Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Smile

Anyone who reads my blog knows I love music.. country to be specific.

My 9 year old often tells me “Mom.  Every song is your favorite” as I proclaim “THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG” and crank the volume driving around in my bright blue minivan packed full of kids.

I even lament to my husband often.  “Why don’t YOU ever write songs about me!??!?” And, in his calm way, as steady and logical as I am neurotic and emotional, he simply says, “Because Brittany, I don’t write songs”. Which is fair.  I guess.

A few days ago, I downloaded the new Johnny Reid single, ‘Picture of You’ and instantly fell in love.  I added it to my playlist which, much to everyone’s dismay, I listened to whenever I drove them around.  Which by the way.. is always.  (Whatever… if I’m gonna be the official taxi driver to hockey, football, riding lessons, so on and so on I get to pick the music).  They would request some songs, ignore most, and occasionally there were a few Ben would slink down in his chair and try to hide from passers by as I cranked, and opened the windows to rock out to.  Come on.  Tupac in the summer is perfection.

But, I had never really figured out if the kids were LISTENING to the music or it was just a melody as they pondered greater things,.. like Clash of Clans, Minecraft or whether I was the most embarrassing mom in the whole wide world car-dancing to Spice Girls, or excitedly lip-syncing Beyonce to a MORTIFIED 9 year old in the front seat.

So it was a little surprising when we were driving and the new song came on and my son said, “Mom.  This song.  It kinda reminds me of you and Daddy.  But like, before you were married, did you ever have a crush on anyone other than him?”

I smiled and told him that I had.  But when I saw him I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen.

Like all kids, ours love to hear the stories about how we met, what we thought about each other and who liked who more.  It’s always a competition in this house after all. 

But as he gets older he seems to need more details, which after 17 years, are getting a little foggy.  This time he needed to know EXACTLY the interaction when we first saw each other.

 “Like, did he just walk up to you? How did you talk to him?”

I thought for a second and noticed he was trying to smother a smile, he was playing it cool but he needed some answers. Real concrete answers.  Like how did these two uncool weirdos meet each other and decide to have kids and live together.  I mean, currently he's not sure he wanted to ever get married and live with anyone other than his little brother.  Maybe.  If his house was big enough.

I told him I remembered the exact moment I saw him for the first time.  He was standing with a group of friends in the hallway at school.  He was laughing at something and I remembered thinking that he had the most perfect smile I had ever seen.  Like in the cheesiest of cheesy movies, time slowed down (and I probably tripped), and forever in my mind, when I think about the beginning of us, that’s the picture.

Now time for a fun fact: I can’t remember what I wore today.  I have no recollection of seeing someone for the first time and remembering it like this.  It’s weird and cheesy. I embrace that fact.  But, that image is locked down so hard in my mind that I will likely wander the halls of my (expensive and luxurious) nursing home someday looking for the boy with the beautiful smile.  Then I'll find him, think I hit the jackpot, and our kids will get a call about their elderly parents being inappropriate.. again.

My son bit a smiled back and pushed on.

“SO… did he just walk up to you or what?”.

I explained how he had come to the football game and was watching me cheerlead and I almost couldn’t remember the words because I was so nervous, and then afterwards we met up with friends and I decided he was perfect.  Mostly because he played hockey, had a car and was hot.  Ben squealed at the ‘hot’ part and giggled while he looked out the window.

But, the summer sun betrayed his secret and in the reflection I could see the smile he had worked so hard to keep to himself.  And in that smile I saw one that looked so familiar it caught me by surprise. 

I could hardly stop the mist from filling up my eyes as the song came on in the background and Ben, satisfied with the answers to questions, smiling like his dad, nonchalantly started singing along ,

“Time goes by so fast,

when it’s gone it don’t come back.

If I could leave this world with just one memory,

it would be a picture of you looking back at me”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.



Monday, August 10, 2015

What I know at 32

Not much. 
In fact, the older I get the less I know which I think may actually be a step forward towards enlightenment.  But probably not. 
Regardless, since today marks the anniversary of my birth, I thought I’d share a few morsels of wisdom/truth that I have accumulated thus far. 
**Doesn’t include previous lives.  Because I can’t remember ANY of that shit no matter how many times I’ve tried.

  • "I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions” -Augusten Burroughs

This quote not only serves as a window into how I see myself, but upon greater reflection it is also an accurate summation of all my favorite people.  I throw ‘best friend’ around like it’s my job.  I will tell a particularly great server they are my best friend mere moments after meeting them, I will refer to at least 3 dozen people as my ‘besties’. I subscribe to the Mindy Kaling school of thought that ‘bestfriend’ isn’t a person but rather a tier. 
But the ones that have squirreled their way into my heart of hearts, the ones I confide in and laugh with, and ugly cry on- snot and all.  Well, this is them. My band of misfits and weirdos makes my heart soar and my face hurt from laughing.  And they are always right there to pick my sorry, defeated ass up when I need them.  Which is often. 

  • Being in love is less flowers, Lionel Richie love songs, and grand displays of affection and more the boring stuff. 

Like knowing exactly the spot that is ALWAYS itchy on my back that I can’t reach, and getting it the first time.  Or reminding me that no matter how good my book is, I’ll barf if I try reading while in a car.  Settling my nerves when I think some catastrophic cataclysmic ending is headed my way because two weird things have happened to me and so the third death-inducing thing is around the corner.  Being woken up at 4am with the greatest thought I have ever had and not getting angry or hating me for it, but simply telling me “I love you.  But shut up and go to sleep” in the nicest way possible.

Being in love is knowing all the bizarre ins and outs of who someone is and loving them through it.  I’d say for it but honestly I think he’s growing tired of the chewing neurosis.  But come one.. chewing is THE WORST.

  • Being a parent is bull shit.  NO one tells you that.  Kids are terrorists.  Parents of other kids can be even worse than terrorists.. which is.. I don’t know, gluten or something.

I love them.  I really, really do. They make me pictures and tell me how snuggling with me is the best because I feel like a pillow, and my toddler is currently only referring to me as “Brittany” and I can’t get him to stop yelling “You STUPID” at random people.  But I do really, really love them. 

But I have also never thought about leaving my husband and I have thought almost weekly about leaving my children.

Parenting is hard and it’s bullshit and we should be allowed to speak more candidly about it.  Because the way I see life, a giant, splendid pendulum, means that the more I speak and laugh about the bad times, the more I feel and relish the good times.  The more I am open and honest with my friends about thinking about selling my eldest on kijiji, the more I can return  home to them and find the humour and the sanity to keep running this marathon for one more day. 

They are the most perfect of humans with their own little flaws, and the immense gratitude I feel to get to be their mom is almost overwhelming as I watch them begin to blossom into distinct, independent, smart, and obviously ridiculously good looking, little humans.  And it’s this dichotomy I live with daily.  The amazement and wonder of how I got to be so lucky to have such great kids, and then having to reprimand a nearly potty-trained toddler because he has found great elation in peeing on his sister in the bathtub.

  • BeyoncĂ© and Britney Spears are only one year older than me. 

  • I can’t decide about #blessed.  Like on one hand it’s great to feel such gratitude for like, Pumpkin Spice Latte season, but maybe a little much and we’re losing site of the significance of blessings and blessed.

  • If someone makes you laugh keep them in your life forever.  The ones who make you laugh and make your day a little more sunshiney are the keepers.  There’s enough negative, energy-sucking people in this world.  Keep the good ones and be the good ones. 

  • Animals are the single greatest mental health therapy around. Every day should be spent giving some love to an animal.
  •  “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat.” Joanne Woodward

More than half of my 32 years has been spent with the same guy.  I get so many comments and questions about how at 15 and 17, two teenagers met and managed to navigate their way through three kids and 9 years of marriage- mostly but not always happily since I’m in the business of being honest.  But, honestly I have no idea what has made us work so far other than that we genuinely enjoy each other’s company.  I mean reading Twilight (shut up.. I was super pregnant and I needed a diversion) I saw how Jacob imprinted on Edward and Bella’s kid and wondered is something like that happened to us.  Like it was fated or something cosmic like that.  Or maybe we just have worked really hard to have a friendship and partnership or maybe we are just really lucky.  I don’t know.

But in the absence of any good advice I can, and now that I have referenced Stephanie Myer on my blog (cringe) this quote from Joanne Woodward (was married for years and years to the sexy Paul Newman) is kind of the best and only advice, really. 
Honestly last night we got laughing about something and I had to stand up repeatedly because the wheezing and snorting was trying to kill me.  I was crying and he was laughing harder at me and my noises and I nearly passed out.  If that’s what she means then yes.  Do that. Especially if he thinks those snorts and wheezes and weird cry face are loveable too.   

  • New Kids on The Block are better dancers than Backstreet Boys.  It pains me to admit it, but the truth needs to be told.


    Where I do my pondering. In the sun