Old Single Mom: "I've forgotten how to talk to grown-ups"

Greetings from Southern California.  (Yes, Chicago knows about this. Like I said…we are working it out ), I’m camping in some mountains right now, and I send these words to you from the past via a scheduled post.  By the time you read these words, I will have gone rogue.  I will have no phone. No Facebook. No WiFi.

Putting the phone down will be easy. I hate the phone.  Sometimes I forget the little pocket computer thingie IS a phone. All the phone does is bring more responsibilities into my consciousness, and frankly I don’t have time to deal with one more “to-do.” (Yes, I’m talking to YOU, job)

I will leave the campground, crank up the computer and connect to a Starbucks wi-fi a couple of times this week, so that G can connect with X. Even so, I still consider myself “off the grid.” Even the hippiest hippie would have Skyped their mom from their Occupy tent.

And yes, I’m totally gonna stay off Facebook when I’m in Starbucks..

Yes I am .

Yes I AM!

You’ll see...

And what scares me the most about this “off the gridness” is the complete emergence from the Bubble of “Me-n-G."

Sometimes I don’t realize what a “culture” G and I have created between ourselves. He fits me perfectly.  His words never jar me, or take me back.  He hasn’t hurt me, yet. His world aesthetic fits me like a baseball fits a baseball glove.... after it's been used to break in and condition that glove. He makes me laugh, sometimes intentionally.  And he’s the most beautiful thing on the earth I have ever laid my eyes on.

I know it’s a popular thing to say: “You aren’t supposed to be his friend. You are his mother.”

Well, sorry, but G is my friend.  In the most awesome, weirdest way.  Like a tiny puzzle piece. My corner piece.  The big differences between this friendship and my other friendships is that with this friendship, a)I get the final say on everything, and b) I get to give my opinions about how he should live his life, even without being asked.

But it is not until I emerge from the “Me-n-G Bubble” that I realize how far I’ve disappeared INTO the Bubble. And I know this by what happens once I get outside of the Bubble: I forget how to be a grown up among grown ups.  My hands balloon into giant White Mickey Mouse hands.  They float up from the sides of my body, indiscriminately, as I talk to people.  I feel like I have to push them down. It’s embarrassing.

And I begin to speak in Dolphin Squeaks. My sentences come out like a stream of third grader’s MadLibs. Little Yoda wouldn’t have blinked at my contributions to  these “mature conversations,” but present company stares, blinks, stares, puzzles….worries?

It’s not just communication that goes wonky outside of the Bubble. It’s physical space, too. Before I travel up the mountain, I will stay a night at a friend’s beautiful and, frankly, immaculate house.  With clear, clean counters and straightened up side tables, it is much easier to see the trail of carnage we leave in our wake than it is in our Bubble.  It’s like back in Family Circus cartoons, when you could see Billy’s path by following the little dashes: through the playground, down the slide, into the candy store…


Take out the black dashes, and in their place, put kid cups, underwear, gum wrappers, books lent to me, a plate with a half eaten slice of peanut butter toast and untouched scrambled eggs, and you know where me and my son have been.

There is, too, being flogged by the unfiltered musings of a five year old who freely dispenses personal information to whatever ol’ person happens to be standing near us at the time, leaving me with only sheepish concurrences and sad stabs at face-saving “after the fact.” (“My mom, she likes the naps.” And “Yeah, we don’t really take baths in my Mommy’s bathtub.”)

And here is the worst part about leaving the Bubble: compared to G, I’m an emotional guru. I’m frickin Buddha. Compared to my five year old, I have total dominion over my behavior.  I don’t tell little girls they aren’t pretty. I don’t pull my pants down and walk around, grabbing my junk. In the space of my tiny apartment, I’m pretty high up the Mountain of Respectable Behavior. But when thrown into the Real world, and forced to deal with sentient beings, somewhere from behind my deceptively impersonal interactions on social media sites, and the in-my-face love for G, all of my unhealed emotional junk floods to the surface and streams out of the hairline cracks of my personality.  I get shy, and super sensitive, and jealous, and insecure, and lonely all over everything and everybody.

And that junk’s grown a bit.  Turns out it flourishes in darkness.  Silence is like sunlight to these weeds. And without a viral meme to uptick my mood, and other people’s problems to make me feel okay about myself, it can get a little ugly out there.

But this week, me and G have to walk out of our Bubble. And the connection, for four mostly uninterrupted days, will be person-to-person, voice-to-voice, heart-to-heart, and, with five rug rats and a couple of teens in tow in a campground with no showers, chances are it will also be “stink to stink.”

And before I even get to the campground, I know I will suffer this week.  I know, at times, I will feel like I’m suffocating. I know I will feel alone. I know I will believe the lies my junk tells me. Because that’s what happens when you take away every filter between me and the stinkin’ world. Every damn time.  But I also know that those are the cracks that let the light in. Sucks, but yeah…..

Maybe it won’t happen this week. But it probably will.  And I will be able to lean in, and hopefully shave off some of that nonsense. Or at least, I will be able to see where I need the most work these days.

August 1st marks my one month anniversary with ChicagoNow. They say the best relationships find you when you are not looking, and that was certainly true about this site. Conventional wisdom would say that one month in is too soon to be taking a week off a relationship But..I gotta go do  this. I’ll see you next week..

Thanks for reading, and carry on…

Old Single MomYou guys, come see me on Facebook. I live there.
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