Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am rigid. And not in a good way.

No, not frigid.


I like plans. They can be last minute plans, but I like to know what to expect.
And along the same vein: I do not like surprises of any kind.

Today a friend asked me if I wanted to meet later for a drink.

I suggested a restaurant that is just a few blocks away, with dessert and wine. I was envisioning a rainy night, a small table, a bottle of wine, some chocolate cake, and a few hours of girl talk and planning. (Because as I mentioned, I like plans.) (And DayPlanners.) (And the calendar on my phone that tells me where to be, and when, and for how long.) (So I can plan around it.)

We were going to meet at 8. At about 7:40 I sat down with the kids to read stories. My girlfriend was going to come here, and then we would walk together down the street for dessert. And wine. And girl talk. And planning. Maybe. Maybe we'd just stay here and drink my wine and eat ice cream. And plan.

What I didn't plan on, was getting a phone call that went something like this:
"HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? Guys, stop talking I am trying to hear her CAN YOU HEAR ME HELLO?"




"Uh, who's 'we'?"

"I'M WITH (several names - male and female, some familiar, some not - are rattled off) AND WE'RE ALMOST TO YOUR HOUSE." And just like that, my vision of a quiet girls night were dashed. And I had to change gears, and get ready for a PARTY. Only, it is a rainy Wednesday night and the house is a wreck and I haven't hung out with a girlfriend and had a quiet conversation in weeks and..............

"NO!" Upon reflection, I might have been shouting. "No, don't come here with everybody, I'm not ready......I, I'm reading to the kids, just go ahead to the restaurant and I'll meet you there."


"Yes, I will walk over there, but I need to finish reading this story and then I'll head out."


"No, no, it's okay, I'll be there in a minute."


"I love you too, see you soon."

I hung up the phone and turned back to the kids who were staring at me. "Mama, are you going out?" "NOW? You are going out NOW???" "You have to finish the story!" "Yeah, mom, you aren't finished yet!"

"I'm going to finish the story and tuck you in, and then I will go out for a little bit."

"With who, mama?" "Yeah, who are you going out with?"

"That is such a good question, and I am not actually sure, but I will tell you all about it in the morning." My heart was sinking. I looked over at my husband, who raised an eyebrow and rubbed my shoulder. He knows how well I deal with surprises.

I finished the story, and then went to get everyone tucked in. Inhaler for Lucy, nose spray for Max, teeth brushing, one last trip to the potty, books back on the shelf, nightlights on.....Max was still wandering around 10 minutes later. "MAX GET IN BED."

"I am mom......sheesh."

I went to tuck him in and he burst into tears. Something about a boy telling him he wasn't a good engineer ("But LOOK at all the legos I built, and I modified my nerf gun, and designed all of that other stuff..." he sobbed into my shoulder) and a girl he has a huge crush on telling him she didn't like him (he actually sent her the "do you like me? check yes or no" note. She checked no.)  As he clutched me tight and choked into my bathrobe, I rubbed his back and tried to comfort him. He was inconsolable. I glanced at the clock. They had been waiting for me for 20 minutes. I was not going to rush this conversation. So I settled onto the bed and rubbed his hair and told him that this was just the first of many many girls he was going to like, and not everyone was going to like him back, and how many guys I liked before someone ever liked me, and how awful I felt when I was his age.

And when I was done we were both depressed.

My phone beeped with a text "Are you still coming?"

I got up and gave him one last squeeze, and threw on some boots and a rain coat and headed out the door. I walked to the end of the block and realized I had forgotten some things I had meant to bring, but I was running so late I decided to skip it for the night.

I ran down the street, realizing how late I was, and feeling like an ass. Lightning flashed in the distance as I darted across the roadway and hurried up the hill. I raced, breathless, into the restaurant. People eating looked up, startled, as I burst into the dining room and searched the faces looking for someone familiar. I walked to the back of the room, scanning the crowd. No one I knew was there.

I thought I was losing my mind. I walked back outside, over to the parking lot, searching, waiting for someone to call my name.

I sent a text: "Where are you?"
No response.
See, this is why I hate not knowing what is going on. Because it always ends with me standing alone in a parking lot at the end of the night, in the rain, bewildered and annoyed, trying to figure out what the hell just happened and why I always get punked like that.

Fuck texting - I called. "Where are you?"
At the gas station. They had gone to a different bar. They would come and meet me.


Why. How did I become the inconvenience? This is not what I had in mind. I thought I knew what was going on. I did. I really did.

But clearly, I didn't. In fact, one things was becoming abundantly clear.

I should be at home with my heartbroken son, cleaning my messy house and helping my darling husband hang light fixtures. Not standing in an empty parking lot, alone, with lightning flashing and thunder rumbling.

I was rude for being late, I might as well just bow out and let them get on with their evening. It had already started without me, it would carry on just fine. I didn't want to drink. I wanted a piece of cake.

So I trudged home, my phone ringing in my pocket. I finally answered it, tried to explain, make my apologies....but I was so relieved to be home. So relieved to not be out spending money I didn't have, hanging out with people I didn't know very well, chatting about everything that wasn't on my mind because I didn't want to bum people out. Didn't want to be out at all. She understood, my friend, or at least, she accepted my apologies, and went on with her evening, as planned. Or at least, as she planned.

And me? I'm sitting at my kitchen counter, eating a 2 month old cranberry bliss bar from Starbucks that I found in my fridge, waiting for the tea water to boil.

My daughter is coughing, and I'll have to go in and give her another breathing treatment. My son as snoring, clutching a book about relationships and heartbreak that his teacher gave him today when he burst into tears during class and announced that he was going to be alone forever.

Silly boy. Someday, he will look forward to being alone. Like his batshit crazy mother, in her green flannel lobster-print bathrobe and her stale dessert bar and her decaf tea.

1 comment:

STATJR said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Things haven't been wonderful lately but reading the warmth for you family totally made my day. :-)