First published on March 9, 2015
Because even I hate the sound of my voice at this point.
My family loves me. My family loves me. My family loves me. My family loves me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a good mom and wife.
I don’t sit like this all day in a comatose state, rocking back and forth, staring out the window with drool coming out of the sides of my mouth.
Only on Tuesdays.
No, I make sure they get their undies folded, homework checked, cartwheels in gymnastics classes get cheered on, their cheerleading uniforms are always clean, there is always money in their lunch accounts, the driving, the cleaning, the doing, it is all being done, sometimes even with a smile on my face.
At night, I fall into my bed with my weary but amazing husband who never complains about his wife and her smells of Ben-Gay or her lack of oomph and we talk about our days, his long 12-14 hour days at his dealership and we pass out after sometimes even sneaking a kiss or two in.
Yes, I am by all accounts “there” but not really “there”.
Over the past seven years, I have developed a friendship with two high school friends I reconnected with on Facebook: Kari and Vikki.
Actually one of the above friends, I wasn’t actually “friends” within the small-town Ohio high school we attended, More like “acquaintances” but we shared a few classes together and so we friended each other like people excitedly did on social media back in 2008 when Facebook was new to us.
At that time (2008), I had a six-month-old baby and an eight-year-old little girl and I was just so excited to read about other people’s lives.
Especially those who I went to high school with, those who lived far, far away, who could take me to another time and place.
Far from baby bottles, pacifiers, dirty diapers, Hannah Montana and High School Musical please and thank you.
Not that I didn’t love being a mom but when you are in the thick of it, sometimes it’s just too thick if you get my drift.
It was through Facebook and then after I started my blog in 2010, that the three of us grew closer each year.
They would comment on my blog, we would write comments on each other’s Facebook pictures, we would send each other funny pictures via email or recipes that we think each other would like.
It was like having pen pals, only in the digital age.
The difference was that I knew these pen-pals, I felt comfortable with them, I had grown up with them.
It was this cool story of three girls who had once known each other but grew apart then grew back together again.
Over the past six months, we have begun messaging on Facebook continually and over text as well, with notifications that I have to mute because they are so ongoing and so continuing that my family literally laughs out loud when it DING DING DING DING’S.
“It’s your KariVikki text going off, Mom!”
They were “with” me when I went to my oldest daughter’s high school orientation, telling them how unbelievably massive her high school was (THREE FLOORS!) and laughing because I knew only they would truly understand how little I would feel walking inside of it.
Whenever I typed “OMG” on my iPad, it said “I JUST FARTED”, we laughed so loud and so hard (I swear I could actually hear them laughing from Ohio through their texts), it woke my youngest daughter who was laying next to me in bed while we were on vacation.
When we are having a bad day, we tell each other sometimes before our loved ones just because it is a nice sounding board before having to tell the rest of the world.
We are each other’s cushion in a really un-cushiony world.
There is just something about the people who knew you before the world knew you.
Something about your childhood people.
The people who remember you when you were at your most vulnerable.
When you had zits, had your first really bad perm and wore Garanimals.
So these girls/women (but still girls to me at times), have been that for me for a few years now.
A non-judgment zone to make me laugh/cry/laugh again and I love them more than tacos.
Fast forward to this crappy winter of 2015.
They know, as do most of my family, friends and you lovely people here, how icky this winter has been for everyone but for especially me as I have been meandering through this King of Pain Tour 2015.
We have talked about it here and there in the text but honestly, I never wanted to dwell on it too much with them because to literally talk about pain brought me physical pain.
But they know it has been hard, they know I have been in tears, a lot.
They know I have been a mess, a hot steaming pile of mess.
So this past weekend, my friends who both work full-time jobs, have kids and dogs and responsibilities, re-arranged their lives and took vacation days from work, and drove seven hours from Ohio with a car full of food to love on me.
Without me knowing.
They had been planning this with another person in my life who also loves me, my husband, since NOVEMBER, to bring happiness back into my life.
So on a Friday afternoon, they knocked on my garage door, and there they were in all their glorious absolute beauty like two angels from Heaven.
Standing in the frigid cold ready to hug me, feed me, and love me.
Two angels from Heaven. as clear as day.
This you need to know before I go any further.
That afternoon as they were traveling to Illinois, I sat on my bathroom floor and prayed through tears to God this:
I am absolutely stupid, God.
I need a billboard.
A BIG OLD BILLBOARD.
I am not a subtle sign reader.
Please forgive me for not picking up subtle signs.
I just want to be pain-free and happy.
I am begging you.
I kid you NOT.
I prayed that exact prayer.
We sat at my dining room table, with my favorite hometown Jones Chips they brought, listening to 80’s music and looked through our old Ohio yearbooks, laughed at popped collars, talked about all the people we had study hall with, who we had crushes on, who we went to reunions with.
We laughed until we cried, we ate more chips, we made comments like WHY IN THE HELL DID WE WEAR OUR HAIR LIKE THAT? can you believe we are almost 50? , why don’t we live closer?
We did some 30-year high school reunion planning, helped Ellie with her massive amounts of first-grade makeup homework (back in our day we didn’t have this kind of homework), wait, did we just say “back in our day??”. We stayed up until midnight laughing, talking.
I think I can speak for all of us when I say we felt like we were 18 all over again.
It was the best Friday night I have had in months.
On Saturday, Anna had a house full of teenagers over, so Kari, Vikki, Ellie and I were pushed out of the house by the teenagers because MOMMMMMM HELLO WE NEED OUR SPACE.
Ellie and I took them to one of our favorite places to eat, Portillo’s (they had never been) and they loved it.
Funny and long story (hopefully) short, I had told them on the way to Poritillos, a story about how when I first moved to Illinois in 1989, I had woo’ed some of the boys I had worked with, with my central Ohio accent.
Woo’ed isn’t a good word. They were intrigued by my accent.
But I was very loyal to my rural Ohio high school long-distance sweetheart when I moved here as an innocent 19-year-old.
I never went out with any of the young people I worked with and was even lovingly called “Amish” by some.
Apparently, that was very attractive to some of the boys that I worked with here.
Boys like a good chase, it would seem.
But they would comment on my accent and add in the fact that I was elusive, it was like I was a fucking unicorn.
So while we were at Portillo’s one of the waiter/staff members, named Dominick, was cleaning up tables near us and began chatting with my friend, Kari as she was emptying her tray into the garbage.
They had a lengthy conversation about lots of different things and within the chatter, she happened to mention she was from Ohio to which he abruptly said, “Oh” and walked away.
Well, Vikki and I just laughed and laughed when she retold us this after returning to the table.
Then as we were leaving to go to the bathroom, Dominick returned to our table, leaned into Vikki this time, and whispered in her ear, “stay beautiful”.
To say we almost peed our pants is an understatement.
And I said to Vikki, “See?? It’s the accent!”
On the way home, we went and visited an old friend.
Mr. John Hughes.
This you need to know about my Ohio people, family, or friends: they get shit done.
They come into your kitchen and just start cooking.
My mom does this when she comes to visit.
She goes to the grocery store and just starts whipping things up.
That makes me very, very happy.
Kari came with cutting boards, knives, pickle juice, every little thing she needed to make my comfort food.
While she was cooking away, my friends, Mike, and the girls, sat in the kitchen and heard stories, listened to the Polish Prince (long story), and just loved each other.
Rebecca stopped over and got to meet these ladies who she had previously only met via Facebook and it was so cool seeing my two worlds come together; my adult Chicago life and my childhood Ohio life, over homemade deep dish pizza in my little Illinois kitchen.
It was a moment.
Vikki got the computer ready to do some Internet stalking browsing.
I got to see the homes that Vikki and Kari live in and the roads they live on as if we were right there in Richland County, Ohio.
We talked about the morning Vikki’s grandma died in a car accident, we talked about how long it takes Kari to get to her parents’ home from hers. We sang Bobby Vinton around the table, talked about favorite recipes, and planned on when could we do this all over again.
And why on EARTH weren’t we close friends in high school??
Kari made homemade deep dish pizza in addition to homemade pierogi pizza.
Absolutely amazing, we could have eaten all night long.
We watched movies from our teenage years and snuggled up with blankets.
The next day, we set out to see the sights of Chicago with a theme: John Hughes movies.
OK, I am announcing it here first: I want a John Hughes museum in Chicago. I am seriously serious. I need help. Please, anyone who reads this, point me in the right direction. I have no connections but I want this so badly that I can taste it.
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD IF YOU LOVE JOHN HUGHES MOVIES AND I KNOW YOU DO.
Back to the post.
|HI, TEE HEE. courtesy of loroutloud.com|
|Sorry blurred out my Ellie’s face. It’s not you. It’s the creep who Google’s “seven-year-old little girl” that I am protecting her from.|
|Grandad. Who also looks a ton like Bates from Downton Abbey.|
Authentic Irish people don’t care if you bring kids into a bar!
The manager was Irish, of course, and made a comment about him bringing his nephews all the time!
|Showing her granddad for the first time. She recognized the name and I wanted to cry.|
|courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org|