“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Never Ready

I'm sitting here in an awesome hotel room in an awesome city on the night before I'm supposed to go home, and all I can think is, "I'm not ready."

And then it occurs to me: that's like a major theme for my life. This blog shouldn't be called "One Day At a Time," it should be called, "I'm not ready."

I look back over everything important that's ever happened to me, ever shaped who I am, and I think, "the thing about that time, is that I had no clue what I was doing." It's ridiculous, because my life has been pretty run-of-the-mill. I didn't push myself to become an astronaut, I haven't tried to change the world, I haven't even saved small communities from any sort of doom. The most notable things I can say I've done--and I'll be honest, I do think I'm amazing at them and that they are important in MY small world--is have two really awesome children. Every day I look at them and I say, "Kudos, Mary Pat. You've done well." That may sound egotistical, but I'm not terribly ashamed. For one thing, I recognize that Joey and Noah are these individual human beings completely independent of anything I want or expect them to be. For another, I recognize that each and every time they function within my kingdom, I've helped shape them into who they will become. And so far, they rock.

But seriously: milestone moments of my life. Starting high school: I totally thought I was stepping into some sort of real life episode of Grease. I considered myself in the role of Sandy, and honestly still lament that my new friends and classmates never, not even once, spontaneously broke into meaningful song and dance routines. Starting college? Ugh. Almost as bad as starting high school. I don't even know what I expected college to be, other than a super fun and interesting stepping stone to getting married.

It does make me think about how long I've known Joe. I always tell the story of how I met Joe when I was fourteen years old--FOURTEEN FREAKING YEARS OLD--and that I knew that very night I was going to marry him. I don't even know why I tell that story. It makes me cringe inside that I was so stupid. And then how year after year, month after month, I continued to wonder why he was always my good, devoted friend but never my boyfriend. Why, for the love of God, could he not just love me back? Well, for starters, I was still waiting for that Grease routine to happen.

No, really, though. I've always been this firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but now I look around at all the people I know, and all the people they know, and I'm not so sure. There's just too much unnecessary bad in this world. But I do think that there are certain things that are not coincidences, certain things that happen to us for own good. For me, the fact that Joe waited ten years to fall in love with and marry me is one of them. Should we have waited longer? Probably, but I was already feeling the heartbreak of no Grease routines--this was in the days before flash mobs, mind you--and I was pretty insistent that pushing things past ten years was just unreasonable. Unlivable, actually, since I was fairly certain at the time that Joe and I were so much more madly in love than any two people had ever been before and, while no one could possibly understand--we probably just needed to be married. You know. ASAP. Honestly, I still think that.

The night Joey was born and they placed him in my arms? I kept waiting for them to snatch him back and say, "Ksh. You are NOT ready to be a mom." Because I wasn't. I also wasn't prepared for Noah, or for the fact that Noah would never, ever sleep when normal people do. No, Noah was destined to spend the wee hours of the night singing Bryan Adams and One Direction and, God help me, Justin Bieber, and really, even if someone told you that was going to happen, nothing really readies you for five years of not sleeping. I have wrinkles, and I don't think I would if I had been sleeping through the night all this time.

But I wouldn't trade him, or any of it. I ended up loving high school. I ended up loving college, because being an English major is one of the best choices I ever made (even though my parents always screwed up their faces at me and said, "But what are you going to do with that?"). Based on statistics and studies and, I don't know, common sense, if I had started dating Joe when I was fourteen, what would have happened?

You know, I don't really need to know. I know that, though a lot of things in life are messy and confusing and all what-the-hell, it's okay that it always surprises me. It's okay that my husband's super power is farting, that Noah is committed to being a middle-of-the-night rock star, that Joey can't hear the word "but" (or "butt") without giggling hysterically. It's okay that I'm germophobic and that even hearing the word "vomit" makes my body clench up and my brain go temporarily wonky. It's okay that I can't cook meatloaf or sing well (and as for the dancing, I can't even do the Electric Slide) or walk in a straight line in the middle of a Tuesday when the weather's fine and all I've had to drink is four giant bottles of water because I'm prone to kidney stones. It's all okay.

You just have to take it one day at a time, you know? And every day, I have to remind myself I'm pretty damn lucky. Here's to getting ready for tomorrow.

Me, not ready for the gust of wind that blew from behind me as the pic was taken.

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