Cookies Done…I’m Still Crazy

After finishing the cookies I posted this picture of them on Facebook:

They came out well. And my friends were kind and complimentary with their comments. And I deflected. Z was ready to wring my neck (sadly, he is in a near constant state of wanting to wring my neck. I’m hard to live with). He asked why I was going to post what was clearly a cool thing if I was just going to shoot down what people said. He said it seemed like I was fishing for even more compliments.

How to explain that I’m really not fishing? If I felt bad about the cookies, why did I post a picture?

It’s more like I felt bad about myself. Intellectually I know I can make cool cookies. Someone paid me to do it for years. It’s not because I have some amazing artistic talent, anyone who has worked in a bakery will tell you decorating is just a skill like any other. I expected the cookies to look fine, if they didn’t it would be pretty humiliating because I once made my living doing it. The problem is that there is a mean voice in my head when I’m not doing well emotionally that says nothing I do could possibly be worth anything. I’m a fraud, a joke, an object of pity. And this week the voice has been unrelenting.

When I stop doing well after a good long stretch of decent mental health it really feels like a kick to the stomach. I don’t want this. I don’t want to hate myself. I don’t want to NEED my chill pills this frequently. But I’ve stopped coping. This past week was just too hard. The cookies, attending the SU Fashion Show, attending the fundraiser for T’s school. It was too much putting myself out there to handle comfortably. I got the cookies turned in on time on Thursday, but then I spent the boys nap time tearing apart my closet in search for something to wear to the fashion show that night. It was like I was 16. I tried on everything I owned and I felt gross and old in what I settled on. It was the best I could do. I even tried to do my hair and makeup. The whole time I was there I felt like people must be sneaking looks at Z’s wife and feeling terribly sorry for him. I have never felt so 35, I had the thought that the days were over in which someone would mistake me for being in my 20s.

It was the same thing getting dressed for the fundraiser. I felt like I was back in high school and dressed as such, right down to my Lloyd Dobler t-shirt. What? You don’t have a Lloyd Dobler t-shirt? And you call yourself a member of Gen X! Shame on you! At the last minute I realized trying to relive my teen years was a huge mistake and I put on a sensible shirt. And felt old and gross and uncomfortable in my skin. The funny thing is I mentioned to T’s teacher that we were thinking about having a third, but we felt like we needed to do it sooner rather than later being I was 35. She looked surprised and told me she thought I was in my 20s. And here’s the thing folks. It should have made me feel better. Especially because of the thought I’d had the previous evening. She was being complimentary and kind. Earlier in the conversation she told me she thought I was a good mother. But the evil little voice in my head is so loud that I was sure she thought I was in my 20s because I was so immature and such a bad mom. It’s so twisted and fucked up. SHE TOLD ME SHE THOUGHT I WAS A GOOD MOM! And I couldn’t hear it. I convinced myself she was saying the opposite.

The good news is I recognize all this nonsense. That was not the case during the great breakdown of the early aughts. I just believed everything the evil voice said and didn’t think there was anything crazy about it. So progress. But. But, that stupid fucking evil bitch of a voice has thrown off my equilibrium. It has me running scared. This morning I had to go to the grocery store and my throat closed up, I was gasping for air, trying to breathe past the huge lump in my throat. I was scared to pull out of my driveway. I was scared to put myself out into the world where I knew something terrible was going to happen. This week I witnessed two car accidents (fender benders, both) and it’s made me convinced that I’m next. But maybe it won’t be a fender bender. And my boys could be in the car. How can I risk leaving the house? How can I expose them to that danger? I did swallow the fear and make it to the store. But I am in bad shape. I’m scared. Because it’s going to continue to be a challenging few weeks. T’s last day of school is Tuesday. Z is in NYC from Wednesday morning to Saturday. The boys and I are getting on a plane the following Wednesday.

I am pissed this is all so hard for me. I’m embarrassed that there are a kabillion moms out there who can handle all this stuff without relying on pills and therapy, moms who can leave their homes with no problem. I’m ashamed of myself. For so many reasons. For remembering that I care what I look like. Having to dress up does that to me. Most days I put no effort in my appearance, it’s a great excuse. I look like shit? Well, fuck you, it’s not like I tried or anything. But when I do try, if that is the best I can do and I still look like shit, well, that is humiliating. I’m ashamed that a week of normal events can complete undo me. I’m ashamed that it is so hard when Z travels, that I want a fucking break.

Z went to NYC overnight last weekend. His work event was 2 hours. So he got to go to several museums, he got his hat steamed at the place he’s been buying hats for 15 years, he got to meet up with friends. And I’m ashamed to say I sat here in Syracuse green with envy. I want to have some fun. And he isn’t standing in my way, hell, he encourages me. It’s the god damned voice in my head. It’s the fear of leaving the house. It’s the worry that no one wants to see me anyway, I’m too much of a downer.

Friends. I am struggling right now. I’m in a bad place. Anyone want to come hang out in Syracuse while Z is in NY? I know, I know I’m really selling hanging out with me. But I’m going to keep trying. The best fucking thing that has ever happened to me is those sons of mine. I need to get better for them. I need to be a good example for them. The deserve more than I am, I will never live up to what they need, but god damn it, I will still try.

Look at this sweet, perfect face. Who wouldn’t want to get better for him?
 He smiles all day long.
And this one, this nutty kid made me a Mom and it was perhaps the most significant and beautiful gift I’ve ever been given. He’s also a hell of a lot of fun.
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The Damn Cookies

Decades from now when Z and I look back at where we are right now I believe we’ll remember it as one of the happiest times of our lives. My crazy makes me a natural pessimist, so I can’t remember another time when I was so consistently happy. C is the most delightful baby I’ve ever been around. T is headstrong, clever, and mischievous as hell. Z, well I am so proud of Z. He is really doing amazing and fulfilling things at work. He’s taking advantage of all sorts of kooky opportunities that are coming his way (Hello playing music for a modern dance piece at the Kennedy Center!). And on a lot of days I think I’m doing a decent job with this stay at home mom thing.

It’s nice to realize things are going so well. It’s nice to be comfortable with our routine, and in our lovely, messy, ok…ok…lovely, messy, and filthy home. We have friends who come over almost every Sunday night and over the last year or so the friendship has deepened to the point where we know they will be in our lives 10 years from now no matter where all of us live. That kind of friendship is necessary to my happiness. Every place we’ve lived we’ve managed to find what we call “our people” and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

But. There is always a but, isn’t there? But, the old anxiety has been on the upswing lately. Things are good now, but Z has been traveling a lot. Between mid March and mid June dude has 5 work trips and 1 pleasure trip scheduled. That is a lot of time that I’m alone with the boys. And T is going through a stage, one where he is a complete pain in my ass. Z’s traveling has heightened my anxiety, along with the knowledge that I’ll be flying alone with the boys again in a few weeks. I made a choice that was hurtful to a friend, and that has been weighing on me. It’s the end of the semester, so Z is worried about stuff which makes me worry, too. I’ve realized the happiness I feel with our life has made me complacent. I still haven’t done anything about taking a class or scheduling the tattoo, so I’m pretty disapointed with myself. And the thing that has my anxiety on overdrive right this very minute is the task of making cookies for a fundraising auction at T’s school. Typing that sentence makes me feel ridiculous, but there it is. I’ve used prescription chill pills because I’m scared to make some stupid cookies.

Obviously this fundraiser isn’t about me. Duh. Obviously when the cookies are auctioned off people aren’t going to be staring at me and thinking, “Why did she think anyone would pay money for those cookies?” And yet, that is what the little voice in my head tells me is going to happen. So I procrastinate because I don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of being a failure in public, an object of pity.

Z made some cutting boards to donate. And they are lovely. What I’m really envious of is the fact that he can make something very nice and just accept that people will like it. Hell, even my mom crocheted a baby afghan to donate while she was up here visiting. Yet my week is shot to hell because I never will believe my cookies are good enough, my anything is good enough. It sucks, it makes me tired. I wish I could tell the voice in my head to take a hike and that it would actually listen. Instead it just smiles smugly and tells me it isn’t going anywhere.

 This is how cool my husband is. I saw a pin on pinterest about making stamps out of wine corks and showed it to him. Within a few days he makes these. Yes, I pin things, but he follows through and creates them. Granted, he needs to drink more wine to get the S made, but I’m sure he can handle that hardship.

My silly boy making funny faces. 

Brothers. 

Sweet Sweet C.

Where Art Thou Button Nose?

For more than a month I’ve been working on a post about how hard it is to be a toddler. And I just can’t get it where I want it. There is other stuff I’d like to write about as well, but I’m feeling stuck. Having trouble getting the words down. And I have a new obsession in the form of Instagram which is taking up what could be blogging time. Yada, yada, yada. I basically have writers block.

In the meantime here’s a little excerpt of a conversation between Z and me this evening. He’s read it and agrees my transcription is pretty accurate. Yes, I am this much of a pain in the ass to live with.

Me, “Is my nose getting really big?” 
Z, ‘WHAT?” 
Me, “Is my nose getting bigger? I always thought I had a little nose, but it looks really big now.” 
Z, “Holy shit. I’m not going to answer that.” Pause “You nose can’t just GET BIGGER!” 
Me, “I read that your ears and nose never stop growing. So yes they can. And I think mine is.” 
Z, “Do you see the look on my face?” 
Me, “Yeah,” 
Z, “That’s the look I get when I’m trying not to whap you upside the head.” 
Me, “OK.” 
Z, “Look again, so you really see it.” 
Me, “But look at this picture from our wedding compared to now!” 
Z, “NO! No I will not! And look at my face again, because this face is very close to losing the battle not to whap you upside the head! LOOK AT ME!” 
Me, “Whatever. I’ll ask someone else.”
So this is September 3rd, 2000. 
As I was trying to find a wedding picture to illustrate my growing schnoz Z noticed what I was doing, “Really? Why are you doing this? Are you out of other things?” 
He means out of other things to be crazy about. And I’m not. I’ve still got tons of stuff to be crazy about. But when we first started dating he always talked about my little button nose. And recently in pictures there isn’t anything button-like about my nose.  Where did the button nose go? Is a huge nose part of middle age? 

And this is today, 11 and half years later. What the fuck? Look at how much of my face is currently eaten up by my rapidly spreading nose!

This is a few weeks ago. If my nose can get that much bigger in 11 years how the hell is it going to look in another 11? I think I’m in major trouble here. And not just about the nose. Z keeps giving me the finger and the new improved I’m-strongly-considering-whapping-you-upside-the-head look. I’m not that worried, though. I think my nose will block the whap.