Good Days

Today’s Sesame Street re run has that squeaky voiced minion of Satan Elmo sending Abby a letter – the word of the day is mail.  Eli and I half way watch the screen, and half way keep an eye on the street for trucks, and then suddenly a tune I know about as well as any song in the world warbles across my living room, and I grab my son and Eli and I and sway and turn and spin and sing together, and then rewind and sing and dance some more.

When I was a little girl, every Tuesday afternoon, for most my childhood, my mother picked me and my brother up from school and drove all of us into downtown Portland so my sister could go to speech therapy, and we always had some time to kill first, so every week we ate an early dinner at the same place, The Wheel of Fortune, in downtown Portland.  It may still be there, for all I know.  I hope it is.

Every week we could order either soup and bread, or salad, which I thought was absolutely rotten. I wanted to order cake or a sandwich or anything other than hippie soup and whole wheat bread.  So I’d be sulking and my sister was pretty little so she’d be screaming and we’d all be annoyed because my mother was making us take a walk and eat healthy food and drink milk when we just wanted to sit around and have Snickers and Cokes.

We always sat at the same round table next to the salad bar.  There was a big piano in the corner, and the pianist played specific songs for every day of the week.  We were always there on Tuesdays, and so they always played “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.”  My mother has a beautiful voice, I’ve always loved it, and for the rest of the day she’d sing little bits of the song to us, in the car or putting us to bed.  It was lovely.

Whenever I hear that song, I am right back there, sitting at a round table with some of my favorite people in the world, all of us complaining about the food, my mom stubborn and unyielding, my sister crying, me sulking.  And what felt so imperfect at the time has become one of my happiest memories.

Today is a good day.  I think any day in which you gut out a forty minute run and then come home and dance in the living room with your son and eat cold peppermint patties right from the refrigerator and then a song you love brings back a favorite childhood memory – that’s gonna be a good day. And also my house is clean and the sun is shining.  It’s a good day, for sure.

But make no mistake about it.  Any good day I have? It’s a day I fought very very hard for, and when someone tries to come along and shit on that, I take it very seriously.  I really do.

This is not an invitation for everyone to pile on a negative commenter or to defend me, or to establish that you can only comment if you blow sunshine up my ass.   This is just a reminder that I am no different from anyone else out there, that when you drive by my blog on a day I might have some sassy things to say, you don’t know that my son doesn’t eat, and that I dragged myself out of depression that nearly flattened me this year, and that I am still working on it. You don’t know that I worked at a series of soul sucking jobs in places I didn’t want to live in order to support my husband while he spent nine years getting his PhD, and that now it’s my turn.  That my sister is developmentally disabled and that I worry about her every day and that sometimes that worry pushes me to the edge and breaks my heart all at once and that I have moments where I want to take that burden from her more than anything I have ever wanted in this world.  That I fought my way back from a raging eating disorder and became a runner and now I’m fighting again. That I dragged my husband away from his family and his home state because if I don’t live somewhere sunny, my soul shrivels and dies.  That I spent my childhood in day care and it was miserable for me and that’s why I’m a stay at home mom.

And that’s the thing – everyone of us has to fight sometimes.  We all have things in our lives that make getting to the good days harder.  But you have a choice in this life.  With nothing more than words, you can make the world more beautiful, or you can be nasty.  And given this choice, I just don’t get why you would choose nasty. I just don’t get it, but I am thankful for the reminder – of how ugly snap judgments can be, of how hard fought good days are for everyone, and most importantly, that words are powerful – and that I would prefer to use mine for good.

Finally, let me just say that there are only two people on this entire earth who get to decide what my son needs, and those two people are me and Mr. E, so, nasty commenter, please don’t waste any more time telling me what my son needs.

And for the record, I am still having a damn good day, and I will continue to do so.

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18 Responses

  1. Atta girl! 😀

  2. I don’t get it, either. What is it that trolls think they’re DOING, when they do that? What is it they think about their LIVES and the MEANING of them, when all they do is spread ugliness and meanness? Where do they see themselves in the universe?

  3. If I move somewhere sunny, do you think Lucy will stop screaming? Don’t you guys have an extra bedroom for me?

  4. wow- I hadn’t seen that comment. and because I like you and your blog and I identify with you I kinda took that seriously too! shoo, nasty commenter.

  5. Wow. That was kind of awesome. I really hadn’t considered how simple the answer could be. Daycare=no worrying ever! Problems solved!

    Yeesh.

    Just got back from half hour bask in sun. I won’t ever move, but man does sunlight make a difference!

  6. Hooray for good days!

  7. So glad you are happy! And even more so, your son is lucky to have someone that is such an advocate for him – parenting isn’t a project and it doesn’t require community input.

  8. Hi – I’m from Portland (still live in the metro area) – are you talking about Holman’s on Burnside?! Where you spin the wheel to win food? That place is crazy!

  9. Amen.
    I had a troll leave a comment on my blog like it was a flaming bag of dog poop and it ruined my whole day. Finally, I just deleted it and emailed the person and said “Hey, that was kind of harsh. I don’t even know you. And you obviously don’t know me.”

    I should have left it there, but it smelled bad. Good for you, writing this.

  10. I’m proud of you for standing firm, E! You are a great mom and wife and you are free to say what you want when you want. If someone has an issue with your writing, they can always hit the magic red x in the corner of the screen to go away.

    I’m glad you had a happy day and I hope there are many, many more coming soon!

    hugs from the Wild West,
    M

  11. I get a fair amount of haters (or at least I’m starting to lately), other than being a sign you’ve made it, they’re also a sign of greatly insecure or angry people. Glad you are having a good day in spite of that.

    And peppermint patties from the fridge are the best.

  12. Well said, as always. Nothing else to add that hasn’t already been said, except that I admire the heck out of you.

  13. let her put that in her poke and smipe it. knuckleheads. spreading hate like it’s butter. makes my skin crawl.

  14. What works for each family is totally different. Mothers (I’ve noticed) tend to get kind of ishy about that — Mom A is doing things one way, and she believes they are right; when Mom B does things a different way and says they work, Mom A takes that as a suggestion that *her* way is wrong, and things degenerate from there. Emotional distance makes it clear that many ways are the “right” way, but I suppose it must be very difficult to have emotional distance with regards to one’s parenting.

    Which is neither here nor there. You must do what works for you. And good days are somehow sweeter when you have to fight for them, I think.

  15. sunshine AND cold peppermint patties? that is most definitely the recipe for a damn good day 🙂

  16. Good for you, some people are just so angry that they have to take it out on others. ridiculous.
    Now about those peppermint patties? In the freezer?! I must try this at once!

  17. Wow, that Wheel of Fortune reference really brought back some memories! I had totally forgotten about that place. My mom used to drag me there too! My memories of it are really fuzzy but I think it was in NW POrtland? Or was it by Portland State? I just remember thinking what the hell does she see in this hippy dippy gross food place?
    And I am sad to report that I do not think it exists any longer.
    I grew up in Southeast, near Hawthorne which is now uber hipster and expensive but when I lived there it was decidedly “wrong side of the tracks.” Where were you?
    Loving your blog. Ignore the meanies. What works for each person is so different and how dare anybody judge. I totally agree with you. Your blog is not a democracy. Keep on keeping on.

  18. Oh, how I hate trolls. Like you said, why would someone choose to be nasty? Just, why? I had my first troll a few weeks ago on a heartfelt post about our current housing woes and it totally blew me away that a stranger could be so mean.

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