There are two kinds of people in this world: up people and down people. Up people wake up and think “Yay! Another day for me to forge new horizons, try new things, meet new people!” Down people wake up and say, “Oh MY GOD, it can’t possibly be another day already.” Up people go to the grocery store and upon finding an empty spot where their favorite cereal is supposed to be say, “Oh that’s okay. Now is the perfect time for me to try this new gluten free granola!” because up people also tend to eat healthy. Down people react differently to this situation, “What? What kind of store runs out of Cap’n Crunch? Why ME? What have I done to deserve THIS?”
Guess which one I am. Ordinarily I wake up and ask myself why. Why did I have to eat those buffalo pretzel nubs at 10:30 pm? WHY? Why can’t I be one of those skinny midlife women who can exist on arugula salads sprinkled with lemon juice and can tuck their shirts in and wear a belt? ORDINARILY. But these days I wake up happy, energetic, thrilled even. Something wonderful is about to happen in my life and I don’t mean Season 2 of Better Call Saul, (although that certainly is another high point.) My youngest son is graduating college in May. Graduating college! The cap, the gown, the degree!! The whole thing.
He is my youngest of four and the only one to take the route of traditional college. I don’t need to tell you that this is going to be a big day for him and for me. Beyond that, I haven’t really thought it out. My ex said, “We should probably get rooms,” as the graduation is several hours away. “Oh yeah, we probably should,” I said, which as he knows, means…”You better take care of that.”
“I’ll book a block,” he answered.
One hour later I get an email addressed to the entire extended family from my ex’s girlfriend:
SUBJECT: WOO HOO!! J’s Graduation
Hi all, I have booked a block of rooms for the graduation and can’t wait to see everyone! All are suites! H, I have made arrangements for your dog, they will be expecting him. J, I have made sure that they have the special lemongrass water you like stocked up in the mini fridge. B, don’t worry about bringing your special body pillow, I have requested one for you. D, I told them about your eczema and they will have 100% Egyptian cotton sheets washed in hypo allergenic, hypersensitive detergent on the bed. Can’t wait to see everyone! If you have any other requests let me know,
After reading this I had to think for a moment: “Wait, I thought I was J’s mother. Did I dream that?” I mean I remember pushing and everything…
For a moment I was outraged, angry, aghast! Who is SHE to take over my son’s graduation? And then I was like, wait, what is the date of that again? and went to find the announcement I had received in the mail, which I know I had laid on my office desk that is now covered with Weight Watchers crock pot recipes. After searching for an hour, I found it in my bill pile. Then it hit me—Thank Goodness for girlfriend. Because if it wasn’t for girlfriend, we would all be sleeping in our cars after graduation as there now is not a room to be had within a 50 mile radius.
When I first was divorced, the idea of my kids spending ANY TIME with another woman literally made my stomach seize up. They are mine! mine! mine! More importantly, what if they like HER better? What if they truly connect with her, I mean what if she, you know, “gets” them? This woman, GIRLFRIEND, is beautiful, thin, blonde, hip, a lovely woman, but she is not their mother. I AM and you know what? My kids know it.
I am no longer threatened by another woman spending time with my kids, nor should you be. As they get older your bond becomes deeper, the love you have for each other steady, strong, true and unbreakable and most of all constant. There is nothing my kids could do that would make me love them less, and nothing I could do that would cause them to turn away from me. (Even that time I got tipsy at M’s birthday party and started singing Flo Rida’s “Apple Bottom Jeans” while dancing alone by my chair.)
So, I look forward to sitting with my children as we watch our J graduate college, all of us so proud of his accomplishment, remembering him as that tow headed little kid who use to race our car up the block, his little feet pumping away. Also, you will be glad to know I now have the graduation date firmly on my calendar. Just waiting to hear back from Girlfriend on attire.