Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Cigarrettes

Dear Cigarrettes,

I need for you to let me go. I am so sick of your stink, your controlling ways, and the damage you are doing to my body. Do you hear the cough, do you feel the wheeze? Those wrinkles, the, whoa, large pores. I can't even write about how smoking affects my beasts. I can't write that kids whose parents smoke, even if they only smoke outside, those little beasts still get sick more often than kids whose parents don't smoke. Kids whose parents smoke are more likely to smoke. Kids whose parents smoke can't get undivided attention because mama wants to sneak out for a quick drag.

Cigarrettes, you nasty weed, I've got such a screwed up love/hate of you. My inner Rizzo can't let you go. I swear sometimes I think she wants me dead, but she doesn't really, she just wants me misbehaving. We've been talking lately, me and the inner Riz, and I'm trying to let her know I will misbehave just the same without you, Cigarrettes. I don't have to die to be wicked. That Rizzo, she is a bull headed bitch, but she makes me laugh. I think she's gonna come around to see my side. She will see, dear cigarrettes, that smoking is more stupid than wicked. I would much rather have a hickey from Kenikie than smell like a ashtray from Joe Camel. Camels spit lugeys and cause cancer. I'm so over that.

Cigarrettes, you are a disgusting, foul, and maddening habit. Just a habit, not a God, not even a human being. You are just a habit, yet here I am quitting again, and again. I've started out everyday the past four days with such high hopes, but then there I go missing you and thinking, Fuck It, just one won't hurt.  There I go trading my health, my beasts, my beauty for just one drag. What the mother fuck? How can you have such control over me?

I am a smart woman. I am a strong woman. I, unlike you, am a human being! I have free will. Except when it comes to you. There is something that always drags me back to you.

I read this book once about quitting smoking called The Easy Way to Quit Smoking, and strangely that book made it really easy for me to quit. I didn't have any cravings for a month and 1/2. I quit. I wasn't a bitch. I don't remember gaining much weight. And then I got overwhelmed and I started again. Fuck. But one thing that book said over and over again was, "Something marvelous is happening." I loved it. I made a postcard about it. I'm saying to myself today on my 100th time quitting smoking. On my, I only haven't smoked since this morning (really, so lame), and already I'm dying for a smoke.

Something marvelous is happening: I will no longer smell like an ashtray.
Something marvelous is happening: I will be a good example for my beasts.
Something marvelous is happening: I will lesson my chances of cancer so I can live to see the beasts grow up.
Something marvelous is happening: I am going to be free of this addiction.

Something marvelous is happening, Cigarettes. One of these smokes is going to be my last one and I am going to dance and sing and hack and thank the universe as I send you on your way.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raising a Boy & Raising a Girl

The other day my son came home from school and told me he got in trouble in science class.
"What for?", I inquired, knowing it couldn't be too bad, because to date my boy is a really good boy. "Some girl kept kicking me and wouldn't stop, so I said STOP, and I got in trouble."
"Why was that girl kicking you?"
"I don't know", he replied mystified, "I don't even know her." Well, I know why that little hussy was kicking him, but I kept it to myself, assuming soon enough big beast will learn about the joys and pains of elementary school love.

Last week my daughter's teacher told me that my little beast was poking a boy in circle time. This certain boy has an earring, and is know for spitting, and general badness. At the beginning of the year little beast had taken it upon herself to tame this little rascal. The teachers were thrilled. However, recently she had been putting her toe in the water and checking the temperature of trouble. When I was talking to little beast about the poking incident. I said, "When Little Rascal is misbehaving just move away from him." My little girls shoulders dropped, her chin lifted and she got this dreaming look on her face, "But mommy, he's so cuuuuuute." AHHHHHHHH, the bad boy wins again. I began looking up pre-school convents online immediately.

Raising human beings is such an awesome responsibility. Having a boy and a girl adds a little challenge to it. I cannot treat all situations the same with them. They have different needs, different personalities and different challenges.

With my boy I think about making him a good, strong man. A man who is respectful to women and respectful to himself. I think about all the sexualized images of women he will see and how to handle internet porn (thank goodness we're not there yet). I think about his sweeter than sweetness, and how to teach him to have a little tough shell around him that can provide a barrier from the hurts of the outside world, but that will allow his beautiful, kind self to shine through. I think about teaching him how to be a good man, without having a man in the house.

I also have to think practical. How do you teach a boy to pee with a morning erection? (Yep, had to deal with that one. Thanks to a quick call to a neighbor's husband we found an answer.) Masturbation? Check, we had a brief, round about talk about that. Soon we'll have to have that big ole' sex talk, but thank goodness, at this point I haven't seen any signs that point to the boy liking girls. He actually seems to shy away when a girl turns on her charm. I breath a sigh of relief, and gather information from other mothers & fathers on how to raise a boy in this crazy, sexualized, lookist society.

With my girl things seem more complicated and I think that it is because she seems like smaller version of me. Then my own baggage gets tangled into it. Not only does she need to learn the skill of wiping front to back, but she has a mountain of negative media to climb over to find herself and how she fits into the world. Last year, at age 4, she started with the, "Does this make my butt look fat?" to which I replied, "Yes, your butt is supposed to look fat! It's made of fat so it can be comfortable to sit on."

Little beast is already interested in boys. She is DRAMATIC and bull headed. Yet, somehow I need to treat her to embrace her sensuality and use her powers for good. How to treat herself with respect, and not squelch her fire. I will repeat for myself,

In the end, I remind myself, these kids have their own karmic destiny to work out. Some of it, unfortunately, will be based on choices that I have made. Some of it fortunately, will be based on what my village and I teach them, but mostly their lives are created by their own sweet selves. When I remember this parenting becomes less the chore of shaping and molding, and more the adventure, discovering, guiding them down the river of life. It is the beauty, the wonder, the burden, the tangled web of single motherhood.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Sweet Escape

I haven't really ever written about my man because I can't figure out how to. But I want to because he is an important part of my life. He's a big part of my adventure, and he has made me more adventurous in many ways. I call him my sweet escape because that's what he is.  He is ice cream in the middle of the night, or dark chocolate with red wine. He is a break from my every day. He helps me remember that in the midst of motherhood and Sassy Queenpiness, I am a woman too.  A sexy, wanted woman who has a shoulder to lay her head on if she needs it, an ear to listen if she requests it, and a luscious body to curl up next to once a week.

When I least expected it, into my life he came and now over a year later we're still figuring it out. It has by no means been easy, this navigation of uncharted waters. This sailing solo, yet tied together. It gets messy and neither one of us is an easy person to be with, but amazingly it is what I want.

I'm going to leave out the struggles of us in this post and just write about why it works. If you're a curious person peruse my postcards and you'll see the whole relationship laid out. My struggle with accepting it for what it is. My blindness to seeing that I had called him to me, because with him I can be independent and raise my kids, yet still have the satisfaction and excitement that comes from a relationship.

When I let go of the dream of what I thought my life was and started creating a life I could never had dreamed up, when I accepted that I was Alice through the looking glass, and that there was no rhyme or reason to this crazy path I was on I began to really enjoy my man, and he felt free to enjoy me. Both as we are.

He is my dark secret that is sweetly just mine. I don't write about him and there are few people that I talk to about him. During the week when I have my beasts my man and I text a lot and talk on the phone once or twice. We agree that he is just for me, and he doesn't come around the beasts. On my one or two nights a week when my beasts are with their dad I head to my man's house and we hardly see the light of the day. Nope, we don't go out. We curl up. We talk, we laugh, we fight, we cook for each other, and we love to eat. We watch tons of movies and listen to good music. We lay in bed. We veg. We spend the week missing each other and waiting for the one night we get to dive into each other.  Most nights when we are together we just soak each other up. I sit next to him, curled up and breath in his scent. He thinks I'm creepy, thank goodness he's into creep. We do not agree on politics or religion, but we agree on spirit and compassion.  And because of all of this I am deeply tied to him. He is my friend.

After being married, and being so committed to the dream of a nuclear family it is strange to find so much peace in once a week lovin'. It is freeing to be with someone who is not intimidated by my independence, or threatened by my relationship with my friends. It is empowering to parent my beasts with my village, but know in the end the decisions are mine. My man's & my relationship works with my journey down the rabbit hole. He is my Mad Hatter, my Cheshire Cat; nonsensical and delicious. Supporting me as I continue to find my own way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hopeless Hysterics

Some nights are like this. They are kismet, and they are delicious. I was up past 9:30 which is late night for me. I was working on postcards and I received a text: Are your kids in bed? One of my girls had just had a big talk with her man and she was feeling a little squirley. He lay sleeping next to her and she needed to talk. I'm coming over, the next text read. Five minutes later in she walks. She left that man snoozing in the bed, and came over for some sister time. Sweats on, bed head raging, wicked little grin. I pour the wine. We sit on the porch and talk start talking it out. As we smoke and  drink our wine. I listen to her talk about what is going on and then magically, we see our other mama across the street saying good bye to her man. Get your ass over here! We laugh at the silliness of it: all three of us, up on a school night, drinking wine, smoking, having stories to tell, but no one but ourselves to listen. Needing each other, loving each other, feeding each other's souls.

When you're married you have a constant sounding board, but us single mamas we need each other, on 24 hour call, to listen to each other bounce off ideas, talk each other down, ground the crazies. The night began with the hashing out of what is going on with each of us: navigating our relationships, dealing with the process of divorce. Tonight the topic was all about men, current men, ex-men, men in our future. We started off in pensive mood, but as it always eventually does when things are heavy, we got down right hysterical. "Hopeless hysterics, that's what this is," Sassy Single Mama giggles. We snort with laughter.

From shameless self-examinations we move into opera singing, we dive into rap (yes, there was b-boxing), there was some preaching, and gospel all about woman power and navigating the single mama/single woman road. At one point there I was with another single mama on the floor attempting a queef contest. Tears streaming down my face as I laughed and laughed at my 37 year old ass lay on the ground. We mutilated the songs of Grease, and The Sound of Music. We discussed the dangers of Nair down there. We laughed and laughed and laughed. The spell was broken when some man called out, "Hey [Savior Single Mama] is this your dog?" and interrupted our new rap/opera song called "Golden Pussssaaayyyyyy".  That poor man must have been terrified to return the pooch who had wandered down the block. With giggles still ringing out, the ladies and I hugged, kissed, and said goodnight with promises to meet in the morning for coffee.
As I write all this I giggle at the silliness of it, and feel profound gratitude that I have found this kind of love with two women. Yet, this week my girls and I have realized something. In finding this joy in each other. In creating a family of three mamas and five kids, we are leaving little room for men in our lives. Our dating lives reflect our constant struggle to redefine our lives. Do we want to re-create the traditional family with husband, wife, children? Or do we want to forge ahead making our own way? We are not the same young women we were when we got married, ready to blend our lives with another person, ready to compromise in order to create a family. We are strong, independent, single women who are not so ready to give up the lives we have created on our own.

I do not think that  being committed to someone means giving up everything, but it does mean compromise. It means taking time for another person and that means giving up some of my time that I put into other things. Things like my kids, and things like my girlfriends. It means taking another person into consideration when I make decisions about what I'm going to do. I've made up my mind for now. I am satisfied with the way my life is. It is full, full, full to the brim of love, support, laughter, and fun. It is deliciously mine to do with as I please.

Not one of us three single mamas is single. We all three are involved with men, but it seems that we have chosen men that allow us to have plenty of time for Hopeless Hysterics. Men that don't ask us to give up too much of our time. Men that are on the fringes, as we three mamas revolve with our children in the center. At some point one of us may move out and create our own little orbit with another, and at that point I know that the other two will rejoice in her choice, but for now we forge ahead creating our own lives. Weaving them together into a crazy tapestry that is delicious and fulfilling. We continue to redefine friendship, family, and commitment. It's not always pretty, it's not always sane, but it is ours and for this Queenpin Mama that is a lot.