Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Musings from a mother of a groom

I can't believe that my baby boy is getting married in just a little over a week. It's the weirdest feeling. He's been in a relationship with this girl for 10 years (I'm not exaggerating), and I certainly expected it. But still, I can't quite get used to the idea. After April 24, there's no getting out. He's committed. Not that I want him to de-commit, I don't. I want him to stay married, forever and ever.

How do I explain this? With every new marriage, there's joy and elation and giddiness, to be sure. There are months of planning and gobs of resources that go into the wedding. But there's always this little rattle of foreboding lurking just under the surface: Will they be happy? Will they be content? Will they avoid regret and mistakes? Will they be able to pay their bills? Will their kids be healthy and intelligent?

Don't get me wrong: I trust my son's judgment, and I love his bride-to-be. She's a wonderful woman. They've grown up together and each is the other's best friend. If I were a gambler, I'd say this was a sure thing. Even so ... .

I remember the same feeling before my own wedding nearly 33 years ago. I was so scared the night before I could hardly sleep. What, I wondered, if I was making the Biggest, Most Horrible Mistake? And how could I possibly tell my mother I felt like fleeing? I imagined the whole scenario in my head, ending with the part where my mom could never show her face in church again because her horrible daughter embarrassed her so. And that was that. I regained my composure in the morning, walked down the aisle and got married to a guy I love more than life itself. Still do. Whew.

I've decided that nobody who gets married should do so without that little flutter in the pit of the stomach, that little nudge of doubt. Because lots of marital success is like gambling at the casino. Sometimes you hit it big, but most times, you barely break even. But if you can live your life as though tomorrow will always be better than today, I think you'll be OK. What's that line in a song from "Annie"? "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. You're only a day away." Here's to many tomorrows, darlings.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Because I should

Surprise! I'm back! I'm posting again on my blog before year's end because a.) I can and b.) I'm tying up loose ends today.

Those of you who know me know I've been a work-widow for six weeks and counting. My husband and I have never been away from each other longer than four or five days in 32 years. This is not my idea of marriage, but you go where the work takes you.

So, what does one do when one is abandoned for the almighty dollar and left to her own devices? She learns to be self-sufficient. Not that I'm not already; just about anything he can do I can do better (said with bravado). Not really. But I've discovered I can start the snowblower and brave the blizzard to clear the driveway and get my car out of the garage ALL BY MYSELF. But I don't like to. I've also discovered how to take out the garbage AND bring back the cans and the recycling bins ALL BY MYSELF. But that's not fun, either. Most of all, I've discovered that I can handle the husband's business paperwork like a charm. I've even found that the more I know, the less I stress about it because I'm not seeing piles of paper on every surface of the house, I'm not listening to the boss whining about how far behind he is, and I have better eyesight, finger dexterity and paper skills than he does. So if he can handle the verbal customer service, I can handle the on-paper variety. Plus I'm getting pretty good at Quickbooks. So the old dog can, indeed, learn new tricks. Even brag about them a little.

What else does she learn? Well, here's what I'm not going to like if I'm widowed permanently someday: I don't like eating dinner alone, but I'm OK with drinking alone (which leads to early bedtime). I can't reach the stuff on the top shelf without a chair. I can't decide whether that funny noise the furnace is making is worth worrying about. And a good backrub is priceless, as is someone who laughs at my jokes and hangs on my every word. I even miss his snoring. There's a certain security in hearing that sound, even though it keeps me awake sometimes. I know I'll eat my words here, but I sorta miss it.

So the house rather echoes these days, and I've turned into a quite-slobby old lady with a cat. Don't worry. My old self will return before Christmas, as will my other half, I hope.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Social media smoshal media

So I get a lot of crap from my husband about having a Facebook page (which, I might add, he's never even seen). He's too busy and too important to waste his time on such things. Well, good for him.

And I get another lot of crap from some of my friends who are convinced that I'm going to go to Identity Theft Hell because someone's going to steal my identity and all my money (well, they can have it all ... ) because I like to post pictures of my grandkids and dogs and cats and my cabin on my Facebook page AND I like to shop online. Someone would like to be me? Have at it, I say.

And I get some (but not a lot) of crap from my kids and their friends who think (but probably just won't say it) that I'm too old and just a wannabe 30-something to enter into their Facebook world. One of their friends would "friend" me? Horrifying! But I do like to eavesdrop because it's one way to get to know them and keep up with their interests without embarrassing them in public. On the other hand, I do understand their pain because I have an ex-nun aunt who once wore fishnet stockings and miniskirts and said "fuck" in front of her mother when she was, like, 40. And my own mother used to sing Simon and Garfunkel songs (but in her own mom-ish style) while she washed dishes. You know? It just didn't work. That was back in the '70s. Most young people seemed to think that adults over "a certain age" should just back off and not try to be something they're not (trendy? cool? interesting?). I'm not convinced that the under-40 crowd doesn't think the same thing today.

So screw 'em all. I like social media. Except Twitter. I'm way too wordy for 140 characters.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let's hear it for the old guys!

This week we heard all the golf gabbers opine on Tom Watson's remarkable loss of the British Open. Besides his collapse in the playoff round, there was that pesky missed par on 18. Oh, and he's 59, for chrissakes. Just too damned old to stay sharp. Ran outta gas. He's supposed to be dead or at least soaking up pee in the nursing home. And did you see the wrinkles?

Well, young ones, just remember: Just because you're old doesn't mean you lose passion. Can you imagine if someone just pulled a plug on all of us just for committing the sin of aging? There'd be nothing to strive for, no future to ponder. And no elder golfers holding us up on the course.

Which reminds me: I was reading the "Irish sports pages," as one of my colleagues calls the obituaries, this morning, and I clicked on one that I thought I recognized. Not so, but I read six or seven of the guest book entries and wished I'd known this person. I hope when I die people will remember me as witty, welcoming, generous and helpful. And smart, too, because I value "smarts." Clearly, I have a little work to do. What would you like to be remembered for?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't worry: I'm not dead

Some of you loyal "Madwoman" readers (OK, all three of you) are wondering why I haven't posted anything in this blog since April. Here's why: I have an acute case of laziness. I just don't have any creative energy right now. My mind feels like a pile of mush. So there's that and a generally short attention span.

I'll be back one of these days, after I finish up a few other projects, like learning to use my new iPhone. When I figure that out, they'll probably invent something that sucks the thoughts from my brain and beams them to yours. Meanwhile, don't worry. I have no thoughts. When I do, I'll write.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No more birthday treats ...

"Call it the Birthday Treat Ban," reports today's Star Tribune. "Starting this fall, students will no longer be allowed to bring celebratory food or gifts to share with classmates, a move that principals say they're making out of concern about childhood obesity, allergies and the feelings of kids whose parents can't afford to buy treats for the whole class."

At last. I don't remember when all this overfeeding and overcelebrating started, but I think it might have been in the late '70s and '80s, when many of us mothers entered the outside-the-home workplace. We started sending all kinds of treats to school to make up for our absence in our kids' lives. We felt so guilty for having to make real cash money to afford our overpriced houses that we showered our kids with too much of everything so they would know we really loved them more than the jobs and the real cash money and the too-big houses. Us Baby Boomers really blew it on this one. The results? We created kids about whom we now complain. They act "entitled," we say. Well, duh.

Around the same time that mothers began sending 40 perfectly decorated clown-themed petit fours from Woullet's bakery to Mrs. Smith's third grade, the great birthday party competitions began. Before that time, kids' birthday parties were affairs lasting a couple of hours with a rousing game of "drop the clothespin in the bottle" or "pin the tail on the donkey," modest presents for the feted child and homemade cake and ice cream. For a real thrill, sometimes there was homemade Chef Boyardee pizza. Anyway, those parties grew into all-day and overnight, with trips to pizza palaces and pony rides for all. Storytellers, clowns, Sesame Street characters. Helium-stuffed supersized balloons. Goodie bags. "Themes" and matching paper cups. You had to have a damned staff to run a 5-year-old's birthday party. And yes, you had to have ... drumroll, please ... a party coordinator. Oh, the pressure of it!

Well, I'm all for simplification. My kids will probably tell you their parties were pretty lame. But there's some mother at Echo Park Elementary who's really disappointed she can't make little Billy's day "really special" and crepe-paper companies predicting a drop in streamers futures.

My suggestion? Send Billy with a really good lunch and a napkin note telling him how much you miss him today. Tell him you love him even more than you knew you could love somebody. Tell him today how happy you were on the day he was born. If Billy doesn't think that's enough, don't worry. Someday, he will.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weighty matters

When I was a young girl, I always felt fatter than anybody else. Of course, now when I look back at old pictures of myself, I know that wasn't true. I wasn't a petite beanpole of a girl; I was sturdy and strong. But, truthfully, I see now I was slender. Normal slender.

That was about 75 pounds ago. A friend took a picture of me while we were on vacation. I'm a frickin' tank, and I hate it.

With my son's wedding coming up here eventually, I have, in the possibility of a photographer's camera catching the width of my backside, some real motivation to lose weight. Besides, I feel miserable. I am actually aware of my middle because it uncomfortably collides with my waist. I hate shopping because I hate the clothes available to me. Now I'm not yet in the "X" or the Women's sizes yet, but I'm close. But it's still miserable to drag dozens of jeans into the fitting room only to find one pair -- in a size larger than all the others -- into which this burgeoning body can budge.

So here's what I've eaten today: my calcium, multivitamin and glucosamine supplements, a banana, a cup of oatmeal with Splenda, a cup of coffee, a half of a raised sugar doughnut at this morning's staff meeting (I couldn't help myself!), a cup of spinach with balsamic salad spritzer, a vegetable beef Campbell's Soup at Hand, 10 wheat pretzels, a Braeburn apple and a cup of mint tea. Not too appetizing, but dinner awaits. About 800 calories worth.

Here's what I figure I can have for dinner: six spears of Schwan's asparagus grilled in about a teaspoon of olive oil, a grilled chicken breast with a sauce of about 4 T. fat-free sour cream, a cup of sliced mushrooms and a sauteed onion, a medium potato with about 5-6 sprays of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and a Schwan Healthy Creations bar for dessert. That brings me to about 725 calories, so I can have a 4 oz. glass of chardonnay (about 75 calories).

I'd love to hear your 800-calorie dinners. Bring 'em on!