Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wedding Weekend That Wasn’t…

…at least, it wasn’t for me.   It was for the bride and groom.  And, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right? 

This weekend, my cousin* – the groom in this particular wedding – got married in Chicago.  And that meant – WEDDING ROAD TRIP!  Most of his large, extended clan lives in Delaware and Maryland so there were lots of wedding road trippers headed to the Windy City late last week to celebrate the big day. 

Who doesn’t love weddings?  Okay, honestly, it’s the wedding reception part that everyone really loves.  I mean where else is it perfectly acceptable for white ladies my mother’s of a certain age to cut loose on the dance floor to The Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling”?  Where else can herky-jerky movements punctuated with finger snaps be considered good, no, great dance moves?  Where else can a 33 year old lady order a Shirley Temple without the bartender looking at her askance?  Oh come on, you know you just flashed back to the last time you had a Shirley Temple!

Anyway, I was excited when I scored an invite to the wedding.  The groom happens to be the son of one of my mom’s favorite nephews (well, they’re all her favorite.  Even the practicing Wiccan.  Hey, every family needs their practicing Wiccan) and we have a soft spot in our hearts for him because - one – he lives in the Greatest Place on Earth and two – a long, long time ago when my parents and I visited his family in Georgia, he went with us when we went to a bunch of historical places and, um, his mom took us to the Cabbage Patch Museum.  Which was, as you can imagine, AWESOME - even for a 14 year old with a Shirley Temple drinking problem. 

Once we knew we were going to the wedding, my mom and I bought plane tickets, booked our hotel room, and signed up for a Chicago Gangsters Tour and a Chicago Food Tour.  We were going to make a real weekend – give or take a few days – of it.  I began dreaming of eating deep dish pizza, a treat I haven’t had since I stopped earning Book It coupons  (it’s tough growing up in a thin crust family, lemme tell you!)   I brushed up on my Al Capone facts.  I took lots of Vitamin Extroversion to overcome bouts of inevitable shyness.  I prepped conversation cards to help get through awkward elevator silences (A sampling – How was your trip to Hawaii?  How did you do in your recent race?  How ‘bout those Phils?  What do you think of the financial crisis in Greece?  Obama or Romney? )

I was all set. 

But then my mom called.  She had a medical emergency and she wasn’t able to go to the wedding.  So, that left me with a choice.  But really, in situations like that, there’s not much of a choice.  At least, not to me.  Instead of spending the weekend in Chicago, I spent the weekend at my parents’ house in Pennsylvania where I needed to be.  I made sure my mom was okay, tried (unsuccessfully, sorry) to edit the dramatic telling of her medical emergency down to 18 seconds, and attempted to get her to not dwell on where we weren’t. 

At the end of the weekend, the bride and groom were married.  The wedding, from what I’ve read on Facebook, was beautiful.   Congratulations to the bride and groom!

And my mom is okay. 

That’s really all that matters.  Not that, for me, it was the wedding weekend that wasn’t.  There will be other weddings, and wedding receptions, and chances to herky-jerky finger snap on the dance floor and order Shirley Temples all night long.     

I guess it could’ve been worse.  I could’ve been planning a funeral.**


 *Technically, the groom is my first cousin, once removed.  But who keeps track of that stuff?

**At least, according to my mom.  No doctor actually said that she could've died.  I think she was just trying to make me and my brother feel guilty for teasing her.  She just doesn’t understand – that’s how we cope.  ;-) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Being Brave

My mom likes to tell this story about the times I was in the hospital for my surgeries – when it was time for me to go into the OR, I’d get into the wheelchair or take the nurse’s hand and I would go down the hall and not look back.  Not even to give her or my dad one last wave as they prepared to wait in rooms that were made for just that.  Nope, I would just go on my merry way.  I was so brave. 
It’s been over 20 years now but I vividly remember those trips to the OR.  If I was in a wheelchair, I would count how long it took to get to the final destination.  If I was walking, I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other.  But I would not look back.  I wouldn’t look back because as scared as I was of what was in front of me, I was more scared about what I might see behind me.    

So, I would stare straight ahead, swallowing the lump of tears and fears lodged in my throat, and I went on my way straight into a room made for operating.

And when I woke up, I didn’t have to be quite so brave anymore, because they were always there, bravely waiting.      

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cleaning Out My Closet

Much to my mother’s chagrin, I’ve turned her the guest room into a walk-in closet.  Well, to be more precise, I’ve turned the bed into a dumping ground for all of my clothes.  See this photo? 

Play I Spy!  Who can find the teddy bears?
Who sees the Oprah-inspired Vision Board?
95% of my clothes are piled on the bed.  The 5% that isn’t on the bed is in the dirty clothes pile on my bedroom floor which is so obviously where dirty clothes are supposed to go, right?   

I don’t want you to think I’ve gotten lazy and just started piling my clothes on top of the bed.  Nope.  I did this on purpose.  See, I’m decluttering.  Again.  Those of you who follow my status updates on Facebook know I declutter with some regularity.  Um, okay, you know that I attempt to declutter with some regularity.  Look, I just have a lot of crap.  And I don’t like to get rid of my crap.  I actually have trouble letting go of my crap.  Some days I feel like I’m just one tragedy away from showing up on an episode of Hoarders.

Anyway, back to my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes.  Which is surprising because I never have anything to wear.  Or I just wear the same things over and over and over.  I read somewhere that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.  So, decluttering experts say that you can get rid of 80% of your clothes. 

That’s what I’m trying to do. 

But it’s so hard!  I don’t want to get rid of anything!

See that pile of clothes on the corner of the bed in the front of the bed?  That’s a whole pile of graphic tee-shirts.  Now, I have quite a history with graphic tee-shirts.  Especially oversized ones.  I used to go to school wearing shirts like that.  With rolled up sleeves, of course, to make me look cool.  Somewhere in that pile is the shirt that I got from the Roots store in Toronto that I bought so I could pretend that I was an Olympic athlete (I also have an Olympic beret that I wear during the winter when I pretend to be a winter Olympian).   Also, in that pile is a shirt that I bought from the JC Penney’s junior department three years ago that proclaims “I’m a tank top, flip-flop kinda girl.”  I’ve never worn that shirt but I strongly identify with that sentiment and so I definitely don’t want to get rid of it.  Now, I’m much cooler than I was in high school so I don’t wear many graphic tees with rolled up sleeves anymore but I keep them because the hoarder responsible voice in my head says that I might need them for painting.  Not that I do a lot of painting. 

I’ve got a few dress shirts somewhere on the bed.  They’re classics from Ann Taylor Loft that I doubt will ever go out of style.  Problem is, I got fat outgrew them.  But I don’t want to get rid of them because what if I manage to lose the 25 pounds that I’ve gained since I bought them (look, it’s been a rough couple of years) and I can comfortably wear them again one day?  It could happen! 

There’s a dress pile too.  Until last year, I didn’t really wear dresses but I certainly have a lot of dresses!  Like the red knit dress with a cowl neck that I wore twice – both occasions around ten years ago.  But I looked awesome in that dress.  Or at least that’s what everyone told me.  Anyway, it’s been hanging in the back of my closet since I moved into my house.  Before that it hung in the back of my closet in my apartment.  And, well, before that, it hung in the back of my closet in my bedroom at my parents’ house.  I know I’ll probably never fit into wear it again.  But I don’t want to get rid of it because I like looking at it.  When I can get to the back of my closet. 

I don’t even want to get started on the pants.  I’ve got pants in three different sizes.  The size I grew out of.  The size I prefer because I hate tight clothes.  And the size that my fashion-forward friends told me that I really am.  I keep them all because, well, I might need them all someday. 

See, it’s just so difficult!  Now, I do have two small bags ready to go to the Salvation Army but I think I can - no, I need to - get rid of more.  So.  Any advice?  How do you know when it’s time to let go and get rid of your clothes?

Maybe I'll just keep the clothes on the bed until I wear each article of clothing at least once!  Who needs a guest bed anyway? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Parental Attachment

It seems like ever since the Time magazine cover featuring a mom breastfeeding her toddler son came out, attachment parenting has been all over the news.  I’m not really familiar with the philosophy of attachment parenting mainly ‘cause I don’t really care about follow parenting issues, unless it’s about parenting your own parents (seriously, have you ever had to play peace-maker between two bickering sixty-somethings?)  The whole hubbub over attachment parenting got me thinking about my own parents’ parenting philosophy. 

Would they have been considered attachment parenting parents?  I don’t think so.  I mean, I wasn’t breastfed…at all, let alone into toddlerhood.  Not because of a lack of trying but because my tongue curled back and I wouldn’t latch or something like that.  Although the nipples that I drank from were special, they weren’t my mom’s. 

On the other hand, I was a co-sleeper.  But only because my bed would end up a soaking wet mess most nights forcing me to seek the dry comfort of my parents’ bed.  And then I’d end up wetting that bed which, I’m sure, wasn’t pleasant for anybody.  The perils of co-sleeping!

We didn’t eat organic or locally grown food; although after I choked on a soft pretzel when I was 18 months old, my mom put all of my food in a blender and served me liquid everything.  I didn’t see solids again until I was like 12.    

I don’t recall seeing any pictures of my mom carrying me around in a baby sling.  Then again, baby slings might not have been invented back when I was a baby.  Actually, I don’t think car seats were even invented when I was a baby.  Maybe attachment parenting wasn't even invented when I was a baby! 

Attachment parenting is more than just breast-feeding, co-sleeping, healthy food, and baby slings though.  According to the API website “The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children.”

My parents may not have been attachment parenting types and they might not have had an actual parenting philosophy but they did do a few things right.  One of them was “forming and nurturing strong connections” between me and them.  I’m positively attached to my parents. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it’s annoyingly annoying not.  But I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Although I would’ve preferred more solids when I was little. 

(Happy Belated Mother's Day to my mom and all the other moms - attached or not - in the world!)