Got To Be Real


This morning started off on a bad note. First, there was the let down from last night. Seeing Pearl Jam play their first show of the Backspacer tour was magical. My voice is hoarse from singing and screaming, my knees achy from standing for three hours at such high elevations—our seats were up there. And then there’s the contact high hangover.

I remember the days of concert-going when I was younger. I got more than just a contact high in those days and bounced back the next morning with ease. These days, it’s not the same, but it’s better. I get the depth of feeling behind the music; I have lived more.

When Eddie sang:

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.

And I gentled up against my husband rocking to the music; I felt those words. After the show I was exuberant and wired. Sleep finally came at close to 2 a.m. and morning came too soon with two children who had missed their parents the night before, are getting colds and have yet to adjust to the Fall routine. To say they were grumpy would not do them justice. And, I feel for them. One minute we’re romping on the beach, the plan for the day, sunscreen and water ice. Now, it’s school buses and homework and enforced bedtimes. I want to wrap them in my arms and sprinkle them with fairy dust. This morning, I was as positive as I could be. I also get that sometimes being grumpy helps. I don’t want my kids to hide how they feel. I don’t want to be whined at but I also want to know what’s going on for them. Of course, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. How does a four year old say that he’s overwhelmed and nervous about school? He whines or cries or reverts to baby talk. How does a seven year-old tell you he’s scared for recess because he’s being teased? He may not even know what’s bothering him. I need to take the time to listen to those cues, because when I do I can help my kids. I can teach them to find those words, to get real.

And, what about me? I have my own cues when something is wrong; when I need to take a breath and get real about what’s bothering me. It starts with wanting to hide from the world. Of course, it’s worse when I’m tired. I’m exhausted today. I get weepy. I become paralyzed by even the smallest of decisions. I felt that way this morning, I will take a nap later, but I’m proud of myself for finding a blank page first and filling it with these words. So, I’ll say it: I’m not used to the Fall routine either and am feeling lost, again. Who am I? Am I writing my novel? Am I just a blogger-mom who wrote a book once but has nothing left? These thoughts aren’t terribly helpful but they tell me I need something. My mind is aswirl.

Tonight, I have plans to meet some friends for dinner. I want to see these women but am not sure if I can do it today. How will I meet my needs, my kids’ needs, sleep? I’m spinning. One friend is celebrating a birthday; I want to see her. I miss her. My first instinct was to send a generic email to the group begging off, giving myself an out in case the day goes south. That felt wrong; I wrote a draft and saved it without sending. I thought about how she might feel reading that. Hurt? Disappointed? Instead, I called her. Voice-to-voice, one-on-one and I told the truth—what was going on with the kids, me, how much I missed her, that I’d try to make it but I didn’t know if it would work. I got real. And like the friend that she is, she understood, not with platitudes, but really understood. We promised to make plans for just the two of us, whether or not I see her tonight. I challenged my instinct to turtle in and instead was real, connected on a deeper level with her, and with myself.

This morning I wanted to put my older son on the school bus despite his protests. “I want to be with you Mommy.” He was not listening, whined and was generally unpleasant. I just wanted him gone, the behavior gone. But, he needed something too so I drove him to school. We were early and sat in the car and talked for ten minutes. Just ten minutes. Not about his feelings or about being teased. He closed the book he’d been reading while we drove and looked at me with a giant smile and calm.  “Mom, when’s Halloween?” I told him. “I just can’t decide what I want to be.” So we talked about it. We just sat and talked and connected. He walked off to class with a bounce in his step. We got real.


  1. heartwriter says:

    Getting real is so freeing isn’t it? I love how you got real on the blank page.


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