Thursday, March 8, 2012

29 miles to E

My Thursday started at 4:30 am. My Wednesday, too.

I'm not complaining; just stating a fact. I have a 9-month-old who has no problem getting up at oh-dark-30 because he can go back to bed an hour after he wakes up. I, however, am awake (for good) the second he makes a peep because I worry that he'll wake the neighbors with his warbling, babbling and screeching. Likely, others don't find his early-morning vocal stylings as adorable as I do, because, let's be honest: he's got me snowed. I'm sleepless, it's his fault and I totally love him for it. Stockholm Syndrome? Unapologetically.

I honestly wouldn't change my mama- status for anything, even a better night's sleep, so I'll shut up about a minute.

I work four days a week, both to save on childcare costs and to have a weekday to catch up on stuff I can only get done on a weekday--banking, doctor's appts, etc. 4-10's mean that my working days are long, both for me and for the buddy. We're often awake before the sun comes up and not home at night until after it's gone down, again. It means that my time with him while he's awake is short and consists of utilitarian things like dinner, diaper changes, bedding changes, bath time, story time, prayer and bed. It means that after he's down for the night, I have to find the energy to do things I can't do while he's awake like laundry, dinner for myself, cleaning, taking the garbage out; and that's just the stuff I can do at home. I haven't mentioned grocery shopping, working out (yeah, right), oil changes or even refueling my car.

Most days, I manage to accomplish all that I want to for him, even clipping his nails, which seem to regenerate on one finger as I move on to the next, they grow so fast. Depending on the day, anything beyond meeting his daily needs feels like a virtual impossibility. I use the dishwasher as storage for clean dishes and just take out what I need for the day. I eat cereal for every meal or don't eat at all. I buy new underwear on my lunch hour because it takes less time than laundry. I shower only on the days that his dad has him, because I know I can be a little late dropping him off in the morning, and sometimes I don't brush my teeth until I get to work. (That might have been too much self-disclosure. Oh, well, I don't have to see any of you on a daily basis and you probably won't be able to tell if I've showered when I do see you. Probably.)

The old me cringes at the things I now let slide. I never used to leave the house without makeup. Now I don't even have time to go buy it when I run out. The old me would never have people over without having vacuumed the rugs. The new me will never vacuum while my kid sleeps and guess what? When we're home these days, it's mostly in observance of nap time (mine and his) so them rugs ain't never vacuumed! Who cares, come on over! My son is currently on the floor, rocking out to "Sweet Child of Mine," the Sleepytime Tunes version, when all that used to play around here was Jimi Hendrix or Fiona Apple, the big-kid versions.

Old me certainly would never have let it get this far:

Beneath the gauge, it said, "29 miles to E." Old me would have panicked and driven immediately to a station to gas up. New me sighed, put on her seatbelt, drove to the sitter to drop off the baby, got to work to start the day, then drove to a gas station later in the day when she had time, all without running out of gas.

This is by far the hardest job I've ever had, thankless, with the longest hours and no time off. Most days, I feel like I'm running just about on empty, careening around with only 29 miles left on this tank and no filling station in sight. In spite of all my fears and shortcomings, it hasn't happened yet, and like I said before, I wouldn't change a thing.

Now I've got to go. The dishwasher could stand to be emptied, but there's some baby Bob Marley on and somebody looks like he's ready to dance.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


  • Go back to eating vegetarian; you feel better when you do.
  • Give hot yoga another chance.
  • Go inside that Catholic church across the street.
  • Make a decision about hair length.
  • Drink wine with a friend at least once a month.
  • Get live music back in your life.
  • Take a break more often.
  • Hang up your work clothes at night, instead of draping them over that cute reading chair in your bedroom.
  • Rough-house with your kid more often.
  • Re-read Phillipians; you love that book.
  • Run a mile, just once. Then run another one.
  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Find a good book to read.
  • While in Scotland, find a reason to inject, "och!" into a conversation.
  • Accept help. Offer it, too.
  • Sneak in a snuggle with your baby, every day, and inhale his baby-smell while he thinks you're simply playing on the floor.
  • Be happy.

I hope my mother can forgive me

One of the happiest accidents of my recent past was the discovery that my name had meaning. Let me explain. Growing up black in America evokes stereotypes that, in my opinion, you either live up to or overcome, most times, completely at whim. Depending on the situation, I've overcome quite a few and when I couldn't, I've laughed my way through to living riiight on up to the edge of them. Here are some of my faves:
1) You can tell a black person by how they talk on the phone. Not this black person, you can't. I love meeting people for the first time after we've had a few phone conversations. That first glance? High comedy.
2) All black girls can jump double dutch. Maybe I could if you held a rattlesnake to my ankles, but I wouldn't do that if I were you; not safe.
3) All black people love barbecue sauce. *shrug* I don't like sweet-flavored meat. I prefer lemon pepper.
4) Black girls don't like to be outside or to get their hair wet. My favorite past-time is hiking/backpacking and my hair is naturally curly, so to maintain the style, I wash it every day. And let it air dry.

Looking back through this, I worry that someone will read this and take away my black card. Sad...

Anyway, there is one that for the longest time, I couldn't come to terms with or overcome. You know the one. You can tell a black person by their (oftentimes made up) name. I admit it: My name sounds and looks made up to anybody outside my family. Always has, always will. Frankly, it has too many syllables for a five-letter word. The family lore surrounding my name is that my mother, undecided on what to name her precious, new girl-baby, deferred to a sister's (my aunt's) opinion. Dear Auntie said three, fateful words, "name her Leida," that would forever frame my life. If I had a nickel for every time my name has been misspelled, mispronounced, denounced and denuded over the course of my life...well, let's just say I would buy my own island and move it right next to Johnny Depp's.

For years, I gritted my teeth, corrected pronunciations and laughed ironically at jokes about me and that guy from Chrysler, about French fries and about my fourth grade crush (a story for another time). Then, for a while after I developed a thicker skin, I responded with humor and a certain degree of whatareyagonnado? grace. If you can't beat 'em, shoot 'em in the face, right? (I don't know what that means, either). Then, one day, a couple of years ago, I found this on

First Name Origin & Meaning E-mail VersionAdvanced Meaning
Click Here

Platinum Version Includes: - Name, Local Origin, Traditional Origin, Advanced Meaning, Advanced Background, Personality Traits, Relationships, Emotions, 5 Year Popularity Chart, 100 Year Popularity Chart, Similar Names, Historical Figures, Biblical References, Trends, Occupation, Leizure, Color, Stone, Sign, Health, Public Perception, and Current Popularity.

It. Means. JOY! I had an answer for the question, "so, that a family name, or...?" I don't lie and say that my mom did it on purpose. That would be silly. But I do take a ridiculous amount of pride in something that was a complete accident. It made my day, no my frigging DECADE, when I discovered it. Finally, my name had MEANING. Not only that but it made sense; I love Greek stuff. I want to go to Greece before I die. I regularly crave Greek food. I can even say the word, dolmades, with the proper tonguing on the 'd' to make it sound like a 'th' sound. I own that movie, " My, Big, Fat Greek Wedding." I mean, it doesn't get any more obvious than that! After digging a bit further, I discovered that it's also a species name for a Mediterranean moth. Love that, too. And don't get me started on how cool I think it is to have a name that means happy! I mean, how...happy!

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? No idea. It just seemed like a good icebreaker. Now you think I'm funny. Or at least that I tell long stories. Either way, you're still here, so HA!

Welcome to my twisted, little mind, you brave soul.