unscathed…sort of

11 Aug

One of my greatest fears in raising my son and any future children we might have is passing on my (many) neuroses. I inherited so many of my parents’ problems. So many undesirable familial traits that our blue eyes and thin wrists are, in the cafe of genetics, drowned out by the din of phobia, depression, addiction, walls built so high and thick that the few who tunnel in are usually sorry they did.
One of the things that’s struck me about having a child is that my personal attachment to these neuroses is waning. I have identified, for better or worse, with my eccentricities for as long as I’ve had them. People could take me or leave me and I was always relatively unmoved by their decision. Dorkily, I realized this had changed while listening to Bjork’s song Hyperballad, the lyrics of which I had never given much thought:

We live on a mountain
Right at the top
There’s a beautiful view
From the top of the mountain
Every morning I walk towards the edge
And throw little things off
Like:
Car parts, bottles and cutlery
Or whatever I find lying around

I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you

(lyrics posted entirely without permission)
Besides our fantastical, magical wardrobes, Bjork and I apparently have something in common. We psych ourselves up for the day with our kids. We shake off the nasties and pull ourselves up by the old bootstraps because nobody wants a crazy mama despite how appealing her craziness made her to boys at nineteen.
I feel that I usually do a pretty good job of this. The fact of the matter is: I am not one of those cooing, adorable moms who revels in playgroup and shopping at Gymboree. I hope George loves me for these characteristics and not in spite of them, but if he doesn’t, you know, kind of oh well.
On the other hand, there are still problems I just can’t get in front of. They outpace me or circumstance renders me somewhat helpless and I’m suddenly that crazy lady with a baby on a plane who’s crying over the number of seats across the aisle and the fact that the customer service representative lied about KLM Royal Dutch Airlines because why the fuck would a European affiliate be flying from Dallas to Atlanta? Yeah. That was me.

post-freak out


I made it through a week of mother-in-love being all shifty-eyed at my hippy parenting and father-in-love pretending he wasn’t going to AA meetings and sister-in-love getting unceremoniously dumped and sorta-neice eating nothing but shit carbs to my shock and horror and my stinking phobia fells me in the final seconds. True to form, you all might be amused to know, I was thinking for the entirety of the flight that when we crashed I would be vindicated. I just love being right, even hypothetically, posthumously. That’s commitment to the cause.
This was our first Family Vacation. We flew in a plane, we had a destination where we stayed for a week. We saw people to whom George is related but with whom he has nothing else in common. I did not grow up going on these kinds of vacations. I was sent alone to see foreign family or was drug to conferences where I fell in love with hotel living, the fluffy robes, the over-chlorinated pools, the familiar strangers and the approximated comforts of home. All involved, primarily, time alone. Predictability. The things I used to thrive on. Those days are most definitely behind me. And I think that’s okay.

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2 Responses to “unscathed…sort of”

  1. Lindsey August 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    I think you’re just perfect in all your complexities. It’s nice to have a kindred spirit. xoxo.

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