Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Kate Met Lydia - Part 2

If you missed Part 1 - it's right here...

I was done. Done in a way that, if I was food, you’d need to throw me out. And if I was a pet, well, it was time. And if I was a mom on the edge, it was time for an injection. A big one. Do they make liquid Xanax?
I kept telling myself, “Just keep walking…smile…be polite…” as I walked out of the preschool. “They don’t need to know you have nowhere to go.  That your life is in free fall. That you’re this close to being Britney Spears minus the paparazzi bearing witness as you shave your head…”
And, then there was Lydia. And she was part oh-yeah-I-sorta-know-you and part life raft.
We’d met before. Sad to say, but she probably met me long before I met her. Because I suck at first meetings. Because I’ve spent my career and therefore my life, ­ meeting people that I will likely never see again ever and so I remember them just long enough for that first meeting to be this great impression and then *poof* they  vanish from my brain. I know it’s horrible, but it’s like song lyrics. Do we really need to remember all the words to Heart’s “What About Love?” Isn’t it enough that we can  hum along when the song happens to come on the radio? Aren’t little refrains enough?

I remembered her from a birthday party and she was pregnant and super nice and all broken-legged healing.  I remembered that I made her family enchiladas, because I’m awesome at Mexican food and who gets that in Virginia? And we chatted and I remembered my children being evil – but what’s new about that?  And then suddenly a year later she’s in the parking lot. And anyone can tell she is ripe for conversation. Like laying on the chaise, tell-me-about-life ripe for conversation. Exactly what I’d been trying to avoid.
And then she suddenly turned into a life raft. And the funny thing is, I didn’t know I needed one.  I just knew I was drowning. 
Lydia: Hey there…
Kate: Hi.
Lydia: How are you?
Kate: Good. How are you?
Lydia: Oh, you know. Fine. [pause] Hey, are you sure you’re OK?
All I wanted to do was to say yes. All lightly and assuredly: “Yeah! I’m great. Fine. Super, in fact.” And let’s face things here: Lydia may have her self-confessed quirks. But on this day and all the days before it, to me, she was Perfect Mommy. She was in charge of all the super important committees at the preschool. And she was the one that showed up with homemade snacks for the whole school just because it was freakin’ Tuesday. And Thumbelina was the angel who was always all ringlets and dresses and “yes ma’am” at school while Lefty was, well, Lefty. And, c’mon, the kid got his nickname from his testicle going rogue, so what does that say when you’re comparing him to the Gerber baby all grown up? She was exactly the kind of person that I didn’t need to talk to. The one who thought her children were perfect all. the. time.
All I could think to myself was “shut up…don’t say anything…smile and wave…smile and wave…” like some Green Beret Penguin on a covert mission. A mission to keep my yap shut.
“All these moms think their kids are just so fabulous, like, all the time. And all I can think about is just how soon I can drop them all off at school and have some freakin’ peace and quiet.”
Oh My Maude.
I had said it out loud.
And then she smiled. And I’ve worked in the news business long enough to know when you just made the day’s headlines. That one statement that will haunt you. The Howard Dean scream. The “Mission Accomplished.” But it wasn’t that kind of smile. It was the smile that made it seem like, if she had a cup of tea and a chaise lounge nearby, she would have invited you to have a sit.
“I couldn’t wait for them to go to school.  And now I don’t want to go home.  I mean, I don’t even think I can turn the car on.  What’s wrong with me?”

I exhaled.  Was she serious?  “I don’t want to go home, either.  Every single thing in that house is a reminder of how much my life sucks and that I am the worst parent in the world.  And you know what, this morning?  I don’t even care.”

My eyes started to water but I blinked a few times and it stopped.  What was I doing?  This woman was practically a stranger and worse, she was part of that coven of super-happy-stay-at-homers that had nothing to do with me or me with them.

I lost the ability to care a couple of months ago.  My teenage sister lived with me until three weeks ago but thank GOD she just left for college and I should feel terrible because all we did was fight before she left and I should miss her and cry about it…  But I don’t.”

I remembered a tall, pretty teenager who looked a young, skinny Lydia with dark hair.  “Oh right.  I saw her one time…  At a birthday party?”

She nodded and said: “Yeah.  That was her.  She moved in when I was pregnant and her mom had just died (we’re half-sisters but whatever what does that even mean?) and she was dropping out of school and her friends were all on drugs and her – I mean, our – dad couldn’t deal so he handed her off to me.  There is not enough wine in the world to handle that…so lucky for the world  that I couldn’t drink.”
My turn. “My daughter can only talk about boobs and she’s just ten. My son thinks the resolution to pretty much everything is to punch someone in the head and the little one is more stubborn than me. And, I suck at being a mom.”
The truth? It felt GREAT. I knew I’d regret it later. And not like Tiger Woods regret, but real regret. Like crap – I let this random woman know my thoughts and now she’s totally gonna blab. Super. Which means we have to quit our preschool and our church.
Her turn: My house is at DefCon 417 and there’s actually not one article of clean clothing in my entire house and the baby hasn’t slept which means I haven’t slept and why in God’s green earth did I want a third baby so badly when I can barely manage the other two?”
I’m not sure who got all teared-up and unable to blink it back first. I’d like to think it wasn’t me.  I know now that Lydia won’t let anyone cry alone so there’s a pretty good chance that I was unwillingly welling up and she just quickly joined in.  Either way, somehow the absurdity of standing in the pre-school parking lot ripping through those super-tiny packages of Kleenex finally made us laugh. Mostly because those little tissues dissolve the instant they touch any kind of liquid. Which completely defies what they were made for right? So there we were, hands full of wadded up clusters of fuzz and little wormy shaped tissue dregs all over our faces, which combined with tears, makeup and mascara made this lovely relief map of DisasterMomistan. Never heard of it? Oh you will…one day.
Kate: I can’t believe you made me cry…
Lydia: [gasps] You totally made me cry.
Kate: You look *awesome* by the way [laughs] so I definitely feel better.
Lydia: Suck it, Fancy! [eyes widen in horror; my face stuck in jaw drop] ohhhhh…
Kate: You called me Fancy?
Lydia: Yeah, well look at you all perfect all the time and I’m like a big mess in yoga pants. And of course there’s something spilled on my boob.  So there’s that.
Kate: [laughs] Oh, am I keeping you from yoga class? I’m sorry.
Lydia: No, I don’t actually go to yoga. I just wear the pants. CRAP! I’m keeping you from work.
Kate: No, I don’t actually go to work anymore. I just wear the shoes.

Part 3 continues tomorrow...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. SO love you guys - can't wait to read the rest of your story. Thanks for being so real and honest!
    It's really awesome to have a mom-friend who you can be so real with... unfortunately we're too often stuck in the rut of trying to outdo and impress each other to be real. So happy to have found my own Kate & Lydia friend - now if life and kids could just allow us time for each other... :)

  2. Gotta love a little Divine Intervention... I was blessed with that when we moved across the country 8 years ago with a new baby away from all family... and I thank Him for that every day. Can't wait to read part 3! And I really hope you get that book deal...

  3. Oh, for Maude's sake. I LOVE THIS. I love YOU! I want to be there with wormy tissue remnants mashed into my former-mascara.

    I know this feeling -- being on the other side of the mom-fence, and not quite being able to ask for help.

    I LOVE you. Is that creepy and stalkerish? I don't care. I want MORE~!
    --kate in MI

  4. I love this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. "I don't actually go to work anymore. I just wear the shoes."

    LOVE it! (Even though I'd totally be in yoga pants if I weren't at work.) Thanks to both of you for sharing this story - it's wonderful!

  6. I was just made redundant. I was feeling a little weepy about it, until I self-medicated with 2 bottles of champagne at 9am on a recent wednesday, but I love Kate's attitude... I'm going to keep wearing the shoes too.
    I'm Anonymous because I don't know wtf I need to do, not because I'm a stalker or anything.

  7. I love you guys! You two totally "get" that parenting and being a mommy is not all picnics and lollypops! Thanks for your honesty that reminds us that we are all in the same boat! :)

  8. Kate only isn't creepy and stalkerish because she's NinjaKate ;) ... But she's totally right - Your story is so awesomely funny, and so honest ... and so freaking familiar. For those of us that are blessed to have a Kate/Lydia relationship, we know what its like to finally be free and honest with someone who knows how much suckage there is in life and you can just be real with - even tho you've just lost your job or you wear boobstains like its your job.

    I've said it before, you two, and I'll just keep on saying it ... You have given so many gals courage that may hot have a Kate/Lydia to open up to more people, you have taught us that its ok to say what we're thinking because all of us are thinking it!! Except Paltro, and she can go suck a hoho.

    We love you ladies!!! xoxo

  9. Awwww, this is making me laugh and be all mushy and missing my far-flung mommy friends and thankful for my mommy friends here all at once. You guys rock. And I can't find T-boxes at my Target :( Maybe it is not big enough??

  10. Yeah! This is great! Can't wait for part 3!!

  11. yes, i loved the "i dont go to work anymore, I just wear the shoes" bit too :-)

    well written to cut the story there, keeps us wanting more!

    - tork

  12. So are all publishers IDIOTS???? This is freakin' awesome :)

  13. Made for each other.

    what a life blessing you have.

    And I'm not just blowing smoke up your bloggy ass.

    I love you two.

  14. My new favorite line.... I don't go to work anymore, I just wear the shoes!!!! LOL, I feel that way EVERYDAY!!!!

    Please keep this coming!!! You have made my day!! <3

  15. My coffee is full of salty tears, AGAIN, ladies! ;) Thank you for sharing your story, I love it!

  16. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you two!!!! Thank you for keeping it real!!! <3


  17. So. AWESOME. I loved you guys before this but now??? Even Yesser!!! Hanging on the edge of my seat for the rest of the story!!!

  18. First-find a way...any way to publish this book! So far it rocks!
    Second-todays part made me cry. I can so remember feeling like I should know how to do this but don't. And that I was the world's worst mom. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling mom desperation.

  19. I think the book fail is fine...you two need to be a MOVIE!

  20. You guys are awesome, I can't wait to read part 3. Your blog is addicting!

  21. Okay, you HAVE to keep pushing the book deal because I can't stand reading this in teeny little increments every few days. I must read this cover to cover in one day whilst eating bad for me food and neglecting my children. Okay, not really but this is awesome and I'd totally buy the book. Can't wait for the next installment.

  22. I love how you two had stereotyped one another into tidy little bullshit boxes and then had the major cajones to reach out to one another anyway.
    Total life lesson for all of us.
    "I don't actually go to yoga. I just wear the pants."
    "I don't actually work anymore. I just wear the shoes."

    That is Yoda-like wisdom...I'm not really *this stereotype*. I just wear the mask.

    I just *love* you two...in a completely non-stalkerish kind of way.

  23. Awesome writing!!! Don't give up on the book, there are too many moms who need this, and you're saving their sanity!! Stupid publishers.

    --Anne Marie in NoVa

  24. Kate and Lydia: who should play you in the movie?
    --kate in MI

  25. Hitting close to home! Can't wait to read day 3!

  26. Ok, not sure why there is no book deal. I would buy the book for every mom I know and have an extra box of them in the back of my car for when I see a mom that is so obviously struggling. I would even consider driving around to daycares and preschools just handing it out with a coupon for a free glass of wine somewhere.

  27. Totally agree with christineames - LOVING THIS!

  28. This is so freaking awesome, I can't stand it. Evidently, everyone who has read this knows you have gold with the "I just wear the pants/I just wear the shoes" lines. Except some moron publishers. Thanks for being my 2 new best friends because right now I only know (in real life) moms who don't get it. Can't wait to read #3!

  29. So...when can we buy a t-shirt that says, "I don't go to yoga. I just wear the pants"? It would perfectly match my yoga pants. If you can't rake in the dough with a book deal, you can at least sell thousands of t-shirts, right?




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