The Can’t Sleep Meme
Would it be hard to kiss the last person you kissed?
Not at all! This is the last “person” I kissed:
When is it hard to kiss someone?
Only when they want to kiss you and you don’t want to kiss them. Then it is extremely awkward and uncomfortable.
You’re trapped in a room with your most recent ex for three days, what do you do?
Talk about the kids, the dogs, work. Watch television. Sleep. It would be a long three days. I doubt that we would fight. I would be really bored without a computer, my iPhone, and/or my flute, piccolo, and/or piano. I would worry about the boys, even though I know that they are quite capable of taking care of themselves. After all, they are grown men. But a mother never stops worrying, of course, no matter how old her kids are.
Does it matter to you if your significant other smokes?
Very much so. BigBob smoked when we met. He didn’t smoke very much and if I recall correctly, the brand he smoked was Merit. The cigarettes were very mild. However, I told him that I would not bring up a child with a smoker and he agreed to quit when I became pregnant. Indeed, the very day I that the pregnancy test was positive, he lived up to that promise. He cheated a few times in the months that followed — which my sister made sure to tell me since he did it when my brother-in-law took him out drinking and, since he was a heavy smoker, encouraged him to cheat — but soon quit permanently. He has always been very glad that he did.
Have you ever regretted letting someone go?
Regret is not the correct word. I did wonder for quite some time whether or not I made the right choice by ending a relationship. From time to time, I wondered how things might have turned out had I not done so. But I have always known that I made the right decision and that fact was reinforced recently when I received an update about his life circumstances which included a picture. I literally did not recognize him. Our lives and viewpoints could not be more different. I wish him well, but know that a relationship with him would have ultimately proven disastrous — for both of us.
Where would you go if you were butt naked and locked out of your house?
To the private deck off my master bedroom which is separated from the rest of the backyard by a gate. I would fire up the hot tub and relax while waiting for the boys to come home, discover me, and unlock the door. (Hopefully, they would unlock it after they finished laughing at me!)
Do you want to please everyone?
No, because it is literally impossible.
I used to make a great effort to be a people-pleaser, but much of the time I ended up frustrated. It stems back to my childhood. My mother and sister made sure I understood that I could never accomplish any task according to their demanding specifications. They were both very judgmental and harsh.
In my mother’s case, she would ask me to help around the house. I would do my best. But she was always extremely critical and would re-do the work — right in front of me. For instance, I have a distinct recollection of dusting the piano. I must have been about 12 or 13 years old. She walked up behind me, began telling all the ways I was not dusting in accordance with her standards, and then brusquely told me, “Just go on. I’ll do it myself.” I never again dusted until I was situated in my first apartment. The first time I again dusted that piano was when it was delivered to the living room of the house I used to own.
As for my sister, one of the reasons we no longer celebrate holidays with her and her family is her need to do everything herself and not accept assistance or contributions from me. In fact, this past Thanksgiving was only the second time in my adult life that I sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner in my own home that I prepared.
After my mother no longer felt she could cook and host the meal, my sister insisted on doing so at her home. Every time I would ask what dish I could bring, she would assign me the task of bringing a bottle of wine (that nobody opened or drank) and dinner rolls. Inevitably, we would arrive at her house with those items in hand only to find that she had already purchased dinner rolls — and served her own. She would put our wine and rolls in a bag and send them home with us. She would work for days and prepare a delicious meal, but I never enjoyed myself because I always felt like the hanger-on, the ne’er-do-well relative who was invited out of obligation, but not really wanted. One year I absolutely insisted that I was not coming for Thanksgiving unless I could prepare and contribute a dish. I made two and took them to her house. Predictably, they were not good enough.
So a number of years ago, I became empowered and advised her that my family would be going out to eat, but would be happy to stop by her house for a holiday visit after our meal. And so began a tradition that we just broke. Sometimes she and her family would join us at our favorite restaurant, sometimes not. Even when they did, she still baked a turkey and pies, insisting that she wanted her house to smell like those foods and her husband would want turkey sandwiches the next day.
In 2002, we moved into my parents’ former home, the house in which I grew up. I was very excited about the prospect of bringing my mother, who was living in a local assisted living facility, back to the home she had so lovingly cared for over the course of 43 years. I wanted very much to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. So BigBob helped me, and we prepared the entire meal, serving it using my mother’s China, my Noritake crystal, and my mother-in-law’s silver (she had died the previous May). I made sure that the house was spotless and tried very hard to make the meal tasty and enjoyable.
My sister, brother-in-law, and nephews showed up, along with my oldest nephew’s then-girlfriend. It was clear that they did not want to be there. My sister displayed disdain for my efforts and openly criticized the way I prepared the food, saying, “I’m just trying to give you some helpful suggestions for next time.” My brother-in-law went out to his car to smoke . . . and never came back in. My sister explained, “Well, he would rather be at home in his own house. He doesn’t like to come over here because you have ‘pygmy furniture.'” (No, I’m not kidding. How could I make up such a story?) My nephews, who have never interacted much with and let my boys know that they really couldn’t care less about them — they are only interested in their friends — were obviously bored and left shortly after dinner.
To top it all off, my mother did not recognize her own house. She asked me if we had “indoor plumbing” and inquired, “Does this house have an upstairs?” We took her back to the assisted living facility, I came home and cleaned up as I cried my eyes out, and vowed I would never again invite my ungrateful and ungracious relatives to my house for a holiday.
I relented, trying it one more time that Christmas Eve, again wanting to make it as pleasant as possible for my mother, but my relatives’ behavior was much the same.
That was the last time my mother was able to join us for the holidays. Because I included my sister and her family, I did get this now-cherished photo of my mother with her four beloved grandsons:
Over the course of time, especially in the years since my mother died, I had to face the sad reality that my sister and I have nothing in common and she has no desire to have a relationship with me. Every time I spoke to or saw her, I ended up feeling bad about myself, my family, my life . . . and I could no longer deny that was her goal, her purpose. For reasons that I cannot fathom, she presents one face to her friends and another to me, apparently out of a need to put me down so that she can feel better about herself and her life. I am used to not being believed by mutual friends or acquaintances if I relate things that she has said or done, or how I feel about her or my relationship with her.
I haven’t seen or spoken to her for more than a year and I can say only that I miss the idea of having a sister and am envious of other women who are close to their own sisters. But I do not miss the reality of who she is, how she has treated me and, most importantly, my children over the years, or the way my dealings with her always left me feeling.
Not laboring under the pressure of trying to please my mother or sister, despite the certain knowledge that I will fail, has freed me in myriad ways and eliminated a whole layer of stress from my life.
Have you ever been called heartless?
I have been called vile names a few times, but I don’t recall “heartless” being one of them.
My favorite of all the insults that have been hurled at me came in conjunction with Conservatorship of Wendland. When the case was appealed, an attorney by the name of James Braden was appointed to represent Robert Wendland, the gentleman whose life was at stake. He called me and apparently thought that one telephone conversation with him would convince me that my clients’ position was wrong and we should abandon the case.
I have spoken with a lot of arrogant people in my time because, after all, I deal with lawyers every day, but Braden still tops the list as the most obnoxious and hateful person I have ever had the misfortune of having to deal with. Not five minutes after our first telephone conversation ended, the receptionist brought me a faxed letter. He must have been typing it while we were speaking on the telephone. In it, he told me that I was “monstrously evil and drippingly self-righteous.”
I framed it and hung it in my office. He inspired me to beat him in court, no matter how hard I had to work.
On May 31, 2001, the day after we argued the case before the California Supreme Court, Good Morning, America led off their broadcast with a sound bite: “We lost this case today.” You guessed it. The man who said those words on camera was none other than Braden. I still relish that moment.
Yes, I believe in karma.
Someone calls you at 3:00 AM, who do you expect it to be?
Since he sometimes works nights, I expect it would probably be BigBob. Given his track record with keys, he would most likely be asking if I have a spare key to his pick-up. (I don’t.) If I had a nickel for every time BigBob has lost his keys in the past 25 years, I would be retired and living in my Hawaiian beach house. (I don’t actually own a Hawaiian beach house, obviously.)
Does it matter if your significant other drinks?
Could you go the rest of your life without doing drugs?
I can’t even go 24 hours without Zyrtec.
Which is better, amazing eyes or an amazing smile?
Hard choice, but I think I would have to go with the amazing smile because I love to laugh and have fun.
Do you want to get married and have children one day?
Never again (as to marriage). I’d like to have some grandchildren eventually.
Are you easy to get along with?
Extremely. I am flexible, easy-going, and determined to have fun along the way.
Describe your life currently in one word.
Who would you allow to read your thoughts for one day?
Sophie. Actually, I am convinced that she already does.
Are there things in your life that you will never be able to get over?
I don’t believe in the term “get over.” I think that there are life events from which it is difficult to rebound. But human beings are nothing if not resilient, intent on surviving.
I’ve experienced some losses and a lot of difficult times. But I always pull through and bounce back, stronger for the experience. I have an excellent memory and can recall some of those times in great detail. The memories are not all pleasant, but they inform who I am today as I type these words and, for that reason alone, are valuable.
If you woke up naked next to the last person you kissed, what would your reaction be?
I would wonder what happened to my clothes, but be absolutely confident that she did not remove them while I slept!
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