I've been missing in action lately...my apologies to the four or five of you who have expressed concern. I'm here! It's been an intense and grueling couple of weeks and to be honest with you, I just didn't have the oomph to write here.
Everything I started to write sounded hollow and echoey, like I was yelling through a megaphone filled with socks. I don't know what the deal is..is it the gloominess of November triggering some Seasonal Affective Disorder crap already? Is it this damned election and the absolute WORST it's bringing out in people? Or perhaps it's just me. I feel drained and exuberant, jumpy and listless all at once.
I had my day in court with Big Daddy on Monday the 29th of October. A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who sent love and prayers and good vibes along with me that day. I needed them, bad. Talk about nervous. Sweaty pits, nausea, stuttering...I was a class act. Thank God my sexy attorney held it together, though, and I am declaring a winner. Not me, not Big Daddy...but my kids. They might actually come out as the victors in this one.
Don't get me wrong. The judge wasn't like Tinkerbell in a black robe, spreading joy and fairy dust all over the courtroom. In fact, she was a steely lady. Tough. Tough like boot leather. She scared me so much I couldn't remember how much I make an hour, and as I spoke into the microphone in response to her question regarding my income, I stammered out: "Umm I think I make $XX.XX an hour. Around that. I think." So obviously it wasn't my sparkly personality or firm grasp on facts that won me any favor.
Out of respect and a slightly murky idea of what is legal for me to gab about, I won't divulge any more detail. I will say that my attorney was slack-jawed as we walked out. I looked at him and said, "Are you surprised? Is this a good ending or a bad one?" He looked at me with his dreamy, vaguely ethnic brown eyes and said, "It's good."
I am, for the first time in a while, cautiously optimistic. Because I know, very well by now, that ordering someone to pay doesn't mean they'll pay. But this does mean that I will have, at the very least, a piece of paper signed by a judge saying my kids are owed money. And that piece of paper?
That's a win.
Don't think that this is a windfall for me and the kids. It's not, not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's not going to change my present day finances very much at all. Enough to maybe take the edge off a week or two every month. What he will be paying in child support is probably less than the average car payment. But I'm not complaining. As I have said before, I'd be happy with an extra twenty bucks every week. When you're stuck in a blistering hot desert, even the tiniest bit of shade is a welcome relief. I'm grateful to have anything.
I'd be a shitty friend if I didn't take a second to thank my friend Danielle for coming with me that day, and to the others who offered to come, and to those who sent texts and messages and support and to the amazing Emily who joined us at lunch afterwards and gave my sexy attorney his new nickname, "Aladdin". I have the best friends in the world.
So that's one reason for my absence. I was nervous about court.
Another thing that had me feeling wonky was the election. No, no...don't worry. I'm not going to talk politics. I'm so sick of politics that I would rather talk about football. Or lawn fertilizer. I saw friendships end over this presidential race, and that saddens me. It doesn't seem as though our country has ever been more divided (at least not in the last fifty years or so) and this division is scary. So much hatred, so much vitriol, so much doom and gloom and in your face and nah nah boo boo rhetoric. I am trying so hard to teach my kids how to be good citizens, how to be good people.
It's hard to teach your kids things like that when there are adults all around them acting like preschoolers.
I don't see my friends as Democrats or Republicans or Smurfs or whatever. I see them as people. I may disagree with some of my friends about certain things, but one thing I do agree with is that we are all entitled to our opinions and our feelings. I had to take a break from facebook due to the rising tide of anger and the back and forth that was going on (ok it only lasted 24 hours but still..I made a status update about it and everything!). My love of Scrabble and also the sick need to know what's going on in EVERYONE'S LIVES proved to be too much so I logged back on, and like a junkie sinking back into a stained crack-den couch with a needle stuck in my arm I started clicking "like" again.
I'm glad the election is over, but I will be really glad when everyone figures out how to work together without all of this animosity. Nothing good can come from so much anger. Nothing.
I've also been occupied with something else the past couple of weeks, something not so awful and nerve-wracking:
I've been busy dating. John McCain and I have been dating, and it's been really nice. So nice, in fact, that he's decided to take me on a very super amazing trip over Thanksgiving. I'm not going to get too detaily because I don't want Big Daddy and Secretary all up in my business (hi guys! Henry wants me to tell you, "enough with the Hamburger Helper"). But I will say that it's something pretty darn special and a passport is required. The kids are supposed to be with Big Daddy for Thanksgiving weekend, and I always get sad. Doesn't matter what kind of plans I have for the day or the weekend, it's just a bummer for me. So John, being the spontaneous and very kind person he is, offered to take me somewhere fun for the long weekend.
I hemmed. I hawed. I tried to come up with excuses.
But in the end, I said yes.
This might be a good time for me to tell you guys that when I'm with McCain, I sometimes feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. No, I'm not a hooker, but you know when she's still wearing her whorish clothes and her hair is all prostitute like, and Richard Gere is gingerly leading her into the life of privilege? Like when Barney the hotel concierge teaches Vivian how to use the silverware for the fancy business dinner?
I kind of feel like that when I'm with him.
When we're together, I can't help but think of the stark differences in our lives. He spends more on some of our dinners than I spend on groceries for an entire week. This trip we're going on, I'm sure it's costing more than what I make in two months.
I feel as though I am somehow being unfaithful to my kids. Is that insane or what? But that's the truth.
As I told one of my BFF's....I'm conflicted. I've been down here in the trenches for so long, covered with mud and dodging bullets and trying to keep my little troop safe. Part of me feels as if going out and enjoying the Good Life is nothing short of treason.
I know that as I board the airplane with McCain, I will be nervous. I'll be nervous about a lot of things: flying, whether or not I packed the right clothes, how I'm going to conduct my morning bathroom business with a roommate (a single woman gets into a routine, folks, that's all I'm gonna say). But I'll also feel some anxiety about my kids. How they feel, knowing Mom is living it up, going to museums and seeing sights and being wined and dined while they are left behind. My kids wear the same few pieces of clothing week after week. The three still in school are on the reduced lunch program. My eldest is 18 and doesn't have his driver's license, let's not even dream of him having a car. They have gone so long without so much and complained so little. And here I am, thinking about things like itineraries and jet lag.
I feel like Cinderella's stepmother, leaving poor Cin dressed in rags and mopping the floor while I get all glammed up for the ball. I feel shady and phony and to be honest, like a bad mom. Everyone tells me that this is awesome, this will be so relaxing and wonderful for me. Telling me that I deserve to have something special like this. But I can't quell that little voice in my head saying, "Your kids deserve better, too."
Mommy Guilt. Making women crazy since the dawn of man.
And there you have it. Just a few of the nuggets that have been taking up my time and attention over the past couple of weeks. There was also the demise of a friendship, and of course the daily joy of single-handedly raising three teenagers and one 12 year old who may as well be a teenager.
Life has been crazy. It's been scary and exhilarating and sweet and sour. Above all, though, as always...life is good. I hope YOU are doing well and feeling good and if you're not either of those I hope it passes quickly and that you are soon well and good.
Thank you... for being you.