A Birthday Party

I wrote this in November. If you know me, you know I have a tendency to over-think things. If you are new to this blog, you’re about to find that out. I wasn’t ready to post it until now. But here it is.

My baby is turning 6-years-old, hardly a baby, not a toddler, definitely a girl. And I feel a lot of feelings about this, spanning from joy to panic. Every mother feels them (at least that’s what I tell myself) as every year passes. As she slips further from the time when my life is the life most intertwined with hers. She grows more independent, but I feel a bit left behind. She sees herself differently, she sees me differently, and I can’t move on from the moment I first held her.


My daughter, being 6, felt ready to have a birthday party. She is in the peak of what it is to enjoy a birthday. The joy of being special for a day and eating cake and having seconds on cake. She’s proud to get older, to know more, to reach higher shelves, to have a longer leash. She wants to share this joy with her friends at a party. What could be more natural.


I want my child to be happy. I love my child. But I am not her, we differ in so many ways. A mother’s wants and desires and emotions and reactions don’t morph into those of her child after it’s born. We subjugate our needs, our needs are subjugated against our will, but after it all we’re still in there. The woman we were for all those moments before we became a mother exists in all the moments after.


She has always, since she could speak, expressed the desire for a birthday party. She’s a very articulate, compulsively social, incredibly vibrant child. And she loves cake more than you love your own life. But I resisted the word party (because I’m very FUN!). On previous birthdays I made the cake, invited over a friend, sang to her in my rather unspectacular voice. And because she’s also a gracious child, she accepted this as enough on all her other birthdays.


Maybe I fight the urge to do everything my children want more than I should. Maybe I resent the implication, insinuation or outright declaration that what I want doesn’t matter anymore. Doesn’t matter as much. Doesn’t matter to anyone but me. Maybe my own anxiety about parties and houseguests and large groups of children was the excuse I gave. The aversion to ‘the birthday party’ was the name I gave to my silent protest against the cultural idea that losing myself was part of motherhood. But also I’m not super into large groups of children.


She never explicitly asked for a birthday party this year. Maybe by the wise age of 6 she’d accepted non-biological aunties and her own sister as the only party guests she could expect. But I planned one anyway, inspired by the joy she showed at the parties of others, warmed by the truth that she loves the party even when it isn’t for her, guilted by the thought that I was the only thing standing between her and that kind of memory for herself. Plus I, too, enjoy cake. And seconds on cake.


Sometimes a party is just a party. Sometimes even a silent protest can be quieted for a day. Sometimes you have to admit that while you might be right on the point of the war, this battle isn’t where it will be won. I am still me, I am not them, they are not me. But god damn these kids love balloons. And cake. Did I mention cake?


I rejected any inkling I might have to fall trap to the Pinterest party-planning-abyss where I’ve seen so many before me perish. I joked that the theme of the party was ‘1980’s Birthday.’ In the 80’s every birthday party had one theme, which was ‘Birthday.’ There were balloons, maybe streamers, cake, conical hats, possibly a pinata depending on bravery level of the parents involved. Now it’s like ‘Snow Castle in Space’ or ‘Undersea Cowboy Adventure’ and people lose hours of their lives and large portions of their salary to these events. I may have blossomed into a person who can host a child’s birthday party, but that kind of planning is a bridge too far.


Her friends came. And shared their love for my girl. And she shared her bliss with them. And after one round of pin the tail on the whatever and a candle in a cupcake they just ran around. Screaming, laughing, being children who don’t yet have to worry about how many of their own neuroses they are passing on to someone else. Being children who think growing older is the best thing that can happen. Being children who never worry if houseguests notice the dust on the stairs or the slightly overcooked treats.


I’m still me. But they are making me better. Happy birthday my sweet pea.

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Into The Woods

Hillary Clinton appeared at a retirement party of sorts on the Capitol today.

Headlines, not just on Breitbart, quipped about her emergence from the New York woods to be at this event. It’s not like the President-elect is assembling a cabinet of billionaires and children in Aleppo are starving as they are bombed and Nazis dressed as J.Crew catalogs are telling us it’s ok to be a white supremacist. None of that, nothing to worry about. So yes, let’s definitely make time in our morning show news coverage for ‘where has she been?’ and ‘where are her hiking boots?’

In the weeks since the election, weeks that have felt like an unending hellish eternity, the jokes about Hillary taking hikes have been abundant. Bros on podcasts made jokes about her having a breakdown. Pundits gave each other knowing looks while pondering with false concern on network news. SNL writers certainly felt very pleased with themselves when devising an entire sketch about her outdoor exploits. There were memes. 

It’s almost like if you spend your entire career devoted to civil service and then that career comes to a screeching halt at a dead end of misogyny and misinformation, you can’t have a little privacy. You can’t seek solace in nature. You can’t find comfort, at least not without others making a joke at your expense.

It’s almost like if your entire adult life is spent battling against stereotypes and fighting against haters and countering conspiracy theories and being compared to your husband you don’t deserve some privacy when you are dealt the most crushing blow to your career imaginable. It’s almost like all that work and all your pain is just a laugh for everyone you thought you would be fit to serve.

It’s almost like when you run for President as the first major party female candidate and you’re about to break a barrier that your grandmother couldn’t have dreamed of being broken and millions of women who worked hard all their lives are rooting for you and you suddenly fall short, you still owe everyone something. You still have to make appearances, which they would certainly say you shouldn’t be making because DISTRACTION, but also, you can’t disappear to the woods. You still have to put on makeup, because how are they supposed to look at you when telling you what to do? You still have to make them feel better about themselves.

If you live and breathe America for 30 years, professionally, personally and psychologically devoting yourself to the idea and reality of the political process, and then wake up one day to find that people are not paying attention, why shouldn’t you take to the forest? If nearly 3 million more voters chose you over the racist, misogynist, thin-skinned, unexperienced bully you ran against after a lifetime of preparation but you lost anyway? Why wouldn’t you want to hear only the sounds of birds talking to each other and wind speaking to trees. If you had to smile through a serial adulterer and admitted sexual predator telling the world it was your fault your husband cheated on you and the American people, the white American WOMEN, chose him instead?

Go into the f&*ing woods.

 

The fact that Hillary Clinton’s whereabouts are even a topic of conversation among anyone but her family disturbs me but doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise the millions of women who voted for her, who hold up so much of the weight of their family, their community, their work, but who are still made to wonder if they are enough. It’s likely, I’ll admit, that it also doesn’t surprise millions of women who didn’t vote for her. Who looked past her and chose someone else, but who also lay awake at night wondering if they can ‘do it all’ while their husband sleeps soundly never having entertained any such concern.

I’ll meet you in the goddamn woods.

 

I cried when I wrote this.

Because this entire idea has run through my head for weeks, through the joke and the quips, reminding me that what we do is never enough. We can’t do enough to win, no matter how much we do. If we don’t win, we can lose in the right way.

For men who don’t see women as their equal, for women who do not believe women deserve what men have, for a society that laughs in the face of gender equality. Make a meme, some sketch comedy, do what you want. But I cried.

Just another feminist killjoy. We’re holding our next meeting. In the woods.

 

It Is Not Easier

There were times when I was awake at 3am standing in the bedroom with no pants, no will to live, making a shusssshing sound and gently bobbing back and forth to keep my baby from screaming which in turn kept me from screaming. I bounced and shhhhhhushed and bounced and shussssshed and thought ‘this will get easier.’

I told myself that because I was very tired from giving birth and keeping a baby alive and keeping a marriage alive and keeping my friends from leaving me and walking my dogs and remembering to eat. But if someone had really sat me down (hopefully got me some pants first) and looked me in the eye and said ‘do you think that’s true?’ I would have probably laid my head in their lap and said ‘no’ while weeping myself to sleep.

And I would have been right. It is not easier.

Babies certainly have a lot of needs and require a lot of physical energy from parents. These baby-needs could perhaps even be described as feelings. But my 6-year old has emotions. Emotions so big and so loud and so real and so raw that no amount of shush-bouncing could ever help. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I try very hard not to be uncomfortable with her emotions. They are a normal part of human existence, they are a sign of her emotional and psychological development. But sometimes they are painful for her. Confusing to her little heart. And nothing is more natural in me than the urge to build a wall around her heart. But that’s not wise.

I have a hard time stopping myself from always saying ‘you don’t have to be sad’ or ‘don’t get upset.’ Because you do have to be sad. And it’s ok to get upset.

I have a hard time because I see these emotions as a part of her growth that scares me. The part where I can’t always intervene, where I have to sit in my discomfort of her discomfort in order to model that nothing comes from pushing feelings away, nothing good anyway.

I watch as the veil of a blissful and optimistic childhood slowly, gradually lifts. People aren’t always kind. Things don’t always go the way we want. Bad things happen. Life isn’t fair. These ideas come in bits and pieces. And I hold it as my duty to remind her that those downsides must exist so that we can appreciate, understand and feel joy, love, peace, and security…but still, it hurts.

I realize now that the burden of diapers and sleeplessness come with the freedom of child-like ignorance. The jobs I have to do physically to raise my child have changed in an inverse proportion to the way I have to support her emotionally.

The upside of her emotions and her awakening are many. I am a trusted confidant to a budding girl, a future woman, who has enough love in her heart to withstand all the truth she will eventually see. I get to sit with her, for as long as she needs me or lets me, and hold her hand when she discovers the depths of each emotion, the joy of each elation. I take inspiration from her development, from the connections she makes while navigating sometimes uncomfortable or uncertain emotional waves. I’ll be a better mother, woman, human for sharing this with her. And yet.

I feel a certain nostalgia for pantsless bleary eye pre dawn shushing. dsc_0346

From the Drafts: My Third Place

I wrote this post in January 2016. I held on to it because it wasn’t done and it wasn’t clear and it seem like navel gazing but this is a blog, isn’t it, so let’s gaze.

On my first night on a recent trip to Seattle, I settled my jet lagged kittens into bed, washed my travel weary face, and braved the rain and a chatty Uber driver to meet an old friend and her new friends in a fancy-adults restaurant in Capitol Hill. Anyone who knows me well knows how very, very hard it was for me to muster the energy for such an outing. I had lipstick on for god’s sake. But she’s a special, wonderful, dear friend and her husband is a delight. Plus there was guacamole.

My friend Caitlin introduced me to all her lovely friends. And then they asked the conversationally appropriate ‘So how do you know Lane?’

Caitlin gave this really nice (and true) answer about us meeting in a group for women living abroad and having gone to a baby shower together in London and having dinner in a Thai restaurant in Oslo and us drinking micro brews in Michigan. But this was a convoluted answer to a simple question and I saw their quizzical faces and took it upon myself to preempt the follow-up questions.

We met online. I announced.  On the internet. A message board. You know…the world wide web. That’s what she’s trying to say. 

Interesting! said a young and bright eyed English woman, in the way where you’re not sure if they mean ‘interesting’ or ‘ew.’

Ohhhhh! exclaimed the gorgeous Brazilian woman across the table,  I’ve never met anyone on the internet! Maybe I should try it! 

Was she saying that to be polite? Was she secretly thinking ‘what kind of weirdos meet online and then have slumber parties in each other’s homes’? Maybe. But I answered her exclamation at it’s face value.

Yes, I told her as serious as I’ve ever been in my life. You should definitely try it.


 

There’s this idea in sociology of the ‘third place.’ It’s a term coined by Ray Oldenburg but the concept is old and familiar. The ‘first place’ is your home, the ‘second place’ is your workplace. But the third place is somewhere with more open, natural, creative communication and connection.

Even if you haven’t heard this phrase before, you probably already decided what your third place is before you finished reading the last sentence. Maybe it’s a coffee shop. Or your yoga studio. Your church, your university. In the past it could have been a bowling alley or barber shop or beauty parlor but get serious you are not in a bowling league and you wear earbuds in the salon because DUH, podcasts. But it’s just somewhere accessible, comfortable, accommodating.

People will argue that in recent decades these third places have declined. Because of technology and commute times and general lack of goodwill for our neighbors. And they are right, the numbers don’t lie, but it’s not all robot friends and zombie faces in front of a screen. I still see, know and use third places and I’d bet you do too.

I hang out in the kid’s play area at the library and see familiar faces holding their growing children. I made friends in a beloved Pilates studio last summer. I go work at a coffee shop sometimes where I chat to the other regulars also known as retired elderly men who also appreciate a good muffin.

But, alas, I move around a lot. And a certain number of months out of the year I can’t understand the literal words coming out of my neighbors mouths. Being nomadic and living in cultural isolation can be lonely. And even introverts can be social butterflies.

When I’m away, I may not have a set seat in my local coffee shop, no one is inviting me on play dates. But I need a spot to be. I need people. I have a third place that I love so well.

The internet is my third place.


 

I do, actually, have wonderful ‘real life’ friendships as well. You know, ‘real’ as in we met in 8th grade or we were in the same dorm or we sat together at Grad School orientation because everyone else seemed like a bunch of weirdos. But there’s something about the way you can communicate with someone online that makes that connection easier at times.

You get to cut through the small talk and avoid awkward silences. You can tell your story yourself instead of having to try to push your identity through the preconceptions of people who know you mom, worked with your sister or knew you in high school. Your physical characteristics, your fashion, your accent can all be parts of telling who you are, but they can also be barriers that distract from what you want people to know about you. You can be seen by someone without them having to see you at all.

When you’re online can cover topics that some people might be uncomfortable discussing in person with someone they haven’t known very long. You forget that you can be self-conscious about your laugh or your tendency towards moodiness. The physical distance between people and the buffer of the laptop screen can, perhaps at times, defying logic, make connecting with people much easier.

The places I’ve most comfortably inhabited on the internet of full of people, mostly women, who understand me in ways that my ‘real life’ friends might not.

The expat board where I met Caitlin has yielded numerous meaningful, long lasting friendships. These people understand the confusion of international marriages, the stress of long distance moves, how much you can miss root beer, the isolation of linguistic barriers while also appreciating the draw of the unknown, the special badge of honor you can convey on yourself for your expatriate status, the fear of settling down into a ‘normal life.’

The writing group that I joined at the invitation of one of my favorite bloggers is a comfortable place to be intellectual and weird and creative with a bunch of strong, female geniuses that I admire. Where you can share things you have thought and words you’ve written with expectation of thoughtful, measured and caring responses. Where you can be as nerdy as you actually are and feel totally normal about it.

Friends I’ve made from the comments of this very blog, who have helped me through the struggles of motherhood and have commiserated over the confusion of expatriation and repatriation. People who felt connected to me by my words and nothing else and who I now count among close friends.

Imagine a coffee shop, park bench, deli counter where you could so easily find these people.


 

I’m actually a great defender of the third place, of talking to strangers or neighbors just to make a small connection to someone in the tiny bubble of the world I inhabit. Curating relationships might be one of my personal talents, and I’m not discriminate about the origins of those relationships.

The way I need the friends that have known me all my life depends on

the way I need the friends I met online and have never seen in person

which connects me to those I’ve met online and then later hugged in my real physical arms

who in turn help me appreciate the people I’ve yet to meet.

 

From the Drafts: On Being {over}Touched

I’ve made some promises I intend to keep, and one of those is to some friends who insist I get back into writing, and ideally sharing, on my blog. While I work towards that, I’ve decided to publish a few of the 145 drafts currently sitting in an orderly queue. I wrote this in February 2014.

Things are, of course, different then than they are now. Things have changed with me, with my body, with my marriage, with my children. But when I read this I can remember exactly how I felt when I wrote it. I thought about adding some things, making a proper ending, changing a few words. But current me can’t speak for the me that existed back then. So I’m publishing it as she wrote it. 


The other night I lay in my bed. Dave was out of town. V was tucked safely in her own room. O snoozed peacefully in her bassinet beside me. And I just lay there. On my back, arms and legs stretched out. And I just felt relief. Asked at that moment I would have said I never wanted to be touched again.

Of course that isn’t what I really want. And it isn’t possible.

I have a toddler who needs my touch. Needs a hug, needs help with a button, needs a hand to hold, a back to ride on, a leg to cling to.  Someone to stroke her hair and carry her when she is tired. She needs feet to stand on when she dances and a hand to hold the Kleenex when she blows. At 3 she is learning about privacy and autonomy, but she still feels she has rights to be on my body when she feels she needs it. The line between her body and my body is blurry in her mind.

I have a baby that needs my touch. My arms to hold her, my breast to drink from, my neck to nuzzle. To be carried by me and rocked by me and bathed by me. She needs me to clothe her and comfort her and fulfill all her needs. She is 3 months and she knows nothing about privacy or autonomy, my body is what keeps her alive. The line between her body and my body doesn’t exist.

I have a husband that needs my touch. Needs his back scratched and a shoulder to lean on and arms to hold him. He can dress himself and bathe himself and rock himself to sleep, but he still enters my space as a part of our daily life. He respects my privacy and my autonomy but wants my touch as much as I will give it.

All these things seem simple enough. A toddler who needs a hug. A baby who needs milk. A husband who needs a hand to hold. And it is simple, in some ways, but can feel quite complicated. The physical needs of those who love me are real and logical and I want to want to fulfill them. And I want to be free of them. Both the needs exist together, not only simultaneously but symbiotically. Without one, the other would not exist.

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The Least I Can Say

I could say so many things about politics in general and the American election coming up specifically. But for today, for now, just this. 

If there are immigrants, of ANY kind, living in your community, your duty as an American (or any other nationality, really) is to do NOTHING except show them kindness. You can extend that to whatever lengths you want, because kindness can mean so many things. But if you can’t muster even that, please examine yourself with honesty.
 
There are thousands of reasons why people find themselves living as an immigrant in a new place. There are endless challenges for them when they do so. It is not your job to police their behavior or their progress, it is not your job to decide if they fit in the way you want them to. It is not their job to make you feel ok about what kind of immigrant they are, that’s up to you to sort out.
 
If you find yourself saying the hateful ‘You’re in America, be like us’ you are undoubtedly both unaware of your privilege and willful in your ignorance of what it really means to be ‘American.’
 
If you find yourself saying, ‘No Lane, I like the GOOD kind of immigrants.’ you undoubtedly mean the kind that are white/educated/affluent and/or ‘most like me’ and you are missing the entire point of almost everything.
 
If you think you could even understand the breadth and depth of difficulties people may face adapting to culture, language and navigating an unfamiliar bureaucracy, you clearly have either never lived abroad and understood those challenges or have no capacity for compassion.
 
This didn’t start with Trump, but the rise of his campaign has clearly opened a door for people to voice their views and show their true selves, particularly on issues of immigration/race, in a way that they may not have felt comfortable doing before. And while he is running as a Republican, be sure that I have no illusions that the xenophobia and racism he exhorts is limited to one party or another. This is a problem, to some degree or another, in us all and for us all to confront head on.
 
Be better than this. Question your own fears and confusion. Put kindness before all other behavior. Put thought into actions.

Adulthood and Eulogy Spoilers

Hello Peers! As I think you have figured out by now, we’re adults. We’re in our 30’s, maybe we’re 40, we pay for things like life insurance and make dinner reservations for 5:30pm. This is happening. You are now an adult and the next stop is senior citizen so you might as well enjoy it.

We are at this interesting point in adulthood though, aren’t we? We aren’t young enough to find it new and fun anymore. The excitement of Living On My Own and Picking Out An Apartment and Being Able to Rent A Car or Looking Down My Nose At Teenagers has worn off. Long ago. We’re settled IN to adulthood with no end in sight, it’s all adult stuff from here on out. We know how to do all the adult things, we just don’t find it that thrilling anymore because BILLS! Am I right?

We are also, interestingly, too old to wish we were younger. I don’t wish I was 22 and neither do you. Sure we had abs and 1-day hangovers and zero gray hairs. But we were bumbling idiots with an over-inflated sense of how very little we understand in this world. Now we are calculating idiots with a finely tuned sense of how very little we understand in this world. And that feels less embarrassing and more enjoyable for the most part.

But we’re also at the stage where looking forward in time is a little scarier than it was 10 years ago, and a little less certain. Some of the harder parts about adulthood are ahead of us, or have already come upon us. We’re aging, people we love are aging, our kids are getting older, the world is getting hotter, Donald Trump is an issue that we have to concern ourselves with, I’m responsible for all these real-life things.

Recently, a some people I am close to each lost a parent. It’s painful, of course, to see someone you hold dear to lose someone they love dearly because their pain is so palpable. So real. And you can’t really help them. You want to, but you can’t, beyond the just standing there, nudging them a little and saying…this fucking sucks.

The pain of witnessing that kind of loss also hurts for selfish reasons. Because it makes you afraid. Of your own life being shaken in such a way. Of your own loss. Of the inevitability of having to feel their pain in a more literal way. You want to hold your friend’s hand while you shield your own heart, but there aren’t enough hands in the world for that.

We are young enough that losing a parent is, of course, tragic and sometimes somewhat unexpected. But we are old enough that we are supposed to act like adults about it. And that’s a very hard thing to do because while you parents might have even more gray hair than you do and you might have a mortgage, to some degree you are always their little baby and they are always the grown up. Even after you’ve grown up.

When we lose someone, like my friends lost their parents, we reflect on the love we had with them and the time we shared. My darling Liz did so with incredible grace and humor at her mother’s memorial and here on her blog. If you want to know what kind of amazing friends I have, just take that tiny peek into Liz’s heart and you’ll know. Her words moved me to tears and aggravated my fears and made me want to hop a flight to Dublin. Because that’s where she lives. And I needed a hug.

It’s important, of course, to say all the ways we love someone when someone is alive if you can. Like I know Liz did. Like I try to.

But the things we say after they are gone also have a special meaning. Because it’s the time when it’s ok to sugar coat and dust off the rose colored goggles. Because even if THEY knew how you felt, it’s the time to let everyone else have tiny glimpse of what that person was to YOU. To your heart. To your life. To share the best of the best of the things because in the end, that’s what matters. It’s what always mattered.

Chances are someone giving my eulogy won’t say ‘Lane was quite smart, liked to read…but man she was a BITCH sometimes amIright?!?’ I mean, I won’t know either way but in advance I say HOW DARE YOU! But yes, that is a true and fair statement. I’m dead though! Have some respect!

I have these terrifying flashes of fear and angst when I think of my parents aging and eventually dying. Nothing, I’m sure, compared to how they feel about it (hi guys!!!!!), but still, this is my blog so let’s make this about me for a minute. I think about what I would say if I were asked to speak, and then I ask myself ‘Have I Said It To Them Yet?’ And usually I have because I’m known for saying ALL my feelings, but sometimes I remind them. They are getting old I don’t want them forgetting.

eulogy spoilers ahead

I’d probably talk about this really awful memory I have about a time my sister and I mean-girled my dad into taking off the socks he was wearing with sandals on a family vacation. I actually almost started crying as I type that, that’s how much I still regret it. I think what ASSHOLES we were. My dad could/should have said ‘Oh really? Are my socks bothering you on this VACATION that I am PAYING for and also by the way Lane you are in the midst of a DECADE long awkward phase you ungrateful wretch!’ He didn’t though. That’s what made it so much sadder. When my sister and I talk in our private code, a ‘socks and sandals’ moments refers to anything where you were a complete and utter dickhead for no reason and you feel like shit about it. The reason I will tell this, though, is because it shows one of the BEST ever things about my dad in the he has NO MEMORY of this incident. Or if he does, he chooses not to lord it over us. Can you imagine that kind of restraint? We TRAUMATIZED ourselves with our bad behavior. Sometimes we still try to apologize for it. We re-tell the story thinking it will jog his memory and he mostly says ‘shrug’ and we go ‘DAD! We love you we are so sorry we acted that way!’ and he goes ‘I know I know, I love you too! What’s for dinner?’ The GRACE of that man and his terrible memory, I’ll always love him so much for that. He wants to move forward, he wants to be happy, he wants us to be happy, he wants us to forgive ourselves for all the things before they even happen.

I’d probably talk about how when I was in kindergarten my parents put me in the morning class. And since they were both at work when school let out, I took the city bus to my day care. I imagine sending a 5 year old as timid as I was on public transportation and think DAMN to live in 1986 was to be ALIVE! I got on the bus outside of school, I got off the bus a few feet from my daycare. Realistically, not a big deal. And you know what? My mom had a career and she loved it and was a fucking powerhouse so on the bus you go, child! I remember thinking she was a badass for that. I learned later, however, that my mom followed the bus. Like, pretty much every day. She got in her car, watched me get on the bus, followed the bus, and watched me get off. Like a very loving stalker. When I first found this out, I asked what I thought was the obvious question to mom ‘If you were going to follow me, why not just drive me?’ And she said because she knew I could do it and she wanted me to know too. And really what she was saying was that she wanted me to be brave, but that she’d never let anything happen to me. She wanted me to do things myself, but I’m never really alone. She was going to let me grow up, but I’d never get away. And I’ve never wanted to.

I’m going to try my best, as I continue to become even MORE of an adult with just INSANE amounts of gray hair, to be really graceful about it. Like just to be fine with knowing what a Roth-IRA is and to be fine with being called ‘m’am’ (!!!) and to be fine with thinking 10pm is CRAZY late to be outside of my house for any reason. These are all just facts, anyway. It’s not as though I have a choice.

The other parts, though, the life cycle stuff, is going to be harder to accept. It’s natural and it’s inevitable but it’s painful and heartbreaking and eventually all us adults will just be standing near each other during these moments, nudging, saying this fucking sucks. And that’s really, I think, all we’ll ever be able to do about it. But it’s not as though I have a choice.