Monday, July 16, 2012

Why the hell am I here?

I'm always asking myself 'why the hell am I here?'  Was it to be the mediocre student that I was and not even attempt to get into medical school? (Which you'll be glad I didn't as you continue reading). Obviously rhetorical. Is it to write this blog? Again. Res ipsa loquitur.  If I had one mission,  I would have to say it's probably my kids.  But I created that mission--or helped to anyway. So does that mean that I handed the job of giving meaning to my life to two tiny little babies?  That seems beyond lame.  It seems an unfair burden for a couple 8lb. infants.

When I arrive at that conclusion I invariably think, that's too much pressure for those guys.

I gotta get a life.

So I applied to grad school like my big important and accomplished husband.  He applied to U of M eMBA program.  He got in.  I shot lower than that, or so I thought. I applied to the EMU Graduate School of Social Work.  I didn't get in.   I humored myself by saying that I'm smart enough and good enough and gol darnit people like me.  The other excuse I liked to employ was that they had filled their quota of middle-aged suburban label whores early in the admissions process.  Either way.  A no is a no.  And the "insufficient credentials" that they listed as a reason rang throughout the hollows of my skull and heart for months.

I think it was the biggest blow that my ego has endured in years.  I couldn't sleep or feel my feet for a week after that news came in.   It came at the same time as a particularly nasty email from a chronically disgruntled extended family member.  And on the heels of 3 back-to-back trips with the kids.  On the health front, I was dealing with all the loveliness that accompanies being 47 as well as no sleep.  I was spent.  It was winter.

Those aforementioned blows just about finished me off.  But on top of that,  we got the news that the boys would need to repeat Kindergarten.  They had spent 2 and a half years at the most well-respected (read: expensive) preschool in town - maybe for nothing more than the prestige of saying it.  Not a big deal except it was a grueling commute twice a day--300 extra miles a week--in that hog I drive.  It was clear in March that neither would be even close to ready for First Grade at the end of it.   Also at this time, my husband shushed me. In public. At a business event.   Nothing like getting your ass handed to you at a table full of dignitaries to make you feel like a piece of shit.  I ain't sugar coating that one.  No way to.  Shush is shush in any language. And in any language it has the same effect.

To top that off, the next night I was forced to go out with some more dignitaries--and I use that term loosely.  I was talking to one of them who was rather drunk.  He also shushed me but not by saying shush.  He came out with his steep NC accent and said "You should stop talking NOW!"  We were joking and laughing and he was explaining to me how to correctly pronounce some southern colloquialism that my brother shared with me--nothing off color--so his comment seemed to come out of left field.  Like my first reaction was, 'are you talking to somebody standing behind me or what?' Anyway, apparently, I didn't get the slang quite southern enough.  He's a bit sexist and he was pretty hammered. Not only did he never apologize (I'm sure he didn't remember) but I don't even think he realized I was gone. Because after that brief and humiliating exchange, I got up from the table (under the guise of going to the bathroom), hailed a cab and went back to the hotel -- all before the appetizers appeared.

I have nice stuff.  I'm healthy. My family is healthy. The important boxes are checked.  But are they? Isn't it also important to be somebody so your kids have something to emulate? I'm not that good at making being a homemaker seem fulfilling enough. At least it's not for me.  I'm just not that great at it.  I want to set my kitchen on fire. I hate folding laundry. There ain't no end to washing floors, windows, butts.  Sisyphus got nothing on housewives.  Nothing.  That shit, absent anything more mentally stimulating, will suck the light right out of your soul.

So I endeavored to create another chapter.  I endeavored and failed.  And I ceased up like an old flywheel in a hail storm.  I felt like crap on every front.  So I started writing to ease the sting of it all and poke some fun at myself.  And figure it out so that I can, in spite of my many shortcomings, be the author of the next chapter.  With any luck, it will be written with more clarity and less shushing than the last chapter. It will be worthy of emulation.  It will be filled with the wisdom that comes with getting your ass handed to you a few times and surviving it. 

And I hope it'll have a happy ending.  Not the dirty kind of happy ending either. 

Because, if for nothing else, I'm here for the happy ending.


  1. Maybe I should let you know how many of us looked up to you in high school. I know that was a long time ago but you were pretty, polished and knew proper etiquette while many of us were just...well, kind of redneck. Everyone respected you.

    And now,in our forties, life throws us many challenges that we have to overcome. They're hard, but they make us better.

    Also, family and raising two awesome little boys to grow up to be great men are THE most important thing ever. More important than job or education. All the good you do will be multiplied through them and then through their kids and so on. Think of all the good that will come exponentially starting with you and growing from there. It's pretty sweet.

    I know. Sometimes it feels like "no respect," but you are respected more than you probably realize. Keep up the good work. :)

  2. Daren,
    You're sweet to say that. Thanks. You gave me (and any other stay at homer reading this) a much-needed boost.