Friday, September 16, 2016

Windows on the World

About last night: (two, er three glasses of wine and a whole Xanax)...Pretty coherent until I fell asleep.

I had plans to leave the house today for a reason other than to try to get this child to sleep. She did sleep, but only during the Window.

Parents know what I mean. There are these rare opportunities of time called Windows, that must be used wisely, or else you end up un-showered, unshaven and dressed in pajamas or sweats all day. These Windows are like anomalies in the space-time continuum when you can get a very specific task completed while the Babe is asleep--until it closes and then you are back on her time. In my world, the Window only lasts for about 90 minutes.

Last week in Chicago, I was blessed with a Window. The Babe was restless and needed her nap, I had an errand to run, so I strapped her in the stroller and rolled out. First errand completed, but of course, this chick did NOT go to sleep, so I had to think of a Plan B--an impromptu trip to the mall. She found her second wind, so I let her run free around the Nordstrom until she began circling the stroller. I let her climb aboard while I took a spin through the food court. She was still sitting upright as I searched around for an elevator, but just as I found it and leaned over to press the button, the Window opened! I made a mad dash back to the hotel.

My official apologies to the Planned Parenthood activist in the wheelchair, because yes, I really do support your cause, we do give money, but no I had NO time to talk because you were cutting into my Window. By this time, the Babe had been asleep for maybe about 20 minutes. I needed a shower, to get the room in semi-decent shape since the cleaning service had not come while we were gone, and time was a-ticking.

Yesterday as usual, the Babe was refusing to nap and was literally spinning herself in circles fighting valiantly to stay awake. So I loaded her into the car and with no particular destination in mind, got ready to leave the house. The mailman saw me and trotted up to me with a package. Bless his heart (and I do not mean it in the snarcastic way), he hands it over and says I see you are about to roll out with the kid, good luck Mom. I'm guessing he recognized the exasperated I-need-tranquilizer-darts-NOW, or maybe he knows all about creating the Window.

This might be the only parenting advice I ever offer because I am THAT hot mess mom: the one who barely makes it to story time even though it is a 15 minute drive away; the one who takes her kid to the matinee where they show rated R indie films and is not the least bit ashamed; the one who believes cheerios eaten from the floor must have special powers. The Window is real.

And a word to anybody who writes one of those mommy-war envy pieces about wishing she could stay at home and get stuff done while her kids napped...again, one word: Window. Lady, I don't get anything done unless I get that Window. (Except right now since I have turned the Babe over to her father for the day). Your lovely fantasies about immaculate homes, well-balanced dinners already prepared from the slow cooker, Martha Stewart decorating projects, and Hallmark card moments of hugs and kisses...yeah, right.

Let me go take a shower.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Reconsidering Mother's Day

I actually wrote the piece referenced on Mother's Day for the BBW blog, but I am now going back to read/edit/publish a few outstanding pieces here at the Cafe. Bear with me.

I've been trying to gather my thoughts to write over at the Busy Black Woman blog about Mother's Day for a while, but I think that effort is futile. My emotions are a little too erratic for I am here to be raw and serious and to try to express my emotions in a more or less coherent manner.

Because I hate Mother's Day. I have probably admitted this previously, and maybe I will go back to see if I am right, but for now, I will let that declaration stand alone. I. Hate. Mother's. Day.

At some point, my mother made Mother's Day a test of how much anxiety could she force upon me by making me feel that I never loved her enough, or that I never demonstrated the right amount of gratitude. You see, before the Alzheimer's my mother was a pill--at times, a bitter, oblong, hard-to-swallow horse pill. In the years after my grandmother's death, and literally up to the year I revolted and determined that something was terribly wrong (when all of this was becoming a reality), she could be a...bitter ass pill.

I will not recount how bad, how bittersweet, how utterly insufferable this time of year could be for me--when nothing I did was good enough (but the nothing my Dad and brothers did was somehow, just fine). But I will say that even after spending my first Mother's Day last year with my in-laws, practically spoiled because the Babe was brand-new and this was the first time everyone was meeting her, I still dread this stupid holiday. Even though it felt good to be the quasi-center of attention for once. Of course, they were all excited about the Babe, a month old, but I have come to realize that a lot of my happiness nowadays comes from her.

All of that was written back in May. All of this below is new:
I survived Mother's Day by going to church, which has become a refuge for me. That is unbelievable because it was only a few years ago that I was declaring myself a proud member of Bedside Baptist. Life, man.

Someone at my church (and I will have to write about this at some point) has decided that they will find whatever opportunity possible to stand me up in front of that congregation. I was asked to give the welcome for Mother's Day, which meant a lot of preparation before and then a lot of rushing the morning of, but we made it! And several months later (because I was asked to give another presentation at church just yesterday and had to do the same thing) I am now getting it.

Public speaking was something that my mother did very well, but as usual, her stage mommy ways made it an uneven experience. As kids that grew up in the church with both grandmothers, an aunt and then later in Catholic school, we had plenty of opportunity to speak in front of church folks. Many of those experiences did not involve my mother, but her spirit was there because the Hawkins children never read from a slip of paper in front of an audience. The Hawkins children always memorized their scripts.

Did I tell you that my mother taught public speaking? And drama? Do you see where this might be going?

I will actually go in the opposite direction to say that she seemed pleased by my presentation. And that I am already thinking of how well-trained my daughter will be when she reached the age of standing in front of the church. Like they say.

Since the tone of this piece has changed from a whine to a tribute I must say that for all of her faults, my mother was right (just not about everything). I learned a lot from her example. I may never become a great public speaker, but if the people at my church think that I am a decent enough speaker, then it is because of her high expectations. This past Mother's Day, when I was just happy that we made it to church on time, I forgot to reflect on the reason why...

I hope I made her proud.

Sunday, September 04, 2016


I have been blogging a lot lately, which is great. Except I need to be packing right now for Chicago. So I am blogging as a new way to procrastinate.

I am also here to vent after a monologue with my husband. I went to talk to him about something and I guess I cut into his podcast time because he had to actually listen to me. Or he just had to fake like he cared.

I am so over this.

Am I so inconsequential? Actually a better question is when did I become so inconsequential, but since my answer is as far back as I can remember...

I am not in the mood to bare all. But let's just say that I am always alone except when I'm with my daughter, but even then we are always alone. I was telling the hub my feelings of isolation and suggested that I might try (again) to connect with one of those exclusive membership organizations. He responded in his usual manner of telling me how I would find fault and be turned off by the pettiness, and I left feeling like he missed my entire point.

I am lonely. And I think my loneliness and isolation will have an impact on our kid.

I don't wish to bemoan the state of my life because it should be rather obvious since I write about this topic at least a third of the time. I found some great photos of us from a few years ago when I did not feel this way and they make me sad. When did this happen?