Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 in words

2009 started out with my mom and me taking a road trip from San Diego to Chicago. Something I haven’t done with her since I was a kid. Thirty minutes into it, just out of El Cajon, we got pulled over. Apparently dear old mom was doing 80 in a 70. She cried on cue. “My Husband just died, my daughter and I are driving back to Chicago to pack up all of his belongings. I am just really upset!” She told him. How could any self respecting cop issue a ticket after those water works. He issued her a warning. When he walked back to his squad car Mom and I exchanged looks and could not stop laughing. “You’re going to hell!’ I told her.
That night we rung in the New Year at a truck stop in Arizona situated between two men with massive beer bellies, if that’s not living I don’t know what is.

I have to say that spending the first of the year on the open road is really the way to do it. There is nothing like a trip across desolate pieces of the United States to put your life in perspective. The whoosh of the road is so very Zen like. The opportunity for quiet calmness is rare in my life what with a 1200 square foot home packed with my husband, three kids, and our dog. So I embraced this trip. It was the first three days of my life since become a mother that I didn’t have a little person tugging on my legs for a snack or entertainment. I am so very thankfully that I was able to take this trip with my mom.

IN January of 09 I turned thirty without any major breakdowns, Botox procedures, or the purchase of a cherry red convertible. I reserved a table of ten at the lei lounge in University Heights for my dearest and nearest friends to help me celebrate. Later we headed to J.P’s, a local tierrasanta bar, where after my 5th birthday shot I recognized my son’s basketball coach singing karaoke. I am quite certain that there is nothing more humiliating then carrying on a 15 minute slurred conversation with my child’s coach that I could barely remember the next day. My husband reassured me that it wasn’t that bad. He is too kind.

I am just happy that now when people say “You have three kids! How old are you?!” I can honestly answer “I’m in my thirties!”

In May I flew out to Charleston to visit my sister. It was a birthday gift from her to me. I spent the weekend in her brand new home. It was the first weekend the two of us have spent together as real adults. The last weekend trip I took to see her consisted of bar crawling and vomit.  This time was more low key. We attended a comedy show, we went on a buggy ride, and she had a barbeque at her home with her friends. We talked about politics, mortgages, and pay freezes. Perhaps it was in 2009 that I finally decided I am officially an adult.

In June there was another trip this time with 8 of my closet high school girlfriends. After much debate we decided to meet up in Vegas. Upon arriving at our overpriced hotel room I was greeted by Judith and Jenell both of whom were strapped up to breast pumps. We spent the first night in town discussing our husbands, kids, careers, or lack thereof. We didn’t party nearly enough and I was happy with that. We have come a long way from sharing joints in the girl’s 2nd floor bathroom at out high school. After all these years I still love them just as much as I did back then.

August brought on the much discussed family reunion that my aunts and uncles had voted on at my dad’s funeral. My sister was in uproar about it. “Who plans a trip at a funeral!” she pouted. “They don’t even care that dad is dead.” I knew it wasn’t that though. In their own messed up way they were giving us something to look forward. It was there way of saying sorry about your dad but we can take a fun trip that will take your mind of things. They were doing it for us. After my brother and I stuffed the ballot box, San Diego won as our destination beating out Hawaii and New York. They knew we rigged the vote. We took advantage of their pity.

When August rolled around everyone pulled out of the trip thanks to our failing economy. The only ones coming would be me and my family, my sister and her husband, my mom, and some cousins I hadn’t met hat lived in LA.

The trip itself was a nightmare. My aunt booked 5 rooms. So we had 2 extra rooms to fill. We invited our good friends Steve and Nicole along with their two children. My husband invited his dad. My sister was not at all excited about the extra guests. Instead of referring to Steve and Nicole by their names she called them “Your Friends.” As in “oh, you’re going to the pool with your friends, I guess we’ll catch up with you later then.”

Things went downhill quickly. I felt like I was ten years old again stuck in the back of my mom’s station wagon on one of our many road trips. My brother and sister where always at war and I was stuck in the middle. I constantly had to choose sides. Only this time my brother had opted out of the trip so my sister decided to hate my husband and friends because Rog wasn’t there to target her angst on.

Every day I felt like I had to decide between hanging out with my sister or hanging out with my husband.  One morning Michelle and I headed out to play some tennis. When Aaron showed up a little later she stormed off the court. “Why don’t you guys just play.” She said.

By day 4 I was seething. After Michelle’s 100th temper tantrum. I lost it and did something I have never done before, I told off my sister in length. I called her spoiled, ridicuoulous, and gasp, a BITCH. It is something I had wanted to do since age 5. Here I was at thirty finally getting things off my chest. I morphed into High school me, the one with the braces and bad skin.  All those terrible kid moments where she had hurt my feelings or let me down came hurtling back to mind. I remembered the family trips from hell where if I dared to spend more time with my brother she would torture me with meanness.

Everything came spilling out. I could hear the sharp words tumbling off my tongue and didn’t bother shoving them back in. Michelle, stood there arms crossed mouth gaping open. At the time it felt good to tell her how miserable she was but afterward I knew I had crossed a line. I was the mean one now, the one capable of throwing an adult sized tantrum. It was not my proudest moment. In fact I think it ranks right up there with the very worst behavior of my life.

We didn’t speak for three months. She called in October and I let the answering machine pick up. I wasn’t ready to forgive her or to acknowledge how out line I had been. In November I finally spoke to her again. Turns out that the October call was to tell me she was pregnant. I missed out in sharing the most exciting moment of my sister’s life because I am an asshole. We are speaking again but I don’t think things will ever be the same.

So 2009 put a major dent in the closeness I once shared with my older sister. It’s something to work on for 2010.

The other highlights of the year consisted of the lengthy sex talk we had to give Andrew after he snickered over the initials B.J., my father in law getting engaged to a woman who doesn’t speak any English, Aaron becoming a Lego league coach at the kid’s school, Jake catching the biggest wave of his 9 year old life while on a recent surf trip, Amelia developing the coolest and greatest little imagination of any 5 year-old I know, and me finally getting some articles published.

I am happy to leave 2009 behind and start fresh with a new year.

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