Thursday, November 15, 2012: Hey You, Lighten Up

Dear Babies,

Sometimes I get so mad, then I say eh, it’s fine.

(I get mad at the way Grumpah is so grumpy, about the way he treats Nanny sometimes, then I say, eh, this the way they’ve always lived, it’s fine.)

I got mad last night on the train into the City, catching my filmy reflection in the window against the dark of night whizzing by. I thought, here I am, going out, on my way to a trendy Mexican restaurant in the Village, shouldn’t I be decked? Looking the proverbial “hot?” Wearing a tank top? Why am I wearing jeans and a sweater twin-set, something Jamie Lee Curtis would wear on her 898th cover of a magazine?

I got mad last night when there was miscommunication with your father. He was at a dinner, too, and we were going to meet up and take a car home together. We were texting. We were calling, we weren’t hearing each other, we were dipping into corners of our respective loud bars with our fingers pressed into our ears saying what, what??

I thought he called the car, he thought I called it. So there we were, 11:30 p.m. on the corner of 6th Avenue and Bleecker, stranded. All I ever want to go is go out in the City like I used to. Once there, all I want to do is go home.

“Eh, let’s get a drink!,” your dad said enthused. “Come on, we’ll wait for the car! No big deal.”

But no, I was mad. I was tired. I thought of the day ahead of me the next day. I rolled my eyes as we dipped into a french bistro blasting techno music nearly midnight on a Wednesday night. I ordered beaujolais. I tried to be in the moment and enjoy it, the orange glow bouncing off the mirror behind the bar, but I couldn’t. I kept looking at my watch (phone) doing the math. If the car gets here five minutes, I could be home by 12:30, maybe 12:45, right? If I’m in bed by one that’s five hours sleep, right?

A friend with us was similarly glancing. It was 12:02. She had to go.

“I have to go,” she said.

“I hear you,” I said. “You think being hungover at work is bad? Being hungover with kids is hell. My day tomorrow is going to be to torture.”

Now we talk like this. We say things like obsessed and amazing and maniacal. (She couldn’t understand why recently my husband wasn’t as excited as she was when they randomly ran into each other at the dentist. He paused with a squint in his eyes as if to say you don’t know?, “you told the dentist I was obsessed with him. I mean, I like the guy, he’s a good dentist {pause}, but it was awkward.”) But when finally on the car ride home my emphatic words came back to haunt me.

Your father was talking but I was only hearing every fifth word he was saying. He was mumbling and talking into my left side, my bad ear. What I could hear was the music the driver was blasting, an instrumental version of “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

I thought about what I’d said to my friend. My day tomorrow is going to be torture. I thought of a girl I saw a few years ago…

…She was a family friend at a party with her toddler daughter. The whole day she was so stressed. The little girl was tearing through the house, not eating what was she was given, not sitting in her chair, not listening. She didn’t nap, the mother would say rolling her eyes, as if this was just about the worst thing, she’s all off schedule. She didn’t sit down the whole day. She just chased her daughter around looking miserable doing it. When it came time for bedtime, the little girl wanted no part of sleep. I can see so clearly the visual of her in pink feetie pajamas, sitting on the floor playing with something, while the parents sat on the couch with their hands in their fists watching Dora the Explorer. “Having fun, guys?” I said with a wink in my voice.

“Oh, yeah,” they said, not even really funny sarcastic, just kind of cranky and mean.

They looked like it was torture to be there.

I got into bed that night, praying for a baby as I did so much in those days, and thought how I would give anything to be staying up late with a child who doesn’t want to sleep. I would give anything to be inside watching Dora the Explorer with my daughter…

…The car pulled up to our house. I stepped out into the cold darkness and said thank you to the driver and shut the door with a slam.


I was mad at myself.

Mad because I have days when I, too, am that miserable parent, so frustrated–they’ve eaten nothing but Cheetos today! They threw all my food on the floor!


Mad because how could I ever put you guys and the word “torture” in the same sentence, even for old inappropriate me. (I recently told your pediatrician that when you guys don’t nap it’s like dealing with two drunk Irish rugby player being kicked out of a bar at 2:00 a.m. You’re welcome.)

Mad because being a parent is so damn hard. It’s hard to take everything in and enjoy it–enjoy it! says every older parent at the grocery store while your child is punching you in the buttocks at the check out line and you’ve been watching Toy Story 2 for fifteen consecutive days. It’s so hard to be relaxed and happy all the time no matter how much you said you would or even try. Oh, they just set fire to a restaurant? Whatever, that’s what insurance is for!


I guzzled a glass of water before climbing into bed. 

Then I clicked off the light, told myself to lighten up, and said eh, it’s fine.





4 thoughts on “Thursday, November 15, 2012: Hey You, Lighten Up

    • amydenby says:

      Don’t give me too much credit; in order to make it out for that night I needed to start mentally preparing last Tuesday (what would I talk about with so many adults? You mean a restaurant without children? I won’t have to make the sign of the cross upon entering hoping for the best, put in 2 orders of grilled cheese with french fries before the menus are even brought? Really??)

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