Across the Room

I stand in the doorway and look into the room and I sense, more than see, the  crowd of people.  I feel the air being pushed around while people walk from one group to another.  I feel the heat from the people amassed in the room sweep across my face.  I hear the ice clinking against the sides of glasses and the warm, amber liquid sloshing around, every once in a while I hear the sound of a drop hitting the floor.  A  soothing, gentle hum is created from the multiple conversations about absolutely nothing.

I sense the people, but I do not see them.  My eyes sweep over the room and see one person who stands still amidst the madness of movement around him.  He wears a black leather trench coat that only goes to his mid-thigh.  Yes, he is taller than the average man, less then half a foot between him and being seven feet.  His blonde hair has recently been cut, worn short and edges straight just above his collar.

I can’t see them, but i know he wears black ankle boots underneath his pressed jeans, polished so they have a respectable shine.  His jacket is unzipped showing the collared, plaid shirt he wears underneath it.  He is unadorned with jewelry other than a single brass ring worn on his hand.  I wonder if he wears it on his wedding-ring finger, or if it is on his right hand.

My heart starts pounding in my chest and my breath comes short.  I start to sweat and tremble just a little.  I panic.  People are waiting to see me in there, people that I’m looking forward to seeing and so I must go in….but I don’t want to.  I don’t want to see him, not because I’m afraid I’m not over him.  I don’t want to see him because I’m afraid he’s been long over me.

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Today I am depressed.  It’s been creeping on for a while, that something was missing.  As happy as I am on the whole, there’s still something missing.  I’m missing the thrill of the chase, romance, love, companionship.  Its odd with how much I am in love with my current life that this would crop up now.

Everytime I think about dating I see the news, how a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or even an ex-significant other, kills a child for whatever reason I will never comprehend.  The parent says the same thing, that they never thought that person would hurt their child.  They’ve even said in the same breath as admitting they have been abusive to either them or that now deceased child, but they never though they would really hurt them.

They were wrong.

Even though I know its an extremely small percentage of those that actually date when they have children, that many outcomes are happy, I have to admit I am afraid.  So about five minutes ago I looked up my horoscope:

“Long ago you stopped believing that if you stepped on a crack you’d break your mother’s back — or that opening an umbrella indoors was going to bring bad luck. So why are you holding on to old superstitions about romance? There are no tricks to pull or mistakes to avoid — all you need to do is communicate your feelings clearly and calmly. Stop playing games and reading books to know what to do. Your heart knows what to do, so you should start listening to it.”

Well shit

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I think I’m pretty amazing.

I do not mean to sound arrogant, but I do actually think that of myself.  I look back at my life and see how I’ve grown from the many, many mistakes I’ve made with family, friends, and men.  I look back and realize that these many mistakes were made because of my own sense of entitlement, my naivete, and out of just plain-old stupidity.

I went from being an entitled brat raised in an upper-middle class neighborhood to a really hard working single mom.  I didn’t get everything I want, but I certainly didn’t want for anything and had a childhood I personally know several people wished they had themselves: vacations every summer, pool in the backyard, private school, tutors, whatever I needed I had.  Whatever I wanted (within reason) I got for Christmas or my birthday.  I was spoiled, plain and simple.

I expected it when I was kicked out, and I didn’t care.  I moved to Arizona and came back in a year and within four months I had been disowned but with a parting gift: the money they had saved for me for college.  Yup, I was a trust fund kid….for a year.  A year is how long it took me to blow that money, not that there was an incredible amount of it….enough to buy a brand new car.  Not anything fancy like a Lexus or a Mercedes or anything, but a nice four door sedan like I have now, a Hyundai or a Toyota.

It took many years to get to where I am with my parents today.  There were a lot of bridges that had to be mended and there were a lot of heartfelt apologies on my end.  It took being poor and working at fast food as my primary employment to understand what it meant to work hard and appreciate what I had, and to understand that I would need to work harder to get where I wanted to be, which at that time really just amounted to one thing: not poor.  While mending my bridges with my family I worked hard, and realized that fast-food was not what I wanted to do forever.  I got a part time job at a small hospital and went back to school on my own.

It took 8 years for me to re-take the classes I had failed my first year of junior college as well as take the additional classes to get my A/A degree while I worked at the hospital, but I did it.  The hospital introduced me to the world of coding and on a whim I took a test and passed because I wanted to be an inpatient coder, and I have spent years working toward that goal.  I have worked and studied extremely hard for the last 14 years to become the  best coder I can be, and I am proud to say that I am damn good at my job.

Not everything goes as planned, but I was blessed with a gift I didn’t even know I wanted and have discovered a love I’ve never felt before, and it scares me to pieces.  Still, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my little girl and she is the motivation for every upward movement in my career.  See, I really enjoy what I do, but if it weren’t for having her, I would still be happily at where I was two jobs ago.  I have been lucky enough to be able to make strides in my career that have enabled me to support my daughter.  We have everything we need, and someday I hope to be able to have a place to call our own.

This is why I think I’m pretty amazing.  Thinking back at the stupidity of my 18 year old self and seeing the mistakes I’ve made and everything I’ve been through, and to be able to see how I’ve grown from them, I’m amazed.  Things could have gone much worse in so many ways if life hadn’t slapped me around a bit and made me pull my head out of my ass.

That being said, if I’m so amazing, why doesn’t anyone else see it?  I’ve never asked for a pat on the back from anyone and that’s not what I want.  I just wonder why men don’t see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come and…I don’t know.  Care? I guess I’m getting to a point in my life where I want that one special guy to look at me and think that I’m amazing.  I guess in order to get that I would actually have to date, which based on my romantic history leaves me with more of a feeling of dread than excitement.   Maybe it’s because the choices I’ve made where men are concerned have not been in my own best interest.

Although I’ve not been entertaining the idea of dating yet, I know it’s coming soon because otherwise I wouldn’t have this weird desire to see a man looking at me like I’m special, like I’m….amazing.

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The Kiss

I had a dream a few nights ago that haunts me still.  It wasn’t terrible, quite the contrary, it was pleasant.  I don’t remember much, really hardly anything at all, but I remember the kiss.

I was with someone that I’ve no memory of meeting in my life.  He is not the type of guy I am normally attracted to, and in the dream I wasn’t attracted to him.  He was tall, somewhere between 6’3 – 6’5, and a little stocky but not fat.  He was just….bigger…than I normally like.  I know that sounds terrible because I’m far from fit as a fiddle myself, but hey, it is what it is.  I cannot describe his coloring because where we were it was night-time and even with the lights of where we were, it was still kinda dark.

So I’m out with this guy, not a date because we were just being…I don’t know…normal.  No flirting, no excitement, no racing heart beats, nothing.  There was no chemistry at all, which is probably why I cannot describe him, because since he was friend I wasn’t really paying attention to him.  I know, I’m a horrible person.  Anyway, we were walking through a place that was public and busy.  It’s night time and we are outdoors, like on a walkway or something.  There was music and though we were not at a club or a concert, it was very loud.  Not just the music, but everything: the people, the talking, the noise.

We were stopped because where ever we were was packed and I had to wait in order to move forward.  I turned to say something while we waited and he just leaned forward and kissed me.  It wasn’t a deep, passionate kiss.  It was sweet.  It was soft, swift….a mere brushing of lips.  That was it.  It was over before I realized what had happened.   He straightened and just looked at me, waiting to see how I would react.  I just looked up at him, shocked.

Then I woke up.  I remember the shock of realizing what happened, and I remember looking up at this person, but though I wasn’t upset or angry, I wasn’t attracted to him either.  He was my friend and I couldn’t think of him as anything else.  I do not remember any details of the dream more than I described, but I remember that kiss like it really happened.

That kiss has blown my mind.

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Ye Olde Christmas Rant

I remember Christmas when I was a little girl, a long long time ago before cable, DVD, Tivo, DVR, Youtube, Pandora, Netflix, Hulu, and everything else technology has given us.   Back when there were 13 channels and no such thing as a remote control.  Back when the TV Guide was studied by the whole family to decide who was going to watch what, and when.

It wasn’t Christmas time until you saw the listing of two movies: Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  For me there was a third movie called Small One.  It was the story of the donkey that carried Mary into Bethlehem, before Joseph and Mary had acquired him.  It was when these movies came on that Christmas was officially here.

Back then, these movies were a family affair.  We kids would remember the exact time and channel they would come on and wait anxiously for that night to arrive when, after dinner had been served, dishes had been washed, and Daddy had watched the new, we would change the channel at the appointed time and all sit down on the couch with some popcorn.  During this time, everyone got along, even if it was because everyone agreed and wanted to watch the same thing.  A rare thing in a household at that time.

We now live in a time where we can watch these movies at any time of day, night, or year!  While technology has made everything more convenient, it has taken some of the excitement, anticipation, out of the season.  Well, for me at least, and it leaves me at a loss of what I can do in order to provide my 3 year old daughter with that same sense of excitement for the Christmas season.

She loves the Christmas tree and the decorations, and I can’t wait to take her around Bakersfield to look at all the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.  I’m hoping to find something to take her to tomorrow, some Christmas light experience around here that would be special.  I remember riding on a wagon with my Dad that was pulled by a mule.  About twenty of us sat on benches all bundled up with warm clothes and blankets on a cold December night while we rode around the Westminster neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights, singing Christmas Carols, and sipping some hot chocolate.  I would love for my daughter to have memories such as those, and while I’m not looking to recreate my memories for her, I’m looking for a way to make the holiday just as special for her so she can have memories of her own that are just as special to her as mine are to me.

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Rapunzel, the untold story of the King and Queen

Everyone loves the Disney version of Rapunzel.  Its funny, great singing, children and adults both can watch the movie and enjoy it.  There is one scene though, that gets me every time I watch this movie with my three year old daughter.  Its a very short scene, and if you blink you might miss it.

In the midst of the merriment and wonder of watching Rapunzel discover the world, in the excitement of them being chased by the palace guards, the singing, the dancing, you forget about the parents.  There is only one small scene that reminds us of them until the very end when the Lost Princess returns home.  In this one small scene you can see a glimpse of the other side of the story.

In this scene they are preparing to step outside to light the single lantern that they light every year on their daughter’s birthday.  They face each other and you can tell that they are tired and losing hope.  The Queen looks up the King and puts her hand on his cheek, and he leans into it.  He looks like he is going to cry, but she wills him some of her strength and together they go out and face the crowd that has gathered for this event, and together they light the candle and lift it up into the air to float away in hopes that its light helps guide their daughter back home.

As the lantern lifts into the air, you see light spreading beneath it as the people light their own lanterns, having seen that the King and Queen have already done so, and send the lanterns into the air.  The lanterns slowly rise up and fill the sky with its light, and truly it is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, but it’s one of the saddest for me as well.

I think of the parents whose only child was kidnapped.  I think about how, in the beginning, it was only their lantern that floated through the sky.  Then, as the people in the kingdom saw it happening every year on the day of the Lost Princess’ birth, they light their lanterns too.  In the beginning it was to show their beloved King and Queen support, but then more and more people started doing it, and over time it turned into a festival.  A day of dancing, feasting, love and laughter, with the lighting of the lanterns signifying the end of the celebration, much like the fireworks on the 4th of July.

I think of how the King and Queen watched their solemn tradition turned into a carnival and wonder how painful it must of them to have to suffer in front of so many who no longer saw it, how their prayer for their child turned into an annual party.  Even when they were tired, frustrated, it was expected of them to perform this ritual every year…even when they wanted to have nothing to do with it any more.  When they had given up hope. When they just wanted to shut themselves in their bedroom and cry.  Instead they had to do their duty, and light the candle because the people expected them too.

Yes, in the end it is what brought her home, but can you imagine having to go through that.  I hope I never have to, and I weep every time I hear of a child being kidnapped on the news.  I never want to know that pain and I hold my baby close and swear to keep her safe.  I don’t want to have first hand experience with the King and Queens feelings.

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A Different State

I used to have an active social life, to the point where staying home and not spending my evening out on the weekends was a luxury.  I deeply valued my alone time where I could just stay home, watch whatever I wanted on TV, and just relax and not be around people.

Oh how the tide has turned and now I almost long for those days.  Having them as an option would be nice.  It seems the friends that I had before Rachel, I can’t really connect with anymore.  My world has completely changed, and theirs has stayed the same and we don’t really have much to talk about anymore because they don’t have children.  The people that do have kids fall into two different categories: too young or meetup people from which I appear to be shunned.

The too young crowd are those 20- or young 30- somethings that are still going out to the clubs on the weekends and staying out all night partying.  They have the energy to run around with their kid all day and then get all gussied up and go out at night.  Lets be honest, by nine-thirty I’m ready for bed and sleep, and if I’m not at home by 10:00, well I’m just down-right cranky.  That whole night scene really doesn’t work for me anymore.

The meetup folks, well, for the single parent groups it seems that most of the people that comprise those groups for my area don’t like Rachel’s daddy, and whenever I went to their events they never seemed to want to have anything to do with me.  I would be friendly and try to meet people and let Rachel make friends, but the vibe was so unwelcoming that I just don’t do anything with them anymore. I’ve tried the mommy only groups, but most of those are for stay at home moms, which I am certainly not, so I never get to go to their functions.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my daughter, and each day is a treasure but, I miss having friends.  I miss having some sort of a social life.  An ideal one would be one that included my daughter, but it would really be nice to have more than a couple of friends with whom I could actually still relate.  People that I could have play-dates with, or maybe go out for a dinner with, or a movie, or shoot pool, but like me WANT to be home early.  Rachel’s daddy is almost always willing to take Rachel whenever I ask him to, rarely saying no because of some prior commitment that he doesn’t want to bring Rachel to and I’m OK with that.  

I never thought I would be lonely, but I am.  

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