All Because of Two Cupcakes

The other day, I was standing gloriously alone in my kitchen. No one else was home. Just me and the cat who I still refuse to call Clawdia. I call her “Girly Girl” because it’s the first thing that comes out of my mouth when I see her.

It’s weird. I know. Cats are weird too, so it’s kinda poetic.

So I stood alone in my kitchen, and I had in front of me 4 perfect cupcakes. Purchased for my 4 not so perfect kids. They really looked good. I opened the box. And they really smelled good. And I’ve eaten these cupcakes before, so I knew they would really taste good.

But, like a smart 39 year old mother of four who practices moderation in all aspects of her life, I closed the lid, walked away, and caught up on Orange Is the New Black before I had to pick up the boys from school.

Just kidding.

I ate one of the cupcakes.

Just half of it at first.

And, damn, that shit was good.

So. Very. Good.

Then, I thought, I’ll just put this half back, and I’ll just try this other cupcake because I bought these cupcakes for the boys, but I sorta bought this one for me.

And, mother of pearl, that next cupcake was So. Very. Very. Very. Good.

It was so good that I didn’t even stop halfway through. I actually looked at the cat and said, “Holy shit, this is insanely good. It’s a shame you can’t eat cupcakes, Girly Girl.”

And she looked away because she always looks away.

Or because I had icing on my nose.

So, then I looked at the first half-eaten cupcake, and I thought, I ate slightly more than half of that, and one of those kids is going to have a hissy when there is less than half a cupcake to eat, so I may as well just eat the rest of that one too. Then I’ll tell the boys I bought 2 cupcakes for the 4 of them to split, and won’t we all just sing Kumbaya over that.

And that was a good plan. So that’s what I did. And everyone was happy. Not Kumbaya happy, but happy.

Everyone was happy but me.

Because 2 cupcakes.

If someone else in the house had swallowed 2 cupcakes in quick succession, there would have been 20 minutes of mania, his metabolism would have run at its typical Usain Bolt speed, and then he’d chill out and we’d sing Kumbaya.

But my husband didn’t double-fist the cupcakes.

I did.

I thought and thought and thought about the cupcakes. Not because they were delicious. Because I’m a lot of things, but I’m not the girl who stands at her counter and eats 1 cupcake after another while she sympathizes with a cat she calls Girly Girl.

I thought, This is how it starts.

This is the beginning of a road I don’t want to go down.

A road that starts with two cupcakes…

…and it ends with Bob Harper.

And if there’s one thing on this earth more delicious than cupcakes, it’s Bob Harper.

So I thought about meeting Bob, and what our conversation would sound like.

Bob and I would be alone. With like 6 or 7 cameras, but mostly alone. We’d be outside the gym because Jillian would have just screamed at me to “GET OUT OF MY GYM!” And I’d be crying. Because why does she have to scream like that? Isn’t it humiliating enough that I have to be in spandex on the scale every week? Truly, Jillian, why?!

But Bob wouldn’t scream at me. He would wrap his sexy tattooed arm around me and say, “Girlfriend, tell me what’s going on.”

And I’d say, “Bob, it all started with the cupcakes.”

And he’d say, “Let’s talk about the cupcakes.”

And I’d lay my head on his shoulder, and that would send the camera people into a tizzy, and they would snap and gesticulate and mouth “cut that shit out!” and eventually I’d listen to them because my nose would start running, and if I’m leaving a trail of bodily fluids on Bob Harper, it’s not going to be snot.

I’d clear my throat and do my best not to glance at his creepy mustache. But it’s so thick and bushy I’d almost have to squint very hard so that I wouldn’t see it.

I’d look into his concerned blue eyes, and I’d say…

“Bob, I ate 2 cupcakes because…

I was hungry. And I had PMS. Also, They were from The Brunettes Bookshop Bakery. And, Bob, They. Taste. So. Good.”

And he’d nod and say, “OK. Those are the easy reasons. Why else did you eat the cupcakes?”

And I’d say, “I felt sorry for myself that week, Bob. I had hurt my back, and yoga didn’t help. And it hurt too much to run.”

And Bob would ask, “How did you hurt your back?”

And I’d say, “I tried to bring sexy back at my kids’ Homecoming by pairing heeled boots with my skinny jeans. Pony rides, hay rides, lemon sticks, and heeled boots…makes sense, doesn’t it?

And he’d say, “It makes perfect sense. Although I’d have gone with a flannel shirt and leather skinnies.”

And I’d say, “But I can’t rock the leather skinnies like you can, Bob.”

And he’d say, “Please tell me they were ankle booties.”

And I’d be ashamed and say, “Sadly, the boots that hurt my back were soooooo 2 seasons ago.”

And he’d make a face like he’d just caught a whiff of something nasty, and say, “Ewwww. Let’s change the subject, why else did you eat the cupcakes?”

And I’d say, “Because, when I was standing at the stove with one hand massaging my aching back and the other sauteing onions for dinner, I asked my husband to set the table for dinner. And do you know where he went, Bob? He climbed up on the roof of the house!”

And he’d look confused and ask, “Was he cleaning the gutters?”

And I’d raise my eyebrows and say, “One would think that, Bob. But, no. He was dressed as a witch.”

And he’d look puzzled and ask, “Why?”

And I’d say, “Because it was close to Halloween.”

And he’d ask, “And?”

And I’d say, “And he had the camera set up, and he yelled down from the roof to our oldest son, ‘don’t touch anything! Just press the button to take a picture!’”

And again Bob would ask, “Why?”

And I’d say, “Because that’s what he does, Bob!”

And Bob’s eyes would glaze over, and he’d murmur, “Oh, I love a man who likes to dress up.”

And I’d say, “Focus, Bob. Focus. I just wanted him to set the table for dinner.”

And he’d ask, “When you met him, was he the type to set the table for dinner?”

And I’d say, “No, Bob, he was the type to do naked stair dives down the fraternity house steps. You’re glazing over again, Bob. Focus.”

And he’d say, “Girlfriend, people don’t change. The guy who does naked stair dives…and that sounds super hot…doesn’t become the guy who sets the table for dinner just because you married him.”

And I’d say, “You’re right. He becomes the man who dresses up as a witch and stands on roof of your house at the exact moment the light is right because he woke up thinking this would be a cool picture.”

And he’d ask, “Well? Was it a good picture?”

And I’d say, “It was a great picture.”

Oh, yes he did.

Oh, yes he did.

He’d add, “And I bet it was a funny story too. And isn’t that what you do? Tell funny stories?”

And I’d say, “I tell stories, Bob. Yes. They happen to be funny because I married a man who dresses up like a witch and stands on the roof because he thinks it might make a good picture.”

And he’d say, “He’s giving you good material, girlfriend.”

And I’d say, “That’s one way to look at it, Bob.”

Bob would grow serious again, and ask, “Why else did you eat the cupcakes?”

And I’d take a deep breath and answer, “I ate the cupcakes because I am 3…OK 4…months late writing thank you cards to two different families who were brave and generous enough to open their homes to my  family this summer. And I’m beside myself that I haven’t gotten my act together before this, because I don’t want either of them to think that we didn’t appreciate every single second of their hospitality. And, in this crazy age when my home phone only rings when a solicitor calls or when one of my kids is sitting in the principal’s office, a handwritten thank you note takes so little effort but carries so much impact.

And speaking of thank you notes, I still owe thank you notes to friends who cooked for me when I was navigating Target on a motorized cart last May after I rolled my ankle on the jump rope my husband ordered for us but was actually designed for The Incredible Hulk.

And he’d say “What?”

And I’d say, “Don’t ask, Bob. Just watch the video. I ate the cupcakes because I still owe thank you notes to friends who cooked for me when the boys and I had the plague right before Christmas last year when my husband thought we were faking.

I ate the cupcakes because every time I get out of my car at school, I see someone and immediately realize I never replied to her email/text/phone call. I had every intention, but it just…poof…never happened.

When I stop to think about all the friends I haven’t replied to, I feel sad because I miss Ave. When the Verb was still a baby and I was nursing around the clock, I was forced to sit down. And I would use that time to catch up with her via text. And she made every day happier for me. And I miss that friendship.

I ate the cupcakes because the six of us have missed more parties than I can count because the evite still remains unanswered…sometimes unopened…in my email.

I ate the cupcakes because every time I think I’ll have time to write, somebody gets sick, has a field trip, has a day off, or asks that I attend a meeting. Or all of the above.

Because every time someone gets sick, has a field trip, has a day off, or asks that I attend a meeting, I can’t get dinner together.

And then we eat too much pizza.

And occasionally, and don’t fucking judge me, Bob, I take the kids to McDonald’s.”

And he’d shoot me a venomous look.

And I’d say, “Don’t look at me like that, Bob. I need your support right now.  And when I occasionally…and it’s rare, Bob, OK, it’s rare…take them to McDonald’s,  the Verb blows my cover by marching into kindergarten and dictating a story about being a scarecrow who gets chicken nuggets from McDonald’s.

And then that story makes it onto the wall of the building where all the parents walk their kids into school, so they can all read about how I poison my kids and their scarecrows with McDonald’s.”

Thanks for this, Verb. Truly.

Thanks for this, Verb. Truly.

And Bob would shrug and says, ““Well, that serves you right.”

And then I would shoot him a nasty look. But he’s so cute that I couldn’t be angry at him for long.

I’d take a deep breath and say, “I ate the cupcakes because every time I go to a meeting at school, they talk less about the test scores and more about raising our children to be resilient, and it all makes sense to me.

But I have to remember to let the kids solve their own problems more than I already do.

Because every time all four of the kids are on the trampoline together, my sweet Interrogator bursts into the house choking back tears.

And more often than not, I run outside to his aid.

Because he is my heart, Bob.

But I’m not teaching him resilience when I wag my finger and tell his brothers they will rue the day they made him cry.”

By now, Bob will have forgiven my McDonald’s indiscretion, so he’d put his arm around me and say, “You’re teaching them love and kindness. There’s nothing wrong with that. They’re still so young. The resilience will come.”

I’d take another breath and say, “I ate the cupcakes because whenever I login to Facebook and see that all of my writing friends are writing, it makes me feel panicked, and all I can think is, what about lean in??  Lean the fuck in, sisters, how about some fucking solidarity? Can’t we all be prolific at the same time?”

And Bob would say, “You’ve lost me. What do you mean?”

And I’d say, “I mean, I’m sitting in the fucking parking lot at Costco for the 3rd time in 2 weeks, Bob, and I want to write! But I can’t, Bob! I CAN’T WRITE! Because they keep eating, Bob. All the people in my house keep eating. And not the cupcakes. I’ve got the cupcakes covered. They eat all the other things. All the time they eat, eat, eat. So all the times I want to write, I’m spending food shopping.”

And he’d say, “Bethany, take care of your family first, and write when you feel inspired. And be happy for your friends when they carve time out to write. Writers need to write. It’s what they do.”

And I’d say, “That makes sense, Bob.”

And I’d say, “I ate the cupcakes because things are constantly falling through the cracks. Small things. But things. Every day I’m saying, ‘Shoot, I forgot,’. And I feel like I cannot get ahead of it. I cannot get organized. And I’m trying to be organized. But I’m double-fisting cupcakes, Bob. And I just know that all of the organized people in my life are going to be sending out their Christmas cards today and I’ll feel like they’re being organized AT me, Bob. Like I’m struggling to learn the steps to the Bunny Hop, and I’ll open up the mailbox, and BAM! They’re going all Michael Jackson’s Thriller on my ass!

And I know it’s not personal, Bob. It’s organized people being organized. Getting shit done and crossing it off the list. But I’m in a 2 cupcake kinda place right now, so it makes me feel like I’m failing. It makes me feel like I’m behind. Like I cannot get my shit together. And I hate that feeling, Bob.”

And he’d say, “That sounds like a lot of reasons to eat two cupcakes.”

And I’d say, “Hang on, Bob, I’m not finished yet. No one has ever accused me of being succinct.

I ate the cupcakes because here comes Christmas, and how the donkey hell are we going to pay for that?”

And he’d say, “Well, you’re the one who had 4 kids.”

And I’d say, “I know that, Bob. I married the guy who did naked stair dives down the fraternity house steps. We didn’t exactly think it through.

I ate the cupcakes because this is the year we sit down with the Kenyan and explain that the gifts that accompany Christmas are not exactly the handiwork of elves who work for a jolly man in a red suit…and with that simple explanation, we will extinguish some of the greatest mystery and magic of his childhood, and he will grow up just the tiniest bit in that moment. And it will happen right before our eyes. And he is perfect in all of his belief and innocence just the way he is, and I dread that I’ll be responsible for delivering the news that will lessen the wonder in his blue eyes.”

And then I’ll really be crying. The ugly cry. Because believe me when I say the Kenyan is one of the brightest lights in my life.

I’ll wipe my swollen, tear-streaked face on my Biggest Loser tee shirt, and say, “I ate the cupcakes because it’s another year of hanging stockings that don’t have airline tickets to Arizona in them. Because, as much as we’d love to see Little Sister over spring break, it costs 2 mortgage payments to fly the 6 of us back and forth across the country that particular week. And we aren’t in a position to do that.

I ate the cupcakes because 12 year olds suck. We just got out of diapers in my house! Everyone can swim! They all sleep through the night, and just when I think it’s going to be all the awesome stuff parenting is supposed to be, I have a 12 year old in the house. And most of the time it just sucks!

It’s brooding and a fuzzy upper lip and irritation at my existence that radiates from every pore of his hormonal body.

It’s stealing glances at him and my breath catching because I see glimpses of the man he’s growing into.

It’s listening to him and losing my shit because WHAT IS WITH THIS ATTITUDE?

It’s wanting to fast forward through this stage with him while simultaneously wanting to slam on the brakes because the next time he is nice to me, I’ll know he is being nice to cover up the fact that…like a typical fucking jackass teenager…he just snap chatted a picture of his naked torso to a girl I haven’t met.”

And Bob will ask, “What’s snap chat?”

And I’ll say, “Here, let’s have a tutorial. You take a naked picture of yourself, then you snap chat it to me, and it disappears in 10 seconds. And I would NEVER take a screen shot to look at every single day for the rest of my life, so don’t even sweat that. Never. I promise. Never.”

And he’ll say, “I practice yoga naked, so I’ll do it then.”

And I’ll say, “That’s perfect, Bob. Just perfect.”

And he’ll say, “Focus, Bethany.”

And I’ll say, “I ate the cupcakes because every time I walk into the dentist with my youngest son, they ask, ‘how did your son lose his tooth at such a young age?’ And I shrug, smile, and answer, ‘I don’t know. He’s the youngest of 4 boys.’ And that’s the truth, but they always continue to look at me like that’s not an answer. And I’m like, ‘We have a trampoline. And 4 boys. They are all boys. And they bounce. And they wrestle. Boys!’

And I feel judged. And I know they’re in the business of teeth, and my son is missing a tooth. But I’m his Mom. And I am in the business of putting my body, my dreams, my heart, my spirit, my entire existence into providing love, consistency, and a safe place for him and his brothers. And I don’t fucking know what happened to his tooth! I have 4 boys! And a trampoline! And 4 fucking boys! It’s yet another thing that slipped through the cracks, Bob. And, really, I just want the crowd at the dentist to say, ‘Damn, he looks cute without that front tooth.’ Is that too much to ask, Bob?”

And Bob would say, “I saw his picture, and I think he looks adorable without that front tooth.”

And I’d say, “Thank you, Bob. I knew I could count on you. I ate the cupcakes because my family just got kicked in the gut with a life-changing diagnosis, and not the kind that changes anyone’s life for the better. The kind where everyone cries. And expectations are shifted. And dreams are shattered.

I ate the cupcakes because I wrote some stuff. And so far nobody wants it. And I feel vulnerable. And what if maybe nobody ever wants it? That makes me feel gross and icky and uncomfortable. And like Michael Schaefer still doesn’t know I exist even though I loved him from afar for every. single. day. of grade school.”

And Bob would look at me, and say, “Just because Michael Schaefer didn’t acknowledge you doesn’t mean you’re not worth acknowledging. And just because nobody wants what you wrote yet doesn’t mean no one will ever want it. There’s a teaching opportunity here.”

And I’d say, “I know, Bob. Resilience. Re-mutha-fucking-silience. But it doesn’t sting any less.”

And I’d put my head on his shoulder again because he is basically not even gay at this point, and it feels like we are practically a couple.

And he’d whisper into my hair, “So, what are you going to do?”

And that’s when I’d seal the deal with my yoga talk. Because I know Bob loves yoga as much as he loves tattoos. And I love yoga almost as much as I love Bob.

I’d say, “You know, Bob, I was practicing yoga the other day, and my instructor said something that stuck with me. She said, ‘criticism is just noise.’”

And Bob would lift his leg and lay it over mine, and he’d say, “I love that.”

And I’d say, “I love it too. I’m criticizing myself, Bob. It’s too much noise. Too frequently.

I feel overwhelmed, Bob. And I’m allowing it to get in the way of all that’s good in my life.

I have a house that’s full. Full of life. And all the good and the bad that comes with it.

I have too much good in my life and I am too many things to too many people to allow all this noise.

So no more cupcakes for me, Bob.

I want to sing Kumbaya.”

And Bob would say, “Bethany, I’ve never said this to a woman, but I’d put my crotch-less leather chaps on for you any day of the week. And twice on Sundays, cowgirl.”

And I’d say, “Oh, Bob, I’d love to yoga you so hard that creepy mustache of yours falls right the fuck off.

But I’m in love with the witch standing on my roof.

Don’t look so sad.

If you’re ever in Philadelphia, let’s take a yoga class together.

And we can do all the partner handstands your heart desires.”

So I feel much better after my talk with Bob.

Even if it was just in my head.

All that. Because of two cupcakes.

 

On How Not to Disappear

I had a funny post lined up for today. But my heart has been on my yoga mat since Monday morning. I wrote this letter to my yoga instructor on Monday night, and I keep coming back to it…feeling like it’s a post.

Ang,

What’s the easiest thing for you to do once you’re a Mom?

Disappear.

I woke up this morning before 6. My husband had already left for work for the day.

I tiptoed downstairs and packed the kids’ snacks and lunches. I laid out their uniforms for school.

I woke each of them with gentle kisses and a quiet voice because loud, impatient voices put me on edge.

By the time they got to the table, each boys’ favorite breakfast was sitting at his spot.

I helped my 4 year old pull his shirt over his head, but only a little bit, because he likes to do it all by himself.

I told my 7 year old I was proud of him because he got himself dressed without needing any reminders.

I remembered to put my 9 year old’s medicine next to his plate.

When my 11 year old followed me into the laundry room, I listened to him complain quietly about his 9 year old brother and, instead of reprimanding him for complaining about his brother, I applauded his discretion and reminded me he can always come to me to vent.

I realized I had done everyone’s laundry but mine. So I strung together a multitude of curses as I picked through my clothes to find some pants for yoga. I whispered the curses instead of saying them aloud.

I drove the boys to school and could barely concentrate over the sound of my 4 year old screaming that he wanted me to “TURN AROUND AND GO HOME! I NEED MY WOOBIE SO I CAN SUCK MY THUMB!”  I did not drive home to get his blanket. I did not scream at him. I did not bang my head repeatedly against the steering wheel in protest…but I wanted to.

Instead I dried his tears. And I carried that 4 year old boy into school. For lots of reasons. But mostly because he asked me to.  And because I still can.

I drove 30 minutes out of my way to go to Costco so that I could buy 10 lbs of chicken. Who buys 10 lbs of chicken?  I did today. Because my 11 year old competes in Reading Olympics, and tomorrow it’s our turn to provide lunch for 15 fifth grade boys. He is obsessed with buffalo wings at the moment. But wings don’t travel well. So, I told him I’d make buffalo chicken sandwiches. I’ll be shredding that shit forever. It’s a bunch of work. But I’m doing this for my 11 year old because this is his love language. He isn’t overly affectionate. He’s guarded. But, it will make him feel loved and proud when he shares his favorite meal with his friends.

I swung by the pediatrician’s office to pick up my 9 year old’s prescription refill. I made an appointment for him to be weighed because this medication is an appetite suppressant. I had a fleeting moment of sadness that my beautiful child has inherited an attention disorder. And that the changes in diet and the behavioral modifications weren’t the answers. Then I remembered what an attention disorder looks like for an adult who isn’t medicated. It looks like more work than you ever thought you’d have to give to your marriage, to your job, to your friendships…and still coming up short. It looks like a lifetime of regrets. It looks like severe depression. Then I felt better about giving my son that medicine. Because we are giving him a chance at a better outcome than that. And my boy deserves that chance. Doesn’t everyone?

I dropped that prescription off at the pharmacy.

I rolled my windows down as I drove because today was a glorious day and I wanted to experience every ounce of its glory. My papers flew all over the minivan…the 9 year old minivan that is making an alarming humming noise but has to last us for 1 more year…but I didn’t care. I kept the windows down anyway. And I turned the radio up. And I sang.

I showered quickly, then cleaned and sliced 7 lbs of strawberries. Also for Reading Olympics. These boys eat like fucking kings.

I grabbed 4 water bottles, a vat of Goldfish, 3 lacrosse sticks, a frisbee, a basketball, and a football. I threw them all into the car and drove to pick up the kids from school.

My 9 year old had robotics class after school, but he forgot. When I reminded him, he got tears in his eyes and was disappointed that he’d forgotten…and worried that he’d miss something. I put my arm around him, and reassured my sensitive boy that the class hadn’t started yet. I took my 7 year old’s hand and pointed my 9 year old to his robotics teacher.

I hung by the monkey bars while my 7 year old showed me for the very first time that he is strong enough and brave enough to navigate them. Nothing comes naturally for him except for his smile. He has to work harder than all of his brothers. It makes me worry more about him. But it makes me love him with a ferocity that I reserve only for him. When he showed me that he could climb across those monkey bars, I wanted to cry. I wanted to jump up and down and lift him up and scream to everyone there, “do you know how hard he has worked for this? Do you know about his low muscle tone? And the occupational and physical therapy he’s endured to get to this point?” But I didn’t. I choked back my tears. I opened my arms. He flashed me that smile, then he leaned into my embrace. I whispered, “I’m proud of how hard you worked to climb across those monkey bars. I love to watch you climb.” I chose my words carefully because I’ve read books that suggest I should reward my kids’ effort, not their achievements.

When really I just wanted to say, “Nobody has ever loved anyone in the history of the entire world as much as I love you.”

on how not to disappear

I played tag with my 4 year old. I rolled up his pants because he was hot. I swept his hair off his head. I kissed the white scar that stood out prominently against his pink cheeks.

I let my 11 year old hang out inside school with a friend of his because he claimed it was too hot outside. It was a big deal to him that I trusted him to act responsibly, and it made me happy that he indeed acted responsibly.

I sat on a bench at the playground with a woman who is painfully shy and an absolute comedic genius. She is a dear friend. I laughed with her, and we watched our boys together, and we marveled at their friendships and their limbs growing longer, and the feel of the sun on our faces.

I collected my boys and all of their backpacks, and we drove home.

I stood at the counter to eat my dinner while I put their dinners on plates and listened to them laughing with their father. I was just distracted enough not to know what they laughed about, but tuned in just enough to appreciate the sound of their laughter.

I layered 7 lbs of chicken between two crockpots, slathered it in buffalo sauce, and topped it off with powdered ranch dressing.

I kissed each of them goodbye and drove back to their school…for the third time today…to listen to my 11 year old’s science teacher talk to the 5th grade parents about how he will approach sex education with our boys in the coming weeks. I decided I should tell my oldest son about my period…because I know this boy, and he hates to feel like he’s the last one to know something. If it comes as a surprise to him in class, he’ll be frustrated. I started to get distracted thinking about how I would explain it to him. But I caught myself and reminded myself to listen to my son’s teacher. And I’m glad I did, because I felt lucky. He talked about what a privilege it is to be a part of something so important in our boys’ lives. While he spoke, I looked around his room, and was surprised to find a snake slithering around in its cage a mere 2 feet behind my head. It freaked me out a touch, but mostly I felt lucky again. My kids dig snakes. And this is their science classroom. And there’s a snake in here. And that is sweet. And, speaking of snakes, can’t my son’s science teacher just tell them that their penises could fall off if they catch an STD? Because that’s the approach I’m considering taking with him.

I stopped at the Acme on my way home. Because I told my oldest son I’d make homemade ranch dressing to go with his buffalo chicken sandwiches. Because there is nothing like homemade ranch dressing. I threw in some green grapes as well. To go with the strawberries. Yes, for the fucking Reading Olympics.

I got home and went straight into the kitchen. I finished the dinner dishes, packed the lunches and snacks for tomorrow, and sifted the flour and cocoa for my 11 year old’s favorite cake. Because he also requested his favorite cake for dessert at tomorrow’s…wait for it…Reading Olympics. In the hopes of licking the bowl, he joined me in the kitchen while I put the cake together. I told him then about how a girl gets her period, and he told me for the millionth time how glad he is to be a boy. His 9 year old brother joined us, and he told funny stories about robotics today. He does killer impressions, and we laughed at the ones he did for us. He was particularly wound up because he too licked the bowl from the cake. The two of them made ridiculous faces at each other and laughed in a way that I remember doing with my siblings when we were kids. A way that I still do with them now. And I thought about how happy I am that my sons have one another like we have one other. And how, even though the morning started with my oldest annoyed at his brother, the night is ending with the two of them doubled over with laughter at jokes only siblings can truly appreciate.

I kissed them goodnight, shredded the chicken FOREVA, checked the cake with a toothpick, and finally sat down to write. I should be writing a piece for my blog. But I felt so compelled to write to you.

I am way behind on my blog. I had hoped to have a book chapter to my agent this week. A holy-shit-you-nailed-this-one-Bethany funny one. The laundry is piling up so much that I have to smell it to decipher the clean from the dirty. And I live with 5 guys, so that is unspeakably nasty. The Easter baskets are still sitting on the kitchen counter. There are Christmas decorations laying on the floor in my kids’ rooms, still waiting for me to walk them upstairs to the attic. My parents are coming home from FL tomorrow. They’ve been gone for 3 months, and my Mom asked me to have some things in their refrigerator for them. I owe my son’s psychologist an email. I owe my niece a birthday gift. I have to ship my nephew’s gift…2 months late…to Arizona. I owe my Mom a birthday gift…3 months late. We put our cat down last month, and I want to write a thank you note to the hospital for being so incredibly lovely to us and so gentle with him in his last hours.

I really considered not going to yoga this morning because my cup is overflowing so fucking much I can’t see straight. It’s so far beyond overflowing. It’s like a fucking geyser.

As my friend Nina says, these are first world problems.  First world problems. But my life, like most lives, isn’t without its problems.

Every minute of my day today was about someone else. Every single minute. Virtually every thought. Except for the time that I spent on my mat. I was present for my practice. I made an effort to take my warrior pose a little deeper in my front leg. And my legs are still shaky because of it. Instead of doing a regular handstand, I decided to push myself and revisit an attempt at the bad-ass one armed handstand. And my shoulder shook with the effort, but I heard your voice in my head saying, “shaking is good”, so I stuck with it.

The stress that I felt running up those stairs to class clutching a child’s navy blue golf shirt in lieu of a towel was gone by the time our class had ended.

My To Do List was just as long.

Time was moving just as quickly.

But my attitude was entirely different.

I floated through the remainder of the day with a sense of calm and thankfulness.

I still feel it now. At midnight. As I prepare to throw the remaining 3 lbs of chicken into the crockpot to cook overnight.

The people under my roof rely on me desperately. And I don’t want to let them down. I want to be available to them in whatever capacity they need me. It’s easy to forget about what’s important for me when I feel the pull of so many things they need.

What’s the easiest thing for you to do once you’re a Mom?

Disappear.

But today I didn’t get lost.

I didn’t disappear.

I didn’t forget about me.

I willingly took a break from the madness.

I felt full of gratitude today.

Because of yoga.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ang.  For being my spiritual bartender and introducing me to this amazing practice. For holding my hand in some spots. And knowing when to let go in others.  It is exactly what I need to anchor me during this, the busiest time of my life. At a time when so much of my life is about everyone but me.

My version of leaning in. Or maybe leaning over.

My version of leaning in. Or maybe leaning over.

XO, Namaste, and all that good stuff,

Bethany