Friday, July 29, 2011

A crisis of confidence

Last spring, I heard from one of my best friends from college that she was going through a bit of a life upheaval.  Not like the "I just won $245 million in the lottery and I'm not sure weather to buy an island or have a stadium renamed after me" kind of upheaval, but the "I could use some extra support from my girlfriends" kind of upheaval.  As soon as I hung up the phone with her, I dialed DH at work.

"Honey, do you think I could go out to Boston to visit my friend?" I asked in my best Adoring Wife voice.  "We just got our tax refund, I could use some of it for the plane tickets."

He didn't hesitate.  "Of course!"  Then a brief pause.  "You're taking the boys, right?"

After I finished laughing hysterically and wiped the tears from my eyes, I gently suggested maybe he could take a few days off of work.  I'd only be gone for a long weekend.  He agreed, and the trip was conceived.

Fast forward a few months to this past Wednesday night, the evening before my plane left.  We put the kids down for bed, and suddenly I found my stomach was in knots.  I was nervous, practically terrified!  I tried to talk it out with DH, to figure out what was going on.  He suggested maybe I was worried about how the kids would do without me, or maybe I was afraid I would miss them terribly.

Which certainly plays into it somewhat.  Naturally I do miss them.  I look at their grainy, blurred pictures on my dinosaur phone all the time.

But I think it's more than that.

At the airport, I was a complete idiot.  You'd think it was my first time seeing big machines with wings and engines that fly in the sky like birdies.  I'm staring at the departure screen, trying to find my gate.  Boston... Boston... Boston... no Delta flights to Boston.

Okay, take a deep breath and look again.

No Delta flights to Boston.


I look down at my ticket to check the flight number and departure time.

To Detroit.

Because it wasn't a nonstop flight.

Which, naturally, I already knew.

I looked at the screen again, and phew!  There was a Delta flight to Detroit.  Praise the Lord in Heaven.

As I made my way to my gate, I passed throngs of families with little ones.  Little ones carrying backpacks with their names embroidered on the back.  Little ones in strollers, sucking binkies and looking as relaxed as I wished I was.

And I felt naked.  What was I missing?  Had my ticket, had my books, had my iPod, had my xtreme-chocolate-flavor-blasted Goldfish crackers to snack on.

What I was lacking, therefore, was three small boys and one husband.

To compensate for the feeling that I was forgetting or missing something, I developed OCD checking for my purse, which was tucked in my carry-on.  I can only imagine what my row-mates thought was in my bag, as I grabbed it every 5 minutes and frantically felt around inside.  I'm rather surprised that I wasn't escorted off the plane by an Air Marshal for suspicious behavior.  Just goes to show you they'll let any wacko on a plane these days.

Fortunately the flights were relatively uneventful.  On the first leg, I sat next to Jon Gosslin in disguise (i.e. he wasn't wearing Ed Hardy), and boy does that man TALK!  He was one of those people who spouts a lot of random facts.  At first, I couldn't decide if he was full of crap or if he belonged on Jeopardy.  Eventually it turned out that yes, he was just full of crap.  My layover was a matter of mere minutes, and I was nervous that I wouldn't make the connection, but fortunately there wasn't a problem.  On the second leg of the trip, I sat next to a young man who slept the entire flight. (Wow, I can't believe I just typed "young man."  Further evidence that I am, indeed, very old.)  Anyway, it allowed me to finish reading Life from Scratch, written by one of my favorite bloggers ever, Melissa Ford.  Devoured cover-to-cover on the trip, it was such a delicious read.  (HA!  Get it?  It's a book about cooking, and I "devoured" it because it was "delicious."  Just wanted to make sure you caught that.)

My friend picked me up at the airport (natch) and we headed out to dinner.  Which was incredible.  Did I mention I'm not dieting on the trip?  My goal is to gain back at least 5 pounds. Hey, they'll have more SlimFast shakes at Fred Meyer when I get back.  Anyway, we stuffed our faces (okay, I stuffed my face, my friend is much more civilized) and chatted about Life.  I think we were able to tease out the reason that, although I expect to feel FREE and UNENCUMBERED during this trip, I feel... well, not quite that.  Not yet, at least.

For the first time in years, I am somewhere that I am neither Wife nor Mother.  I am just... Sunny.  I am with my friend, who knew me in college as Sunny well before I got married.  I am meeting her friends here, who aren't watching me wipe evidence of lunch off the faces of my children, but rather are seeing me as Sunny.

I feel... exposed.

And that scares the crap out of me.

I'm worried my clothes aren't cool enough.  I'm worried I won't have anything interesting to say.  I'm worried my friend will think, "Wow, you've lost a lot of yourself over the years."

And I guess on the deepest level, I'm worried that I'll agree.

I'm hoping that this trip is exactly what the doctor (now a psychiatrist, apparently) ordered.  I've got three days of exploring and tasting here in Boston, then another day spent traveling home.  Hopefully during that time I can really start enjoying the fact that I don't have anyone depending on me to pull their pants down so that they can pee, or cut their grilled cheese into itty bitty pieces.  Hopefully during that time I can remember how it feels to just be Sunny, for better or for worse.

But, if you'll excuse me now, I need to get going.  I'm going to go practice being Sunny during a massage.  And mani/pedi. And shampoo and blowdry.

The things I'll do to support a friend and rediscover myself, I tell ya.  It's rough.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your daily dose of irony

It's been a while since I've gotten a bloggy award -- for obvious reasons that we won't discuss right now.  *ahem*  But there are two beautiful ladies out there who saw fit to give me a couple of awards recently, undeserved as they might be, and I'm grateful!

The first award is from Strong Blonde, and while I can't speak for the "blonde" part, she is definitely strong in a multitude of ways.  She's raising twins, getting in shape, and side-stepping extended family land mines (in the great mitten state, in fact).  The rules of this award are simple: list 7 things about yourself and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers.  Consider it done!

The seven facts:

1. Sometimes when my husband goes out of town for work, I put on his deodorant in the morning.  That way I smell his scent randomly throughout the day, and I feel closer to him.  So far no one has asked why I smell like I've been with a man when DH is not home.  I'll let them wonder.

2. I buy parenting books because it makes me feel like a better mom.  But then I don't end up reading them and I feel like a worse mom because I'd rather read the latest Jennifer Crusie than strategies for potty training.  Oh well, Bean seems to have caught on to the concept anyway.

3. I have gotten teased for having a "dinosaur" cell phone. Which is not quite accurate; although my phone lacks any additional features (okay, there's a sub-par camera at least), it is relatively new, as it came free with my latest contract.  After enduring some teasing from a friend, I responded, "Well, I still hear the same voices as you do when I talk on it."  To which she asked incredulously, "You TALK on your phone?"  Fine, I'll text, if that's what people do these days.  It'll just take me about 15 minutes to respond because I don't have a keyboard.  Crap.

4. I've had a couple of random gray hairs on my head for years.  They never really bothered me, and I was rather self-congratulatory about my nonchalance with the whole situation.  In the past month, however, I've found a ton more, and now they are starting to bother me.  I'm 31 and I'm already done aging gracefully.

5. I saw a UFO when I was in high school.  Driving down the road at night with friends in my home town, a big bright light flew up ahead of us in the sky, then flew away.  My friend Al totally saw it too.  Luckily there was no abduction or... umm... probing involved.  Well, that's what we prefer to believe.

6. My car (or rather, my minivan *sob*) is always clean inside.  There may be a stray SlimFast wrapper or post-it note on the console, and certainly some pebbles that hitched a ride on the kid's shoes.  But overall, free from junk.  I actually come from a long line of clean car lovers, I'm not sure if it's genetic or a learned trait.  If I get in your car and I have to move mountains of crap to sit down, or contort my legs to get my feet on the floor, I'm not judging you, but -- wait, yes, I am judging you.

7. I recently learned that I may have a deep but completely unconscious obsession with "Full House."  At one of the July 4th parties we attended, someone asked the name of my twins.  When I told her, she immediately exclaimed, "Just like Jesse and Rebecca's twins on FULL HOUSE!"  (I had no recollection of the names of those twins, for the record.)  The good news is that the boys are 15 months old and she was the first person to say that, so hopefully it won't plague them throughout their lifetimes.  The bad news is that then I also realized that Bean's initials are the same as Candace Cameron's character's name.  I'm seeking therapy.

And I'm passing this award to: Jamie at Sticky Feet (Part Deux), Katie at Taking the Statistical Bullet, E at Hope in Briarrose, Stef at Eat Sleep and Run, And So it Goes at Life in the Detours, Aisha at Aisha Iqbal, and last but not least, Dana at Life Unexpected.  Such wonderful women who share beautiful, thoughtful, inspiring, and *ahem* substantive words!

The second award is from the lovely Kmina, who has her hands full with a little monkey who overflows with personality (much like my Gax, I think).  And he's almost ONE!  Where does the time go?  Sigh.  But yes, she has passed on these pretty pink gems:

The rules are:
* Thank the giver.  (You rock, Kmina!)
* Choose five bloggers as recipients.  (I'm selecting the lovely Holly at Seriously Holly, and Alisa at The World According to Alisa, and Pufferfish at Puffer and the Baby Fishies, and Kristi at Interrupted Wanderlust, and Heather at The Donut!)
* Write seven random facts about me.  (I'm going to do a list of seven of my favorite things, because I think you probably still need some time to digest the seven riveting facts from the award above.)
* And finally, let the recipients know they have the award to claim.  (I'll get to it.)

So yes!  Here are seven of my favorite things at the moment. I'm sorry if any of these are repeats, I'm too lazy to look back at previous Favorite Things posts.

1. Betty Crocker Warm Delights Mini Molten Chocolate Cake.  You could say I have a "thing" for raw batter and dough.  As far as desserts go, that's pretty much top on my list.  But I'm still hanging onto my diet (about 24 pounds lost now, thank you very much!), so I do try to be as good as possible.  Fortunately, this cake mix helps satisfy my craving with only 150 calories.  I mix in the water and then -- yep -- eat the batter out of the bowl with a small spatula.  Oh, you could also actually cook them.  If you are into that sort of thing.

2. AVEENO Baby Care Products.  You could also say I have a "thing" for soap products -- shampoo, body wash, hand soap, etc.  I love trying new stuff, it's a small splurge that makes me feel like I'm pampering myself while I go about my normal routine.  This has transferred to what I buy for the kiddos, too.  And hands down, AVEENO is the best I have found.  Johnsons Natural products feel very inadequate to me, but the hair and body washes (and lotions too) from AVEENO are wonderful.

3. Connoisseurs Jewelry Wipes.  Now that I no longer have to fear that the twins will yank off a special necklace or rip earrings from my ears, I am able to wear real jewelry again.  After sitting unused for so long, all my pieces have that cruddy stuff on them.  I consulted my friends at and chose the jewelry wipes.  They are incredible!  The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser of bling.  Highly recommend storing a pack in your closet.

4. DHC Rich & Moisturizing Treatment.  If left to its own devices, my hair would resemble one of those round shrubs people use in landscaping the outside of their houses.  Fortunately there are many products that allow me tame the mane and go out in public.  I like to deep condition my hair once a week, and my Mom turned me on to this stuff.  The only problem is that there aren't instructions on the tube (in English, at least), so when I first got it, I had trouble remembering where to put it.  Luckily I called my mom to ask her, right before I slathered it all over my face.  Now I keep it next to my shampoo, problem solved.

5. Denim pedal pushers from Black House White Market.  I love these because they fit my body type perfectly; the waist feels like elastic even though it's not, allowing room for the evidence of a twin pregnancy that scoffs at my diet.  They have cute embellishments that make them appropriate for any top, from a casual t-shirt to a fancy tank.  They also make your rear look fabulous, as I recently noticed when reviewing some action pics I took of a new wrap for my fellow babywearing geeks.  Totally, right?  If I do say so myself.

6. It's a Bam Bam Diddly! CD by Father Goose.  As much as possible, I try to turn off the television and turn on music.  It's a daily struggle that I usually fall short on.  But one of the things that helps is this CD.  It's perfect for summer, it has a reggae-type feel with fun songs that the kids enjoy and that don't make me want to gouge my eyes out with a baby spoon.  There are also other well-known singers featured, such as Cheryl Crow.  I like to perform a little floor show for the munchkins while they eat, while they still think I'm awesome and not an embarrassment to humanity.

7. MAC Studio Finish Concealer.  I have dark circles under my eyes even when I am at my most rested, it's just in my genes.  You can imagine that having three small boys does nothing to help the situation.  I've tried many an undereye concealer, but after finding this, I'm hooked.  Best coverage, longest lasting.  It is possibly the number one reason that I hear, "Well, you don't look like you have a three-year-old and twin one-year-olds!" instead of, "Oh my God, it's a ZOMBIE ATTAAAACK!"
I'd love to hear what products are rocking your world these days!