My phone makes me lonely

phoneHe sits a few feet away on the couch. I’m in my comfy chair. Lonely, I reach for my phone.

The next hour goes by. He is lost in the world of the History Channel and me into my little box.

I really want connection.

He probably does too.

But we are tired.

Always so tired.

So instead of asking for the hug I really need, I like photos on Facebook.

Instead of telling him how angry I am about the way a friend treated me, I read the news and feel the hopelessness of it all.

I used to think my cellphone was my friend, helping me stay connected with the people I love.

Now I’m not so sure.

The more hours I stare at its little white screen, the more acutely alone and isolated I feel.

I read a friends post and I know they are sad. I want to put my arms around them and let them cry big tears into my neck. I want to hold them tight, feel the warmth of their skin and let them know they are not alone.

Instead I write, “I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time.” I might add, “<<hugs>>” or “I’ll pray for you.”

Lame.

These are not the ways humans find comfort and connection. Our words are powerful, but eye contact and touch are infinitely more.

There is never time though. We are all so busy.

It seems nobody wants real comfort anyway. Not really. That’s a version of intimacy very few, myself included, even know how to handle.

Better to text a friend a sad emoticon with, “I love you. I’m sorry. Things will get better.”

Maybe share a quote of inspiration or a funny picture.

Typing the words is easy. Saying them and following through are completely different and require much more.

How many times have I saw a post of a friend whose pet or family member has died and I’ve typed, “sorry for your loss, let me know if there is anything I can do”?

Far too many times to even recount.

How many have taken me up on my vague offer of help?

None.

They aren’t going to do that. To ask for help in our culture is to admit you are weak. Americans are supposed to be strong. Pull yourself up. Push past it. Get over it.

We assume if they don’t turn to us, they have someone. I’m sure their spouse or close family is offering all the support they need. I’m sure they are fine.

We tell ourselves they would ask if they really needed something.

We stay hidden behind our devices, safe from really being there for them.

I’ve been told to keep things in perspective, be grateful for what I have and to just choose happiness.

I’m trying.

This week my body is telling me to stop it. I can’t just push it away. I can’t will myself to just be fine. There is no way to reframe the pain I feel in my heart.

Pain is pain.

It’s not competitive. It’s not subjective. It’s not a choice.

What I feel does not have to be explained away or pushed away. I can’t take a pill to make it disappear. I can’t bury it with food or drown it with alcohol. I can’t distract myself away from it with movies, TV or my cellphone.

I’ve tried all of that.

The pain keeps returning and it demands to be felt.

So I’m going to allow myself to slow down again, even though the voices in my head call me “weak,” “pathetic” and “crazy.”

I’m going to be gentle with myself. I’m going to try and be open. I’m going to ask for help.

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A messy little memory

Sometimes we just had to leave the house.

So we would walk.

I would put the little one, then about 10-months-old, in the carrier to save my arms.

I can remember the weight of her, the layer of sweat that would form between our bodies, and the way she would reach her chubby hands out and point at things.

She was so darn cute when she was strapped to me. Twenty-four access to milk and mommy’s face to touch were all she ever wanted.

We would follow my 3-year-old boy as he wandered the neighborhood in search of new sticks and rocks to add to his ever-increasing collection.

This day was particularly beautiful out. Spring was showing all over the neighborhood with bright purple flowers climbing a fence, ladybugs swarming the base of the neighbors Oak Tree and sunflowers reaching about knee level.

My boy skipped ahead and started playing a game involving counting, quick sprints and startling fast stops. I kept my distance so I didn’t run into him.

Then he fell.

Hard.

I caught up to him and tried to calm his screams.

That boy could yell so loudly for such a small thing.

I could see both his knees were bleeding and one of his hands.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit.

We are three LARGE blocks from the house.

“Can you walk?”

“Noooooooooooo!”

OK. Think.

“You have to stop screaming, you might make people think you’re really hurt.”

“Noooooooooooo!”

OK. Seriously…THINK!

I took the baby out of the carrier and sat her in the neighbor’s yard.

I grabbed him up, told him it would be OK, swung him and the carrier around to my back and adjusted the straps until he was securely tied to me.

He stopped screaming.

Yes.

He buried his face into my now sweaty hair and I’m pretty sure blew his nose.

Repeatedly.

No biggie.

I wasn’t really going for that “model mom” look anyway.

Then I realize I still have to carry chubby girl home.

In a maneuver, that thankfully nobody witnessed, I widened my legs and SLOWLY inched myself forward to grab the baby. I had to be careful not to topple over and kill her.

Seriously.

It was hard!

That’s when I noticed she has crawled next to the flower patch and apparently feasted on mud. She opened her mouth to smile at me and I could see nothing but dirty drool. She also managed to have it smeared into her hair and on most of her clothing.

She looked very pleased.

I do manage to get her in my arms and I start walking.

I’m sure you can picture it.

Here I am walking down the street in my suburban Rocklin neighborhood. You know…perfect lawns and nice SUV’s all around.

Yep.

It doesn’t escape my attention that I look like a lunatic.

I get it.

I am carrying a very HEAVY three-year-old on my back that is bleeding, softly crying and repeating in a very loud voice, “can you walk any faster?”

I am also carrying a 10-month-old that looks like I found her in a ditch somewhere drooling dirt onto my shirt and occasionally shoving her muddy hands into my face providing me with a nice little paint job.

I get it.

The several elderly neighbors out “weeding” their already perfect lawns had no idea what to make of me. They stared and shook their heads in judgment.

An impossibly fit mother jogged past with her twin babies happily, and very CLEANLY, eating snacks in their $10,000 custom-stroller that just happened to match her outfit. She sneered at me.

I laughed and continued to lug my darling offspring all the way home silently saying to myself, “judge all you want, cause I’m a badass.”

Yep.

I. Am. Awesome.

The moments when things get ridiculous and I do things outrageous for my children are some of my favorites. It’s those dirty, crazy and insane moments that make everything else worth it for me.

I’m a messy mom who sometimes does things over-the-top for my kids.

I can’t do it any other way.

Happy Mother’s Day!

lola

coop

Here they are all little and cute and stuff. I miss those days.