It’s Just Juice

I often feel like the people who reside in this house with me hate me. No other time has this been more apparent than earlier this year their level of hate superseded previous levels. We’ll call it Strawberry Lemonade Flavored Detestation.

I used to be a big juice drinker. I’ve been cutting back, upping the water, but every now and then that damn grape drink will get me. Sometimes it’s lemonade, other times this really delicious peach flavored something or other, all by Minute Maid. Minute Maid has strawberry lemonade juice now. And it is delightful.

We had at least three containers when I left for work. At least. When I got home, after I’d made dinner, and went to pour myself some juice — nary a container. All gone. Fridge bare of juice. Devoid. Juiceless.

I. Lost. My. Shit. Continue Reading

Beware

(Originally posted in 2012)

I was going to write a poem for my valentine, but once I got to the Valentine’s Day Sucks line, it kinda went downhill. We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Never have. I don’t want the flowers or the candy or the last minute $1 card from CVS that you found on the floor because the good $4.59 ones with the glossy covers and the pretty black couple on the cover were all gone since you waited until February 14th to think to buy a card. Also, there is no envelope.

Nope, not us. In fact, we make it a point to laugh at all of the roadside gifts and bears. Oh, that’s cute; your husband bought you a stuffed animal. Aw. Why does it smell like exhaust fumes? Roadside teddy bears are bad for the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s adorable when little kids exchange Valentine’s Day cards (although sometimes I wonder if the ones that say Be Mine aren’t creating little stalkers). My girls don’t want to make cards this year. They do, however, want their mother to help them bake cute cookies in the shape of hearts and decorate them with cute sayings and sprinkles. I can’t wait for their mother to come back. Continue Reading

Wondering

I wonder, all the time. I wonder what they’ll remember, if it’ll be the time I yelled or the time I said sure, jump in that mud in your white shoes. I wonder if it’ll be me sighing about watching the same show again or saying no to a bath vs a shower, or making cabbage, again. I wonder if I’m ruining them, if my working is detrimental, if my not being the best housekeeper rubs off, if my affinity for napping is too telling. What will they remember?

I don’t remember much from childhood. I’ve always been envious of my husband who can remember things as early as two years old. I’m squarely in the I can remember kindergarten camp. I remember Vincent falling onto an exposed circular pipe and it making a hole in his head. There wasn’t much blood, but there was a perfect hole and eyes that didn’t seem to see, before he fell over. I remember walking to and from school, through the woods, because shortcuts were normal and thickets of trees weren’t scary and clowns weren’t lurking in them.

I remember coming home every day in elementary school and listening to Stevie Wonder sing My Cherie Amour. I remember Halloween parties for the entire neighborhood, in my basement. We bobbed for apples. We played The Gap Band’s Burn Rubber On Me and Lakeside’s Fantastic Voyage. There was an orange flowered couch. And a chalkboard. I made sure my kids had a chalkboard. I remember wanting to give them that.

I remember calling my friend’s grandparents Grandma and Grandad. I remember spending entire weekends with them, running through the backyard playing games we changed the rules to every few minutes, to benefit ourselves. I remember my own maternal grandmother bringing me too small pajamas one Christmas, then saying I was ungrateful because I said she could return the size 5T Care Bear two piece. I was 9.

Will they remember that I liked to cook, that I liked trying new foods to give them a variety of culinary experiences? Will they feel loved, if they remember how I read to them, how I danced with them, how I played Perfection for hours on end, even if it was really because I wanted to beat my own time? Will they remember that I didn’t like math, that I’d fold clothes and then not put them away? Will that seep into how they manage their own households later? Will they say to a therapist that their mom never showed them the importance of not wearing clothes out of the basket all week?

Will they remember how much fun it was to ride bikes together? Or will that be overshadowed by all the times we said no to that or something else, or, seemingly, everything? I can’t help feeling like I’m ruining their futures. It’s alarmingly selfish to suggest I have the power to ruin entire lives, but right now I’m one of the most prominent people in their lives. I’m one of the people who is giving them concepts of adulthood. I’m barely repaying my student loans on time.

Will they remember that there were times we had to say no to getting ice cream in the grocery store because it would take us over budget? Will they remember that sometimes the fireplace and oven were used as the sole heat options? Or will they remember the Christmas they got everything they asked for, even the things they said they knew weren’t possible? This all sounds very materialistic, but if I’m being honest, those are some of the things I remember most. The inability to do for me, or, sometimes, the refusal.

I remember the yelling. I remember feeling alone and not listened to. I remember feeling like my leaving home was looked forward to. But I also remember earlier days of dance classes and ice skating lessons, and going to three malls to find a Danskin store that had my size leotard and ballet flat. I don’t remember sighs or irritation about these trips, but later, I remember grunts and grudges about a prom dress that turned out horrifically orange and satin and nothing like what I’d drawn. I remember being called rude for disliking the dress, for hating the shoes that didn’t match. I remember not being able to go to Paris with the choir. I remember not going on the class trip to Jamaica, not understanding why. I am determined to let (force?) each of them to travel as early as possible, being willing to work a pole if it comes to it, just so they can get away, have good memories with friends or alone. I remember having fried croaker, mashed potatoes, and cabbage made for me each time I was pregnant, just because I’d asked.

Will they remember that I had three jobs once, trying to keep us afloat? Or will they remember the nights those jobs kept me from home, the nights I missed bedtime, the nights that led to tired mornings where I barely said goodbye when they left for school? Will they remember how tired I was or how hard I worked? Will they think I was selfish or will they know I did it for them? Have I told them why I work so much? Have I told them I love them enough? Have I shown them, in meaningful ways that have nothing to do with buying something?

What if they don’t remember?

Nothing

Nothing ever means nothing. When you ask what’s wrong and I say nothing? It’s something. It’s just that either I don’t feel like talking about it, I haven’t figured out how to talk about the something, or you should already know, stop playing.

Nothing is never not something. How much is left? Nothing is left. Oh, but the underlying “you ate it all” is there. The underlying “you drank it all” is there. The underlying “you KNOW you ate/drank it all” is there. The “you seriously expect me to think you don’t know what’s wrong” is there, running everything, ruining everything.

Nothing ever means nothing. What can I do for you? Nothing. There’s always something. Wash the dishes, rub my feet, clean a toilet, make some food. Stop asking. I’m going to say nothing because saying something will make you think I can’t handle whatever it is you’re foolishly trying to help me through. I’ve got this. But goddamn, how I wish someone would just bring me some fucking candy.

Not chocolate. Candy. Tootsie Frooties. Smarties. Starburst. Skittles. SweeTarts. Sugary candy that I have no business eating but a true friend would say here, sliding me a cellophane bag of sour straws and walking away.

What do I need? Nothing.

Am I OK? Sure.

Do I need help with anything? Nope.

Should I stay? Go home.

What do I need? Everything, don’t make me ask.

Am I OK? Far from it, don’t make me explain.

Do I need help with anything? Everything, I know you see this mess, figuratively if not literally.

Should I stay? Yes, don’t go.

Go.

Leave me alone.

I don’t need anything.

Nothing is wrong.

Everything is fine.

Fine.

Really. Go. Never mind.

I’ve got this. All of this. What’s wrong?

Nothing.