Tag Archives: it takes a village

When your village lives far away

My life would make for a horrible sitcom.

Not because I’m not funny. Pffft. Please. I’m super funny. Hilarious, even. And yet humble. Oh, so humble. I’m essentially the love child of David Sedaris and some really humble dude.

And not because my life isn’t absurd. It is. Oh, how it is. The other day I spent 45 minutes sitting on the floor of my bathroom having a deep conversation with a semi-nude toddler about how every Sesame Street character goes potty on the toilet. Yes, even Big Bird.

And not even because I value my privacy. I mean, I have nude stick figure drawings of myself splashed all over the Internet. Come on.

lunch_stick

So while all the elements are there, my life would still make for a horrible sitcom. All because I’m missing that essential element of the quirky side characters.

Not that they don’t exist. They do. And they can quirk with the best of them. It’s just that they live in Ohio or Kansas or Colorado or Texas or Oregon. And whenever we make friends here in Boston, they immediately get a great job offer in New York City or Washington D.C. or somewhere out in the wilds of Connecticut. Or, like us, they have kids and then promptly drop off the face of the planet, drowning in diapers and Double AA batteries somewhere out there in the ether.

Which is how my husband and I turned into Will and Grace but without Jack and Karen (or, to be more accurate, we’re more like heterosexual Jack and Karen without Will and Grace). We’re Monica and Chandler after Season 10. Marshall and Lily if that show reflected reality in the absolute slightest. April and Andy without a Leslie Knope to continually secure us a great local job. Liz Lemon and James Marsden, but really only because I want to be Tina Fey and my husband wants to be Cyclops.

We’re Raymond without his mother. We’re the Brady’s without Alice (and the dead spouses and, like, four of the children). We’re Cougartown with the same amount of wine but only the two of us here to drink it.

There is no Kramer. I’ve seen my downstairs neighbor a total of five times in six years. And four of those times involved a half wave as he drove away in his car. Or at least I think it was him in the car.

No Sheldon. No Schmidt. No Squiggy.

Now, normally this doesn’t really bother me. It’s just the way it is. We moved, we had kids, we turned into sleep-deprived hermits. We see our loved ones’ faces on Skype and stalk them on Facebook and like 32 pictures on their Instagram all in a row. We’re making it work. And luckily, my husband is my favorite person to hang out with and our kids aren’t awful monsters. In fact, depending on how much coffee I’ve had, they can even be close to adorable.

It’s just that recently we had back-to-back visits from both our moms.

And we got spoiled.

Oh god, so spoiled.

Someone else to answer my toddler’s incessant demands for more juice! Someone to make more coffee! Someone to witness and then agree that my screaming baby is being such a ridiculous drama queen today!

We were able to have date nights! We took naps! We had a date night where all we did was take a nap!

And then woke up to more coffee that someone else made!

We got to see how the other half lives. The half that has family and friends close by. The half that doesn’t have to hop on a plane to see their village.

And it was amazing. And it was bittersweet. And it made us realize how hard this whole parenting juggling act is out here on our own.

So, if you have family close by, that helps you and offers support and brings you coffee in the middle of the day, hug them a bit tighter today. Look them in the eye and tell them thank you from the bottom of your heart. And then hand them your kids and RUN.

RUN LIKE HELL.

FAR, FAR AWAY.

And drink a beer somewhere for me.

 

Advertisements

Hoarders on a Road Trip

Indulge me for a second, if you will. I want you to close your eyes and picture the following:

You’re driving down the Interstate, minding your own business. Perhaps you’re heading home after a long day of work or maybe you’re picking your kid up from soccer practice. Or it could even be that you’re on your way to dinner reservations with your in-laws, which you’re dreading because Phil always has too much to drink and then plays his favorite game of “Insult His Daughter’s Husband Until It’s Time for Dessert,” after which you will go home and get in a huge fight with your wife because she never stands up for you, oh no, she could never stand up to her ultra-macho, conservative father. No one stands up to Phil. Phil fought in the war, for crying out loud. And what have you done with your life, Shirley? He calls you Shirley. Just another way for him to emasculate you. Ugh. Phil. You hate Phil. So much.

Or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t know your life.

But the point is, you’re driving down the Interstate.

When all of a sudden you pass a tin can painted red that is disguised as a car (a Hyundai Accent, to be exact). Upon closer inspection of this “car,” you see the following:

Road trip 1

And for a second, all your troubles are forgotten since you can’t help but ask yourself “What the hell is going on in there?”

Well, let me tell you what the hell is going on in there. This past weekend, a man, a 7-months-pregnant woman and a neurotic dog with abandonment issues all thought it would be a great idea to take a 14-hour road trip to Ohio.

And it technically was a great idea.

In theory.

Where things went horribly, horribly wrong was on the way back.

See, the reason for the trip was so that the couple could have a baby shower with the majority of their family and friends. And granted, I’ve written in the past about how much I hate baby showers but let me tell you, it’s a whole new world when it’s being thrown in your honor. Turns out it’s just like having a birthday party, the only difference being that getting drunk, making out with someone and then crying on the bathroom floor about how old you are is generally frowned upon at the baby shower.

Now, they say it takes a village to raise a children. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that it takes a village to afford one. And our village was EXTREMELY generous (big shout-out due here to all the future grandparents, great aunts and my 52 female cousins). This kid will truly never want for anything for at least the first year of his life (wanting a mom that doesn’t sing “Close To You” off-key before he goes to bed every night notwithstanding).

And we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who came. However, it left us with the following dilemma:

Road trip 4

Luckily, all those years of my husband blowing off doing anything productive and eschewing socialization with actual humans to play Tetris instead paid off. He managed to get it ALL in there. Well, almost all. At one point, there was a fear of damaging the structural integrity of the car so he had to stop.

However, this meant we had to drive over 800 miles with a dog sharing the passenger seat, limited visibility out of all windows and boxes hitting the back of our heads even though the seats were pushed up as far as they could go (which was SUPER fun for the 6’2″ daddy to be).

And even that wouldn’t have been that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I am not the world’s greatest driver (for documented proof, click here or here or here) and that it had snowed the night before (Weather: If you don’t like it, you are probably in Ohio). For example, here is a fairly accurate representation of the construction we encountered (Construction: If you are dealing with it, you are probably in Ohio) within 30 minutes of leaving:

Road trip 2

No big deal, right? All I had to do was follow the signs for “Thru Traffic” since we were going, duh, “thru” the area and weren’t getting off of an exit for the next 200 miles.

But at 5 a.m. in the dark on snowy and icy roads with no caffeine in my system, this is what I saw:

Road trip 3

So I panicked and we spent the next 30 minutes trying to find the Interstate again from back country roads that had their very own banjo soundtrack.

Somehow we did it though. We made it back to Boston in one piece. Even the baby, who was squished for no less than 400 miles by a highly excitable dog. And on the plus side, I now have a new sympathy for hoarders.

I’m just dreading finding all those dead cats once I finally build up the stamina to put together the nursery.