Mar 222011
 

This post is dedicated to John, Sister’s fiancée. Good Luck, Brother.

 

Let’s head back to the morning of March 20th, 2003 for a moment, shall we?

Craig and I have been married for six months. Chase, our firstborn is five months old. Just skip the math and stay with me here. I’m home on maternity leave and spending my days alternating between the ecstasy and despair that accompany caring for an infant. I’m a little worn out.

But on March 20th, 2003, I wake up renewed and refreshed and tingling with excitement. Because as soon as I open my eyes, I remember: It’s my birthday. MY BIRTHDAY. I lie in bed and wait for the surprises and festivities and celebration of me to begin.

I wait. Then I wait a little longer. I look at Craig sleeping soundly and think, Ooooh- this is gonna be good. He’s still asleep! He must’ve been up all night preparing for my big day. Can’t wait.

Still waiting. Staring at Craig.

Craig opens his eyes, turns to me and smiles. Happy birthday, honey. I bat my eyes and smile back.

Craig gets up and stumbles to the shower.

I stay in bed. Still waiting. Waiting patiently.

He comes back in twenty minutes later and says, “Can I make you some coffee?”

I say, “Um. Sure.”

I climb out of bed. I put my hair up and throw on a little make-up so I’ll look nice in the pictures Craig’s sure to snap of me when I emerge from the bedroom and see all my balloons and flowers and perhaps the string quartet he’s hired to play while I eat the fancy breakfast he’s prepared.

I take a deep breath and fling open the bedroom door with much birthday gusto. I prepare my most surprised face.

Turns out there was no need to prepare. I am surprised. Because there are no balloons. No quartet. No nothing. Just Craig. Smiling, hugging me. Happy Birthday, Honey. Gotta go. See you for dinner tonight?

Craig leaves. I sit on the kitchen floor of our teeny apartment wondering if perhaps this is a practical joke. I open the front door to see if he’s hiding there with all of my friends whom he’s flown in from the ends of the earth to yell SURPRISE! at me. No friends. Nothing.

I sit on the couch, shocked. I am misunderstood, I am unappreciated.

Please understand. Growing up with Bubba and Tisha, birthdays were a big deal. They made the world stop on my birthday. You never knew what would happen, but you knew it was gonna be good. Tisha would bring us breakfast in bed with flowers and gifts and prizes and out-of-the-ordinary things would happen all day. One time in high school Bubba and Tisha sent roses to my fourth period history class with a card that said “from your secret admirer.” Nobody was allowed to get flowers delivered to class. But Bubba knew people. He also knew that those flowers would make me the most popular girl in school for the day. And they did. I walked around shrugging my shoulders when people asked me who they were from- glancing nonchalantly in the direction of the captain of the football team. Who didn’t know my name. But still, anything was possible on my birthday.

Let’s just say that the morning of March 20th, 2003, I did not feel like the most popular girl in school. I did not feel like anything could happen. I kinda felt like nothing was going to happen. Defeated, I sat down on the couch with my crying baby and turned on the TV.

The news anchor announced that America had officially declared some sort of war.

WHAT??? I yelled at the TV. ON MY BIRTHDAY?????

And that was IT.

I called Craig at work. He didn’t answer, so I hung up and called back immediately, which is our bat signal for it’s an emergency. He answered on the first ring, “Hi, What’s wrong? Is everything okay? Another fire???”

Whatever. So, I had set the apartment on fire the week before. Twice. Firefighters had come both times. Blaring their sirens and holding their big hoses and wearing their big masks and costumes and everything, which I thought was a little dramatic of them. I mean the fires weren’t that big. So Craig was still a little jumpy. But I don’t want to talk about that right now. Please, Monkees, for the love of God, try to focus on MY BIRTHDAY.

Me: “No, husband. There is no fire. It is much worse than that. You should know that I have cancelled my birthday. Today is no longer my birthday.”

Craig: “What? Why?”

Me: “Because it is already 11 am and nothing extraordinary has happened to me yet. Except, apparently, some sort of war. I hate this day. And so it is not my birthday. Cancel it in your brain. Tomorrow is my birthday.”

Craig: “Okay. Ooooookay. Should I cancel our reservations and the sitter for tonight?”

Me: “No. No you shouldn’t, Husband. We will still go out to dinner tonight. But it will be a working dinner. Bring a pencil and paper, husband. Because tonight I will be holding a seminar for you about my birthday expectations.They are many and they are specific, so you will want to wear your thinking cap. Also, find a sitter and reservation for tomorrow night, too. Tomorrow night will be my birthday dinner. My birthday is tomorrow. Consider it a second chance. You are welcome. See you tonight, Husband. For the seminar. “

And we went to dinner that night. And I explained to Craig how growing up, my parents showed their love by making a big deal out of special days. And by paying attention to what people really wanted and cared about and then offering thoughtful gifts. And by creating special traditions. And so that’s how I learned to accept love. And how when Craig didn’t do that, it made me feel panicked and unloved somewhere down really deep.

And Craig explained that he loved me very much. And because he loved me, he wanted me to feel loved. But he said that sometimes it’s hard to know what makes a person feel loved best. So he thought it was kind and wise that I figured out what made me feel loved and shared it with him. He said he was grateful. It made him feel safe, like I would help him through this marriage thing instead of being secretly resentful.

The Love Seminar worked for us. It lasted four hours. There was some crying and lots of laughing and talking about how hard it is to come from two different families and try to make a new one. And how impossible it was to read minds and hearts. How wonderful it was to just hear what the person you love needs and learn how to do it.To set each other up for success rather than failure.

The next morning, on March 21, 2003, my temporary birthday, Craig walked into our bedroom with hot coffee and bagels covered with pink candles. He sang to me and asked me to make a wish.

When I peeked out of the bedroom I saw posters covering the walls of our apartment. They said, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY! I LOVE MY AMAZING WIFE! The posters and balloons and hearts drawn all over them. Boys can’t really draw balloons and hearts, by the way. Ridiculously cute.

I squealed and Craig beamed. I kissed him goodbye and he said he’d call soon. Every hour, in fact.

I peeked into Chase’s room and saw that his crib was decorated with blue streamers.

I went pee, unrolled some toilet paper and little sticky notes fell out of the roll, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!”


Teamwork. Love takes teamwork, I think.


These days, Craig is known for his skill at celebrating special family days. He takes pride in it. He is a master. Legendary. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has said to me, “You are so lucky. He is amazing.”

And part of me wants to say, “Lucky? Whadyathink he fell out of the sky like that?”

But instead I say, “I know. He is. He’s amazing.”

He is.



Mar 252011
 

 

So the fires. You’d like to know about the fires. Knew you would.


When Chase was a baby, I used to sterilize his bottles. I marvel at how different a mother can become in eight short years. Especially when considering that just a few months ago I walked into Chase’s room to find Amma on all fours next to Romeo’s cage… sucking on the guinea pig’s water bottle. Made sense, actually.Romeo’s really the only one around here who is consistently fed, because Craig is in charge of him. And Amma figured that out, at two. I mean, I could cry about my daughter breaking bread with rodents, or I could take pride in her resourcefulness. I choose the latter. Amma is like Survivor Baby. She has to be, really.

When I found her with Romeo, I screamed, ran downstairs and immediately Googled: “Can you get swine flu from a guinea pig?” Google has replaced 911 as my go-to-guy in parenting predicaments. EMTs everywhere are grateful.

While I waited for Google to work its magic… I realized with great stress that I had forgotten to tell Amma to stop. She was still up there chugging with Romeo. So I ran back upstairs, grabbed her, and ran back down the stairs. Of course, by the time I got back to the kitchen, Craig was sitting in front of the computer looking confused. About the google/guinea pig/swine flu business, obvi.

Craig doesn’t fully understand my relationship with Google. I Google everything. I figure it’s always worth a shot. I LOVE asking for help. I walk through life with a virtual HELP WANTED sign on my forehead. Craig’s different. This difference is always highlighted at the grocery store. If I ask Craig to go pick up peanut butter, it is an inevitability that the phone will ring an hour later. I will juggle the 49 children in my arms to find the phone and answer it. It will be Craig. He will say, “Hi, hon. I’m still at the store. I can’t find the peanut butter. Where is it?”

Instead of telling him where the peanut butter is, I will ask if he, perchance, sees any kind looking people wearing nametags milling about. He will pause and then say, yes, actually, there are several. And I will say: THEY’RE THE ONES WHO GET PAID TO KNOW WHERE THE PEANUT BUTTER IS, HUSBAND. THEY ARE THERE TO HELP YOU, HUSBAND. AAAAAAAAAAAAAASK OOOONE OF THEEEEEEEEM, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Sweet Jesus. This post was supposed to be about the fires, wasn’t it? I get distracted. Which is actually a pretty good summary of the fires story. More on that soon.

Oh, and the answer is no. You can’t get swine flu from a guinea pig. You can, however, contract several other scary sounding diseases. Don’t worry: we are observing Amma carefully.

More truthfully…when we find her we plan to observe her carefully. I know she’s around here somewhere.



Happy Weekend, Lovies.




Mar 262011
 

This blog, it’s sort of a living thing.

I never really decide what I want to write about. Ideas come to me instead of from me. Some story or subject taps me on the shoulder and doesn’t stop tapping until I write about it. Being a writer is like being a parent, actually. It’s like being pecked to death by merciless chickens.

Every once in a while I get post requests from readers. They usually say: Jeeeeesh Glennon- you’ve been pretty heavy lately…can we have some funny? Or Pleeease Glennon – I need some God stuff. And I know how they feel.But I don’t choose what to write about any more than I choose my kids’ moods. Something needs to get written so I sit down and get it done so I can relax already. And I just figure that some Monkee, somewhere, needed to read it. No matter how odd it was. And that’s how this little blog here runs. I just trust the system. So far, so good.

But there is one subject that has been tapping me on the shoulder for a long while now. I’ve ignored it out of fear – it’s a tricky subject – so it started pinching me instead. Yesterday it slapped me right across the face so I said ALL RIGHT. Tomorrow morning. I’ll write.

Sisterhood is important to me- you may have noticed. I believe…I know, that we are all more alike than different. That we are all connected. That one woman’s pain is our collective pain and one’s woman’s joy and success belongs to all of us. In short, I believe that We Belong To Each Other. And no matter how many episodes of Housewives Of Whatever I ogle at, I know that stuff is not True. I know the Truth is taking care of each other. Lightening each other’s loads. Recognizing ourselves in each other.Accepting and forgiving each other’s faults and weaknesses. Noticing strengths and celebrating them instead of being afraid of them. Trying our very, very hardest not to hurt each other. Loving each other. It’s hard, but it’s right.


Twenty one.


I have listened; either virtually or in real life, to twenty one sisters explain that their lives and hearts and families are shattered because their husbands had an affair with another woman. Included in these twenty-one have been women I’ve known for decades and women I’ve never met. But the pain is the same…it’s absolutely brutal. It’s indescribable. It’s impossible. It’s hell on earth.

And it always, always rocks me to my core. Because some pain on Earth is unavoidable, but this pain isn’t. Because I believe in marriage, and I believe in sisterhood. And I just can’t imagine being betrayed by both. Doesn’t leave a sister a whole lot to hang on to.

It’s a complicated issue. I choose not to discuss the husband’s role, because I’m not a husband.

I am a wife, and I am a Sister. And I just want to say this to my other sisters. I’d like to make this promise:

I believe in marriage, and I believe in sisterhood. And I will never, ever betray my belief in either one by becoming intimate – physically or emotionally – with another sister’s husband. I’d rather die.

If you have in the past, we forgive you. If you are right now, we forgive you. Just cut it out. Please. It hurts all of us. No matter what you are telling yourself, no matter what excuses you are offering yourself – the Truth is that you deserve better. We all do.

We Belong To Each Other.


Love You, sisters.



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