Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

When I was a little kid, one of my favorite things to do was steal my parent’s issue of Newsweek and read it from cover to cover – at least the parts I could understand. It’s no Babysitter’s Club, but I used to wait each week for the newest issue to arrive and then sit on the floor of our living room next to the magazine basket and read. I know it’s a strange thing for a kid to do, but I was a strange kid (more on that in the future).

My relationship with Newsweek has continued into adulthood. Over the last couple of years, however, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the representation of “news” with unabashedly biased undertones (and I don’t mean just liberally-biased. Conservatively-biased under the guise of objectivity is just as bad in my book). The most recent issue included an article called The Case Against Marriage which essentially asserted that no self-respecting, educated and independent person (woman in particular) would, or should, enter into the worthless and outdated tradition of life-long marriage. Being a self-respecting, educated and independent woman who holds the value of, and my commitment to, marriage at the highest levels of sanctity, I naturally took a bit of offense. The lack of debate included in the article and pessimistic insinuations were a proper illustration of my frustration and disappointment with my former childhood companion.

Maybe Newsweek has changed or maybe I have, but it just doesn’t make me feel a part of the international and intellectual stage anymore. It just makes me mad, confused and maybe a little hurt. So, I’ve decided to break up.

I was going to do it by text but I figured an email might be klassier – something along the lines of “No really, it’s you. Not me.” If Newsweek taught me anything, it’s that the pen (or keyboard) can be a mighty tool, or just plain cathartic. I thought I would post my break up letter here, since I’m sure it will only be read and tossed aside (like my heart!) by a summer intern checking email in between coffee runs for Fareed Zakaria.

My childhood self is heartbroken. My adult self doesn't care so much.

So, farewell Newsweek. It was fun while it lasted. But, let’s honest. We’re different people now. And it’s time to move on.

My Dearest News Magazine,

I opened my recent issue of Newsweek to “The Case Against Marriage” and read Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison’s article with much interest. I must admit that they spurred me to action. After a five-year relationship of ups and downs (more downs), my husband and I have decided to divorce. It’s been a tough decision but it’s become quite apparent that we are not a good match for one another. I’m not talking about my marriage – we are still very happily married (with a son, in – gasp! - wedlock) even though we both come from the “choice-loving” generation. No, no, our marriage is going strong. We have, however, decided to divorce you.

I thought we could make things work, really. It started out as such a promising relationship – you with your candid take on world events and promise of informative political commentary, me with my love for international politics and Anna Quindlen. But things slowly unraveled and I woke up one day to find that I didn’t even know you anymore. I tried for awhile to overlook your complete lack of objectivity, ignore your sensationalism, even look for redeeming qualities in your “belittle those who don’t hold my opinions” attitude. But Bennett and Ellison’s article was the toilet seat left up for the last time.

Its false characterizations, over-generalizations and, frankly, catty pessimism completely alienated an entire segment of the population that happily engages in the apparently inane tradition of marriage. Gone is the sense of commitment, compassion, companionship and charity that belie a successful marriage. Gone is the joy - and yes, hardship – brought on by raising children in a stable home that provides a refuge from the chaos of the world. What a sad view of the world to only see marriage as housework, sex (or lack thereof) and a loss of individuality. Interestingly enough, I have heard many people comment, myself included, that they did not truly know who they were until they were married.

So, I’m sorry. I just can’t seem to make this work anymore. I received my subscription renewal papers in the mail the other day and I did what I had to do – I threw them away. I wish you all the best for the future and maybe we can still be friends.

But probably not.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Don't Even Get Me Started on Those Uppity Sea Birds

There have been a wave (ha!) of BP-lampooning videos as of late and I thought I would weigh in on my favorite (as least among the clean ones). Because my opinion matters. And because there's no better way to deal with an environmental, economic and social crisis then to sit down and laugh at it. It's the American way.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today this was me

I'm smiling because I have no idea what's about to happen.

Then this appeared and I felt much better (or maybe it was still the drugs...blessed, blessed drugs)

I spared you the "first moments in the world" shot. You're welcome.

And now that little thing that used to kick my ribs in the same spot so much that I'm pretty sure they're permanently bruised has turned into this

I know I am so handsome but please, no pictures

I'll take permanently bruised ribs anytime. Happy 1st Birthday Landon! We love you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ex Factor

Here’s the problem with living in your husband’s hometown – you run into people who know him everywhere. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well, many of these people happen to be girls who used to date him. And apparently, my husband had quite the busy teenage years. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad that he was not an agoraphobic, dungeons and dragons playing, look at my newest collection of retainers that look like star wars characters kind of kid (no offense to these kids – retainers just kind of freak me out. I really don’t want to see the exact shape of someone else’s mouth). I’m also glad that these girls still have a very favorable opinion of him and don’t say something like “You’re Tyler’s wife? Seriously? Wow, um, okay. Good luck.” But really, did he have to be SO social? Or, at the very least, did he have to date the girls that love Columbus enough to have hung around here?

Tyler is his prime Single Days. Don't worry - he didn't always dress like this (they're going swimming) but no wonder he left quite a few girls in his wake.

Apparently, however, his past affections know no geographical bounds. The other day I met a friend at the Zoo with a group of other moms I didn’t know. Turns out, one of the other girls was one of Tyler’s summer flings when they were 17. This was a girl he met over a summer in Utah – and now she lives here! It’s like I get to be reminded every where I go that he had other girls, in other places, in other times of his life. Times I don’t like to think about. Times that I don’t like to believe existed. I may have dated other guys but Tyler – he was completely single by choice until we met. Girls wanted to date him but he was just waiting for “the one”. I’ve constructed a whole history for him prior to us meeting. Did you know he also used to volunteer in an orphanage and he was once asked to be the new face of Axe body spray but he turned it down because he didn’t want to be objectified by the world? It’s true. In my head.

The other problem is that every girl I run into is beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL. I suppose I should take that as a complement that he married me but it’s hard to think of that when you’re standing next to this girl that you’re pretty sure just threw her silky hair back in slow motion while you haven’t showered in three days and your kid has snot running from his nose. One time, I sat at a table next to one of Tyler’s “friends” at a wedding and she was super tall, super skinny, blonde and gorgeous. Not only should she have been a model, she actually used to be. And guess what I was?

Nine months pregnant. And hormonal. Awesome.


I don't think she dated Tyler. But I can't be sure these days.


You can't see my gigantic preggo belly because the cat is sitting on it. Yes, sitting on it.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all is that every girl I meet is really nice too. Isn’t there some sort of girl code that if you have dated a guy that dated another girl, the other girl automatically must be messed up in some weird I have nine cats and say I’m a winner! in the mirror every night before bed kind of way? Like the girl from the Zoo – I really liked her. Like a lot. Like it would be fun to hang out again. She was funny, down to earth and fun to talk to. In reality, I wasn’t really jealous of her at all (she was married and had two beautiful kids and she only knew Tyler for a summer, after all) but it just got me thinking about how many of these friends we’ve run into – and how many I can expect to run into in the future.

So I guess all I can do for the next few years is put on my best smile, practice my “oh you guys used to date? That is SO funny!” response and just be grateful that I landed such a wonderful guy.

And steer clear of all tall skinny blondes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Tyler!

Today is Tyler’s 29th birthday.

Happy birthday to the best daddy ever! Luv, BIG L

Even though every year he swears that he doesn’t care about his birthday (and I really believe that he doesn’t) I still want to make it a very special day for him, probably because I always assume the whole oh-it’s-no-big-deal thing is a faux-humility front. Probably because I am master of it: My birthday? Oh, I don’t really care. It’s seriously not a big deal. I mean, it’s not like I even did anything to be born. (Inside: It’s MY day! MINE!!! I want to be QUEEN!!).

But for Tyler, he doesn’t really care. Honestly. That’s partly what I love about him; he never has any ulterior motives or complex emotional reactions. He’s very even keeled to my emotional frenzy - the emotional frenzy that still feels the need to create a special day just for him even if he told me 18 times that birthdays are no big deal to him. Every time he says that, I imagine that he is thinking this in his head: I really hope my birthday is Awesome. Like totally sweet. I hope giant brownies are involved. But what he’s really thinking is this: birthdays are no big deal to me (which he’s not actually thinking because he just said it, so it’s more like an echo in his head of his words as he’s saying them. I’m really good at getting into people’s heads).

This is what Tyler came home to on the first birthday he had while we were dating. I found out about his love for Hershey Kisses and declared my love for him (don't worry, not weird. We were already engaged).

But here’s the thing: as much as I want to make this his special day, there’s this little pesky thing that gets in the way called His Job. A plastic surgery resident’s life is really not conducive to birthdays, or fun. Tyler started his fantastic birthday by waking up at 4:30 am to be out the door by 4:50 and to the hospital by 5. He will then round on surgical oncology patients and attend to their every need and the every need of the attending surgeons – rational or not. His pager will beep incessantly all day (a couple times from me to tell him that Landon has a 103 degree temp) and he will spend hours covered in someone else’s blood and guts in the operating room. He may be home by 7 or 8 tonight where he will be met by a coughing, muscusy baby and exhausted wife. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If Tyler had a normal job, I could surprise him during the day and bring balloons and cupcakes for him and all his co-workers. I have had this fantasy that I come to the hospital, knock on the OR window and wave as I point to the massive balloons and decadent cupcakes I have baked from scratch with “Tyler’s the MAN” decorated on each one. All the surgeons will high-five one another while splattering various bodily fluids from their blood-soaked gloves and then leave the patient (still with plenty of anesthesia, these are competent surgeons after all!) to come party in the wash area. They would all pat Tyler on the back and tell him what an awesome wife he had, how they all wish their wives would be more like me, how lucky he is to have a wife that…

Wait, wait, almost forgot – it’s Tyler’s day. Right. So…

Since Tyler’s birthday is mostly taken up by his decision to be all responsible and provide for his family and save people’s lives blah blah blah, there’s not much I can do. I sent him off with a nice store bought chocolate muffin this morning (not that I got up with him. I put it out the night before. Nice and stale.). Gave him special treats in his lunch and we’ll have a nice dinner, presents and cake tonight when he gets home. What else can I do? Last year I took him to Dave & Buster’s because that is the one place that Tyler said he would go everyday if he “was rich”. That’s right. Because an adult Chuck E Cheese with less than average chicken wings caters to the high class crowd. I was planning on taking him there again this year until he informed me last month that he didn’t want to go to Dave & Buster’s again until the end of residency (5 more years) so that he can have something “to work towards”. Not becoming a board certified plastic surgeon, not making a good income, not surviving some of the hardest training medicine has to offer – no, no. He’s working 16 hour days so that he can proudly enter the fine establishment of Dave & Buster’s and feel like he belongs. And then play skeeball all night.

Where happiness is born

I guess all I can do for Tyler’s not-so-big-deal birthday is this: Publicly proclaim my undying love for you via internet! So happy birthday to my husband, best friend, baby daddy, eternal companion and partner in crime. You are the bread to my butter, the Jim to my Pam, the chocolate chips to my cookie dough, the Dave to my Buster (if Buster were a girl. Maybe she is, I don’t know). I admire you more than you will ever know, I trust you completely and I am so proud of all your accomplishments. I look forward to spending many many many more no big deal birthdays with you in the future and I hope you feel like a King for a day. Even if you don’t care.

I love you!