Tag Archives: family

it happened in a burger king bathroom

For a very long time, I was absolutely certain I did not want children. I had thought it all out, see. I was not the mothering type. I wanted to spend my money on myself. I wanted to travel and have nice things. I proclaimed this loudly and often to anyone who would listen, and I took great pains to get offended when people would kind of shake their heads and say, “You’ll change your mind,” in response.

I was so mellow back then.

And then I entered this period of great ambivalence about childbearing, which I didn’t share with many people. I wasn’t really sure. Maybe I’d have kids. But I definitely did not want to date someone who already had kids. I’d heard horror stories of what a minefield it was to be a stepparent, and I just didn’t even want to deal with that kind of baggage. I wanted a man unspoiled by life, other women, and offspring.

Silly old mellow me.

So now here I am. I’m in love with the man I intend to marry someday, a man who loves me back and intends to marry me too. Weddings are always best when both spouses-to-be agree to show up, right? So I’m in love with this man – this amazing, intelligent, supportive, divorced father of two. Somehow I’m pretty sure he’s still unspoiled.

We waited several months into our relationship before I met the kids. Their stability is really important to both of us, and we wanted to be sure we were serious and in it for the long haul before we introduced them into our lives as a couple. So for the first few months we were dating, he went on his own to see them and I stayed home. When we began making plans for them to spend the first weekend with us, I was terrified.

I wanted desperately to like them and to have them like me back, but I knew there was a very good chance that they might not like me at all. They might even hate me at first, which would be fairly normal and probably not even about me as a person at all, and more about me as their dad’s new girlfriend. I tried to prepare myself for the possibility of a chilly reception and I hoped and hoped we’d have a good time.

And we did. I wrote about it in the spring. We had our moments of awkward tiptoeing and figuring each other out, but no one seemed to hate me and things were fine. I, of course, fell in love with them immediately. We had a couple of other visits and things continued to go pretty well, and I continued to fall in love. And I knew they liked me, and we had fun, but I didn’t know if they loved me and I didn’t expect them to. I’m not their mama, after all. I’m just The Other.

It’s become a little tradition that when we take the kids back after visits, we stop at Burger King. Seth and I have a thing for Mocha Joes and the kids can hit the Playland and it’s a convenient location. Plus it boosts our mood just a little, because though we never let the kids see, we’re always both a little mopey when we’re taking the kids back. So we stop at BK and the first thing we do, of course, is hit the bathroom.

Mira, age 5, likes to make small talk in public restrooms. One time we were at IHOP and I was waiting outside her stall for her to finish and from her perch on the toilet, she described to me in anatomically correct detail how babies were made. It’s always unpredictable and entertaining and sometimes embarrassing.

So we’re in the bathroom at Burger King and I’m waiting for Mira and she says, “Hey Lorie, you know what?” I’m kind of only halfway paying attention and I kind of absently say, “What, Mira?” and she says, “Did you know I love you?”

I’m almost certain it’s not the first time she told me that, but I think it’s the first time it came out of the blue and it’s definitely the moment I will always remember. It’s not terribly poignant, my little sorta step-girl on the toilet with her feet dangling down telling me she loves me, but ohh. My heart grows a little bit just in the retelling. She doesn’t have to love me, but she does.

It took me a second to respond that I loved her too, of course I did. She finished and we washed her hands and went out to join the rest of the family and the whole time, all I was thinking is, I want to be a mom. I want to be a mom. I want to be a mom.

Road Tripping the Light Fantastic

I've just returned from what (at least on the return trip) felt like the longest road trip of my life, but in actuality, it was one of the shorter ones. I grew up in a road-tripping family. My mom would regularly pack us kids in the car and make the 12-hour drive to Iowa to visit our grandparents several times a year. Back then there were no portable DVD players or iPods to pass the time, and I suffered from motion sickness if I tried to read in the car, so we passed the time by talking and singing songs.

Songs by Steve Winwood, Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Hal Ketchum are the ones I remember most as we drove those long highway miles. To this day, when I hear any of them I get a rush of nostalgia that's sometimes overwhelming. Our current culture of instant gratification means that not many kids get to share my experience of watching America go by through a car window. Instead, they're watching Yo Gabba Gabba and oblivious to their surroundings.

Our longest road trip ever was when we moved from Colorado to Virginia in 1992. My dad and Ginny rode together in a big yellow Penske moving truck, while Mom and I held down the Dodge Caravan along with Sammi (age 5), Jamie (age 2), Reagan the dog, Kitty and Fat Boy the cats, and Pretty Boy the cockatiel. It was a very long trip. The best part was probably when we got separated from Dad and Ginny while navigating through St. Louis. I remember Mom crying hysterically at a rest stop, and the roadies from classic country group Alabama helped us track down the yellow Penske truck. And all was well that ended well.

flowing

I have been practicing vinyasa yoga for most of the summer and I love it. It and So You Think You Can Dance are the only two things I’m ever looking forward to in a typical week these days, and yoga’s a lot better for me. I always think about skipping class, and then I remind myself of how good I feel when it’s over and I force myself to go. Sammi usually comes along too. It is a benefit being offered to our staff for the summer, so many of my coworkers also attend. This means we are obsessed with yoga now and spend a ridiculous amount of time discussing it in the office.

Our instructor is awesome, and has a wonderful habit of sneaking harder and harder stuff into our classes each week. I’ll be standing there on one toe with my other leg wrapped around my head twice and both arms turned inside out, struggling like crazy, and then she’ll casually mention that the pose we’re doing now is pretty advanced and we all feel awesome for having accomplished some form of it. It is infinitely more challenging than other yoga classes I’ve taken in the past, and that’s a really good thing. Pretty much everything in my life right now feels chaotic and out of balance and sucky and uncontrollable, but if I focus on that when I’m trying to do downward dog on one arm and one leg, I will fall and break my face. I have to concentrate, to focus on something very specific. So it’s good, even though the class kicks my ass sometimes. It kicks it in a good way.

So in last Thursday’s class, we were doing some crazy twisty stuff and I noticed after I got home that a ligament in my knee area was feeling kind of tweaky. I took some ibuprofen and went to bed. The next day, I had a work retreat that required us all to pile into a 16-passenger van and ride somewhere off campus. When we got to our destination, I said I’d wait to get out of the van last, because I had this crate to carry and I’d tweaked my knee a little and so the last thing I needed was to fall out of the van.

Guess what happened?

Luckily, I didn’t fall too hard, and though my knee was very sore all day Friday, it was okay by the end of the weekend.

put us under glass

Lately, I have become absolutely convinced that somewhere far away, on another planet, in another galaxy, someone is writing a thesis about my family.

the wigs

My townhouse is at ground level and is in an area surrounded by trees and prone to dampness. This means that my patio is usually full of mosquitoes, which makes it less than fun to sit out there in the summer. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of a patio. The dampness on the patio attracts something far more insidious than a few measly mosquitoes, though.

The dampness on the patio attracts EARWIGS.

Sammi and I screamed for like ten minutes straight while I was trying to find an appropriately terrifying earwig picture to link there. We are traumatized, you see.

Earwigs are harmless, or so the internet says. They don’t live or colonize indoors, but they will come inside if a house is poorly sealed. My house is poorly sealed, and I always get a few earwigs indoors in damp weather. The cats usually take care of them for me. But for some reason, this year the earwigs have been coming inside way, way more than usual. They’re everywhere. I used to spray some pretty harsh chemicals around my back door every spring to keep spiders and earwigs outside where they belong, but I’ve been really sensitive to chemicals lately and am trying to lessen or eliminate their use when I can. So maybe that’s why we’re seeing more. But I may have to bust out the pesticides, because Sammi and I are living in fear.

Earwigs are sneaky little bastards, because they are flat and like to hide out in small weird spaces like the folds of a dishcloth or in between sheets of paper. And they hang out there and then BAM! the next thing you know there’s an earwig, and those little fuckers are FAST. They might run across your hand before you even realize they’re there.

Sammi and I have been seeing so many of them this year that we can’t be bothered to use two syllables when discussing them. Now we just call them wigs. So now when I encounter my nightly wig and start screaming and flailing, Sammi can just go, “Wig?” instead of having to say, “What is the problem? Is an earwig sighting making you scream and flail?” So like when I was doing the image search and we were greeted with a page full of larger than life pictures of them, it sounded kind of like this: “WIGS! WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGS I HATE THEM I HATE THEM AUGH!!!!!! WIGS! MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT GO AWAY I HATE THE WIGS!!!”

Sometimes we see a wig and we think it’s dead and then it starts moving. And I think the cats are getting used to them. They used to be really good about chasing them down and killing them, but the other morning I came downstairs for breakfast and the cats and the wigs were all playing Guitar Hero together in my living room. The wigs are very dexterous and seem to be pretty good at the expert levels. Sometimes I’m hanging out watching TV and I go to the bathroom and I have to wait because a wig is in there using my toilet. I think they’re drinking my Scotch when I’m at work, too. The level in the bottle keeps mysteriously dropping.

If Sam and I are ever lacking for something to talk about in the evenings, we can always talk about the wigs. Sammi saw a wig in the sink this morning. I saw a wig playing dead by my phone when I went to take it off the charger. Sammi spent half a night in bed convinced a wig was crawling on her foot. I saw one on my covers before I got in one night, though I think it rode upstairs on something else. Wigs seem to prefer to stay low. We saw a wig above the back door the other night and effectively dealt with it by screaming for a while. The internet might claim they’re harmless, but I think they are emotional terrorists.

We haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate the wigs. Hate them. But we’re not sure how to make them go away.