Gate A-4

This made my day.

Live & Learn

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Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be…

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My own kind of list.

Dear Reader,

I’m not the only one who constantly sees Huffington Post lists on “The Top 10 Habits of People Who Are Successful/Efficient/Flawless/Better Than You” am I? These little things pop up in my newsfeed all the time, and it’s almost like Facebook/Pinterest/the entirety of the interwebz is intentionally taunting me with how little I am able to consistently accomplish these days. In response to this, I have decided to compose a list of my own. My college roommates, and fellow new moms contributed to this list. I hope you enjoy.

The Top Ten Habits of People Who Are Hanging in There (new moms, specifically).

1. We don’t shower. Not regularly anyway. Who needs hygiene when you know that 10 minutes after you get out, you are GOING to have baby poop in your hair? It’s easier, and more efficient to just not care, grab a hat, and embrace your greasy hair.

2. We don’t clean in general. We don’t stress about it, either. The dust gives us something to draw with, thusly allowing us to explore our creative side a little while the baby that pooped in our hair earlier sleeps on top of us. We don’t want to wake up the baby, so dust bunny decoupage it is!

3. We plan ahead for the next day by falling asleep in our clothes. 6:00AM is awfully early, especially after being woken up 3+ times in the night by a hungry infant. We maximize our personal sleeping time by consistently falling asleep in the previous day’s work clothes, and simply changing our shirt 10 minutes before having to walk out the door. We think we look great. You should too.

4. We drink coffee like it’s water. Not to maximize productivity, but to keep our eyes open long enough to change one more diaper, get through one more feeding, and read “The Napping House” one more time. Why we torture ourselves with a book about everyone getting to sleep but us is beyond me.

5. We avoid mirrors. It’s much easier to to be ok with your lack of shower, and yesterday’s applesauce covered pants if you can’t see yourself. If you can’t see yourself, you can pretend that you are ready for your “Vogue” cover shoot.

6. We don’t eat. Well, we do, but frantically. If we have the luxury of having time for a hot meal, we tend to wolf it down so quickly out of habit, that we burn parts of our mouth.

7. We don’t wear makeup. Not unless we fell asleep in it the night before, that is. Again, it’s an excellent timesaver.

8. We frequently take naps in the driveway. Sometimes, the baby who pooped in your hair (nope. Never letting him live that down) falls asleep while we are driving around, trying to eat a couple of cold french fries. We take advantage of this opportunity by pulling into the driveway, NOT turning off the car, and trying to catch a couple of zzz’s ourselves while our little one snoozes happily in their car seat.

9. We stop caring about wasting gas. It bites us in the ass sometimes, but that driveway nap… Sacrifices must be made. If paying a little extra every month insures that I get to freak out my own parents by taking a bi-weekly snooze in their driveway, then so be it.

10. We have learned to stop sweating the small stuff. Things happen. Hair gets pooped in. Showers become a rare treat. Chick-fil-A has become our idea of a gourmet meal. But you know what? We’re doing ok. We’re hanging in there. And we kick ASS at this whole “mommy” thing. The rest? It’s just icing on the cake.

Zen, and the art of being ok with yourself.

Dear Reader,

Today I am going to talk about something that plagues many (if not all) mothers at some point in their path of parenthood. Dads too, if any happen to be reading. Being all things to all people. Perfectionism. Needing to do everything perfectly, every time we do it.

Let’s start with a personal anecdote to introduce the topic, shall we? This past week, I pulled out all the stops at the house. I swept. I kept the kitchen in decent shape. I did the laundry. I cooked my own breakfast every morning (those of you who see me regularly know that this is a BIG DEAL). I continued jogging. I even showered regularly, and put on make up. Throughout all of that, I continued to successfully mommy (yes, I use that word as a verb. Deal with it). Eli was as happy as he could be, relatively hygienically sound, and eating like a champ.

This weekend there was also a big Texas wine festival in the downtown district that my little family calls home. My sister was coming to town with her husband to partake in the food, drink, and music of it all. The evening of the first day of the festival, I was WORN OUT. My parents took Eli home with them halfway through the day (the hippie was working, as wine festivals tend to have people who REALLY need foodstuffs), and I got to walk around little in the name of trying to cover the festival for a little side project of mine (art979.com. Check it out!). I wasn’t able to get what I wanted, but I DID get to play with my sister a little bit, and that was something I desperately needed. But, I was still pooped, and hadn’t seen my baby boy in several hours, so instead of covering the concert I was really looking forward to, I hiked back to my car and drove as quickly as I could to go pick up my baby. My dad and step-mom had loved on my sweet kiddo all afternoon, and had grand plans to make sure that we had dinner before going home to a house with clean floors, clothes, and a fridge stocked with food (remember that part where I did ALL THE THINGS this week?).

Aside from my exhaustion, I felt awesome. I had a clean house. I had made tracks on getting my job done. I managed to be social, and look nice. My child hadn’t caught on fire. Then my dad helped me carry my kiddo to the car so we could go home.

There it was. All the mess that was left in my life was hiding in my car. At least a dozen empty coffee cups, fast food bags (foodie shame…), spare shirts, old mail, you name it, and it was in my car. Evidence that I was not the flawless Wonder Woman wannabe that I was trying to be. “Honey, it looks like a homeless person lives in your car” is how my loving father put it. I was humiliated. Didn’t he know that my house was gorgeous? That I put on a bra, and PANTS every day this week? That I managed to successfully adult all week without having a single nervous breakdown?

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t handle this with the kind of grace that I like to tell myself is instinctual for me. I snapped something about not having time, and then got in my car, and drove home without hugging my daddy goodbye for the night.

Sidenote: don’t worry, I apologized, and we have hugged many times since. But why was I so upset over having my car mess pointed out?

Because I missed something. I had tried so hard to be perfect all week, and had done pretty well (for me). And here was glaring proof of my failure. Of my missing something. Of not being able to sufficiently do all the things. Of not being the flawless creature that I tell myself I am capable of being.

Ok, dear readers. I’m going to go ahead and say it, and we can all just know it together. You aren’t perfect. You can’t do everything. And that’s ok. Those messes? Let ’em rest. You’ll get to them eventually (or, at least you’ll tell yourself that). But really? They’re just a sign that there is so much more in this life than having a clean house (or car). Who cares if someone notices that you missed a spot? In all honestly, that person probably needed the reminder that it’s ok that they haven’t had their oil changed in almost a year. Well, maybe not ok, because everyone needs transportation that isn’t about to die on them. BUT ok that it’s their turn to be the friend who needs it to be their turn to be an accepted mess.

Right now, it’s my turn. I’m a new(ish) mom. I am an actor. I have a couple of part time jobs. And I am passionately in love with my partner. Things are gonna slip. There are going to be weeks when the dishes don’t get done every night. When there is a coffee cup graveyard in the car. When something mysterious starts growing in that one tupperware dish in the back of the fridge. And that gets to be ok right now.

Sincerely,
A “Y’all. Eli is STANDING.” me

Well, I’m officially a mom.

Dear Reader,

Why am I just now “officially” a mom? I have clearly been a parent for over 8 months now, so why is it just now official?

Orange puke.

Gross? Yes. But I would relive that moment a million times if I had to.

Here’s what happened. My sweet boy has been in the throes of teething for several months now. He still has no teeth, but he DOES have the drippy nose, constant drooling, and the need to gnaw on EVERYTHING that tends to accompany teething. Another lovely side effect?

Nausea. Poor buddy.

One day this past week, he seemed to be having a pretty good day. Ate with abandon. Was playing happily. Insisted that he have some of mommy’s hummus, in the way that only a baby who has a tendency to grab all the things can do. I wasn’t worried. He’s had hummus before, and loves it. But on this day he apparently had more of a nasal drainage problem than I noticed initially. That + garlicky hummus = orange puke. All over his doting mother’s new white skirt.

Why does this incident make me a mom “officially”? Because I didn’t even notice.

I was standing there, holding my poor, puking child, and I didn’t notice. He was throwing up all over me, and I didn’t even notice until after he was done being afraid, and decided to be impressed with himself (really. He was quite proud of the sheer volume of what was coming out of him. Giggling, even).

As gross as it all was, I can’t tell you how empowering that was. I wasn’t freaked out. I didn’t panic. I just held my sick boy, and let him get all the “yuck” out of his system until he felt better. And I didn’t bat an eye.

Booyah.

Sincerely,
A “oh, and I had food poisoning this week too. It’s been a fun week at our house” me

This? This is a happy boy. I think we need a puppy.
This? This is a happy boy. I think we need a puppy.

‘sup, teach?

Dear Reader,

I survived my first day of teaching voice lessons. What are my thoughts?

1. My kids are ADORABLE. Seriously, they show up ready to work, and actually listen to me.
2. Their parents are involved, but not in a bad way. They are supportive, want to know what their kiddo is learning, and aren’t just trying to fill the time between school and bedtime.
3. Thank GOD I’m hyperactive. Because my cartoon-esque personality catches their attention, and keeps it.

Overall… I’m in love. I forget how much I love working with young singers until I get to do it again.

More, and more, I can’t help noticing that I’m becoming my mother. Get out of college, and be “done with classical music”, only to eventually find my way back through the teaching of the littles. I’m ok with that.

I meet my second batch of students in a few hours, and I could not be more excited!

In theatre-y news, the break has been lovely. I may not be ready to head back to rehearsal just yet, but I am ready to start working. I need to read me some plays, dadgummit! I need a character to research. I need a concept to start chewing on. In short, it turns out that I need an acting fix. As much as I’m enjoying my downtime, it hasn’t even been a month, and I’m already getting twitchy without having material to work on. Apparently I love what I do. Crazy concept, right?

In domesticated type news, my boys are great! The hippie is still a cooking fiend, Eli has decided that crawling is a waste of time, and is trying to teach himself to stand without mommy’s help (noooooooo!), and I have finally vanquished the tiny assholes that were living in my pantry.

What was that you ask? What tiny assholes? I’ll tell you. Pantry moths. Disgusting, starch invading pantry moths. We had to get rid of all the food in the pantry (bye polenta), scrub the pantry down with vinegar (multiple times), and then chase tiny fluttering things yelling “die, you cruel winged, interloping, bastard” whilst swatting them with a fly swatter every time we saw one hiding in the pantry after the initial purge.

Ok, so the yelling was unnecessary, but it felt good at the time. Getting rid of that many organic groceries hit us where it hurt, and we needed to hit back.

Until next time, dear readers.

Sincerely,
A “They were even stupid enough to try and pro-create in our Cayenne pepper. It was…gross” me

P. S. Alas, the media file uploady thingamabob isn’t functioning, so you’ll have to wait for a current pic of our standing, trying to toddle little man. Shorry.

So what happens now?

Dear Reader,

We did it! We made it through our first season, and still want to keep going! We all grew as actors, conquered challenging material, and none of us caught on fire or died!

Oh, and my son was just fine. He did great! He still isn’t sleeping through the night, but guess what? Neither am I. My own parents are still waiting for me to call them and tell them that I can finally make it all the way to morning, so I have to cut the kiddo some slack.

So… now what?

Next on the agenda: a small break from the theatre as we all recoup, and adjust to another school year. Some members are moving on, some are going back to school, and some of us are starting new jobs. That’s right! I start teaching voice next week for a few hours a week. EEK! I love teaching, but… gah! It’s always nervewracking. I have those little voices in my hands. I am responsible for the way the tiny ones develop as performers. Because of me they could either love, or hate singing for the rest of their lives. No pressure.

Itzhak Perlman always tells his students to teach every chance that they get. That the best way to become a master of your own interment, is to teach others to use it. Well, I am a singer. Voice is my instrument. Bring it on.

Until next time dear readers, raise your soft palate, and try again.

Sincerely,
A “Oh! Guess who is starting to try to stand up? GAH!!!” me
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Finally! The secrets of the books are mine!

First Weekend Post-Mortem

Dear Reader,

Holy flying cars of the future, Batman! WE DID IT!!!!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have now opened all three shows of our first season without having a dress rehearsal for any of them. Utterly terrifying? Yes. Do I hope with all my heart that we never have to do that again ever ever ever ever ever ever ever? HELL yes. Am I still insanely proud of the fact that we pulled if off, and pulled it off well?

You bet your boots. The good pair. Not the shit-kickers.

I found her. Terry was relatable, likable, vulnerable, a little insane near the end, and ultimately; human. Mission accomplished.

Now I just have the task of not slacking off for the next three weekends. *gulp* It’s so easy to allow myself to get comfortable in a role once it’s familiar, but if I do that with this chick, I’m sunk. If I let myself relax too much she won’t be what I need her to be: herself. She is a high control, high maintenance, nice person, who never stops being a teacher for one moment. “Relax” is not in her vocabulary. Her idea of down time is finding the most intricate classroom project possible (you KNOW she is on Pinterest), and making each one of her students their own, individual version of said project. She is a little tightly wound, and while I myself can chill a little, I can’t stop feeling the need to work with her, or she will be a little too “honey, just sit down and have some tea while we talk about our feelings”. Or something to that effect.

BUT for the moment, I am going eat some celebratory bacon, and focus on the important thing…WE DID IT!!!

Go Mom, go!
Go Mom, go!