Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Going to be a Fabulous Godmother

Here's my big sister and me chilling with my beloved godfather.
(Notice the beer and cigarettes behind me!)
In 1980, my Catholic parents asked their friend of a couple of years, Frank, to be my godfather. They could have asked one of my uncles, my Pop-Pop, or another friend, but no, they choose Frank. For the next 23 years, he truly never got over the thrill of having been asked.

Frank was an unlikely candidate for my parents’ friendship or my spiritual guide. He was a trucker who swore and cussed. He drank too much wine/margaritas/Tia Maria and lived in ratty t-shirts. He referred to his ex-wife only as The Bitch.

Despite that rough around the edges exterior, Frank had the biggest heart. Contrary to his politically incorrect humor, Frank viewed the world through his big blue eyes as being full of friends he had yet to meet. He loved and he loved big.

And he was my godfather. Mine! Of course he loved my parents and my siblings, but they could only call him “friend.” I got to call him “friend” AND “godfather.” That made me special.

Maybe in part because he didn’t have kids of his own, Frank always made me feel incredibly important, like no kid in the history of the universe was as awesome as I was. He would clap his hands together in delight and tell me how cool I was. He was endlessly amazed by my fabulousness. Can you imagine how that felt – for him and for me?

I have so many wonderful memories with Frank, like riding in his boat on the Atlantic Ocean, eating French toast at his house after my family had slept over, and smoking a cigarette with him and my dad (my dad! smoking!) on my 21st birthday.

But more than any of these moments, I will always remember Frank’s catchphrase with me.

Frank would ask me, “Who loves you?!” I would get super embarrassed and roll my eyes. So he’d say it again, amused by my embarrassment. “Who loves you?!” I would give in and say, “You do.”

As I got older, I wasn’t embarrassed to say I loved him. Instead, I would kind of shout my response! I wanted the world to know what Frank meant to me.

He would grin from ear to ear and laugh and say, “Ha! You’re cool.”

The day Frank died, I lost my number one fan. It's been 11 years and I still miss him terribly.

Given my relationship with my beloved godfather, I have always wanted to be a godmother. However, since realizing that I'm not down with Jesus and therefore am no longer religious, I figured I had no shot at being a godmother. 

I'll try to be as cool as this lady.
Well, I am honored to share that in the past five months, I have been asked twice to be a [non-Catholic] godmother!

The day her son was born – and what would have been my fifth wedding anniversary – my dear friend Melanie asked me over FaceTime from her hospital room in Germany if I would be her son’s godmother. (I will meet him in May!) And then, last week, I stood with my two-year-old niece during her child dedication ceremony and promised to love and support her through her spiritual journey.

It is a great honor of being asked to play a dedicated role in a person’s spirituality (Catholic or otherwise). Now, I am understanding more and more why Frank was so thrilled at having been asked to be my godfather. Especially since I don’t have children of my own, I am grateful for my roles as godmother and aunt.

Now it’s my turn to embarrass my godson, goddaughter, and nieces and nephews when I ask them, “Who loves you?!”

Have you been asked to play a special role in someone else's family? How did it make you feel?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time to Stop Wasting My Precious Time on an Unworthy Guy

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
-Ben Franklin
I loathe wasting time. Life can be wickedly and deliciously unpredictable, and I want to use every minute I have. There are many things I want to do and people I want to see, which require scheduling; ever since I can remember, when I see an empty space in my calendar, I am inclined to fill it.

I consider myself fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to be on call, a couple of extra dollars in the bank that I can choose to waste on my entertainment, an assortment of awesome friends to hang out with, and a healthy body that can exercise (I really appreciate this since my knee injury). So, I can and often do pack seven days a week with fun/fulfilling/intoxicating activities.

This is how I do my life and it works for my type-A self.

With this understanding of my values and personality, I have been struggling a bit the past few weeks. I have been seeing this guy, Mike, and thanks to him, I have realized that being with new people, particularly when dating, means gambling my most precious commodity. Sure, sometimes it pays off, but what if the guy sucks? That time spent with him could have been spent doing something that could have been guaranteed enjoyable time, and therefore my time can feel wasted. I HATE THAT.

(Yes, with an attitude like this one, I probably shouldn't be dating anyone right now. But anyway...)

Gambling My Time with a New Guy

Admittedly, from the start I described Mike as arrogant and spoiled, but also seeming to have a very sweet and generous side. So, why not give him a few tries?

A couple of dates later I was bored of hearing him talk about how super he was. I decided he was a good kisser but kind of a dick so I wanted out. I told him thanks but no thanks. Well, his response was so sweet that I completely second guessed myself and said nevermind, let's keep hanging out! This was extremely unlike me -- I'm usually quite decisive, almost to a fault.

What made me start accepting that Mike was not worthy of my time was when being with Mike meant losing time with people I care about.

A few days ago, I was hanging out with Pete and his best friend Kyle. These two guys have the most genuine bromance you have ever seen, so I love hanging out with them. (As a sidenote, I have a killer crush on Kyle, but of course he lives seven hours away. But I digress.) We spent a Sunday drinking bloody marys, eating french fries, and telling stupid stories about each other and just laughing a ton.

But, because I'm a compulsive calendar filler, I had plans to see Mike that evening. After Pete teased the hell out of me for double booking my Sunday, I had to tear myself away from him and Kyle. 

As I drove to Mike’s, all I could think was how much I was enjoying my minutes with Pete and Kyle, and now I was trading those minutes to be with a guy I was lukewarm about.

I was right. My time with Mike was fine, but whatever. My time with Pete and Kyle was great.

I gambled and I lost.

I saw Mike last night. I could have come home after my volunteering commitment and written a long overdue blog entry. I could have read for book club. I could have thrown in a load of laundry, caught up on People magazine, or gone to bed early. I could have done a bazillion other things that would have made me feel happy and/or productive. Instead, I spent a few hours with a guy who wasn’t that good of a match for me. I am now certain he isn’t going to be my boyfriend. And he was totally trying to pressure me in to having sex. What is this, West Beverly Hills High School?!

Why the hell did I bother? In my gut, I've known all along this wasn't a person I should choose to share my time with.

Again, I gambled and lost.

I’m done seeing Mike. He’s not worth the gamble.

Epic Mommy Adventures

Sunday, March 8, 2015

When Your Ex-Husband Tells You His Girlfriend is Pregnant

My ex-husband, Max, has brown eyes and long, black eyelashes. (I always said those eyelashes were wasted on a man.) Through our eight years together, I saw his eyes light up with joy. I saw them darken with secrecy. I saw them dull with shock and denial.

This time, I was seeing something I had not seen before. Could it be fear?

Max stood in front of me, shifting his weight, fidgeting his hands. He stood seven inches taller than me, but felt smaller. What was going on? We have been divorced for two years. What on earth was there for him to say to me that could reduce him to this?

“Kat,” his voice quivering ever so slightly, “I have to tell you something.”

“OK…” I replied. “Go ahead. You can tell me anything.”

“Well, we are engaged…”

Engaged?! I didn’t even know he was dating someone. In fact, I had assumed he hadn’t even kissed anyone since me. We got divorced because of his lack of desire for sex, so it didn’t occur to me that he would even want to date. He was so resistant to working on himself when we were in therapy. But I guessed this was good, right? Maybe this means he was coping with his problems and moving on? I can be brave and make myself happy for my ex-husband.

But there was more.

“…because she’s pregnant.”

Oh god. No. No. No!

Everything started flashing. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach filled with ice.

We were supposed to have children together. We were going to be amazing parents. When he took away sex, he took away our shared vision of parenthood. How the fuck could he already be in a romantic relationship complete with physical intimacy? Seven out of our eight years together I was desperate for intimacy. Five out of our eight years together we were in therapy. I wanted him to want me, and for seven years, he rejected me. 

Now I’m 35, single, and unsure if motherhood is something that even makes sense for me anymore. All because my husband would not (could not?) make love to his wife.

And now some other woman is pregnant with the child that was supposed to be mine?! It was more than I could bear. Like a pipe filling with ice, I was on the verge of bursting, a flood of fury and sadness and longing and jealousy.

I dropped my head in my hands as vertigo set in. 

“This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real!” I shrieked.
I couldn’t tell if the words were firing in my brain or if they were escaping my mouth.

Then, I woke up.

My heart was pounding and tears hovered in my tear ducts. I was all alone in my bed

I was right. It wasn't real.

How do you feel about your ex moving on? Are you happy for him or her?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do You Have A Five Year Plan? I Don't.

On their first date, my friend Tina’s now boyfriend asked her a big question:

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Much to her credit, she told him the truth, that she plans to be a mother, regardless of whether she is married.

“I knew I might scare him off,” Tina told me, “but I figured it would come out eventually anyway. If that was going to scare him, may as well scare him now!”

Very good point.

Anyway, this has had me thinking about My Five Year Plan. (More specifically, that said plan does not exist.)

Not being married certainly changed my perspective on the future. When I was with Max, it wasn’t My Five Year Plan, it was Our Five Year Plan. I thought that would include parenthood and getting dragged into a house (I’m so an apartment kind of person) and... ummm... I don't know. We'd do married stuff, like grow old together and talk about the good old days when we rented movies from Blockbuster and no one had a phone on the dinner table.

So much for Our Five Year Plan.

But now, I’m 35, unmarried, and living a pretty comfortable existence.

I have a stable job that I like. I own an apartment that I love. I love the town I live in; it’s the kind of place that allows for families and singles to coexist. I have solid, fulfilling relationships with my friends and family. I’m Putting Myself Out There. (I actually met two cool guys last week!)

Given the overall healthy place I’m in now, what should I be hoping and working for by the time I’m 40 in 2020?

Do I want to relocate?
Do I want to change careers?

Sitting here right now, my resounding answer is… eh, not really!

Honestly, I’m happy with how my life is today, therefore I think I would be happy if my life doesn’t change much. (Though, I would love to find love again.)

Based on the information I have right now, 

my Five Year Plan is for 2020
to not look at that different from 2015.

But, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I living a blessed, charmed life? Or am I not pushing myself hard enough? 

Do you have a Five Year Plan? What does your plan look like?