Archives For Motherhood

 

I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.

I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”

 

In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.

Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.

She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.

Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.

 

My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.

So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.

 

I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.

At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.

He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.

His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.

He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.

He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.

He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.

He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)

He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.

He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.

He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)

He has a girlfriend. 

This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.

I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?

I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.

He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
It was.

“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy

 

When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.

Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.

He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.

We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.

My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.

But who prepares me?

 

Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

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Sleepaway Camp Sucks

July 4, 2015 — 83 Comments

sleepaway-camp 5

My kid left for sleepaway camp Wednesday morning.

It’s the first time he’s going for the whole summer

It’s also the first time he didn’t want us to drive him. He wanted to take the bus. With his friends. 

 

I think I may be overly attached to my kid. We have that unique ‘mother-son’ bond.

I’m not saying the other filial bonds aren’t as strong. The mother-son connection is a very specific relationship, just as the others are. For me, it’s “I’d walk through fire for this kid” strong.

 

Sleepaway camp is a Thing. You either grew up with it, or you didn’t. And if you didn’t (like me) it’s hard to understand why people are such slavish devotees. It’s practically a cult, and I’m no stranger to cults.

My Ex grew up going to sleep away camp, so naturally he wanted our son to experience it. I knew Little Dude would either love it or hate it. There’s no in between.

The first year we were considering it, we were with a few other families at one of our houses.

I said,”Sleep away camp! That’s where kids learn every filthy thing they know! That’s where slutty little camper girls give boys BLOW JOBS!”

The dads all looked at one another.

“Where do we sign UP?!”

 

Little Dude was only 8 years old when he went for 2 weeks that first summer.

Do I even have to TELL you what a basket case I was? We don’t have family near by, so my kid had never slept out of the house before. I waited all of two hours before checking on him. I called the camp every hour until 9 pm when they politely but firmly informed me that my son was FINE, but maybe I should calm the fuck down?

When he returned home, my kid, for first and only time, said he hated me – hated US. The culture shock of returning to genteel society after two weeks of living in the woods like a wild hyena had disoriented and confused him.

And he wanted to stay longer.

And so, a sleepaway camper was born.

 

That summer, he got up the next morning and for the first time, picked out clothes himself and came downstairs dressed.

Hmmm.  Perhaps…there is good in this?

For Little Dude, it’s utter freedom. No one to bug him about table manners or picking up his socks. It’s a majestic camp ground in gorgeous woods with a spectacular lake and every activity a kid would want to do in the summer. It’s heaven on earth.

But OH MAH GOD he comes home filthy. I’m a germaphobe. I won’t even let him unpack his bags in my house. We unpack in the garage, and his mildewed musty laundry goes straight into the washing machine. Twice. While I douse all his bags with Lysol.

The first year, I wanted my kid to strip down in the driveway while I hosed him off, but my ex refused to let me, citing that as “cruel” because our hose only has cold water.

The second year, my kid went for a whole session, which is a month. He came home tan and fit and blissful.

And with impetigo. Ugh.

Last year when we went to see Little Dude on visiting day, he was in the infirmary with a virus. He was so ill we brought him home to see his pediatrician. She insisted we take him immediately to the ER. He was admitted to the hospital, and after a day, was transported by screeching ambulance to a bigger hospital with a pediatric oncology department.

You think I’ve survived some bad shit? It was all a cake walk compared to thinking my kid might have lymphoma. I spent 4 days in a pediatric oncology ward while they ran endless tests on my baby.

Lotta sick kids in that ward.

I’m just going to take a moment here to acknowledge how grateful I am that my son is healthy.

 

 

 

 

The doctors eventually diagnosed it as Mesenteric Lymphadenitis, a swelling of the lymph nodes in the intestines. It’s caused by a virus, but no one else from camp had gotten sick. It was mysterious and terrifying, as illness often is.

You think a scare like that might intimidate a kid, but mine has been chomping at the bit to get to camp since May.

 

This year, we decided my son would go for the whole summer. I have to pack up our house and move into a new place before school starts. It’ll be easier if he’s away.

Some parents do a crazy happy dance when their kids go off to camp. Not me.

Yes, I do get to go out and do All The Things. I travel, see friends. Write. But I miss my kid.

 

This year I’m really struggling.

The night before Little Dude left, I cooked his favorite meal – fajitas- and we watched a great documentary – Fresh Dressed. It’s about the evolution of hip hop culture in New York. I probably dug the fact that my kid was into this movie as much as I dug the movie itself.

He left on Wednesday morning and I didn’t speak to anyone, aside from Lizzi, for two days. I let phone calls go into voice mail. I took a break from Facebook and found out they had disabled my account for having a pseudonym. I didn’t care.

 

My house is usually so noisy. My kid talks constantly. Always has friends over. Blasts music. Plays XBox online so it sounds like there’s an army of psychopaths killing hookers in my basement.

It’s so quiet. I can hear the walls breathing.

My Ex stopped by this morning, to make sure I was eating (I was not) and not pining for my son (I was). I got my ass out of the house and bought some groceries. Sad little single-person groceries.

 

I didn’t speak to anyone because I wanted to lean into this sadness and explore it. I have never missed him like THIS before.

Yes, it’s the first time my kid will be away an entire summer.

It’s also the end of his childhood home. We’ll be in a new place. The last vestiges of our happy family will be wiped away forever. I know it’s a fresh start, and one I need – but it’s also tremendously sad. My kid will never be a toddler walking around this house again.

 

It’s the end of an era.

 

Eventually, I’ll embrace all that this means for the both of us.

But for now, I’m just going to feel how it feels to say goodbye to the little boy and the house he grew up in.

 

Little Dude

That face.

 

 

Do you have a kid who goes away during the summer?
Can you imagine missing your child like this?
I should be having debauched bacchanalian blowouts in my house all summer.  Are you available?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

long trip

 

When Little Dude was infant, my Ex came home to find me nursing him, and crying.

“Why are you crying?” he asked.

I wailed, “He’s going to grow up and go off to college and leeeeeave meeeeee.”

 

My ex loves this story. Yes, I was hormonal and sleep deprived. ‘Cujo the Newborn’ was nursing every 2 hours,  drawing blood off my nips. But I was on to something.

That first year, when people told me to enjoy it became it “goes fast,” I wanted to force feed them their own elbows. The hours crawled by while I wandered around in a daze, feeling like a truck had run over my life.

It was not love at first sight.

Eventually, I fell fiercely, ridiculously in love with my child in a way that I can’t quite put into words, so I’ll just stop typing about it right here.

 

Little Dude is my favorite human being in the whole world, so the majority of my Facebook statuses are about him.

I frequently post “CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE” –  snippets of his insanely smart and hilarious comments.

Smart? He charges me one dollar every time I post about him. Kid is making bank.

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

LD:  Can you turn down your music? I’m trying to study for a science test.
Me:  Whose kid ARE you? Besides this is 90’s rap. You should know this!
LD:  Fine. I’ll tell my teacher I failed because my mother was reliving her “glory days.”

 

 

Little Dude had his Moving Up graduation ceremony from elementary school last week.

He’s not a little boy anymore. That phase of his life is solidly over. He’s very much a tween, practically hurtling towards being a teenager at warp speed.

The first year of his life may have crept by, but the last ten have whizzed by in a blur.

 

The inevitable baby picture montage actually eclipsed any I have seen before it its creativity. I would have appreciated it even more, had I not been weeping into balled up, mascara-stained tissues.

Despite my raunchy sense of humor and brash exterior, I’m a complete mush – especially when it comes to my kid.

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

LD:  Mom, can you make me some jello?
Me:  Sure, baby.
*gets stuff out to make jello*
Me:  What would you DO without me?
LD:  Um. Read the back of the box?

 

 

During the ceremony the students were asked to stand and be acknowledged for academic excellence and participation in various extracurricular affairs.

Little Dude’s name was called, over and over again. He was a goddamn rock star.

(Yes, I’m aware that I’m bragging. I could never do this in real life. Please indulge me?)

My heart swelled to about ten times its normal size that day.

The swelling hasn’t completely gone down yet.

 

I shared the whole day with Lizzi, via the Internet. She is Little Dude’s “Auntie Lizzi” from across the pond. She is as proud of him as if he were her blood nephew.

I sent her pictures and video clips, including the one of Little Dude receiving his diploma from the principal. His firm handshake and steady eye contact with the principal displayed a confidence that I certainly didn’t have at that age.

I still don’t have it.

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

LD:  Aidan and Jack got into a fist fight in the back of the bus, and got sent to the principal’s office.
Me:  And that is EXACTLY why you will never sit in the back of the bus. Nothing but trouble starts back there.
LD:  Right?  It’s like WOODSTOCK back there!

 

My kid has grown up a lot in the last year, since my Ex moved out. I have very mixed feelings about that.

Part of me wishes he didn’t have to take on so much.

He used to balk and give me attitude about all his chores. He doesn’t anymore.

And he’s changed in other ways, too. He’s grown quite protective of me. In many ways, he’s the man of the house.

It’s glorious, but at the same time it worries me. I had a lot of responsiblity when I was growing up, and I missed out on a childhood.

Is he getting enough time to be a boy?

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

Me:  We’ve seen this episode of Full House so many times I’ve memorized the dialogue.
LD:  Are you tweeting that?!
Me:  No, I’m just picking up my phone.
LD:  Good. Memorizing episodes of Full House is a victory you might want to celebrate in the privacy of our home.

 

 

He’s a safety monitor at school. He is assigned to help the little kindergarteners get to class in the morning and to the bus in the afternoon.

He likes to get in early. There’s a dad who brings his kindergarten aged boy to school every morning. They come early, because the dad has to go to work.
And he waits for Little Dude to show up every morning, so he can turn his son over to the care of a fifth grader, and leave.

My kid was never specifically assigned to do this. He just does.

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

LD:  Are you…twerking??!
Me: No, I’m dancing!
LD:  You’re twerking!
Me:  I’m shaking my butt!
LD:  I can’t tell you how profoundly disturbing it is to watch my mother twerk. Just take my college education fund and save it for my therapy

 

All of the things he was acknowledged for at graduation are amazing. But what I’m most happy about is that my kid is a soulful, compassionate person with a huge heart. He cares deeply about the people around him.

And goddamn is he funny.

 

CONVERSATIONS WITH LITTLE DUDE

Me:  Check it out! I’m getting a pumpkin coffee, you’re getting a turkey sandwich, and
        ‘Linger’ by the Cranberries is playing.
        Coincidence? I think not.
LD:  Mom, I can assure you WaWa did not organize a ‘Thanksgiving Trifecta.’
Me:  MUST you talk like that? You’re going to be the ‘weird kid’ at school, you know that, right?
LD:  Don’t worry, I dumb it down for school.
Me:  You DUMB IT DOWN for school? That’s priceless. Hahahahahaha

 

Graduations can be seen as a coming of age. It’s a way to recognize when a person steps into the next stage of life.

My son is stepping into a new stage and I’m excited for him.

But I also want to tell him, “Slow down, baby boy. I don’t want to miss a thing.”

 

Did your kid graduate from school recently?  Did you get emotional at their graduation?
Does time seem to be moving very fast? 
Talk to me.  I’m listening. 

 

pain abyss - Copy

*Warning: Written while on pain meds

I rarely get sick. When I do, it’s always to such an extreme.

I don’t get colds. I have nervous breakdowns.

 

I haven’t needed dental work since I was pregnant with Little Dude. He was sucking all the calcium out of my body, along with essential macronutrients and my life force and sanity. I loathed being pregnant.

My tooth started hurting a while ago (a week? a month? Thank you, Vicodin for eroding my sense of time) and I ignored it. That’s my medical strategy. Denial.

But it got worse. Every time I chewed food on the right side I felt like I was being electrocuted through my gums. I was forced to see a dentist.

God, I hate dentists. What a shitty job that must be. Everyone dreads you.

Despite how far we’ve come in medicine, dentistry is fucking medieval. The only advancement we’ve really had is sanitation. Essentially, you still have some guy standing over you with a pair of pliers in your mouth and a foot on your stomach, pulling at your teeth. Barbaric.

 

The dentist said my wisdom tooth was impacted and pushing through my gums. AND that I needed a root canal in the tooth next to it.

Double Pain Whammy. The next thing I knew he sent in Dr. Josef Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death’ endodontist, to reenact the torture scene in “Marathon Man.

He drilled into my face, which is always awesome. That unmistakable high pitched whir, the smell of decay, bits of teeth flying everywhere like exploded shrapnel. It felt like a tiny grenade had exploded in my face.

And then he had to stop because the wisdom tooth was in the way.

The dentist office tried to get the extraction approved quickly but my insurance company was being a dick. The bottom line is always the bottom line. It doesn’t matter that there’s an infant alien with claws scratching its way out of my jaw and ripping it to pieces.

The dentist gave me antibiotic and pain meds. I’m on 10 mg Vicodin which he leaned down to tell me was “the good stuff.”

Hate to tell you Doc, but the good stuff would be an eight ball of cocaine and a bottle of Jack.

Did everyone have as druggie of a past as I did, or am I just more honest about it because I’m anonymous? I was a cocaine cowgirl during the years I bartended (and had other nighttime jobs) in New York. Last call is at 4 am. After work, I’d go to after hours clubs, the ones that operated from 4 am to noon. I would stay out until 8 in the morning, then go home to take a bath and sleep all day.

I was a vampire before it was fashionable.  A vampire with a trickle of white powdered snot running down an upper lip too numb to feel it. How attractive.

 

The stupid insurance finally approved the extraction and I’m scheduled for Monday.  I am in for a world of pain. As it is, every time the air passes over those two teeth I feel like I got punched in the face.

 

We interrupt this blog post to show you a REALLY COOL nail polish color. I actually love seeing this color dance across my keyboard…

 

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Did I just say ‘dance across the keyboard’? Jesus these drugs are pretty good after all.

 

My kid went to his first boy/girl dance last night – the fifth grade social. Most of the boys didn’t ask any girls because the girls just wanted to go with their friends. Just as well. Little Dude will be wading thorough that sewer soon enough.

This one kid in his class is a real oddball. He picks his nose and eats it, so he’s shunned- although I’m happy to report that Little Dude is always nice to him. The Nose Picker decided to ask THE most popular girl in the fifth grade to the dance – a girl who, my own son has told me, is a super bitch to all the other kids as befitting her status as Most Popular (He didn’t use the word bitch but you get the idea).

He asked her KNOWING she would turn him down, and when she did, he recited an original poem referencing Batman.

My kid thought it was bizarre, but I think it’s SO cool. The Nose Picker has balls of steel. Maybe he’s getting certain booger nutrients that enables him to break free of social constraints.

Sometimes, you have to risk rejection. And then recite an original poem featuring Batman.

 

When I went to pick him up I didn’t plan to get out of the car. I had on Victoria Secret boxer shorts and no shoes. The school is just down the street.

Of COURSE when I got there all the doting moms were parked and going inside to retrieve their kid. Is it bad or good that no one said a word to me about my bare feet and boxers?

 

Now I have to cancel my date tonight, because the last thing I want is something in my mouth.

Get your minds out of the gutter. By ‘something,’ I mean penis.

 

I’m worried that after I have both the wisdom tooth out and the root canal after that I will be DYING IN PAIN and unable to write anything for a really long time and you’ll all just forget about me.

Don’t forget about me. Wow, opiates make me needy.

I’m just here, floating on a cloud of Vicodin, trying to figure out which draft I should work on.

I’m going to list a few of them here. I’d love it if you told me in the comments which one you think I should write?

1. How to Shoplift

2. In Which I Admit to Being a Grateful Dead Fan

4. Things I Found in My House

5. Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army

6. The Grinch Who Stole Mother’s Day

7. That Time I was In a Cult

8. Greetings From the Pain Abyss     Oopsie! Not that one! That’s this post.

 

I don’t even know if anyone will read this. I don’t usually publish on the weekends. I guess I’m about to find out, right?

And now I must go eat something. That’s one of the benefits of being a grown up. I can eat melted ice cream for lunch and NO ONE CAN STOP ME.

signature

 

 

Is there anything more painful than a toothache? I’m really a baby, aren’t I?
Should I go back and proofread this post?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

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At 3 am on a Saturday night I drunkenly crept behind the front desk of a hotel in Nashville so I could steal the key to the swimming pool.

The desk clerk, after answering a call about drunken revelry on the 5th floor, had left the front desk to investigate.

This was a distraction created, in fact, by MY friends. I was partying with a rock band and their entourage. Despite the 40 degree weather, several people decided that it would be fun to go swimming.

That was after the bicycle riding up and down hallways, rampant running through the hotel, whipped cream fights, clandestine couplings in darkened hallway corners, smashed furniture, hours of impromptu jamming, wickedly incriminating photos posted on Facebook, and all manner of depravity one would have with a crazy-ass rock band in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

REWIND

Saturday afternoon we started bar hopping on Printer’s Alley, an area renowned for its excessive alcoholic roguery. Nashville has as many drunken people as New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and not for any particular reason. It’s not Mardi Gras, or foie gras, or any-gras. It’s Tues-gras. So turn up, motherfuckers!

I was drunk by 1:00 in the afternoon, and I don’t drink.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when I party with C, my best friend, former college roommate and card-carrying wild child.

She’s been trouble since freshman year of college, when I tried to match her, drink for drink, one wintry night first semester. Seventeen cocktails later, I landed in the emergency room getting my stomach pumped.

She loves to tell  story. She told it several times in Nashville, to just about anyone who would listen.

She had her domestic time. That was while I was running around New York city, doing drugs and guitar players. But we’ve switched places, and now she’s a divorced empty nester. For the last few years, the hellraiser has been back to her old shenanigans.

She’s involved with a huge network of people who live and die for music, and travel the country to obscure 3-day festivals. I’ve seen some great shows with them locally. But I’ve resisted these 3-day, Bacchanalian festivals because I can’t drink like her. I also have a young child at home. 

Some of her friends were planning a trip to Nashville Valentine’s weekend to see Lydia Loveless play. Three days before the trip, I decided to go.

I’m still not sure why.

I’ll have to explore that with my therapist.

 

FAST FORWARD

 

Saturday night, already butt-toast blotto, we headed to The Mercy to see Lydia Loveless and her band. Lydia is a 24-year-old towering inferno of smoldering sexuality and “go fuck yourself.” Punk fueled, country rock driven, she’s the love child of Joan Jett and Johnny Cash.

She fucking ROCKED. She has an unbelievable stage presence and a powerful gritty voice that dances on your spine.

After the show, 15 of us, including the band, went back to the hotel. We partied until Bloody Mary time at 8 am. By 9 am the room looked like a battle field of depraved fallen soldiers, and C and I somehow got back to our own hotel.

 

We were scheduled to leave Nashville 5 am Monday morning. And then, it snowed. And it doesn’t snow in Nashville.

They are simply not equipped to handle the amount of snow and ice they received. The city was paralyzed. Airports shut down. HIghways shut down. Power shut down.

Our flights were cancelled. We rebooked them and set off in search of food. Our hotel was depleted of supplies since no deliveries were able to get in.

We ended up trudging through the ice and snow to a Holiday Inn two hotels away, where we parked our asses at the bar with all the other snowed in people.  As one of the few functioning establishments, the bar got mobbed.

Frustrated with being trapped in Nashville, everyone at the bar proceeded to get schnockered sideways, except me. Three days of drinking, and I’d had enough. I  was also the designated driver of this experience. C was fast becoming ridiculously inebriated as all the men at the bar tried to ply us with alcohol. She was having a grand old time.

I was not.

I missed my kid.

Little Dude lives with me full-time. I was not mentally prepared to be away from him more than a weekend. It took me completely by surprise to miss him that fiercely, when he generally annoys the fuck out of me.

The next couple of days turned into a nightmare of flights repeatedly booked and cancelled; highways shut down, no taxi service locally to get anywhere.

Tuesday afternoon we were hungry enough to trudge a mile and a half on the icy highway in high heeled boots to a Waffle House. We were warned by the hotel clerk that there were no sidewalks, just road.

I imagined the headlines:
Two Women In Search of Waffles Killed by 4×4 in Nashville”

By Wednesday, I was LOSING it. My kid was upset when I didn’t return on Monday morning as promised. Now he had seen on the news about the state of emergency in Tennessee and was really worried.

He is also an ADHD kid who goes askew when his routines are strongly disrupted.

On Wednesday morning the Ex reminded me that testing for the middle school gifted program began on Thursday. Now my kid was really melting down that I wouldn’t be there for the testing.

GUILT

He would not perform well on the test; not get into a highly coveted program he had talked about excitedly for months – all because I had to go to Nashville to party with a band.

I became part gladiator, part heat-seeking missile. I called my airline and demanded to speak to supervisors. I begged, pleaded, demanded-

JUST GET ME ON ANY AIRLINE, TO ANY AIRPORT, IN THE GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING TRI-STATE AREA. 

It worked.

I got booked on a flight that night scheduled to arrive at midnight.

At 2 am Thursday morning, I crept into my son’s room and just looked at him. I brushed his little sleep-flushed cheek and noticed again how his long, long eyelashes look like tiny butterfly wings.

 

Through adulthood I’ve held fast onto my identity as a quasi-Patti Smith who “lives outside society,” an identity that I altered but still maintained through motherhood.

But there are consequences to partying like a rock star when children are involved.

I would love to tell you that I am both devoted mother and wild child rock ‘n roller, and that I have successfully straddled the complex duality of this existence – but that would be a LIE.

I’m a MOM. It is my defining characteristic.

I’m my son’s only mother, and if I don’t get this right, I’ve accomplished nothing.

It doesn’t mean that my soul isn’t full of restless yearning; that the colorless mundane of suburbia doesn’t leave me unfulfilled in many ways.

I love my child more than life itself, but I’m too young to be buried alive in the suburbs.

I’m in limbo. Not fit for either the life I once lived, or the one I live now.

My son is 11. I have 7 years to give him the life he is entitled to. I will prepare him to be strong and independent, so when he leaves the nest, Mama can go back out into the world.

My story will not end here, in the drab suburban wasteland of New Jersey.

I’m looking forward to being a jacked up, wayward old cougar. And I will be grateful to have raised a responsible, mature son – who can bail me out of jail.

Just in case.