Anything I was ever good at (anything I ever succeeded at is more accurate… good at might be a stretch) was because I just sort of walked into it. Stumbled into it, through it, oh this is where I am now. Not that I didn’t work hard or make the best of wherever I was whenever I was, but so many experiences in my little world could have been absolutely non-existent if I had actually thought and planned and followed a play book.
In college I just did stuff. I just up and got an internship. Moved to North Carolina for the summer, stayed on Wake Forest’s campus. It was insane and expensive and lonely and oh god so so so hot. I took a red eye that flew through Ohio and it wasn’t until I was in a really long cab ride after my second flight that I thought, holy shit I am ALONE and I am really far away and I know nothing about what I’m about to do for the next few months. How did I get there?
I moved to San Francisco without ever being there before. Just drove on in with my best friend and set up shop in an apartment I HOPED would fit all of my stuff, an apartment I had signed a lease for sight unseen. It had mice and it was moldy and dark and terrible, but it was somewhere.
I met my husband off of twitter. Not even on purpose. I told him to pick me up on my cross streets for a photo shoot that was his idea because I thought that was internet-stranger-safety.
There are a million examples. Biggest maybe being Gabe. What did we know about having a baby? Nothing. What does anyone who has never had one know? Nothing, nothing at all. And I know nothing about having a 2 year old, and I know absolutely nothing about having a teenager, but so far we’re doing pretty well.
I do well when I jump into a situation and then assess. I work well when I can figure out the specifications of whatever is going on and act accordingly. I get anxious and make mistakes when I try to anticipate what’s about to happen. I didn’t read any parenting books when I was pregnant. I didn’t read any pregnancy books either. I just did it and as things came up I asked questions.
The only thing I know about marriage is what kind of person I want to be as an adult and what kind of person I want to be with me during that time. I work to try and make that a reality and that’s pretty much it.
A few weekends ago I felt completely unheard by Kamel. One of those days where all the little things piled up and toppled over and it was the kind of fight that starts out as a very calm, “hey would mind next time…” but then quickly turns into, “And then… AND THEN… AND THEN!!!!!!!!!” And Kamel left before I was satisfied and took Gabe to the park and I stewed in my own pissed-off-ness and I’m-not-being-heard-ness and I’ll-show-him-ness. And I went around the house systematically picking up all of Kamel’s wonderful handheld game devices and his fancy headphones he cherishes so much, and I hid them, scattered them around the apartment in places he would never look in a million years. And then I felt way better. He thinks it isn’t such a big deal to inconvenience me? Well I’ll show him!! I then sent him an ominous text about “All the things he loves most” … very ransom note style … and waited.
When he got home he knew there was a mystery to solve and my petty vindication turned into a lovely game where he understood that at any point in time I could fuck up his world and I felt loved because he was adorably searching high and low and not at all getting annoyed with me for briefly, if only on the surface, fucking up his world.
What I’m saying is, we’re starting to potty train Gabe and I just can’t bring myself to adhere to a certain program. On one hand this makes me anxious, on another all of my parenting successes have been of the brand “Well this seems to make the most sense and isn’t going to kill him, so…” So I’m just winging it? And remembering in the back of my head how to potty train a dog? And also being patient and kind and encouraging? And we bought a potty? And I figure eventually he won’t need diapers and we’ll call that success. This is me giving myself permission to not totally know or understand what I’m doing, but to have faith that it’s all going to work out. So that’s what I’m doing. Pat on the back for Lauren, it will all be ok.