I made an effort to be social, and I attended a corporate event on Thursday, a Cardinal’s baseball game. Some guy who doesn’t even work for our company ended up in our party suite and when he was confronted he bolted. I only talked to four people for the two hours I was there. At one point, I was in a conversation with JVB and my boss and another co-worker and JVB showed us a text from her mom (her parents are on a cruise). The text included a picture of this older couple (her parents), and it read, “If we were any happier, we’d be shitten mushrooms.” It was very endearing.
Also JVB told us another story… She was like, “After my uncle died, my dad threw him in a duffle bag and flew him from California to Missouri… And he had to take him through airport security and everything, and then when my dad got home he told me, ‘Hey, your uncle’s waiting for you in the laundry room.’” But JVB forgot to clarify that this was after he was cremated, not before, which is an important detail to the story, and we all laughed like hyenas about it. When I was offered my job at this company, I asked a friend what she thought, and she was like, “Well they are nice, but they are also extremely eccentric…” I’m so happy I took the job.
A former co-worker was at the party too. Several years ago he lost his daughter to suicide. She was 23. He approached me to ask how I was. And I answered. And we talked about Matthew, and we talked about his daughter. And he said something like, “There were so many people at her funeral – if she only knew how many people loved her…” And I lost it – I started bawling my face off in the middle of our party suite. And then he started bawling his face off. And then JVB, who was also standing there, started crying too. We were like a trio of criers. Like on Oprah.
We had another photoshoot at our house. The crew arrived at 9:30am this morning, but I had to leave at 8:30am to go meet a friend for coffee. So my last instruction to Mark was, “Make sure the bathrooms have toilet paper.” But later it came out that Mark did not follow my advice, so I guess someone got stranded on the toilet bowl without a roll and could be heard hollering for help through the door. So I was like, “Mark, did you have to go hand a stranger toilet paper?” And Mark was like, “No. It’s no big deal – I don’t wipe when I pee.” But then Emily was like, “But it was a woman in there…” It was kind of a long conversation we had about wiping habits.
One of the people at the photoshoot was named Richard, but he goes by “Churd” (rhymes with turd). I think this is a nifty alternative to Dick.
Mark messes up nursery rhymes. Tonight I heard him tell Joel, “This little piggy went to market. This little piggy went to the store. This little piggy went to the schoolhouse. This little piggy took a poop.” I’m not sure what the fifth piggy did.
The other day Joel’s diaper wasn’t on correctly, and we were in public, and he crapped totally outside of his diaper, straight into his pants. So his pants were covered in stinky digested vegetables, so I decided to throw them away in a public trashcan, and then just let Joel go without pants. As I tossed his pants into the trashcan, I sort of missed, and they hit the outside of the trashcan before falling into the hole, so this public trashcan was totally smeared in Joel’s crap. Public places are dirty.
I recently had the following text conversation with a friend I haven’t spoken to in probably 18 months…
Friend – Is this still your number?
Me – Yes it is. How are you?
Friend – Oh good!! I thought I messaged you a while back and I got like a no number response. I’m alright. Doing better. Been kind of down for the last few months – just had different things going on… How’s life in Missouri?
Me – Oh. I’m sorry you’ve been down… Life is still hard for me. There’s some joy now, but it coexists with a shit ton of pain… (I don’t like to let people who’ve avoided me for so long off the hook, so I tend to be brutally honest.)
Friend – Yes, I can imagine. I’ve been depressed off and on and realizing it’s connected to lack of sleep, diet, and blood sugar. Range of things. Been working on it. I’m considering a weekend trip to Vegas. To see JLO and lay at the pool. LOL. Have you ever been to Vegas?
Me – Oh no. I hope the work you’re doing helps. I have been to Vegas a long time ago. In another lifetime.
Friend – Would you be interested in going with me?!
Vegas actually seems kind of fun, but JLO isn’t my fave necessarily. And I’m hesitant to go under these circumstances. I also find it curious that someone wants to go with me. Like this friend doesn’t seem to know that I talk about death and tragedy at least 50 percent of the time. I ended up responding that I don’t know that I can get away for Joel’s birthday. But I’m not sure this friend even knows who Joel is.
Tonight we took Joel to the athletic club for dinner, where we’ve been eating almost every Friday night because Joel loves it. Joel is getting to be such a big boy and he ate pasta and marinara, applesauce, green beans, bits of chicken fingers, and shrimp. He savored every last bite of it. After dinner, we like to take Joel down to the gym – he gets a charge out of watching the older kids play basketball and soccer. He is so enamored and constantly looks like he wants to join in.
It’s great for Joel, because sometimes, a few of the sweet kids who like babies will come and play with him, perhaps roll the ball back and forth with him a bit. Tonight an eight year old girl and her five year old brother played with Joel. (He’s played with them before – they might be his first friends!)
There were like 50 other kids in the gym, and Joel had a blast watching all of them as well. Mark and I were the only adults there – there were zero other adults to be found. Nada. Zilch. (I’m sure they were all up in the bar drinking wine, which is no big deal as I think the next youngest kid in the gym was like four or five.)
When we were there I kind of had a revelation that, when it comes to ensuring Joel gets some socialization with other kids, this gym sort of environment is like my best case scenario. It’s a baby loss mom’s paradise of sorts, because my baby gets to meet all of these fabulous kids, and I don’t have to meet (or interact with) their parents and try to answer their stupid, basic questions and pretend I can relate to them in any way whatsoever or that I care about their blissful, tragedy-free, fairytale-esque existences.
I realize that, in many cases, such assumptions are neither accurate nor fair. But sometimes I still FEEL so alone. Though according to my newest therapist, feelings don’t necessarily equate to facts, and I should also take steps to move towards a life where I feel I can relate to others again. But we haven’t officially started any of this work, so for now, I’m still considering the parent-free gym Joel’s (any my!) ideal playground.
I find so much joy in seeing Joel play with other kids, but it’s also so incredibly heartbreaking. He should have his older brother to play with at home all of the time.