car in last night’s dress, I noticed the cute guy’s car in front of her house again. I was tempted to go ring her bell. When she opened the door, I wouldn’t say a word. I’d just give her a fist bump and a wink and then slink on over my house to begin the day.

And that, Louie, is all I have to say for now. I’m still tired from being up all night. I’m going to go sleep off my sex hangover but I promise I’ll write again soon. Smoochies from me.

Love,

Your future bride, Trish

_______

Are you the voyeuristic type? Want to keep reading my letters to Louis C.K.? Follow me on Twitter @singlemommaTSJ or on Facebook.

Read the previous Letter to Louie: Open Letter to My Future Husband.

Read the next Letter to Louie here.