I’m high. Feeling slightly shitty. Not fully sure why. Also, two glasses of wine in, so it might be the alcohol talking.
“Why do the dumpsters have locks on it?” Big A asked, as I threw our sandwich wrappers and wet wipes away.
It was our last full day in Colorado. Only a few months before, on the eve of my 32nd birthday, Mr. D and I were misty-eyed in an Austin Imax, following a documentary on the 100-year anniversary of the natural parks. “The greatest natural wonders belong to no one,” Robert Redford’s voice narrated. “They belong to all.” As we left the theater, I admitted how choked with emotion I felt at the sight of our purple mountain majesties. “I teared up, too,” my husband admitted. “We should do more stuff outdoors.”
Then we came home. Work piled on. Swim lessons and gymnastics and drop-offs and pick-ups and life in general resumed its unrelenting, unapologetic pace. I fantasized daily about quitting my job, wondering if my boss would continue to take credit for my work, or if she would, instead, give me the one thing I had asked for and unquestionably earned. But she didn’t acknowledge my question, let alone provide an answer, and I found myself averaging three hours of sleep on a good night. About a month after my suicide joke fell flat in a staff meeting and probably a week before my inevitable mental break down, Mr. D bought impromptu tickets to Denver. “It will be good for us,” he said. “It will be good for you.”
It was perfect. It was exactly what the doctor ordered, right down to the weed. The girls, Mr. D and I hiked mountains and stepped off the beaten path to climb rocks and explore nature on our own. By the time we polished the last of our PB&Js at a picnic table in Rocky Mountain National Park, I decided I could very happily relocate to the West. We’d just need to get used to the whole snakes and bears thing.
“That’s why you’re supposed to lock the dumpsters,” I explained to Big A. “So the bears can’t get in.”
“Bears?” Little A asked in her sweet whisky voice. “Will they hurt us?”
“Um… well… hopefully we won’t see any. But sometimes bears can hurt people. Especially if it’s a mama bear who wants to protect her babies.”
Little A lost interest in the bears, and we proceeded to circle around a spectacular lake, its crystal clear water reflecting the towering mountain ranges from beyond. We climbed more rocks, walked across logs and even hopped over stones to explore the other side of a babbling brook. As we headed back to the car, Little A began to tell us a story about “a waterskunk family,” prattling on in her usual long-winded way, with mundane details and indecipherable ones all piling together as my interest and attention drifted elsewhere–to the trash collected in our car, to the bathroom stops we all needed to make before we left, to the flight we had to catch tomorrow. Her sweet whisky voice droned on… and on… until finally, in that same casual tone, Little A said, “And then a man came, and he tried to hurt the babies, so the the mama waterskunk killed the man.” Mr. D and I both stared at each other blankly. “Kill the man?” I mouthed to him, as he laughed and said, “Well, that took an unexpected turn.”
We drove to another lake and admired a herd of moose crossing the road. That night, we all went to bed early, and I slept sound and deep and long.
Still haven’t heard back from the Times, or the other job, or Little Jay Z.
Little A has been battling a stomach bug since Saturday.
My deadline is this week, and I’m just barely making it.
A meeting at work was moved from yesterday to Friday, and it happens to coincide with Little A’s school play.
We’re down to one car because I killed the other by driving 6,000 miles without an oil change.
I still haven’t made Mr. D’s Christmas present.
I am slacking miserably at my bridesmaids duties.
I fucked up the Flat Stanley project for Big A.
I’m back to writing essays in my head, and they’re not even very good.
On the plus side, I think Little A is getting better, and I’m sleeping well, and I’ve gone for a run two days in a row, and I know that if I just do good work, everything will be okay. Just need to feed the good wolf and remind myself to “live a wonderful life and know it.”
I’m obsessed with my high school Gwyneth Paltrow. I think she probably likes it that way.
Gwyneth bakes cayenne and white cheddar mac and cheese casserole with sautéed garlic and caramelized onions, roasted broccoli and a breadcrumb topping. And she “pretty much invented the whole thing as [she] went along. And it was ridiculously scrumptious.”
She asks, “Have YOU locked your kids out of the room on a Sunday morning lately?” before adding a winky emoticon and a #doeet hashtag.
Last Thanksgiving, she and her husband and their kids biked through four miles of lava field at sunset and hiked over another half mile of it to sit on the coast, on the edge of a sea cliff, and watch the lava pour into the ocean. Biking home in the dark with headlamps capped off the adventure, and when they finally got in at 9pm, they put a pizza in the oven and all passed out before it had time to cool. Her iPhone pics “definitely couldn’t do it justice,” but that didn’t stop her from posting 15 photos and an intentionally misspelled #Thanksgivin hashtag.
I relish in the sanctimony, in the not-so-humble humblebrags. I’m a glutton for all things Gwyneth, and I hate-follow her even when I quit social media and surreptitiously log on under Mr. D’s account.
She is at once everything I despise about mommy blogs (the irony is not lost on me) and everything I wish I could be.