Me: A short story.
You: YEAH, RIGHT!
This isn’t a birth story unless you really want to read about that. Let me know. It is about mine since I have no idea what your birth day was like. I’d have to ask your mom and that’s awkward because we haven’t even had coffee yet.
Growing up, I remembered birth days being about family time and maybe some presents if I got good grades, read: Straight A’s. It never bothered me that my birth days weren’t like A-list parties that Josh Groban was going to attend. It never even bothered me that I didn’t get crazy, fancy gifts because I always felt my parents really loved me. Even as a kid, that was pretty much enough. My husband doesn’t even get me presents and even though I sorta hope for it each year, I know that he loves me kind of a lot. I guess I can almost say I’m kind of a big deal to him 300 days a year. The other 52 days are for football and other stuff more important than me.
Every birth day, I try to think about something I’ve learned, good and bad. It’s probably the most zen I get because thinking too much gives me white hairs. So if you want to read for your night cap, morning poop (I already know so don’t try to act like you don’t do this), or because you’re bored and waiting for kids to nap… come join me in my mind dump.
1. Stuff You Write in Cards to Your Parents:
Situation A. For those in the 32-40 age box, sans children, still like your parents- you write stuff like this:“Hey Mom & Dad- I love you, I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I hope you enjoy your birthday/xmas/valentines/easter/monday. Call you soon.” So cute, so sweet, I’m sure parents appreciate it. You send it off, they get it, sometimes maybe even hope for a $20 bill, and go on drinking tea. You feel like a great kid, which you are by the way because card writing is basically prehistoric activity.
Situation B: For those in the 28-42 age box, with little kids, still like your parents- you write stuff like “Dear Mommy & Daddy, I am so sorry for everything I’ve ever done to make your life a living hell. I know you still love me but I understand those times you didn’t but still had to say to our neighbor that you did. I’m sorry for keeping you awake for like, 29.75 years until I got my sh*t together, and for not calling you when I was out. I am sorry for being the satan child and I hope you can forgive me. You made so many sacrifices like the kind where you left your family to come to the Land of Dreams, where you had no help. Then, had to try really, really hard to build a life for us. My sacrifices pale in comparison. You actually suffered and persevered, unlike my generation’s suffering which is more like –I can’t decide what kind of computer to get, what phone to upgrade to, and what should I post on stupid Instagram today. I am a disgrace. Why do you keep talking to me? Ugh, here’s a card and here’s some scribbles from the kids. Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.” Once you become a parent, you are so damn sorry for every sh*tty tantrum and situation you put your parents through. Then you look at them and understand why they had MORE kids..to kind of see if the next would better than the previous. Luckily, my sister is a good Dr type person helping people do stuff and my brother is really good at being a good kid. Meanwhile, me, I send many I am sorry cards and my parents are like “WTF, Stop.” OK, they don’t say WTF, but they just laugh manically and text me, “Now you know. You are welcome.”
2. My Kids Are Here to Avenge My Parents: I talked about being a professional child and nagging my dad for coffee. Well, my kids actually are like supremely professional. While my dad lasted MONTHS, I last maybe 8 hours. I can say no until 5:56pm and then I stop caring. Just go, you win, here’s your organic lollipop. I don’t even know why I get organic lollipops, does it even make a difference? I felt like an @$$ just now in saying that I get organic lollipops. Like I need to add a *neener neener my lollipops are better than yours!*. I am sorry.
Anyway, after almost 4 years of being a mom, I’m still Jon Snow, stuck in the cold north who’s about to get killed anyway by the white walkers. Anyone watch Game of Thrones? So, Jon Snow is basically this hot idiot and he dies. So, being a mom is all the feels. So much love that it makes you feel like might throw up. So much frustration that you actually do throw up. The roller coaster of mom life is one that I’m definitely honored to ride. It’s no joke and it actually in some ways, makes you a better person. Kids will break you down worse than any bully on the street or social media antics but then build you back up into a whole new, better, stronger person. Why? Because they do it out of love, not malice. Kids will make you reach deep into your soul to find that last ounce of energy to keep on keeping on and then they’ll say something like “Kate? I love you, mama”. Then, you’ll feel like you can rule the world. Kids will test your limits. They’ll test whether or not you will end up on the nightly news or fight the battle. Then, they’ll give you a half eaten banana as a olive branch and say “Well played, mama, well played.” So, I conclude they are out to avenge my parents- but it’s out of love. Only out to break me into a million pieces so that I can one day be the best version of myself. Kind of like how I broke my parents and they are the best humans on earth. *winks. Yes, right? ok, I’m still sorry*
3. Family: The family you grew up with and the family you made, they are everything. Don’t treat a stranger better than you treat your family. Seriously, no one else is going to love you and keep on loving you even though you’re a total moody jerk all the time. These are the people who well say,”Eh, just being Kate.” With strangers you have to be all pleasant all the time and sometimes you just want to punch them in the throat. Granted you have a family you like- then keep them close and write them “I’m sorry” cards frequently.
4. Actual Friends: I have like 5.5 friends. When I was younger, I had like 17. I’ve always been about quality over quantity. I’m that happy person who has 5.5 people at her birthday dinner. These 5.5 friends include my husband so that leaves 4.5. When I was a kid, I’d cry to my parents about not having any friends and they weren’t easy on me. I remember them telling me something along the lines of, “Why do you care about this person? Are they feeding you? Focus on your studies, your life goals. Are they going to give you a kidney? You are 8, you have the rest of your life for this.” Now, I’ve made friends who HELPED me focus on my life goals, achieve them, and I’m certain they’d give me a kidney should mine fail. They are the friends my parents will ask about and say,“Kate, don’t mess it up, this is a good friend.. like the kind you never had.” I’m really happy to have these 4.5 people in my world.
5. Just People: People walk through your life all the time unless you live in a cave, then it’s just squirrels and rabbits. You might meet some great ones and they get moved onto the kidney donor list. But, you’re going to meet some people who are great in their own way, but it just doesn’t work out. This is ok, too. They aren’t Satan spawn or anything unless they kill stuff. Differences either bring us together or keep us apart. It’s a natural way of life. Some may feel like that was a waste of time or even experience real betrayal. I know it’s easier said than done, but let it go because when you’re 89, they’ll be a distant memory. And if you have dementia, I say this really seriously, they’ll be a dead memory. Unless they are paying your bills, watching your kids, giving you a salary, or about to give you a kidney– let it all go. If they are going to black mail you, that’s illegal and so call the cops. Posting to social media about isn’t actually going to do anything… like actually dial 911 or contact the FBI. So, take it as a life lesson learned. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, back away graciously, kindly. Agree to disagree. No malice, no hatred, no voodoo stuff people! Just let it go. If someone’s style isn’t making you happy, leave. If someone’s humor doesn’t ring with yours, leave. Save yourself trouble and go be with people who truly appreciate you.
You find the people who you can connect and slowly grow the friendship. Grow things at a normal, healthy pace and usually, it’ll work out. Because look at the chickens on growth hormones, yeah that’s why some of you don’t eat meat. It’s not natural. And growing human relationships on steroids is also not natural. Long tern human relationships can’t be based on fake romantics where you fall in love in 2 days and get married in 4 weeks. Haven’t we learned from celebrities that this kind of stuff doesn’t last?
Not everyone is like you nor will everyone like you. Look at God, he is like the greatest human that ever lived from what I’ve learned at mass, and not everyone likes him. And, he has super powers to make puppies and flowers! Humans are so hard to please that even the Lord can’t. So, what makes you think you need to, too? The problem with knowing more people is that you end up liking dogs so much more. The problem with shutting yourself out to people is that you miss out on the very few diamonds you find in the sea of rocks. Get past the rocks, find your diamonds, and move on.
6. Being Healthy: Being healthy is the epitome of all the gifts. Do what you can to keep this health. Whether it be something simple like give up soda or walking 10 minutes a day. Just try because once you lose this health, everything follows. Your mental health, emotional well being, and your quality of life. Baby steps, take baby steps. Look at real human beings among your peers or coworkers or someone at the grocery store who is taking baby steps. People who are actually dealing with something similar to you will always be more empathetic than someone who thinks they’ve been through something similar. Protect your health like your protect your social security cards.
7. Being Happy: Next to good health, being happy is gift not everyone has but will want to take from you. When you are happy, people who hate you hate it. When you are happy, people who love you are happy for you. Amirite? Work hard towards being happy even though it’s really not easy to achieve with every day pressures. I don’t know how quite to do this that well yet. I am trying. I do know when I am happy, it makes 4.5 people really happy. Everything around me flourishes and isn’t life about flourishing?
What makes you happy? Do that. Who makes you happy? Be with them. If you can’t avoid people, ignore and go drink coffee. Cut out everything that makes you stress or causes you grief. It doesn’t matter in the long run when you are 89 and can’t control your poops anyway. Anyone who isn’t going to be there to give you a kidney or change your diaper, let them go. Take steps to eliminate what you can and focus your heart on what brings you joy. This is actually really hard because humans try hard to please one another. We want to belong. We want to be liked. Well give no sh*ts unless it’s with someone who gives three sh*ts about you. Because hey, even the Lord can’t make everyone happy and he MAKES PUPPIES! That is all.
What are your musings? Seriously, I owe you coffee & your choice of pain medication after this read. Share with me what your wisdom in life is. Tell me what keeps you happy. Thank you.