tol·er·ate – /ˈtäləˌrāt/- verb – to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.
When I was growing up, I always got the sense that my parents couldn’t tolerate a lot of things I did. I know this because they told me so. They could not tolerate my desire to eat the way my friends ate and have a hamburger at a backyard barbecue. I am sure they puked in their mouths a little, but they allowed it, with my mom’s violent facial tic being the only indication of disapproval. When I started running cross country so vigorously in high school, that it was more tantamount that I get in a ten mile run in the morning before even brushing my teeth, my parents again tolerated it. They worried, they fretted. They may have wished I was focusing more on math, but they ultimately didn’t interfere.
2004 was the year that I lost it.
The “it” in question wasn’t my sanity, though some may disagree. It was the year I lost my confidence, especially when it came to driving. I often think about my driving in two categories. There was my driving “before 2004″ and my driving “after 2004.” 2004 was the year of two really bad accidents for me.
Now, nobody was hurt during these accidents, though whether that was out of some divine intervention, pure luck or the use of some intense air bag technology, I am still unsure.
The first accident I hit a car head on. I was one month away from making the last payment on my Honda Accord, the first car I would have officially owned. I was driving to John’s townhome – he was then my boyfriend – and it started snowing really hard. I remember feeling pretty strong behind the wheel and I think I even patted myself on the back for being able to navigate the roads which were becoming increasingly white with a thick layer of snow.
The other day I was watching a show on television, pumping my legs and arms on the elliptical as I took in some lame episode of One Tree Hill in an attempt to keep me occupied and make my workout go by faster.
It wasn’t working.
I watched absently as one of the female leads on the show waxed on (and on, and on…) at her hometown bar about how she didn’t know what to do with love in her life. Whether she was letting a good one go or whether she was meant to be alone.
Her character is 22 years old. Yeah. Fucking ancient.
As she lamented her current single status and wondered aloud if she would ever find “The One,” the bartender looked her in the eye and said in his reassuring, made for a CW show sort of way. “Of course you’ll meet someone. Look at you.”
There are times in my life where I have made missteps. I have stepped clumsily on the feelings of people I love. Sometimes this was unintentional and other times it was because I was selfish or immature and made a decision that might have worked more for myself than others I could have put first.
I am sorry for these times. In certain cases, the memories pain me and I wish I could go back and do things a little differently. More gently. With more wisdom than I had back then.
I don’t like to think of myself as someone who hurts others but I have to evaluate things honestly here. Just as I put so much into giving in a way that I think shows how boldly I would like to love, there is always the possibility that in that boldness, I may inadvertently step on someone’s toes and cause some collateral damage.
“Don’t drink the hard stuff. Not the liquor. Whiskey, vodka? These things are bad. If you drink wine and beer, that’s better. But otherwise, you are an alcoholic.” – *Anonymous.
Ok, *Anonymous is my papa.
I drink the hard stuff. And the soft stuff, I guess. I kind of like it all. I am an equal opportunity booze drinker.
I’m not a big drinker. I mean, I DO drink. But never, out of control. Well. Hmm. Maybe, sometimes. I mean, I am certainly not really including my college years in that statement. Or my twenties.
Definitely not any of my twenties.
I drank during both of those phases of my life. If I took one of those tests asking me to evaluate if I was “the A word” (No, not “asshole” – “alcoholic”), I may have tested with flying colors in the affirmative. Actually, depending on which part of my twenties we are talking about, I might have passed positive for both things.
The holidays are almost upon us. I know this because everyone in my house is feeling sick, that feeling of dread prevails that NOTHING IS DONE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE and I am overwhelmed with the sense that I have already overbooked our calendars, thanks to my masterful planning skills. It is all seriously freaking the shit out of me.
Of course, the holidays bring with it the inevitable questions from family about gifts for the kids. “What does Shaila want this year?” or “What kind of toys is Nico playing with now?” And I try to answer to the best of my ability but then sometimes I forget who I told what to and Nico ends up with twelve swords. Or Shaila ends up with all the things I really wish I could get for Christmas. Like a mini-Athleta outfit collection.
I come from a family that doesn’t talk much about elephants. Don’t get me wrong. We aren’t averse to wild animals and will even watch Animal Planet from time to time. We love images of Lord Ganesh, the Indian God who represents overcoming obstacles and throughout my childhood, his pictures and likeness were always on display in our family home. We aren’t very quiet and talk about other things, including other animals, what Oprah is doing, or our very differing views on Obamacare. In fact, we are loud and can sometimes be the family that gets rude looks from other restaurant patrons who are trying to eat their Wonton soup in peace as we laugh too hard, or say something that makes the person next to us snort out their egg drop soup out of one nostril.
Yes, there were times where we are that family. And trust me, egg drop soup should never come out of a nasal passage.
On Tuesday of this week, my husband and I will have been married years. 8 years!! It’s crazy to me. Almost as crazy as Paula Deen, but maybe not quite that crazy. I am getting nostalgic so am hoping you’ll walk down memory lane with me.
Here is a picture of me and my husband, John, on our wedding day.
I know, you’re probably wondering why I call him John when his name is so clearly something like Jagdish. Or Rajiv, or something.
But no, John is his real name. He just looks like he is Indian (another story, another day). I think it has to do with the fact that he is half Italian and half Puerto-Rican. Somehow, it made him look like a hybrid of Ponch and Amitabh.
Anyway, here is another picture of me and John on our wedding day.
In our family, we sometimes tease each other when we are caught with our “love face” on. It’s this special expression that we often notice each other making. I sometimes see John with it when Nico says something adorably witty about farting or burping. The sheer pride in both of their faces just warms my heart. I’ll see Shaila make it when she is pretending to pummel Nico to the ground. I have seen Nico make it in those special moments when he puts his face up so, so close to my own and holds my cheeks firmly in his 3 1/2 year old hands before he plants a kiss on me.
The love face is kind of hard to describe. I guess it’s a slight clenching of the jaw, an over-exaggerated under-bite. The lips purse a little and convey a little more than just pure joy, but it’s this weird semi-smirk, I guess.
If you are reading this, I don’t want to make assumptions about how old you are. I’d like to think you haven’t stumbled upon my blog before you are a teenager, but the fact that you can read at 5 1/2 and that you constantly play with my iPhone and iPad are not working in my favor.
I am not bragging about the fact that you can read earlier than I thought you would. In fact, it just makes me sweaty, frantic and a whole lot of panicky because I thought I had way more time to clean up my language and to make this blog a place of positivity and light. You being an early reader increases the chances that you might stumble on the place where Mommy genuflects on some of her biggest insecurities and vices.