24 Nov 2010

I AM THANKFUL

7 Comments Personal Crap

Well, it’s not original but I thought I should do a post about what I’m thankful for. This morning was surprisingly difficult. I missed my dad a lot. Sadness washed over me and was almost impossible to shake off. This was our holiday. My dad loved Thanksgiving as much as I do. So much so that once, because he had been sick in November, we had a second Thanksgiving in March. God, I wish he was here.

Our table will have only five at it this year. But I am cooking all the same things, all the same amounts. I’m having Thanksgiving because we have so much to be thankful for.

I am Thankful for:

The “Mommy!” that wakes me up way too early every morning.

The man laying beside me when I get up way too early.

The coffee that helps me wake up, when I get up way too early.

The son who exceeds all of my dreams of having a child, and challenges me in ways I never thought I could meet.

The marriage that sustains me, makes me believe in love, and challenges me in ways I never thought I could meet.

The fairly-functional family who is partially broken, but mostly intact, which made me who I am… Good and bad. And is accepting of the way I change.

The beautiful, funny woman who co-raised me, is trying to get on with life, and taking painful steps to do so.

The amazing woman who raised my husband and did a most excellent job of it.

The incredible woman who married my brother, and became my true sister.

The wonderful children, our nieces and nephews, who we don’t see enough of.

The dog who greets me, tail wagging, every morning… Way too early.

The friends I have made, old and new. And some old AND new. They are amazing, loving, beautiful friends, and I am blessed to know them.

The neighbors who keep a watch, and have saved us from many parking tickets.

The roof over my head and the walls that hold up this house.

The lessons I learn that help me grow.

The laughter that I am lucky enough to experience daily.

The tears that help me heal.

The food I get to eat, the wine I get to drink, the choices I get to make.

I am mostly thankful for health and happiness and the fact that I am always acutely aware of their fragility.

And I am thankful I get to write, and for those of you who read what I write.

I am thankful for this beautiful life.

I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

16 Nov 2010

Marry Me, Or Else! (Part 2)

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Our Honeymoon in Hawaii

Before I delve into Part 2, let me correct my Part 1 time line, per my awesome husband. He says (and I like this version better), that I didn’t start to nag until four or five months into us living together. Then it was about three months after that, then two months, etc. But it wasn’t until about a year in that I was really laying it on. He says if I had been crazy enough to start in immediately, he might not have been so amiable about the whole thing. (Translation: He wouldn’t have stuck around.)

So there we were, a year into our relationship, living in sin, and on opposite ends of the issue. I felt like we made a mistake and probably should have lived apart until he gave me a ring. He felt like we made the perfect decision and should probably live together until one of us was making six figures a year or Hell froze over, or both. I wanted a wedding. Not a big, opulent one. Just a wedding with paperwork that said we could only break up after spending a lot of time in court and a lot of money on lawyers. He wanted to live together, happily ever after. He figured we’d get married someday… WAY off in the distance. That was way too long for me.

I suggested we go back to dating and living in separate places. He thought that was ridiculous and would never work. We fought. A lot. I felt terrible for being this person, but I couldn’t stop myself. Every time we agreed to leave the issue alone for a month or two, I only lasted a day or two. Words would just fall out of my mouth no matter how hard I tried to stop them. “I just can’t do this anymore, Russ. I want to get married. I don’t know how this happened or why I’m like this, but I can’t pretend I’m not thinking these things.” The next few months or so were a blur of me trying to keep my mouth shut and having a great time with my man, for the most part. I mean, this was a fun, carefree time for us. Sex, food, friends, parties, sex, food, dates, sex, breakfast, etc. But that stupid voice inside my head kept saying, “He’s never going to marry you, you idiot.”

Now, let’s rewind a couple years to when my awesome grandma Frankie passed away and left me her necklace with the diamond in it that was originally the diamond in the engagement ring my awesome grandpa Murray gave to her. Follow? She left me her engagement diamond. So, when Russ and I first moved in together, I showed him the diamond in the box where I kept it and said, “Please use this diamond in my ring, should you ever choose to ask me to marry you.” Translation: “You are going to save so much money on my engagement ring, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t just ask me now.”

Fast forward to a year or more into us living together. My parents reminded me of the jeweler friend they had who could probably get us a really good deal on a setting for the (free) diamond I already had in my possession. Uh oh. The Parents were passive-aggressively getting involved, like any good Jewish parents do when they see their daughter slightly distressed and wanting to marry the tall, Aryan man she loves so much.

Now all of a sudden, Russ and I found ourselves at this jeweler’s place of business, just to “look” at his selection. Well, we found the perfect setting and it was such a good deal that Russ bought it on the spot. It wasn’t a proposal of marriage, it was just a really good deal. Then Russ and I went out to lunch and had one of the worst fights in the history of our 13-year relationship. There we were, sitting at The Claim Jumper, waiting for our giant orders of comfort food and neither of us were very comfortable. He felt completely confused and bamboozled, wondering how the fuck he just bought a ring when he wasn’t even ready to ask me to marry him. And I felt ashamed and confused by the person I had become, who so desperately needed this man to commit to me that I forced him into a position he was clearly uncomfortable with. I was sobbing. I felt like I had forever ruined one of the most important moments of my life. I had nagged my boyfriend into buying a ring. I felt sick. I wanted to run away. But Russ held me while eating his extremely large corn bread and told me we would get through it.

After that horrible day, we had one more “talk”. Russ asked me to please leave it up to him, now. (I had obviously emasculated him enough.) He made it very clear that from here on in it was going to be his decision: When, where and how. And I was not allowed, under any circumstances, to bring it up. I had to trust him now. And I decided to do just that. I mean, I had already messed it all up so badly, I really didn’t want to do any more damage.

Then one day, without me knowing, he picked up the ring. And I guess it was on the top shelf of our closet for a pretty long time. We had made reservations in Ojai to celebrate our second anniversary and he was planning on asking me there. But the night before, during an (ahem) intimate moment, he asked me. It was so beautiful and perfect, and so… Russ. And it washed away all of the bullshit that had happened before. If nothing else, Russ and I love each other and, at that moment, that was all there was. I cried my eyes out, and called my parents. Then looked him in those beautiful, blue eyes of his and said, “I’d like to pick a date. I don’t want this to be a long engagement.”

You can take the girl out of the proposal, but you can’t take the nagging, desperate-to-get-married-wench out of the girl.

We got married April 30th, 2000. Exactly seven months after he asked me. The wedding was perfect. The honeymoon was even more so. And, after ten years of marriage and one fantastic child, I wouldn’t change anything about it. Except maybe the whole nagging part. I would probably change that.

This is me very, very happy.

15 Nov 2010

Marry Me, Or Else! (Part 1)

7 Comments Personal Crap

I was never the girl who daydreamed about getting married. Never really thought about it at all. It’s odd because my parents had such a beautiful marriage, you’d think I would’ve been chomping at the bit. But maybe it’s the girls with the not-so-good-marriage examples who are constantly hoping for an escape from their lives into the arms of a man who will take care of them.

I’m not saying I didn’t have boyfriends. I always had boyfriends. I’m a serial monogamist. But I never really thought about marriage as a final step to a relationship. I probably thought I wasn’t the marrying type… Until I met and moved in with the man I did marry. It’s a sordid tale. Wanna hear it? Well, I’m telling you anyway.

Russ and I met when I was an actress on Mad TV, and he worked in production. He didn’t have the best impression of me at first, because of a series of situations that made me look like an ass-kissing, alcoholic, party animal, diva. I am, for better or worse, NOT any of those things. I hate to kiss butt, I can barely get through one glass of wine, I’m a home body who hates parties unless I get to wear sweats, and, oh wait, I guess I can be a diva when given the opportunity. But I’m rarely given the chance, and to be fair, I’m more of a mild princess than a diva. So, no. I am none of the above.

Well, when Russ found out I was none of those things, but actually an adorable, sweet, down-to-earth, Jewess with a penchant for ordering take-out and watching TV, he fell in love. And I fell in love with him for being the Oregon-raised, funny, sweet, writer-type Goy guy with a penchant for take-out and watching TV. We couldn’t get enough of each other and moved in together after only 5 months of dating. We had been discussing it for about a month when my mom called one day and said, “Why don’t you two save some money and move in together? Can you believe your Jewish mother is saying this about you and your Catholic boyfriend?”

So, with Mom’s blessing and a desire to never be apart, Russ and I moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the building I was already living in. It felt good, bringing our things together in one place, putting away dishes and putting up the TV we’d be spending all of our non-sex time in front of.  But as I was unpacking the last box I felt a pang of, “Uh Oh. What did I just do?” All of a sudden I realized I had become the milk for free, and I would never be the cow for purchase. And that’s when I became the girl that had to get married as soon as possible. Poor Russ. He never knew what hit him.

I maybe kept it to myself for a week or two, and let myself enjoy the new dynamic. There I was, picking up socks and putting down toilet seats. Making dinner and ordering in. Waiting for the tell-tale key in the door when Russ came home, and excitedly jumping up to greet him. And then the words came tumbling out of my mouth before I had the chance to stop them: “Whendoyouthinkyou’llaskmetomarryyou?” I don’t think he heard because he just stared at me. “When do you think you’ll ask me to marry you?”, I said slower.  “Um, I hadn’t really thought about it”, he said. Oh god. Oh no. It’s over. He doesn’t want to marry me! “Is this something we have to decide now?” “No! No way”, I said. “I don’t even know why I just asked you that. I think it’s the whole, ‘living together’ thing. No biggie. Do you want Chinese or pizza?”

Two weeks later, it was the same thing. Then two weeks after that and one week after that. Russ finally said, “Can we give this a rest and enjoy living together for a minute?” To which I replied, “I don’t think this was the right choice for me. I feel like this was a mistake and now you’re never going to marry me.” WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM? All of a sudden marriage was the only thing I could think of! Russ said he wasn’t “financially” ready and that he was committed to me forever no matter what, so why not wait? I said “finances” had nothing to do with anything and what was the point of waiting anyway? Why not just get it over with so we could move on with our life together?

Clearly, it all ends happily because it’s 12 plus years later and I just picked up our son from school, but there is definitely more to this story which I will tell you tomorrow.

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