Thursday, May 31, 2007

Girlz in da 'hood

I stumbled across this funny Web series called In The Motherhood. There are three Webisodes posted so far, and more to come. I got a kick out of all of them. They're written by (or at least the story ideas come from) real moms. You can just enjoy the series, or vote on your favorite stories for upcoming episodes, or even write your own. I have to say that I'm not a big fan of Leah Remini (years ago I saw some show on VH1 or MTV or something about her planning her wedding and, ugh, is that chick high maintenance). However, I think she does a good job on this, and Chelsea Handler (formerly of Girls Behaving Badly, a sort-of female version of Jackass) is good, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Gray Hairs, More Babies

Apparently that first gray hair was not a fluke. Just like last time, I found this one while trying to do something with my hair upon arriving to work. It’s right near my part, about a third of the way back from my forehead. A squirrelly, wiry little thing, glinting in the florescent lights of my office. Crap. And here I thought I was actually going to make it to 40 without needing to color my hair. I know it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, I’ve had these horizontal forehead wrinkles for at least, what, five years? Ten? And those certainly don’t give me a youthful, dewy glow. So what is it about the hair thing? I guess, given that my self-esteem is probably lower than that of your average junior high school girl, it was the one thing I had going for me. Okay, maybe the second thing. I do like my eyes (but only if you don’t pay attention to the dark circles/deepening wrinkles under them). Since most of my friends, both older and younger, have had some (or a lot of) gray hairs for a while, I think I felt a little smug about not having any. And now here they are. I will have to ask my stylist to do a thorough inspection of my noggin (kinda like what the school nurse used to do when looking for lice) and give me a report.

In other news, my brother and his wife are expecting again. Their firstborn, Caleb, turns one on Friday. I am so excited for them, and it’s really nice to feel genuine excitement not at all tinged with jealousy or resentment (unlike the first time they announced their pregnancy, which hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks, since they’d been married for maybe three years, tops, and my sister-in-law was all of 24 at the time and I had been trying to become a mom for nearly 5 years by then). I’m also fairly certain that I am stopping with the one (perfect) child that I have, since my second thought after being excited for them was “Suckers!” Caleb will only be 19 months old when the baby comes, still in diapers, and they’ll have to do the whole not sleeping through the night thing for yet another, what, six or more months? Better them than me, I say. The next kid I have will be the four-legged kind who pees in the yard.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rant o'the Day

More things that drive me crazy: people who throw cigarette butts out their car windows. This makes me insane. I drive 48 miles to work and back and I swear I see this at least ten times a day. I just don’t get it—why is that okay? No moderately educated person today (okay, very few people) would throw a fast food bag, soda can, or even a tissue out their car window (at least in the midst of rush-hour traffic!)—so why is a cigarette okay? Is it the size? Do these people think that a butt is so small it won’t matter? Because it’ll just disintegrate? Or that there are already so many of them there, why not add another one to the pile?

A quick search on this topic returned dozens of stories of people causing fires by throwing their butts out car windows. One guy in Washington threw a cigarette out and caught the grass on fire in front of a state employee mowing and just about killed the guy and set the mower on fire. My favorite story is of the guy who set his own car ablaze when the cigarette he discarded landed in his backseat.
Then there’s the cost to REMOVE the ciggy butts from the sides of roads (‘cause they don’t just magically disappear, Mr. Inconsiderate Smoker—or end up in our rivers via storm drains, which would be oh so much better for you, as you wouldn’t have to see them again). According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it costs $2.3 million to remove the more than 11.7 thousand tons of litter from Ohio’s state highways each year.
An ODNR study finds “about 21 percent of the total litter weight on interchanges was comprised of cigarette butts. The majority was on urban interchanges where 25 percent of total tons of litter were cigarette butts.”
I really don’t care if people smoke; that’s not the issue. I don’t particularly want to stand next to you while you’re doing it, but if you want to smoke, that’s your right. Lord knows I have my own addictions (as my dealers Ben and Jerry would confirm). But you don’t see me throwing empty Chunky Monkey pints out my car window.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to make smokers stop doing this. Maybe we can take matters into our own hands, literally, like my friend Katherine did years ago. We were in line at the McDonald’s drive-through when a guy in the truck in front of us threw his cigarette on the ground. Katherine stopped mid-sentence, hopped out of my car, picked up the butt and handed it to him, saying, “You dropped something.” He was speechless. (I was speechless.) I guess that’s what it’ll take for these inconsiderate smokers to realize that the rest of us don’t appreciate them using the great outdoors as their ashtray. Or maybe we’ll just have to bring back those crying Indian commercials from the ‘70s.

Friday, May 11, 2007

First Mother’s Day

Sunday will by the first Mother’s Day that I celebrate not just as a daughter, granddaughter and daughter-in-law, but as a mom. I guess I hadn’t thought a whole lot about this, but other people kept mentioning it to me – “HEY! Happy MOTHER’s Day, MOMMY!!!” (wink, wink) Interpretation: “Hey, you finally have a kid! Thank goodness, I was starting to wonder if you were EVER going to have one.” Yeah, you and me both.

Mother’s Days from 2001-2006 became progressively more difficult to endure. The imagery, the cards, the commercials for a month before the big day, the church services where mothers were “allowed” to wear a flower and/or stand to be recognized…I just wanted the entire weekend to be over quickly.

For the first time in six years, I will not prefer to spend the day in bed. I will not avoid restaurants or parks or going anywhere else mothers and their children will be. A beautiful spring day will not be wasted indoors this year.

I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic. I was never one of those women who said, “My whole life, all I ever wanted to be was a mother.” It was one of the roles I planned to have, one of the ways I wanted to invest my time and talents and love, but certainly not the only way. So why did Mother’s Day became so painful? Basically, the day became one giant, Hallmark-approved slap in the face of what I was not, of what I didn’t have, what I wanted so much.

My heart breaks for women who are still waiting and hoping (or feeling hopeless) that they’ll get a chance to be someone’s mom one day. Strange as it might sound, I feel a little guilty that I’m not one of them anymore.

For moms like me, for whom motherhood came with a price – time, tears, dozens of doctor’s appointments, blood draws, daily injections, thousands of dollars, more time, crushed self-esteem, bruised body, broken soul, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, fingerprints, annoyingly inept social workers, more tears, and gallons of Häagen-Dazs – this Mother’s Day will be a day to celebrate. In a way that a woman for whom motherhood came easily can never understand.

This might all sound completely ridiculous to you. If you haven’t experienced it firsthand, there’s really nothing I can write to help you understand it fully. But if you know a woman who is struggling with infertility, or awaiting an adoption, please be extra kind to her this weekend.
RESOLVE is a wonderful organization that helped me a great deal – check out and pass along this article to someone you know who might find this holiday difficult to endure.