“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.
A few years ago, I wrote a post about how good friends know what to say to each other in tough situations. They know the difference between being painfully truthful and kindly, gently delivering a message. Other times, they might even tell little white lies to help you get the message. Well, I called it lies, but I realize now what I meant was not necessarily lies… more like, omission?
What do you mean? I want someone to tell it to me straight, you might think. Yeah, I say the same thing, but when it comes at me too fast, too hard, I realize I’m not always ready for it. Let’s just walk through a few scenarios and see how this might work.
A lot of my friends don’t remember their childhood. I think that’s strange because I seem to have so many memories of my childhood and I wonder sometimes if my memories are real or just fragmented narrations that I have mentally pieced together through pictures. Birthday cakes, favorite dolls, memories of parties, family and Jordache.
Lots of Jordache.
I think the year that I started to remember with clarity was around 1981. I was five.
That year, my mother took me to India to visit family. It was the first trip that I actually remember, although I had been there before. Going to India was no easy jaunt across the ocean. It was a long flight to New Delhi, with a never ending connection at Heathrow, a bustling place where my mother and I lost our way around for a while. Luckily, my mother was eventually able to steer us to the Duty Free to load up on Dunhill cigarettes for my grandfather during that break, so we got something accomplished before boarding the second leg.
There are these voices in my head. They can be LOUD. They can be annoying. One sounds a lot like my third grade teacher, Mrs. Williams, a woman who could look at me with the same derision I imagine some would reserve for Hitler. Or Judas. Or John Mayer after he’s been caught talking smack about Jennifer Aniston. I am pretty sure Mrs. Buckley, my eighth grade teacher who hated me is in the mix. Another voice kind of sounds like my mother’s. I can even swear I hear a bit of Oprah. But she’s not telling me that I won a car. Or that I can jump on her couch.
And she’s definitely not telling me that my first novel can be in the Oprah book club.
I am almost positive that one of the voices is my own.
A while ago, I saw someone who is broken. Someone I love.
I used to think that you could fix anything. That emotional cuts could heal, that a painful past could be left to reside in its yesterdays. I have learned with time that it’s not so easy to compartmentalize the good and the bad in your life. That old memories have a way of inviting themselves into your life when you least need them. That things you think you are over, that you have tidily found a place for in the farthest corner of your mind, can tip-toe back to the front. Demanding that you acknowledge them and stop throwing them into the back of the attic to be hidden once more.
I used to be good at hiding things away. At applying salve to my emotional wounds and covering my cuts with enough Hello Kitty band-aids that I thought they would only leave some small scars as proof.