Tunnel of love

it ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love

 

Bruce Springsteen

Better times June ’08

Even before marriage I thought this was the most accurate song of a real relationship.  I still think so.  Today is the 15th anniversary of when I met my husband Mark Peel.  My friend Heather was with me.  I had just had a lousy stand up set.  I was in an area of town I barely knew. Heather knew less having just moved to LA from San Francisco where we met each other working Metro Traffic in 1991.  The Tobacco Road of broadcasting.

“We could go to Luna Park or go upscale and go to Campanile.”

“Let’s go upscale” she said.

That changed my life.

It was around 10.  Dinner crowd had drained out.   We perched ourselves on the dark orange leather square seats.  Felix the bartender served us warmly. Great wines, yummy nibbles, we joked to those within earshot. All was good.   I made fun of some guy from the kitchen with a funny hat.  He looked confused.

Later the manager would introduce that man to me.  Chef owner Mark Peel.

He was not my type.  Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about what he looked like without those white clothes on.

Cut to now.  2 children, helped raise my stepson and two older stepchildren who have been very important to my life.  A step grandson who I adore.

But, we are not good.  Details are not for here, but I know I’m not the only one whose great love story does not have “a happily ever after.”

I’ve recently started doing some stand up again.  One of my jokes “weddings are ruined for me.  I’m sitting there with a slow clap, clap.  Good luck.  You two against the world.  Wait till you have to share a sink everyday and watch your spouse floss, yeah, “at last”!!

There is love, some respect and the intense devotion to our children.  I wouldn’t write this if they didn’t know something was rotten in the produce drawer.  They do.  I’m sorry they do.  Most of the time we are “fine”.  But, in my belly there is a daily churn.  Occasionally, so bad I have to have a Brian Wilson day. ( aka not get out of bed)

I started wanting to do mom blog videos back in 2007 because I knew I wasn’t the only mom who felt isolated by new motherhood. Now, I extend the same message, but with a twist: who here is isolated because your marriage is not quite right and you cannot say it aloud?  You don’t want to reveal too much, you don’t want to dog your man, you don’t want to embarass your kids.   I have felt alone the last couple of years.  But, a few weeks ago it shifted for me.  Now, I’m practically stopping strangers on the street.   “Did you find everything you needed?” asks the cashier.

“Not the key to conflict resolution, no I did not.”

The isolation and shame of not having my happily ever after has stifled me creatively as well.  I’ve barely generated one funny, or sad word here in the last couple of years.  I texted to a friend tonight “I’m a shadow of my former self.”

” How did this happen?  I never thought this would be me. ”  I muse.

You know how when you are young you are full of absolutes.  “I would never____” . “If ___ happened, that’s it, I’m gone.”  Then you grow up and all those things happen and you do not change course.  “you learn to live with the things you cannot rise above.”

 

I’ve written before about my brother’s suicide.  “Why?” People ask.  I ask myself.

“Why do you two have problems?” People ask.   I ask myself.  In both cases, it’s multi layered.  Never one clear, “well, he never folded the laundry!”   “He hated how I chewed my food.”  Now you have the same finances, friends and children. Unlike when you are dating you just can’t grab your toothbrush and favorit pillow and go.   I have no answers and no pronouncements.  I only know as a friend told me once, “we are lost in the storm.”

I know, without knowing, I’m not the only one in this blizzard.

Viv and I in ’12.. the last days Campanile was open. I met her dad a few feet from where we sat

What’s With 4 o’ clock?

I really love spending the morning with my son. It’s easiest if Vivien is in school, but even if there is a day off, and I have both of them and no other adult around, I’m fine. I’m like, come on, look at these cuties! I love being with them!

UNTIL 4pm.

Sometimes I can feel that feeling coming on about 3:30. The voice inside of me that says, “Can someone else hold this kid for a minute?” I rarely have my spouse here at that time so that is why I use most of my nanny dollars for later afternoon early evening. And the strange thing is if I am alone with the kids at that time and strange thing happens, around 6:30/7p.m.

EVERYTHING IS OK.

Of course it was hell when Vivien was colicky at that time. But they can be just as they have been earlier in the day, but I feel antsy, more anxious, and feeling of, “Why didn’t I make plans?” comes over me. Why didn’t we go over to my mom’s? Why didn’t I invite a friend for dinner? Why didn’t I post a neon sign on my front door asking for people to talk to me?

I’m lucky. In a pinch I can pack them up and go to their daddy’s restaurant. Not as easy with two, but I’ve done it, and it’s a life saver. I beckon a waiter, “Please talk to me.”

As much as I would love a big house, I can’t leave the urban density. Think I would feel more lonely.

Well, I guess I could live anywhere… till 4pm.

Friend Dating

You ever notice how old friends take more work than new friends? Often, old friends have accumulated baggage that we must contend with because now, we are in too deep. Or you made them when you were so young or needy you couldn’t screen them as sharply as you do newer friends.

It’s like the difference between dating my 20s and dating in my 30s.  In my 20s I put up with all kinds of nonsense. In my 30s at the first sign on annoyance, I was, “Get your crap and get out of here.”

Here is a thought on my present state of friendships.

Thankful For the Vibey Chair

Just over 2 weeks, and I have a cold. Oy vey. Rex is still a relatively good baby, but the last couple of nights have been a tad more challenging. Dying for a mid-morning snooze and just got him to nod off in the vibey chair.

I am feeling well enough now, though, to be bummed about my body. But I keep telling myself it’s just over two weeks. I should give it a month or two before I really kick in with the self-loathing.

I did the repeat-effect picture to represent what I believe is the hallmark of new motherhood, “The Groundhog Day Effect.” It ‘s the same thing, everyday.

My neighbors and friends have been so nice to me that it’ s made a big difference in any baby blues that could occur.  Bringing a gift for Viv and Rex, having a cup of tea, or bringing me a sandwich. Breaking that isolated-mommy feeling does as much for me as if I had a flat stomach… Okay, maybe almost as good.

My Friends Hate Me

I love the “it takes a village” idea. It’s the way to go. But, sadly my village is just too spread out for me. No wonder there are moms who get depressed or start drinking – it can be isolating. In fact when I was pregnant, my number one fear of being a mom was that I would be home at night with a tiny person who I couldn’t banter with and only the glow of a TV set to keep me warm. In a nutshell, that I would be an isolated woman. Little did I know one day I would start to embrace this.