Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Kate Met Lydia - Part 4


 And, now for the end...

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That night, after the hour-long torture that is “putting the children to bed”, I told the Cap’n what happened in the parking lot with Kate.  He just nodded.  “I always thought you should reach out to her.  You know that.  I’m pretty sure she needs a Lydia.”

Maybe he was right but I couldn’t help thinking that if she didn’t want a Lydia, that I had just told someone I wasn’t sure I liked far too much about myself and my family.  I felt sort of sick.  I feared this was going to be another time I would think back over things I’d blurted out and wish I’d never said them.  Sadly, it was a sensation I was used to.

A few days passed and Kate and I didn’t run into each other at school or reach out in any way.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to.  I had no idea if she felt as queasy as I did about the whole experience.  I’ve spent my entire life regretting being too open and having total strangers tell me random things.  This was just another one of those times…  Except that I felt better for having said it all out loud.  I felt like the Cap’n was right and maybe it was good for both of us that I had reached out to her.


I had spent my life building up walls. Based on this crazy flawed theory that, if I never really let anyone into my life, then I never have to watch them go racing for the exits. A dear friend gave me a refrigerator magnet – because really, life truly can be boiled down to the pithy perfected logic that fits on a 2X2 artwork holder – that said, “True Friends are the ones that know all about you and like you anyway.” It’s a nice sentiment; in my life, it’s also crap. There are nuclear disposal facilities that would kindly pass on the psychological soup that I’ve been brewing up these nearly 40 years.

Walls, fortresses, even a moat for the really good juicy tidbits, complete with crocodiles just to keep the Lydias of the world at bay. But this particular Lydia? I’m not sure how she did it. It was like she just appeared inside. Like some kind of yoga pants wearing Dumbledore. I was terrified. I was going to have to leave, or move or quit the church. Or just volunteer to be the guinea pig for a new remote colony. On Saturn. What was I thinking? Lydia knew WAY too much about me, and I don’t think either one of us knew what to do next.

For two days, I took Happy to school, and didn’t see Lydia. The first day, I showed up with this pit of nausea in my stomach. What was I going to say, “Oh, heeeeeyyyy. So, how’ve you been since I verbally vomited all my secrets all over you? Yeah, it was gross. But, you’re used to sticky, smelly things on your shirt right? Right?”

The second day, I was kind of hoping I’d see her. I wasn’t sure why. The truth was, while I wasn’t sure of my feelings at the moment, when we talked, I really had felt better. Normal. Not like I was playing some role. And, the more I thought about the kind of person Lydia was, the more I was sure she’d never be the kind of person who gossiped. Sure, about silly stuff and Lindsay Lohan and possibly a church member who had one too many cocktails at the Family Dinner Night, but not this.

I didn’t see her that day, or the next. Lydia has this way about her that just invites people in. Me? Not so much. So, what would happen if I reached out? By the next week, the fear of the meltdown, the idea there could be a real friend to confide in, and – let’s be honest – the fact that I needed to borrow a kid thing and she had one, had gelled. And I sat down at my computer.

I got an email from Kate.  She didn’t mention our hour-long mutual meltdown in the parking lot.  Instead she asked how I was doing and if she could borrow a Pack-N-Play, as she’d given hers away and had friends with a baby coming to stay.

I emailed her back right away, saying no problem, when did she want it and did having houseguests mean that she actually had to clean her house.  This started a volley of back and forth emails where we asked each other questions like:
  • How old do you think children have to be before they stop barging in on you in the bathroom?  Because I haven’t peed alone in six and a half years.
  • How is it that laundry came to dominate my life?  I used to read books and now I just fold things.
  • Is this thing that happened to my boobs permanent?  Because they used to be awesome and I miss them.
  • Why do husbands never know the sizes of their children’s shoes but know how much the first baseman for the Nationals weighs?
  • Why do normal people claim to be tired all the time?  If I hear one more non-parent say, “I’m so tired” I’m going to karate punch them in the neck.
  • Is it wrong that I drink more coffee and wine each day than I do water?
  • What happens to little boys’ underpants?  They just disappear.  I have spent $17,000 on size 4 Spiderman underpants in the past three months and I have no idea what’s happened to any of them.  Where do they go?
Kate emailed me back and said: “That’s it.  I’m doing something about this.  Click here.”  And underneath was a website, a blog she had started called: Rants from MommyLand, the name of the book we had joked about in the parking lot.  I emailed her back: “Rants! From! MommyLand!  And so it begins…”

The. End.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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