The scene of the crime: the day I fell flat on my face in the goat pen while feeding my eager and equally fragrant friends. I was hurried and harried, late for work. I rushed to get everything done before heading out. My pace proved my undoing as I climbed over the fence and landed in a slippery patch of what can only be described as the unmistakable stew of mud and goat poop. Within moments I was face down, spread eagle in this…indignity. Covered. Just COVERED. Head to toe in it. The goats were delighted by my entry, and being male, clearly enjoyed the Three stooges comedy of my situation. I had little choice but to climb to my feet and continue with my chores before stripping down quite publicly on my porch to the amusement of passers by. I was certainly not going to trail THAT delightful mess through my house on the way to shower! It’s fascinating the perspective this gives. Interestingly enough, when your day starts covered in excrement, the rest of the day’s problems seem relatively manageable.
“Mamma said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my mamma said”. Truth. That’s what just dropped my friends, TRUTH. Every single one of us has had that moment when the fates conspire against you. When you smack your little toe against the table leg of life and before you can call your words back, out they fly like a boomerang that is DEFINITELY going to come back to bite you. Well, when it happens, (and happen it will, I promise you this) just breathe deeply and try to recall these sage words, these pearls of wisdom, these nuggets of gold I am sharing with you now:
1. Unless your rage fueled moment of weakness left a body to hide, it’s going to be fine. It will pass. Probably like a kidney stone, but this too shall pass. Your kids won’t be scarred for life, they probably won’t even need all that much therapy. Your partner may occasionally look at you like they just woke up in the twilight zone, but that’s ok, they’re probably a bit freaky too. Hey, look at it this way, your moment of human imperfection has provided them with a great ice breaker story for later in life at the very least. Probably a bit of fuel for your commitment hearings, but a hell of a story too. If there is a body, you’re on your own.
2. Everyone boomerangs in life. You’re not alone. The entire human race has had their own private Idaho moment where better judgement did not prevail, and that action, those words came flying back. Remember recess? Hell, not a kid on that playground escaped middle school without the requisite poor judgment skills that go neatly hand in hand with the acne and the rapid, awkward body changes. Spilled secrets, terribly chosen alliances all are the hallmarks of our adolescence. It’s probably where they got the idea for “Survivor”. My point is, you and a couple billion unique individuals exactly like you (yes, that was intentional) all struggle in moments of weakness and sometimes we lose. Pick yourself up, dust your self off, clean up your mess and then move on. Leave the boomerang analogy there. Plainly put: don’t keep coming back to your mistake. You got your mess cleaned up? Lesson learned? You’re good.
3. Here I’ve saved the best for last. Be the first to tell your story. Don’t let fear of your past keep you hostage. Be brave. Let others see your strength by seeing that you wade through the same stuff everyone else does. Laugh at your self, at your real person status, and then feel good that you aren’t cloaking yourself in shame at your startling lack of awesomeness at times. That’s what makes you great. You really ARE amazing. You’re messy and lovely, and complexly put together. If you’re going to keep boomeranging anything, let it be your light.
If you still have that body we talked about earlier, give me a call. I might know a guy. Damn. I sure hope that doesn’t come back to bite me…..
St. Paddy’s day is a pretty huge thing if you live in the Boston area. It’s probably a pretty big deal elsewhere I’m certain but for the purposes of this post I will stick close to what I know for sure. I am not Irish. Not even a smidge. I am entirely certain this is obvious to anyone who lays eyes on my deeply middle eastern visage: swarthy features, proudly arching beak of a nose beneath the thick, dark wings of my birdlike eyebrows, and olive skin tone. You might cock your head, cross your eyes ever so slightly and determine that the mischievous glint in my eyes bespeaks a devilish hint of a potentially Viking gifted drop of Irish blood, but my grandmother has assured me this is not so. The devilish glint is my own. At any rate, my proximity to Boston growing up bred in me a fierce adopted nationalistic pride on this one day each year. It is an excuse to decorate, and I love to decorate. It is an excuse to don fantastically ridiculous themed costumes, and I love to don fantastically ridiculous themed costumes.
I count myself a number of this tribe each year, justifying my claims through marriage to a nice WASP of a guy, and the five children we brought into this world together. I am Irish this day by both proximity and association. It should be no surprise then that on this illustrious day I filled a large pot with water, meat, root vegetables and cabbage and boiled the crap out of the whole thing to serve for dinner. I chose a bright green dress, an understated head band with bobbing antennae topped with four leaf clovers bearing the bold “Kiss me, I’m Irish” on each, and cracked my knuckles in preparation for pinching the bottoms of people not properly dressed to observe this holiday. I proceded to work, ready, willing and able to start mischief wherever mischief was needed. Here it must be noted that I work for a Catholic Church, coordinating education programs for elementary school children, and individual plans for kids with special needs. I am a totally respectable woman. Totally appropriate. Entirely reverent. Most of the time. Ok, SOME of the time. Imagine my surprise this morning when my boss greeted me enthusiastically upon seeing me, and announced with great gusto to the entire office how ironic it was for someone like ME, who couldn’t look less Irish, to be dressed as I was and wearing such an impressive headband “being so lesbian” . He looked deeply mollified and attempted to get the word “Lebanese” out several more times, only to declare me lesbian over and over again to his open consternation and embarrassment, the wild and red faced laughter of the staff, and my complete and utter delight! I eventually supplied the correct word, patting him on the arm as he apologized profusely through a crimson cheeked, pained smile, and responded “It’s ok, father, besides it was just that one time in college.” Yep, this is gonna be an awesome day.
I consider myself a capable woman. I am attentive to my health and wellbeing, ever striving to better the fascinating contradictions of the body I was given, and the body I have made. I exercise and eat healthy, though I am also given to sloth and gluttony on occasion. As I approached my birthday, I renewed my efforts to not lose more ground than is absolutely necessary and so I promised myself to run more miles each week, and added fish oil at the insistence of a friend who swears by its benefits for those like myself given to that sloth and gluttony I mentioned. I have resisted other popular/faddish trends by successfully hiding under blankets with coffee and doughnuts, but this seemed like a doable thing. I was wrong.
These are ridiculously large supplements. I find it difficult to believe the company that makes these could not package the healthful dose in anything, ANYTHING smaller for consumption. After failed attempts to choke these down, I suggest (in frustration) that it’s possible I am taking them incorrectly. It occurs to me that perhaps it was an error in judgment on my part to say this to my husband who is clearly incapable of restraining himself from further commentary on the matter, accompanying his clever witticisms with inappropriate pantomime depicting alternative ways to…ingest them. He is quite pleased by the amount of water passing through my nose, and is essentially high fiving this masterful accomplishment, appreciating as only a guy can, the charmed cause and effect of a well timed bawdy joke. Thankfully, he appears to love me as I am, being an enabler of doughnut consumption , and an enthusiastic hiking companion in equal measure. The absurdity of life continues, so please hand me my running shoes, and pass me a pastry to go.
Dignity. Ever dignity. That was my father’s motto, and like the dutiful children my siblings and I were, we endeavored to strip him of it. Every chance we got. Our good fortune lay in his tireless patience and humor.
My own sojourn into parenthood lead me along much the same path. The eternal lessons in humility, panic, patience, and the art of field stitching wounds, finding lost items, locating public bathrooms for pea sized bladders, and cultivating a level of civilized behavior in my offspring suitable for general audiences. It’s a bumpy road, to say the least. To say the most…well, entire libraries of books on the subject already litter the landscape. I will spare you the unabridged version.
I love my children. I am continually amazed by their brilliance (which they get from their dad) and their keen sense of humor, sliding often into the dark, irreverent side, which I am certain they get from me. At every opportunity I have thrust upon them to become cultured and refined, they have proven time and again that my genetic contributions to their proper sensibilities has won out. Shenanigans and tomfoolery ensue.
I have, maybe, 3 or 4 pictures over the past 20 years in which my children are looking at the camera and smiling nicely. I have thousands more where not a single one of them was able to master the self control necessary for a 20 second photograph.
My albums, the records of my beautiful children, read like a year book for the local insane asylum. Why does this make me ridiculously proud?