Every Saturday night, we’d go out to a nice dinner. There were four of us – the Fantastic Foursome – a group of giggly girls dealing with everything from single parenting to dating abusive assfucks, and there sat, week after week, a different restaurant each week. Sometimes, before we’d go out to eat, we’d watch episodes of Sex in the City, because, well, we were girls of a certain age.
I was the first to dissent. My new boyfriend, The Daver, lived in Chicago, and we, well, we were suburban girls. As much as I planned to bridge the gaps in geography, Daver and I were in the middle of that ever-so-sweet honeymoon stage of our relationship (well before the “I want to claw your eyes out with a hammer as you sleep” stage showed it’s pretty little head), so the very thought of NOT being with him was patently absurd.
I tried to make it back home for those dinners – the highlight of my stressful week – but eventually, the dinners sort of petered out. We’d bring Daver with us sometimes, but it wasn’t the same.
A little after that, Ashley – one of my best friends – met someone too, and for a spell, we’d double date. The only time, I should say, in my life that I’ve done so.
Shortly thereafter, a weekly dinner became a monthly dinner, and those became as unpredictable as my love/hate affair with Christina Aguilera.
Bored one night last January, I decided to, for old time’s sake (back when I had time), pop in my Sex in the City DVD’s. It was there, watching the impossibly irritating lives of those four women, when I realized how far I’d veered. I knew, of course, that having three children, migraines, and a wicked case of PTSD wasn’t exactly as glamorous a life as I’d once (semi) led. I sat there on the couch, mouth in the “catching flies” position, realizing how abjectly miserable I was. And how I needed to regain that part of myself buried under the mounds of bottles, nursing bras and impossibly tiny, yet adorable Playmobil pieces.
It was then when I launched the Bringing (Aunt) Becky Back Project. It was time to pull a Madonna and re-fucking-invent myself.
And I have. Started small. Even though I was still lugging around scads of baby pounds, I bought some clothes that made me feel good about myself. I bought pretty (read: sparkly) earrings and perfume that smelled like roses. I began to get regular pedicures, even though I’ve been certain that those women are talking about my gross feet. I took baths alone and tried to banish the guilt when I decided to dick around on the Internet rather than scrub my floor. Eventually, those pounds fell off and I burned my nursing bra.
I’ve managed to pull that girl back out of the shell she’d been living through a combination of being kinder to myself, scads of therapy, launching Band Back Together and Mushroom Printing, and picking up some freelancing gigs.
The girl who used to have carefree Saturday night dinners with her girlfriends may be long gone, but the person I’ve become knows that hanging out on the couch, wearing happy pants and a stained Purple Should Be A Flavor, Dammit t-shirt while watching reruns of Prison Break (read: documentaries about hot dogs), surrounded by love, well, everyone should be so lucky.
Because I am.
YAY for your toddler kicking cancer’s ass! That’s AMAZING.
We do not currently make those in toddler sizes, but we need to. Period. So you’ve put a bug up my ass about it and now? We’ll make it happen. Stay tuned!
P.S. Did I mention that your kid rules?
Dear Aunt Becky,
Do you still have the shut your whore mouth shirts, I cannot locate them on the site or I could be and idiot too!!
Sure do, Prankster! Our Shut Your Whore Mouth shirts are RIGHT here! Enjoy.
P.S. Send me a snap of you with the SYWM shirt when you get it. I’ll add it to my awesome photo gallery.
Hello Aunt Becky,
First I wanted to tell you that I completely enjoy your blogs! And I admire the courage you have for being able to share with humor all you and your family goes through. I am asking if you or any of your Pranksters might have any advice for me beyond the thought of I need a hugging coat and to do the thorazine shuffle, because I do believe I have gone cocoa for coo-coo puffs.
8.5 years ago my twins passed away due to complications with CF. (CF sucks big monkey butt btw)
I was told when they were born that a massive amount of damage was done and I would not be able to have anymore children. Fast forward to present day, I have a huge miracle in my baby girl that is 5 months old now. I love her beyond reason, and want to do my level best for her.
So what the hell is my problem?
Well, I think I’m screwing up. I was so used to parenting 2 very sick little ones, that I have no clue how to be a parent to a healthy child. The poor kiddo gets interrupted naps, because out of habit, I go to make sure she’s breathing clearly, not running a fever, all of those crazy things I had to do before. I find myself having damn near a panic attack when we go to the pediatrician for shots and check ups. I try every day to tell myself that she is not them, and is healthy and I can get a full night sleep. The only reason she wakes up at night, is because I wake her up checking on her.
My logical brain knows she is healthy and I need to knock it off. But that fear, is just sitting there, almost mocking me. I tried talking to my husbands family about it, they told me I needed to get over it. Yeah, I have no real support system to speak of. I guess I’m just wondering if this is normal for parents that have been through this? Or am I just simply that crazy? Thank you in advance for your thoughts on the matter.
And for being a bright spot in many a mothers day.
Oh Prankster, I’m so sorry for the loss of your twins. That makes my heart break into a zillion tiny pieces.
I’ve thought about your question for awhile now (shut up, I CAN think)(sometimes) and in knowing that I am neither a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet (much), I feel that you may have PTSD. It makes perfect sense, having lived through hell already, that you’d suffer such an anxiety disorder. Frankly, I’d be surprised if you DIDN’T.
If you burned your hand REALLY BADLY on the stove, you’d probably be eleventy-billion times more cautious in the future while using the stove. Raising a child after losing two children is like that, only magnified a quadrillion times.
So yes, your reaction is completely normal and expected. The good news is that while you’ll probably always be more cautious with your daughter, PTSD is a completely manageable illness. If you can find the right help, you’ll be able to work through some of the anxiety you’re experiencing. And may I invite you, AND everyone reading this to post over at Band Back Together. We have a large amount of baby loss parents who work with us who, I’m sure, understand your feelings entirely.
Sending you love and light. Please, please, please, all of you, Pranksters, please write your stories for us.
Dear Aunt Becky,
I recently joined a group of amazing ladies, we’ve been pregnant together and now we’ve started to have our babies. One of these women had her baby, a beautiful little girl and found out soon after birth that something was wrong. Her red light reflux in one of her eyes was wrong. It’s looking like right now that her daughter has a cataract, which is a huge deal for infants.
She’s waiting to get word on when they can travel to start surgery and treatment since there are apparently only a handful of surgeons who can operate on this. She’s scared, and we’re scared for her. I would love it if you could put this out there and see if there’s anyone else that has some positive stories and has been through this.
There’s so much information out there and so much of it is terrifying that it’s hard to even know where to begin.
I’m hoping that by posting this, we can find some people who understand and have been where your friend is. I’m making it a prerogative this week to create a resource page for you on Band Back Together. Hopefully, we can collect some stories for you and your friend so people facing this scary diagnosis have somewhere to go.
Thank you so much for being such an incredible friend. She’s lucky to have you.
Much love to you and your friend.
As always Pranksters, please fill in where I left on in the comments. And let these two Pranksters know that they’re not alone. Because, we really are none of us alone.
I sort of feel sorry for anyone stuck visiting me. Not because I’m not a gracious host (and I’m using “gracious” to mean yelling “get your own damn soda” while I lounge about on the couch) but because I’m a wicked bad tour guide. I’d rather tour the dumpster I used to get wasted behind than go and visit some of the more touristy bits of Chicago. Mostly because I find my dumpster more enthralling than the masses of people staring up at the Tall Buildings.
For a city who loves tourism as much as we do, we’re awfully rude about having them. I love nothing more than spoiling a nice snapshot by standing behind the lovely tourists and making inappropriate hand gestures while the shot is taken. I’d much prefer to take you to witness two mob bosses having a fist fight than I would ride the Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier. I’d rather take you to the dumpy pizza place, praying we don’t get diphtheria (AGAIN) while we nosh on the most delicious pizza ever created (even if it is a front for a drug cartel) than tour the Sears Tower**.
But my girl Crys is coming into town today. And while I’d like to be all, “Pranksters, come visit and we’ll go do awesome touristy things while I play World’s Best Tour Guide,” I know myself better than that. Because while she’s probably expecting to see Chicago’s Greatest Hits*, I’m planning to sit on the couch and make her fetch me Diet Coke.
In fact, I’m such a good friend that I’m praying she gets introduced to Chicago the way most of us do: fist-fight in the airport.
Because I never know I’m home until I deboard in Chicago, where everyone glowers glumly as they take off or put on clothes – depending on the season – threatening other passengers with their eyes to not fuck with them. I feel sort of sorry for my California-based friends who have no idea why everyone looks so pissed off until they step outside and realize it’s Balls Hot or Balls Cold.
It’s only then that I know I’m home sweet motherfucking home.
Welcome, Crys. Remember: don’t make eye contact.
**It is not, never has been and never will be the “Willis Tower.”
Also: are you guys as lousy a tour guide as I am?