baby crazy

Today I’ve learned that another of my girlfriends is pregnant. She’s the second wife, and he will have grandchildren older than their coming arrival. And I can’t help but feel just a bit surprised.

Sure, this happens all the time. But, given their lifestyle and such, I guess I’d just assumed that they’d talked before getting married and decided to be wonderful aunt and uncle and grandparents. But, oh, what a wonderful treat to have a baby!

I met another friend and her one-year-old for brunch over the weekend. My children sat bored and restless, playing with electronic devices, while I, smitten, cooed over the darling little girl. My girlfriend was 39, nearly 40, when she had her daughter. Another girlfriend has just undergone IVF…fingers crossed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve got babies on the brain. I suppose it’s safe to confess that I’m baby crazy!

Would I have another? I’ve gone back and forth many times since my youngest was born (now more than eight years ago), even considering becoming a surrogate to give another couple the joy of becoming parents. My son even remarked a few years ago, “Mommy, I think you’d have another baby if you could.” Last week, I saw a profile of three children waiting for adoption and wished I were capable of bestowing such miracles on my own. I’ve often thought about hosting exchange students or taking in foster children…if I weren’t a single, that is. (Even as a single, I may yet do such things as my children grow a wee bit older…)

Ultimately, with my other roles as parent and provider, such musings have yet to come to anything. And today, while I’ve counted myself for some time among the well and truly finished, unwilling to go back to wee-hour feedings and diaper pails, I think I might just be open…if the stars aligned…if the man and wind conditions were right…perhaps if I could stay home at least part of the time…I might be open to considering it.

My children are, of course, dead set against this. But they can be bribed. Further, they are not in charge.

Ultimately, my conclusion is this:  I have an open heart and an open mind and many, many gifts that might be shared in any number of ways. For the moment, I’ll revel in being an honorary aunt to my friends’ babies — and someday, sooner than if I had a newborn, a social life.

Peter Pan

Somehow I’ve always managed to attract a certain type of men:  When I was not yet thirty, the fifty-year-olds were drawn to me like white on rice, like moths to a lamp. Lately, it seems to be guys who don’t want to grow up, who want to live in the moment, who don’t have any kind of vision for the future. Or is it just that a disproportionate number of the available men out there are single because they aren’t interested in commitment?

In any case, I sometimes wonder whether I should be concerned about the trend, concerned that maybe I’m giving off a “fantasy” vibe, rather than “marriage-potential” vibe.

I’ve been clear about what interests me, and I’ve aligned my behavior to my long-term interests, eschewing easy dalliances. After all, I’d hate to end up back in a relationship with a man who ultimately required as much parenting as my children. A man (by this age) ought to have some sense of self, strong core values and a clear understanding of the expectations of commitment. He ought to be mature enough to behave with integrity and conduct himself with a certain amount of dignity.

My latest six-month romance was with a man who bucked the trend:  he was dignified and intentional (though he would have said “deliberate”) about living a set of values. In fact, he may have been the most mature man I’ve ever dated. It goes without saying that these are qualities I admire.

So I’m going to bless that chapter of my life, express my gratitude for the experience and know, with confidence, that I’ll recognize such qualities when I next experience them.

a whole new world of weird

It’s interesting that I feel so grounded and centered with so much weirdness around me:

Someone material to me has just made one of the most unmitigatedly, colossally poor decisions of her life:  she has allowed her ex to move back into her life and into her home. The ex is certainly narcissistic, quite possibly a psychopath, who was fired from his job for screwing an intern (in his office) who called him “Dad.” This is while married. The divorce was ugly; she has struggled to manage a large house and finances since. And she’s willing to take the philandering douchebag back… Ugh. Sadly, the woman in question is my mother. Containing the fallout will surely mean my relationship with her changes, as will the relationship she has with my children. The manipulative man formerly known as my stepfather has no place in my life.

Meanwhile, I’ve shared this news with my ex, whose response was that — if she could forgive and take him back — perhaps there was hope for us to reconcile, as well… Um, no.

Despite the drama going on around me, I’m managing my boundaries…so far, so good anyway.


When he first met me, my former guy thought I was proper, “prissy” and materialistic. While he recently mentioned that he still thinks I’m prissy (what on earth does that even mean, prissy? and are there girls who aren’t?), I think he ultimately saw beyond his other misperceptions to a woman whose heart and values are in the right place.

A work colleague recently confessed that her now husband thought she was repulsive and obnoxious the first time they met…and now look!

One guy I dated pressed me about my first impressions about him until I finally confessed, “man boobs.” I said this while we were in bed. We both had a good laugh and, the next day, he started doing push ups.

My point is that perceptions are regularly skewed, our snap judgements are often just plain wrong, and it’s often more rewarding to keep our hearts and minds open and allow the magic of the universe to unfold.

I mean, what if it was all part of the cosmic plan for the hung-over ball player to be so put off by the gregarious, fun-loving woman from work, just so that he noticed her? Where would life have led them if he hadn’t?

What have you missed out on because you judged too quickly or harshly?

What beauty or bliss have you experienced because you led with your heart?

not ready for tacos

This morning, my children were playing catch in the yard when my daughter asked me to join her on the girls’ team, “Team Taco.”

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked what the boys’ team was called:  “Team Burrito.” And I followed with questions about where they’d learned these team names and if they knew what the names referenced…they did.

It’s natural for our children to lead the way, for parents to be caught off guard by an innocent phrase or question (that may not really be so innocent), for us to feel occasional discomfort at the maturity of topics we’re forced to address. But when my young son confirmed that the team names referenced parts of our anatomy, I was a bit aghast that children so young should already be exposed to what I might consider, if not vulgar, then at least a type of humor more appropriate for an older audience.

Let me just say that I am among the most urban, liberal, laid-back mothers I know. Sure, a part of me thought what I’d just heard was funny. But I am a feminist, and I want my daughter to own her body with confidence, to grow up stronger than those girls I’ve read about in Jodi Picoult novels. And I want my son to view his maleness as much more than his “burrito,” as well. I’d hate for my children to think I condoned identifying with a group based on the singular identifying characteristic of genitalia. Sex / gender is so much more than that.

Thus, I was compelled to call a huddle for a little chat about age-appropriate humor and about our being so much more than our anatomy. My daughter buried her face in a book and my son giggled while I explained why we probably shouldn’t use these team names anymore.

When they’re older and understand irony, my daughter is welcome to rejoin “Team Taco” or “Team Vajayjay” if it suits her post-feminist humor. But I’d better not ever hear that sort of thing out of my son’s mouth!

world gone mad

There’s a whole new level of crazy going on in my world, so pardon me if you don’t hear more for a few days. I’m happy to report that it is not me or my immediate life, but some wackness in my extended family…and we’re talking serious dysfunction. Like “should we have her committed and ask a judge for durable power of attorney?” messed-up-ness.

In other news, I’m actually delighted that none of you seemed to care about my boobs…no likes, no comments.

Let’s get back to talk of dating soon…

and now, a few words about boobs

It’s time for a frank discussion about my breasts. They are large. Larger than strictly necessary…and, in fact, larger than I find desirable. (Of course I am not a man…even my son loves them.) Don’t get me wrong. I think they are fabulous — but they were fabulous a few cup sizes ago. Now they are beginning to verge on ridiculous!

A few times in my life — and to my utter dismay — my mammaries have experienced sudden growth spurts that I can only attribute to hormones. At these times, even while nursing, I have turned toward the heavens and asked, “Were they not already large enough?!?” At this point, I would say they’ve gone beyond merely voluptuous to…I can barely bring myself to type it…matronly. Ugh.

You see, I have a bone to pick with my large breasts:  They get in the way of certain activities, such as yoga or other forms of exercise. They make it difficult to find clothing that fits well. And they have the audacity to precede me — they practically announce themselves.

Women, it seems, tend to be dissatisfied with their breasts no matter their cup size. It’s like hair:  just as straight-haired women wish they had more body while curly-haired women wish it were easier to grow their hair long and casually pull it up into a pony tail, small-breasted women wish they were better endowed, while large-breasted women would happily give up some of the frontal weight in favor of perkiness and, well, convenience.

Clearly, some people, men and women alike, prefer large breasts. Although it is beyond my own comprehension, some women actually pay to have breasts larger than a D-cup. I wonder if they know in advance how difficult it will be to find clothing that matches their new proportions? Even many of the cute lingerie lines only go up to a C-cup in size. And trying to find a cute bathing suit? Fuhgeddaboudit.

I am a practical woman: I’d like to pull something in my size off a clothing rack and have confidence that it will fit, even in front…or to exercise without feeling them in the way. And I am also self-conscious; I sometimes wonder whether people can take me seriously in professional settings. It’s as though these things require an explanation or apology. As Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) so eloquently put it:

“I’m not bad; I’m just drawn this way.”

Over the years, I’ve seen girlfriends lose weight from the top down, dropping cup sizes before melting an ounce from waist or hips. It’s not like that for me — I’ve managed to go up and down in weight, but I’ve never managed to drop a cup size; I’ve only grown. Even as I find myself more able to love and accept my body as it is — and I truly do appreciate my well-proportioned curves, I’m not yet ready to feel matronly…so I’m off to work out, hoping that — this time — I can reverse the trend.

special kind of sadness

No, I’m not in LA….

Actually, I’ve brought the children on what, to some, might be the vacation of a lifetime. But it’s not our first time in Orlando…

Traveling with them, I want them to feel joyous and excited. I want to feel relaxed. I think they are content and happy here. We exist mostly according to their whim and schedule. One resort employee even remarked that, together, their conversations and negotiations resemble as much an old married couple as two grammar school-aged children.

But for me, there’s a sadness…a grieving for the vacations we used to have: two-bedroom suites on the beach, so many firsts, grandma or other extended family members on hand to share child-care, travel arrangements and stress that I now manage by myself. Mostly I miss giving them the experience of all this as an in-tact family unit. Somehow I feel as though I’m giving them a lesser vacation by asking them to wait until I finish reading a chapter before joining them in an icy pool.

I know my ex is grieving our vacations, too, by the wistful replies he sends to my emailed photos of the children and his voice on the phone when he calls to talk to them.

Someday, I will get beyond the belief that two parents equals twice the vacation. I’m working on that.

Two days in, I’ve started to relax and enjoy just being in my children’s sustained presence. By tomorrow, I’ll be rocking’ this. And, with any luck, we’ll all arrive at home feeling refreshed, relaxed and full of new, happy vacation memories with our little family.