Dark Roast, Double Eggnog

I don’t know why, but lately I have been waking up ridiculously early, even when I go to bed at midnight. If I had to take a wild guess, it’s that I’m on an upswing, which literally means nothing except I sleep less. It’s Bipolar I that reaches into true mania, while Bipolar II has what’s called “hypomania.” I like to call it Diet Mania,™ or maybe Mania Lite.™ Because my lows are so low, it’s only when I’m on an upswing that I really feel like getting out and doing things. Maybe I’ll take a nap in a few minutes and then head out…. to do what, I don’t know. I’ll think of something. In DC, it can go two ways. I could see something literally mind-blowing or I could end up at Safeway because we need paper cones for the coffee maker. The permanent filter is a pain in the ass.

I posted on Facebook that my roommate broke our coffee maker, but I don’t know that I said it here. Luckily, there was a brand new one when I came downstairs the next morning. It was nice not to have to wait for the new carafe to arrive, but it was a KitchenAid, and it was red. The new one does have a very nice feature, though. On one side you brew coffee, and on the other (even at the same time) you can heat up water for tea. This means that every morning I am faced with a “serious” dilemma…. although perhaps since I’m on said upswing, I should choose tea until I go back to making shut-ins look like their dance cards are full next to mine.

A couple of days ago, I had to grab a few things at 7-Eleven and, on impulse, grabbed a quart of eggnog. I like it on its own, but I love it in my coffee. So, rather than going back to bed, I went downstairs at approximately 0430 because I couldn’t wait any longer to have some. Strong coffee and lots of fat. #treatyoself

That reminds me I need to go and get some more coffee… not another cup. I need another bag of beans. I buy it at Starbucks because people give me gift cards all the time, and I get the reward stars for it. That way, I am spending gifts and getting free drinks in the process. I love how that works…. although I get this a lot… “that’s really all you want with your reward? A red eye?” Ummmmm, yes. I like coffee, not candy. “Do you at least want a venti?” Ummmm, no. I’d like to sleep this week.

Once, this barista thought I had clearly misunderstood the concept of “order anything you want,” so when she handed me my red eye, she said, “I put three extra shots in it for you.” She was being really sweet, so I wasn’t angry. I still drank it. But none of my sentences had spaces between the words for at least six hours. It’s hard to make a barista re-make a drink when they look so earnest and caring.

I now have a third Angela in my life, one I wasn’t expecting. There’s Angela the Med (stepmom), Angela the Red (ex-girlfriend), and the best nickname I can think of for this one that fits the theme is “Angela the Read.” We went to 7th and 8th grade together at Clifton Middle School and she turned out to be a journalist. She used to be at the Houston Chronicle, but now she works for a niche scientific publication. It’s nice to have a person in my life with so much shared experience- not that we were besties in middle school, but that we both come from the same place. We both miss H-E-B and Whataburger. But mising those things is a small price to pay for living in a liberal state.

Angela and her husband, Michael, have been extraordinarily kind to me. Because I don’t have a car and it makes shopping harder, Angela took me to Dollar Tree so I could get water bottle mix-ins. It’s a small thing that is huge. We had other errands, so we both did nothing together. It was the best day I’d had in a long time, because I laughed.

Losing my mother reminds me of the Saturday Night Live episode the Saturday after September 11th. Rudy Giuliani said that the cast had asked him if it was ok to be funny. Completely deadpan, he said, “why start now?” The exchange sticks with me because I often have to give myself permission to be funny and/or to laugh.

The other extreme is that sometimes I’m hilariously funny in order not to talk about the elephant in the room. Well, actually, that’s not true. I’m not avoiding it. I’m being funny so that the conversation never reaches a level deeper than an orange juice glass to begin with. I like talking to people who have no idea who I am to get away from, “so… how are you…. really.”

How am I really?

I am lost and confused and don’t know where to turn for guidance that only one’s mother can give. I have friends with kids, so the best I can do is just to soak up the mother love in the room. I know if my life had taken a different path, I’d be leaning on my children just to hear my own mother’s words come out of my mouth… or, perhaps not her exact words, but her tone. My imitation is pitch-perfect. I can even do her stern teacher voice.

And what that stern teacher voice is telling me right now is that I should get ready for the day. I’ve had eggnog and coffee. I’m good.

Child Support

Dana and I are both getting to that age where we’re starting to think about kids… and every. single. time. we both start yawning uncontrollably and change the subject. The fact that we can’t even talk about it for a half hour is a stunning monument to our indifference on the subject. We think we would be great parents, and we also think that we’re able to love the other children in our lives more when we don’t have kids of our own, so that whichever child is visiting us is our favorite and gets to feel special when mom and dad are gone.

The thing I struggle with the most is whether I’ll regret not having a kid that lives with us full time. The things that I thought I’d be terrible with have been proven wrong in babysitting Wi-Phi, and other things have popped up. For instance, I am more patient and kind with a screaming kid than you can possibly imagine. I go into this Zen-like state that makes me immune to getting rattled, because I know the baby will pick up on the fact that I’m anxious and use it to their advantage later. It’s just one day of your child raising you after another. That part I’m ok with.

I am not ok with writing about my own children, I’m anxious to the point of nausea over the thought of interacting with other parents at the PTA, and most of that has to do with the competitive things that I’ve watched parents do and say to each other over the years, and I hate that culture with a passion. I watch people write things about mothers on web sites that make you wonder who peed in their Wheaties this morning, because obviously something is terribly, terribly wrong.

I’m fighting against old tapes that say I can’t be a mother because I’m gay. I know plenty of lesbian mothers, but it’s funny how the things you grow up with tend to stick until you really explode them, and I haven’t had the time or desire to sit with that one, yet, because it’s one of those knotty problems that will cause me to ruminate ad nauseum (or as my friend Aaron and I call it, “moo all over the place”).

Frankly, I’m also indolent as fuck when I get home in the evenings and I am so glad that our stance on parenthood doesn’t change with a couple of beers between us. Oh, wow. I just hit the nail on the head and I didn’t even realize it was true until this minute. I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to do the work. I’m not talking about the work after the kid is born. I mean I don’t want to have to ask my male friends for sperm, I don’t want to go to a clinic and be poked and prodded until I get pregnant, and I don’t want to have to raise thousands and thousands of dollars for the privilege. If it had happened organically in my 20s, it would have been one thing. But I’m three years away from forty. In some ways, it feels like I’ve missed my window on purpose as a way of self-sabotage.

On the other hand, forty isn’t too old for pregnancy and delivery, and 58 seems just the right age for me to have a wise-cracking high school senior that I will have to drag out of the principal’s office by his ear while wearing my bathrobe.

There are all of these feelings swirling in both Dana and me as we pray for discernment, but at the same time, I think we both already know. We’re doing a great job by being those friends who can come through at a moment’s notice when their kids are sick or they’ve got vacation plans and the sitter cancels.

I have also learned through my abuser that you don’t have to be a kid’s parent to have influence in their lives… that it’s not important to the kid whether I’m related to them by blood. I can still impart all kinds of wisdom from the prophets… Finn, Jake, and Lumpy Space Princess.