Saturday, October 28, 2006

Corner of the Sky

I've always wanted my life to be extraordinary. I think that everyone dreams that when they grow up, they will lead an interesting life full of romance and excitement. The real life equivalent of a roller coaster. It's quite possible that those who experience a mid-life crisis are those people who have clung to this dream for so long that they believe it is essential to their happiness, and have recently come to the conclusion that it is not going to happen. It is too late.

I have always been determined that I won't be one of those people. That when I get the end of my journey, I won't say, "If only I had...". I had vague dreams of living the life a glamourous celebrity: travel, riches, trendsetting. Not surprisingly, my life is nothing like that. Travel is going to the in-laws for dinner. Riches is deciding to get an extra shot in my latte. Trendsetting is finding a cute winter hat for The Boy, and gloating whenever someone asks me where I found it (WalMart, $6.49). Ahh, the life of a glamourous mum!

I've often wondered - have a settled? Have I chosen to take the easy, comfortable route?? Is there some life out there that I should have, some road not taken??? And then I feel immediately guilty for thinking such insurgent thoughts. And then I curse myself for feeling guilty. After all, people are free to think what they want. Thinking is not reality. Thinking is not even wanting. Thinking is just that - thinking. Everybody imagines the "what if" scenario. It's these fantasy scenarios that allow us to muddle through the more mundane tasks of life.

Today, The Husband and I went to see the musical Pippin. For anyone who doesn't know the show, and mostly only diehard musical fans know of it at all, it is about a young man who believes he is extraordinary. He "wants (his) life to be something more than long". Accordingly, he spends a very long time trying out various roles (warrior, king, lover, "husband/father") only to quit them because they just don't fit. They're too ordinary. He believes there is something more out there for him. At the end of the show, the Lead Player suggests that the only proper finale for an extraordinary person is to, in one final moment of beauty and purity, light himself on fire. A grand exit for a great person! Pippin refuses, realizing that he doesn't really want the applause and the acclaim, but rather that he had found happiness when he found a widow and her son, and stayed with them for a year playing (unwillingly) the "mundane" role of husband/father:


In short, I guess, it is the idea that the extraordinary is found in the everyday. We are extraordinary every day that we wake up beside the person that we love. We are extraordinary every day that we pass that love on to our children. We are extraordinary in the mere creation of that most magical thing called: our family. What may seem "mundane" to an outsider is an integral thread in the fabric of existence. Money, power, celebrity are all wonderful things, I'm sure, but what are they worth if you have no one to share them with.

I have just started volunteering at the library, and the student that I was working with was asked to name his favourite things, and what did he write down? Not TV, or sports or candy. He wrote: "my family". Out of the mouths of babes...

I have found my corner of the sky. I'm mighty glad I did. Now I have the chance to be truly extraordinary.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jackety Yak

I love so many things about the fall season. The changing foliage that makes a drive up the Don Valley actually pleasant. The festive pumpkins and chrysanthemums on everybody's porch that ease us into the holiday season, and whisper promises of better things to come. The crisp, clean air that envigorates the senses and makes me feel like I can take on the world, and change it for the better. What I don't love about the season is that it heralds the onset of what I lovingly refer to as: The Jacket Wars.

The Boy was born in the winter of 2005, an especially frosty January fit only for Mr Coldmeiser. Despite this, or perhaps, because of this, we still went outside each and every day, even if it was only for a walk down to Starbucks and back again. Each and every time we went outside, I steeled myself for the requisite twenty minutes of screaming while I inserted The Boy into his bunting bag (and, quite possibly, seventeen layers of blankets), simultaneously cursing my inability to leave the house without torturing the child. I was sure that next door neighbours were going to call the cops, who would burst in at any moment and crown me as Mrs Unfit Mother of the Year.

Winter of 2006 rolls around and The Boy is a year old, and much more mature. Now, instead of a bunting bag, we have a one-piece snowsuit with a jaunty looking Winnie and Tigger smiling and waving on the front. It should go a lot easier this year, right? Wrong. I underestimated The Boy's ability to roll over and crawl away. (I remember being so happy the day he learnt to roll over...what went wrong?) Now, I have to hold him down with one hand and endure a thirty minute temper tantrum, flailing legs and all. I was kicked in the face more times than I'd care to remember.

Ahhh, fall 2006. The Boy is approaching the two year mark, understands - and can follow - simple instructions, and is remarkably easy-going after all the earlier grief. He's mellowed. This should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong again. For The Boy, alas, has learnt the power of "No". Or rather "Noooooooooooooooooooooo!". Yes, that's more like it. On a very good day, The Boy will get his hat, scarf and mittens for me and dump them ceremoniously on the floor at my feet, before running away. On an okay day, The Boy will run away droning "Noooooooooo" before he hits a wall (not hard, but yes, hits a wall), turns around, shoves his thumb in his mouth and trudges grumpily back in my direction. Just when I think I can put the jacket, he runs away again, laughing like he's just tied someone to the proverbial train tracks. Most days, I have to hold him firmly while resolutely putting on his outdoor clothes and listening to outraged complaints, troubleshooting arms that get pulled out of the jacket two seconds after they've been inserted.

I've tried games, songs and the only thing that has made any difference is the fact that I've spent the last year saying that Lunar Jim wears a "hat" and "mittens" before going out into space. And, to be honest, the only reason I said that was that I couldn't think of the actual terms for an astronaut's garb at the time, and it just stuck. Sometimes, the Boy will tolerate mittens and a hat. The Jacket is still evil. It is the Enemy. Some days (okay, most days), I feel like I've put in a full days work before I even get to the office. Sigh. I still love the fall. I just never knew it would talk back, à la yakety-yak.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Cool! I've been tagged by Bub and Pie to answer the following important questions. I love these things...!

1. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?

Wow. The hardest question first, huh? I considered such "artists" as K-Fed, Megadeth and Hanson and finally settled on: Kenny G. (NOTE: For all you Kenny G lovers out there, please skip to question #2). He's not attractive, his music is not romantic, and he's everywhere. The fact that he worked with greats like Barry White and Aretha Franklin doesn't even endear him to me. I know that a lot of people love him, but I gotta say I just don't get it.

2. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

Since Bub and Pie already chose my default - the scrumptious Mr. Darcy - I feel compelled keep looking (I mean, how many one night stands can a guy have before you start to think that he'll sleep with anything that moves??). Matthew McConaughey, hands down. No intelligent conversation, but I'm guessing the raw, animal passion would compensate. And the yummy southern drawl don't hurt'am.

3. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick?

Umm, does Mark Wahlberg count? Cause if you've seen
his Calvin Klein ad, you'd understand. Marky Mark -- you had me at "Hello."

4. Now that you've slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy shit, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?

Ideally, I would spend it buying some new clothes (ones that actually fit my post-baby body, since my pre-baby clothes are too small and make me look like an awkward, walking sausage). In reality, though, I'd probably blow it all at Baby Gap.

5. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Italy. Coffee, Art History and Red Wine. How can you go wrong? Oooh, and pizza! What about pizza?! All four food groups in a portable format. Good times.

6. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Shit! Now that you are in the new location, what are you gonna do?

Did you not read the answer to #5? Wine don't come cheap! (Nor do Italian, did I really type that?...what you must think of me...)

7. The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour?

Run with scissors. Eat a turkey dinner and then go swimming right away. Take a bath and leave the towels on the floor. Any combination thereof. Now's the time. Carpe Diem. I'm such a rebel!

8. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What's it gonna be?

The power to make things, people or situations that you see on TV or in movies exist in the real world. That way, whenever someones says, "That only happens on TV...", I'd say "Oh yeah? That's what you think!" My name would be TV Girl or better yet, Movie Girl, just for a little irony. First thing I'd do is create a holodeck. Then...Indiana Jones. Oh yeah, baby.

9. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

June 1st, 2001. Las Vegas. A room at Bellagio....(get your mind out of the gutter!) The Husband proposed. One of the "significant life events" that actually lived up to the hype. (I won't tell you what the others are, sicko!)

10. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?

England, 1595. I'd really like to find out, once and for all, whether or not Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him, and be done with it.

11. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

One regrettably alcohol-sodden New Year's Eve, when, depressed from a recent breakup, I hit on a guy from my art class. I don't remember a thing. Unfortunately, he did. Ouch! Talk about your awkward conversations...

12. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check out this cool shit... you can move to anywhere else in the world! Bitchin'! What country are you going to live in now?

Hawaii. It's hard to believe that stress could possibly exist in a place as pretty as that.

13. The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?

Princess Diana. I think that she had a lot of good left to do in this world, and is therefore truly missed.

14. What's your theme song?

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. I have a soft spot for one hit wonders.

So, if you're still reading...well, if anyone is reading, actually...I tag Kittenpie and Penelopeto. You're it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Paved with Good Intentions


I consider myself a reasonably smart, fairly well-educated, sensible person. I have done a lot of reading and logged a lot of hours at the table. I sometimes even venture to offer advice to people (when they ask for it, of course) on tactics that have worked for me in the past. I thought I was working out an approach that worked for me and for The Boy. It's funny how you have every intention to do the best job mothering your child that you possibly can, and still fall very very short. Here's how last night's dinner played out (both actual conversation and inner dialogue):

NoMo: Are you ready for some yummy "broccoli pasta"? Oh, it's going to be so good I can hardly wait! (I can't believe that I'm already lying to The Boy and he's not even two...)
The Boy: (Where's the pasta?)
NoMo: Look, it's broccoli pasta! (I wonder if he's buying it?)
The Boy: Tasta! (I want pasta!)
NoMo: It is pasta, remember we cooked it together? It's pasta with a yummy cheesy sauce! (Lies, lies, lies...oh what a tangled web--)
The Boy: Cheess! (I want cheese!)
NoMo: There is cheese right there in your bowl.
The Boy: Cheess!! (Did she not hear me? I want cheese!)
NoMo: There is cheese there. Remember we made the cheesy sauce together? Mmmm it's so good. Look, Mummy's eating it! (Wow, this broccoli and cheese is actually really good. If he'd try it, he'd like it.)
The Boy: Soup. (Cheese soup, ok I'll eat some cheese soup, but none of that green stuff.)
NoMo: Don't you even want to try the broccoli pasta??
The Boy: No. Cheess! (No frackin' way am I eating that green stuff. Why won't this woman give me some cheese??)
NoMo: Fine. Here's some cheese. Mummy is taking away the yummy broccoli pasta. Mummy is very sad because the Boy won't even try the broccoli pasta when Mummy made it just for The Boy. You've hurt Mummy's feelings. (Mum is Sad. Very, Very Sad. She had a bad day. What a day Mum had. Wow, not only am I being emotionally manipulative, but I'm quoting Hop on Pop. This is bad. I need a timeout.)

So there you have it, folks. The Boy is not even two years old, and I've already resorted to guilt. And The Boy did not eat any vegetables, or really anything at all, other than cheese. The Boy: one. NoMo: nothing. How many strikes until I'm out, I wonder? They should really have a manual for this Mother-gig.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Turn, turn, turn

I just got back from a girls weekend away in Niagara on the Lake. Well, it was more like a night, really, as we left TO on Saturday morning and came back on Sunday morning. Seems like a bunch of mums just can't stand to be away from their babes for too long. I guess if you have to have an addiction, a cute baby is one of the good ones.

Some time back in August, the Mums group that I was a part of back when I was on maternity leave had one of our rare get-togethers - rare because we're all back at work. One of the mums suggested that we plan a weekend away, and of course, I said I was interested (who wouldn't like a weekend off?) mainly because I thought it would never actually come to pass. Wonder of wonders, it actually did.

Our mums group is rather large, and a splinter group of mums (9 in total) decided to take the plunge and leave the babies with the hubbies for the weekend. I debated going for a long time. It was a lot of money, for one. I didn't want to spend my precious weekend time away from The Boy or The Husband. But more importantly, would I even have a good time? I mean, I hung out with these women once a week for a couple hours, and we had several extra get-togethers, but could we actually spend a whole day and night together without getting tired of one another. Well, since this is my year for turning over a new leaf and doing things that I thought I would never do, I decided to go. I am glad I did.

Yes, we talked about our babies a lot. A whole lot. How could we not? Even if we didn't meet in a mums group, I don't know many women with children who could avoid talking about them for long. But we also talked about home renovations, wine, books, careers.....and, well, had adult conversation. It was so civilized. During the day we drove around NOTL and did some wine tastings, and at night we went to Peller Estates and had a private tour and a four hour dinner. Wow. Most of my dinners these days last ten minutes, if I stretch them out. No worrying about snacks. Now worrying about naps. No stressing because The Boy won't eat vegetables - again. We even decided to form a Book Club. It was Heaven.

The only sour note to the event (other than the fact that I still have this dastardly cold), was an innocent comment made by one of the mums. You see, I've always felt like a bit of an interloper in this group. They all met in a "Bringing Home Baby" class, and after the class was over, they decided to keep meeting. After five months of miserably walking the streets by myself pushing a carriage with only my thoughts to sustain me (not very nourishing those post-natal brainwaves), I met up with a friend of mine from FitMom who invited me to join the group. She said they wouldn't mind, and I was desperate for company. So I went week after week, and they didn't mind, although somehow I always felt that they did mind, just a bit. Eventhough I was there more regularly than the actual group, I wasn't part of the original group. Ironically, this was the class that I was supposed to attend, but was never able to because we were having so much trouble in the beginning with breastfeeding that we were in and out of the hospital non-stop for weeks. Anyways, I never felt totally accepted, but I assumed that it was just me being my usual paranoid self.

Last night, I don't even remember what we were talking about, but one of the mums said she always thought of me as "The Movie Girl". This is in reference to the fact that I was a regular at the local Mini Matinées. Every week I'd make the half hour walk to the movie theatre to see whatever show was playing (even if it was "Herbie Fully Loaded"...yes, I actually sat through that...). What can I say? I was my sanity. It was a little bit of normalcy in a world that had gone absolutely crazy. I felt that if I could get back that one little bit of my "old life" , I could deal with almost anything. And The Boy slept at 1pm like clockwork most days, so it all worked out. Most of the Mums Group were a bit horrified that I did that every week, and although they were never confrontational about it, I saw an edge of judgment in their eyes.

These mums are all educated, intelligent, career women whom I like and admire. I'll admit that I sometimes felt like the were "out of my league", so to speak. I think what I'm slowly learning, though, is that that kind of thinking is the real problem. It's my perception of myself that needs the altering, not how others see me. I've taken my first step this weekend. Normally, that "Movie Girl" comment would be soul-crushing to me. And it was for a moment. Now I know that I can see it for the random comment that it most likely was and just move on. Turn, turn, turn.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Boom Goes the Dynamite

OK, so I've been reading so many posts with lists in them that I, too, have the List Fever. Or maybe it's the fact that the buzz I'm getting off this Tylenol Cold has made me leery of my ability to form cohesive paragraphs...Or, maybe I just had to find some excuse to use the above title. (For all you YouTube lovers, you'll know what I mean.)

They say that Life is a learning experience, so here's the highlights of what I've learned so far:

*****WARNING: spoilers*****

Circa Grade School
!!! Monopoly is pronounced 'mah-Awe-pah-lee', not 'Mah-noh-Poe-lee' and is not a rare form of the "kissing disease".
!!! Marigold and Bear from the Polka Dot Door can't actually speak, and nor can any other stuffed animal.
!!! In clue, Miss Scarlett is almost always the killer.
!!! Wearing glasses and braces pretty much qualifies you as a nerd. Putting a sticker in the corner of your glasses, definitely does.
!!! Perms are not cool. Especially if you shave the back and perm the top

Circa High School
!!! Getting drunk in secret is cool. Hangovers - pretend you have the flu, or suck it up.
!!! Sex can lead to: Pregnancy! STDs!! AIDS!!! (Seriously, is there anyone who didn't know this? I learnt this on an Afterschool Special.)
!!! High school dances really are as lame as everyone says they are.
!!! "Pass the Dutchie" by Musical Youth is not talking about a shortage of doughnuts
!!! Perms still not cool. Even if it was someone else's idea.

Circa University
!!! Getting drunk is cool, and does make you more popular. Hangovers are the hallmark of Good Times.
!!! Classes are a lot easier to pass if you actually attend them.
!!! It's not who you are inside, it's how you look that counts.
!!! There are people who don't know awful how you looked in grade school or high school.
!!! Perms may give hair body, but looking back - still not cool. Why can't I learn from past mistakes?

Circa Après University (i.e. "Real Life")
!!! Getting drunk? Not cool. Hangover - even less cool.
!!! It's not how you look, it's who you are that counts.
!!! It's not actually as easy to get pregnant as they told us it was in high school.
!!! Breastfeeding may be "natural" but it is in no way "easy".
!!! My hair is awfully flat. Maybe I should get a perm? Hmmm...

I think I'm growing up. Maybe.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Read My Love

I remember the events of the day that I fell irretrieveably in love with books, even if I don't remember the exact date. I had gone to the Hamilton Public Library and borrowed The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I took it home, and when I opened up the book, I opened up the world. Up until then, I had merely been dabbling in books, it was a hobby that passed the time. On that fateful day, I learnt that a book could not only tell an interesting story, but it could take you to a world you had never seen before, and never would see. Animals could talk. Magic was the norm, not the exception. I was enchanted. I read the book 10 times in a row before returning it reluctantly to the library.

Books have played many different roles in my life over the years, but the most significant of them has been that of friend. As a hyper-sensitive, introverted girl, I found myself more that once deeply hurt by people who I thought were friends. The disparity inevitably arose from lack of understanding. When I made friends, I thought they would be friends for life, without comprehending the fluid, transient nature of most childhood friendships. I turned to books for solace. In them, I found interesting people, exciting new places and shocking new ideas.

Now I don't advocate replacing human relationships with books, but it illustrates how intensely personal reading can be, if you choose to invest yourself in the activity. Many people eschew reading these days in favour of sexier new technologies: television, movies, i-pods, and so on. Most notable among these is the younger generation. I say it's time to put the "sexy" back into reading. It's time to show our children that reading is not only necessary, it's cool. And it doesn't hurt that, in my opinion, every time you read a book you get just a little bit smarter. And smart is sexy, period.

For my part, I am going to introduce The Boy to some of my old friends:

1. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling Ok, so I thought I'd get this out of the way first because, technically, I didn't read these books in my youth, but no list could be complete without them. Incorporating magic with the universal themes of friendship and overcoming adversity, these books empower children. And any book that sparks an international reading frenzy, convincing children who don't like to read that books are fun, is ok by me. And the people who think that these books are an evil attempt to promote witchcraft or indoctrinate children into the Wicca religion, should go find something more pressing to worry about. If anyone cares to debate me on this point, I say: Bring It On. (no reference to cheerleaders intended...)
2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis Well, duh, already mentioned above. But, I'd like to add that although the entire series was great, it was this particular book that caught my fancy. Stepping into a wardrobe, and ending up in a world where it's "always winter and never Christmas" - how cool is that?
3. Blubber by Judy Blume Most people would argue that Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret is the best Blume novel. Not me. Having struggled with my self-image my entire life, I empathized with Linda. I was also fascinated by the struggle of the main character, Jill. Who's side do you take? Should you make a stand, or keep quiet? How do we stop the bullying? In light of the increasing school shootings, many of which are a result of bullying in some form or other, this novel is timely and important still.
4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster Have you met Milo, the bored little boy who can't find anything "to do, nowhere (he)'d care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing"? This book, more than anything, taught me the find the exceptional in the everyday. It also introduced me to the wonderful world of Word Play. If The Boy ever says he's bored, I'm going to hand him this book to read.
5. The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel!) by Ellen Raskin One of my absolute favourites during my Mystery phase, this is an interactive whodunnit that reads almost like a word game. The author encourages readers to help solve the mystery in footnotes like "REMEMBER THIS PART. WRITE IT DOWN. OR PUT A BOOKMARK HERE. THIS IS A CLUE!"
6. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konisburg The perfect book for the Rebel Without a Cause. Claudia runs away to teach her parents a lesson: rebelling against the monotony of her life, unfair distribution of labor, limited television choices and low allowance. She sets up camp in the Metropolitan Museam of Art with her brother, solves a mystery and learns something about art. I loved every minute of it, and have yet to meet someone who didn't
7. Charlotte's Web by EB White A classic that needs no justification. It deals with some pretty heavy stuff in a way children can understand. I've never looked at animals in the same way since. SOME PIG!
8. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary What can I say? I grew up with Ramona and her indomitable spirit and love for learning is with me still.
9. The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson When I was growing up, there weren't many books that had a boy-girl friendship as the central relationship, but this book is so much more than that. It teaches the importance of true friendships, valuing the "now", and also deals sensitively with the tragedy of loss. If you don't cry, I'd be surprised.
10. The Tomorrow City by Monica Hughes Basically a young reader's prelude to sci-fi novels like 1984 and Brave New World, this book is about a city controlled by a super computer. The author's focus is the idea that technology is not a perfect solution to the many problems solved by man. This book fascinated me and was in the regular rotation - I'd re-read it any time that I didn't have a book lined up to read next.
11. The Prydain Chronicles (series) by Lloyd Alexander One day I came across The Book of Three in a bookstore and bought it because of the interesting cover. I was instantly hooked, and eagerly read all five books in the series. It's the classic coming-of-age story of a boy who journeys from assistant pig-keeper to courageous hero, from youth to adult. It typifies the fantasy novels that I read to this day, and this book was the start of it all.
12. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett A timeless classic that can be discussed on so many levels that I won't even try to start here. Suffice it to say that I fell in love with this book on the first page when I was introduced to Mary, the girl that nobody wanted because she wasn't pretty enough. Add to that a forgotten garden with no door, and I was lost forever to its charms.

Well, that my short list, anyways. A sort of "12 before the age of 12", in the vein of Kittenpie's recent post. If you have books to add, let me know.

I recently finished The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Near the end of the book, the author describes reading as an "an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day." I think that if I can teach The Boy to become a Great Reader, I will have accomplished something very worthwhile.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Do you have one of these people in your lives? For all intensive purposes, they are your friend. There is no reason on earth why the should not be. You have a lot in common. You attend many of the same social events. You live close enough to each other that distance is not an issue. You even have children the same age. But for some unknown reason, they simply do not like you. You've met the Un-Friend Friend.

What hurts the most about the Un-Friend Friend is the fact that you like them. You want to be friends with them. But no matter how hard you try, no matter what lengths you go to, it is never enough to be admitted into the inner sanctum. No matter what you do, you are always in the wrong. Always on the outside looking in.

The other night, I met the Un-Friend Friend when I was coming out of a Starbucks. She was on her way to dinner with her Real Friends and we had Awkward Conversation #456:

UFF: NoMo!

NoMo: Hi!

UFF: I always see you coming out of Starbucks. Do you
go anywhere else??

NoMo: (trying to make light-hearted repartee) Not really. Nope. It's kinda sad, actually...

UFF: Well, we're off!

NoMo: (watching dispiritedly as they recede into the darkness) Bye...!

Now, really. Was that sly little remark absolutely necessary? Yes, I do like Starbucks. Yes, I am there frequently. Yes, we do cross paths there rather often. I assumed that it was because she lives just up the street, and it is on my way home from The Boy's daycare. And it stands to reason that if she always sees me there, then she must be there too. Right? And, hey...I do go other places! (I just happen to like coffee. Alot.)

I could give her the benefit of the doubt. I could think that maybe she finds it difficult to talk to me. But I am generally pretty good at reading people, and the vibe coming off of her is decidely UN-friendly. And therein lies the heart of the matter. There is the thing that I just can't let go of. I cannot stand it when people don't like me. It irks me. It drives me to distraction. Am I not smart enough? Pretty enough? Cool enough? What??

It can be said that human beings strive for one of five goals in life: Love, Power, Success, Validation or Happiness. You could add Revenge in there too, but since Revenge is merely the reaction to not getting one of the aforesaid five goals, technically it is a sub-set and not an actual goal. For me, it all comes down to Love. We want Power so people will be forced to love us. We want Success so that people will admire us so much that they can't help but love us. We want Validation so that we can prove that people love us. And we want Happiness so that we can attract and keep the love that we so richly deserve.

For me, friendship is one of the key puzzle pieces to achieving the ultimate goal of Love. Friends are there for you when you need them. They support you when no one else will. They listen to your complaints. They challenge you to be better than you are, even better than you knew you could be. In short, they're all about love. Therefore, it is only natural to seek them out, nurture them, protect them. And for someone like me, who, although I have scores of acquaintances, finds true friends hard to come by, I cling to them with the tenacity of that thing from Alien. (Is that why they run away screaming? Hm.)

So why her? Why is this one friendship so important? Maybe it's because of who she represents. She's the Organizer, the "PTA Mom", the Involved Parent who I know I am going to have to interact with over and over again at school functions, neighbourhood gatherings and kiddie classes. She is The Person to Know if you want to get invited anywhere. She is the person you do not want as an enemy. And more specifically, I do think we could be good friends (or at least, especially civil acquaintances). If she liked me. Which she does not.

I am constantly in awe of the people who have the self-possesion to go through life not caring whether people like them or not. They are courageous. They are independent. They are the ideal to which I aspire. Maybe someday I'll get there. Till then, I'll be the strange girl at Starbucks offering to buy you a coffee in the hopes that you will be my friend.