Once upon a time, I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted to put my kids to bed, tuck them in and go to sleep, serene and satisfied because my little darlings would fall asleep on their own. I wanted it but what I have is nowhere close to it.
For almost a year, we’ve been coddling the kids to sleep. It all started when we moved cross-country and the kids said they were scared at night in their new rooms. Okay, that made sense, so we stayed with them until they fell asleep. Temporarily, we told ourselves. Temporarily my ass. read more
We’d planned the date for weeks. Our son’s preschool had a Parents’ Night Out, where the teachers babysit the kids and the parents get a date night. My four-year-old son gets to hang out with his friends, and our six-year-old daughter loves seeing her friends from camp there, watching movies and getting her nails painted. She’s always asking us when the next night will be.
Everyone was excited. My husband and I had reservations at a favorite restaurant – we hadn’t been there since we’d moved back. It was a Friday and my husband left work early to give us more alone time. I’d gone shopping and had a choice of new outfits to feel pretty and wow my husband.
It was 6:00. My husband was on his way home. We had reservations for 7:45. I went to the bedroom to change. I had these new black-faux-leather-front-pants that I couldn’t pass up because they brought me right back to the 80s. Always interested in Resurrecting the Heavy-Metal Goddess, I chose a new black shirt with tiny silver chains draped across its front. I tried them on, thinking if they looked too midlife-crisis I could always change. Lamenting the fact that Motley Crue was no longer touring, I looked in the mirror. Oh my God, there was no way I was ever taking them off. I was that girl again. Long dark curly hair, looking all tough with the chains on my shirt, leather pants that I was actually pulling off – those were the days. read more
I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on.
The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved. Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.
For the first time in weeks, the thermometer read below eighty degrees. I peeked out the front door, where my husband was weeding the walk. “Hey, do you wanna go for a bike ride?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, and went to ready the bikes.
I told the kids to get dressed and I dressed myself. I was going to walk while they rode. I’d hurt my back and biking posture would kill me, plus I was pretty unsteady on my new bike. (See “Just Like Riding a Bicicle”) I hadn’t been taking my morning walks because of the heat, and I missed them. read more
Fingers crushing the handle bars, I started to pedal. The bike steered me on a wavy path before I realized I was leaning too hard on the handle bars and squeezing too tightly. I loosened up and got more control over the bike. I pedaled it up the incline, around the circle, shaky. It wasn’t true what they said. You really do forget how to ride a bike. I made a few laps around the cul-de-sac and slowed down for a break. I wasn’t used to using those muscles. I braked slowly and when I’d slowed down enough, put one foot down for balance. At least I remembered that.
I hadn’t felt that shaky on a bike in nearly forty years. I thought of the hot-pink bike my parents bought for me, with the chain guard that said “Sweet and Sassy.” Neil, my next-door neighbor, made fun of that all the time. “Sweet and Sassy, Sweet and Sassy,” he’d taunt in a singsong voice. Even so, it was a great bike. It was two steps up from my tricycle – I’d never had the middle step, so I wanted training wheels. read more