“Well,” said Frances, “things are not very good around here…I think maybe I’ll run away.” –from A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban
I don’t know if you guys have read any of the Frances books, but Frances is basically a narcissistic little badger who learns various life lessons in your typical 1950’s-style family situations. Her dad smokes pipes and reads newspapers and her mom does everything else. So Frances is totally being a punk in the above quote. She’s pissed that her mom isn’t waiting on her hand and foot and making every detail of her life as perfect as she usually does. This is because her mom just had a baby. Frances, quite frankly, should just be glad that she got breakfast at all and not worry so damn much about whether it included raisins or bananas or whatever. If anything is going to exacerbate her mom’s imminent PPD, it’s going to be Frances’ whiny attitude.
However. I do kind of like Frances for the fact that she’s really good at making up songs (something I like to think we have in common) and because she gave me the above quote. Which I use all the time. Especially recently.
I mean, things haven’t been terrible by any means, but they haven’t been great either. I haven’t been writing much because the kids have been pretty demanding. A close family member has had some health problems and been hospitalized (he’s doing ok now though). It’s been about a hundred and fifty-seven degrees outside for, like, ever. There was one nice day out of the last few weeks or so, but I didn’t really get to enjoy it. Because…….
I ate bad clams.
Those clams took me down.
I am never ever ever ever ever ever eating clams again.
Honestly, I don’t even like them that much. They shouldn’t be a food. I’m from Maine so I eat all kinds of seafood and everything, but clams and I, we’re through. It was a terrible break-up, but now that I’ve survived it, I really do feel stronger. Like Kelly Clarkson.
So once I survived that particularly nasty break-up, I was able to look on the bright side. I lost four pounds in twelve hours. Pretty sweet. Of course once I actually drank a glass of water again, I probably gained back two, but hey. I’m going to take what I can get because my big focus now is fitting into a strapless bridesmaid dress. Yup. This breastfeeding mom is going to have to wear this:
In five weeks.
As of right now, the part from the hem up to the empire waist looks great. Then you get to my chest. It’s obscene. Lewd. Unseemly. I look like I’m wearing one of those seventeenth-century corset-boards that just splooshes your entire bosom (not to mention back fat) up so that it explodes out of the top of the dress like cinnamon roll dough out of a can. Oh and also I can’t breathe. So there’s some work to be done. Maybe someone can work some seamstress magic and insert stretchy panels or something. Maybe I’ll lose eleventy-five pounds in the next five weeks. That probably wouldn’t be very good for The Baby though. Maybe, like Frances, I could just run away.
Fortunately, there is an upside to my upcoming duties as a bridesmaid, and that came this weekend when I got to go to a bachelorette party. In Boston. It was fabu-freaking-lous. The bride-to-be (my wicked cool future sister-in-law) had a blast. There were no strippers or anything gross like that, but there was, wait for it, a Drag Show!!! It was wild and crazy fun. I didn’t really know what to expect since I’d never been to one before, and it was about as full of raunchy shenanigans and glittery makeup as I had imagined. Just a bunch of girls having some good
slightly terrifying clean fun. We went dancing afterward, and even though I had to leave kind of early to get back up to Maine and my babies, I had THE BEST time. There were thirteen women in this party, and I was the oldest one there. The only one with kids. I only knew one other girl aside from the bride. Going into it, I was a little bit worried about keeping up with all the twenty-somethings, but at the end of the night, I felt triumphant. I realized something really kind of liberating.
Here’s the thing.
A lot of girls in their twenties are still at that stage of trying so damn hard all the time. To look cute. To be cool. To get attention. To make people like them. When I was in my twenties, I would have been on hyper-alert in this type of social situation. I was not the kind of girl who felt comfortable just being myself around a lot of new people. I’ve never been super “cool,” so to speak, and a few years ago, I would have felt self-conscious. I would have been reserved. I would have hung back and not had so much fun with my almost sister-in-law. I would have spent way too much time trying to get my hair to cooperate and look perfect only for it to frizz up anyway in the heat. I probably would have re-applied lip gloss in the bathroom several times and I definitely would not have saved my feet by trading my fabulously sparkly high heels for flip flops at the dance club.
I know that tons of girls in their twenties are supremely confident and comfortable in their own skins. (I kind of have an upcoming post about it, so stay tuned!!) I just wasn’t one of them. But now, gosh darn it, I’m thirty-three, a mother of three, and I think I had more fun at this bachelorette party than at any party or night of dancing when I was younger. I kept up with the younger girls. I knew how much I could drink to have fun but not feel awful later. I bought drinks for the bride-to-be and helped to make sure she was having a blast. All I cared about was having fun with her. I didn’t care at all about what anyone else was thinking of me and it felt so good. We were all wearing Little Black Dresses, and one of the girls said to me, albeit drunkenly, “Your dress is so pretty. It looks so sensual.” My first thought was, “Damn! I’ve still got it!” But then I realized that that was wrong.
The truth is, I’m getting it.
It’s taken me a while, but I’m getting it. Confidence. Happiness with myself. I guess getting it back is really what I’m doing. I had it when I was a kid, and then it got a little lost somewhere along the way. I love that as humans we can be constantly evolving in life. I can reinvent myself if I want. I can be whatever kind of person I want to be, and now that I have three little girls watching my every move, I want to embrace that notion. If I want them to be the best women they can possibly be, to love themselves, love their lives, love others, feel confident and smart and strong, then I need to do that too. It certainly isn’t always easy, but I’m going to do my best. I will never be twenty-five and single again, and you know what? Halle-freaking-lujah.