First things first, Pranksters – allow me to answer the two most burningest questions on your mind:
Yes, I did get a job, but I have yet to find myself craving Mr. Rogers sweaters or penny loafers, nor have I decided that a “five year plan” is worth my brain power, so it’s safe to say that I still haven’t grown up. More on that another time when I have more than two misfiring synapses to work with.
No, I have not gotten less annoying. Sorry. Thems be the breaks, I guess.
I was probably five or six the first time my mother threatened me: “Rebecca,” she said sternly after I’d chosen to repaint her dull white walls with some beautiful markers and my most prized stickers. I’d thought that a picture of my unicorn, Mr. Snuffles was a fabulous addition to our dining room, but she, apparently felt otherwise, because she finished the lecture by throwing up her hands and yelling, exasperated, “someday, you’re going to grow up and have a child just like you.”
She said it ominously enough that I paid attention until I realized what she was saying.
“No,” I replied, all big eyes and curly hair. “I’m going to have a robot. I don’t like babies.”
She just stared at me, until she huffed off to her room to center herself by playing some depressing music. Turns out? She was right.
This weekend, I spent a good deal of my time doing the second, and most important part of any move.
(I know, I know, I’ve lived here since October, but trust me when I say that when it comes to funk, I am a junkie. Also: horrifyingly depressed)
I began to unpack the items I’d stowed in cupboards and closets when I was in the frantic, “OMG UNPACK, UNPACK! THE SPANISH ARE COMING!” stage of the move. Once everything was assembled and the resident OCD apartment owner a couple of buildings over had suitably drilled the whole, “do not recycle big boxes” thing into my head, I sat down. I didn’t really get up again for four months.
For those four months, I was The Ghost of Apartment 6B, shutting my blinds, and staring off into space. I’d shuffle to the computer to occasionally peck out a post and apply for some jobs when I wasn’t feeling suicidal, then shuffle back to the couch and pretend this was all a bad dream.
It, as I don’t have to point out to you, Pranksters, wasn’t.
So this weekend, I got off my ass and got to work whipping my house into the approximate shape of a home, which meant that I spent a great deal of time wondering why on earth I’d packed this or that, puzzling over the reasons the cupboards could possibly be sticky, and trying to turn my life into, well, a life worth living. I’m not stupid enough to say “the dark days are over,” quite yet, but I know I’ve turned some sort of corner, and for that, I’m grateful.
My daughter wandered into the Batcave while I was organizing some of my jewelry. It was time to go through a massive purge, and I’d figured that there was no time like the present to do so.
“Oooooooh!” she squealed loudly as she saw all the “pretties” I’d pulled out of one of my jewelry boxes. “That’s so BEAUTIFUL, Mama!” Her rapture was unlike anything I’d seen, unless I’d been looking in the mirror after a particularly wonderful sale.
I took a break from untangling a knot that was probably tied by a roving gang of sailors while I was sleeping and sat back and watched my daughter marvel at the pretties with me. Her unbridled joy made my heart grow about twenty sizes.
“Mimi,” I said. “Would you like your own jewelry box to put your jewelry in?”
“Oh MAMA,” she breathed in deeply. “That would be beautiful. How about I take this one?”
I laughed – that one was my favorite too.
“How about we find you your own jewelry box? You can store your pretties in here until I find you one, okay?”
She grinned, ear to ear, and then wrapped me in her spindly arms.
“Oh, MAMA,” she said. “THANK YOU!”
I beamed into her hair, feeling, for the first time in a long time, that same unbridled sense of joy that was oozing from her pores. This was truly one of the happiest moments of my life.
“Do you like the pretty picture of kittens I drew on your wall?” she asked daintily. “I used PINK! My favorite color! And Hello Kitty stickers!”
“Let’s take a look at it, Mimi!” I suggested, my legs creaking and groaning as I got up off the floor, still smiling.
A child after my own likeness, indeed.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Pranksters, I’m off to find some costume jewelry to fill up my daughter’s new jewelry box.
When you’re a blogger, most conversations with people outside of the computer go something like this:
Them: “So now that I’ve finished telling you about the luxury yacht I just bought with the interest from my accounts, what is it that you do again?
Me: “I’m a writer.”
Them: “Oh? That’s positively charming. Where do you write?”
Me: “Erms. It’s a blog.”
Them: “Pardon me?”
Me: “I write on the Internet.”
Them: “Are you like those dreadful people of Walmart?”
Me: “Heh-Heh. No. I write for a site of my own.”
Them: “I’m not certain I understand.”
Me: “It’s called Mommy Wants Vodka. I write drivel and dreck about my life.”
Them: “Oh, so (whispers) you have a drinking problem?”
Me: “Ha. No. It’s sarcastic. Mommy Wants Vodka: because Mommy Wants Vicodin Sounded Too Suburban.“
Them: (blank stare) “I’m not certain I follow. How can writing a diary online be a ‘job?'”
Me: “Well, it’s not. I also freelance for The Stir and Nickelodean. One time I got fifty likes from The Facebook!”
Them: (blank stare): “So you sit around all day writing?”
Me: “On a good day, yeah. See lookit! I even have business cards. Do you want one?”
Them: “Oh, no dear. I wouldn’t put you out like that.”
Me: “It’s truly no trouble.”
Them: “I was being polite – whatever would I do with your card?”
Me: “It makes a good coaster, I guess.”
Them (titters): “Oh you’ve always been SO FUNNY.”
Me: (quizzically): “Um. Thanks?”
Them: “I’m afraid I still don’t understand what it is, exactly, that you do.”
Me: “Well, once I got named one of the top ten controversial bloggers by Babble.”
Them: “You’re not particularly controversial.”
Me: “I know. I should have more opinions about things.”
Them (twitters a bit): “So when are you going to grow up?”
Me: “I’m 32. I have three kids.”
Them: “No, I mean, you can’t simply write about your life forever. You’ll need a real job – with benefits!”
Me: *shrugs* “I like what I do.”
Them: “No, it’s really true – you need to grow up. That way we can go do pretentious things together.”
Me (sarcastically): “Wow. That sounds fun.”
Them: “Oh, it is, darling. It is.”
Me: “It’s been *uh* swell seeing you.”
Them: “Do call me when you grow up, darling.”
Me: “But.. I am a grown-up…”
And then you walk away feeling like total garbage because YOU HAVE BUSINESS CARDS, DAMMIT, and sometimes people leave you comments and you have FRIENDS! All over the world! How cool is that?
(answer: pretty fucking rad)
But then one day, you wake up, look around at your apartment, which you’ve carefully decorated, and realize, “shit, they were right – I DO need to grow up.”
I start Monday.
Today at 4:3…uh, erms, *mumbles incoherently* you will be four years old.
The squishy maternal part of me wants to throw you back into a onesie and one of those wee diapers that nearly engulfs your tiny bum and turn back the clock four years to the time when my youngest baby was actually a baby. The other part of me wonders how it’s only been four years since you rocketed into this chaotic world.
I still have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m not dreaming – I have a daughter. Me! A daughter! I’d always expected my household to be full of boys, stinky socks, and fart jokes (I’d also planned to name house plants after my television husbands, which, frankly, is neither here nor there). I never expected to be lucky enough to become the mother of a daughter.
But here we are, four years into it, and I can’t imagine my life without you by my side.
I wanted to start this letter to you, my Sweet Girl, by telling you how sorry I am. I wish that things between your Dad and I had managed to work themselves out. I know it’s confusing right now and I know it well, but I have to believe that this is what’s best for everyone. My hope is that you’ll learn from this experience that you should never settle for anything less than what you deserve out of life, out of a partner, and that you won’t be afraid to say “no, this isn’t working,” and change your life.
Because you, me, everyone – we all deserve the very best. That’s why you’ve got to take life by the balls, make it your bitch and never let anything get in your way. Ever.
You’re more like me than simply the way we look. We both share the opinion that glitter is mandatory for something to be truly beautiful, you happily wear a pair of ridiculously adorable and incredibly uncomfortable shoes just because they’re pretty, and you don’t sway your opinion, once your mind has been made up. You’re a spitfire of a person, and you’re going to be one hell of a lady. Surviving the insurmountable odds that you did, well, I can’t help but wonder what you’ve been put on this planet to do.
I can hardly wait to find out.
My Girl, I hope that you learn to stand tall and stand proud, knowing that what you do is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t let anyone else tell you different. Take criticism as a sign to do more, be better, and show people what you’re made of. Don’t stoop to spreading rumors, calling names, or lying to make a point – it’s unbecoming and it’s tacky. Knowing that you’re in the right, well, that is enough.
Never let anyone tell you how you’re “supposed” to look or feel – your feelings are your own, looks change, and if someone thinks that you’re “supposed” to be doing something different, well, it’s clear that they don’t know you. Truly their loss.
Loves in your life may come and go, sort of like busboys filling your water in a crowded restaurant, but the greatest love, and the one person you matter to most, well, she’s not going anywhere. That would be you, Lovie. You don’t need the love of anyone but yourself to make it through the day, and if someone makes you feel otherwise, he or she isn’t worth your time or energy.
Accept that your journey may never be easy, and if it’s not, don’t fight it. This is your life, your story, and you can be the victim or you can be the hero – your call. Use your experiences to help others; to be better, rather than wallowing in your story. Grieve your losses, nurse your wounds, and come back to the world better and stronger than ever.
Be kind to those you meet, even if they are unkind to you. You never will know how that spot of kindness will affect those around you. No act of kindness is too small.
Don’t take people at who they say they are; their actions will speak volumes while their words are just those: words. Accept one unalienable truth: most people are good, and no matter how angry you are at them, know that they were simply doing the best they could. Same as anyone else.
Speaking of choices, don’t put too much stock in the wrong ones you make. Mistakes are your way of learning what works and what does not, and what you learn from the wrong choices you make is often volumes larger than you do from the right ones.
Never be too proud to apologize when you’ve hurt someone. You don’t need to crawl to the Alter of Your Wrongness, but you should always own up to what you’ve done and how you’ve hurt someone. They can choose to accept your apology or ignore it, but either way, you’ve done your best to make things right.
And when you’re done, my sweet thing, changing the world, don’t forget to call your Mom. She loves you so.