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Mix Tape

Yesterday Jay and I spent most of the afternoon sifting through boxes of books and papers trying to eliminate boxes we've been hauling around since we got married.

While Jay slimmed five boxes of books (his sentimental attachments) down to 2 or 3 boxes, I spent the entire time on one box of papers and letters. They were things I had saved since I was about 14 years old. Looking at the dates of 1990 and 1991, I hardly batted an eye. That seems like yesterday in print. Then I realized that was SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO and I almost couldn't breathe. I don't feel like I've even been on this earth long enough to have been constructing complete sentences on paper and compiling them in a book 17 years ago.

I found a few treasures in the midst of a bunch of crap. One was a snarky note I wrote to an English teacher my freshman year. I was touched, as a 31 year old reading it, by the kindness of her response. I was moved to email her and thank her. Not just for the note, but she was one of my favorite teachers ever. I'm sure she'll remember the nondescript girl she had 17 years ago who's last name was Smith. But, I felt compelled.

I found a mix tape that one of my best friends who I later developed a hopeless crush on and who even later turned into a gay guy---had made for me. I couldn't wait to hear what was on that tape. I just turned it on while I was making lunch and basically it's all those sappy songs that now they play in the dentist office while you are reclined, mouth pried open, having slobber kindly sucked out of your mouth because you can't do it yourself.

I had my back to my children as I lathered mayonnaise on bread and "our" song came on. It was Vanessa William's "Saved The Best For Last". I can remember so clearly the anguish I felt as I listened to that song when I was 16. ".....All of the nights you came to me, when some silly girl had set you free. You wondered how you'd make it through, I wondered what was wrong with you...." I closed my eyes mid-mayonnaise stroke and tried to conjure up those old feelings. They were so REAL back then. There seemed to be no relief, there seemed no other way than to feel that way.

Nothing.

I turn around and barked at Ben and Avery to get off the table, for the 4th time since I started making their lunch. They are still in their pajamas. I'm not sure if either of them ate breakfast, I can't remember that long ago.

I turn back to the sandwich and smile at my failed attempt to relive the past. I remember how desperately I wanted things to go back then, and how none of it did. And now, none of what might have been--is my history. No heartbreak of a boyfriend telling me after all, "I've decided to be gay" (he did "decide" by the way---his words, not mine). No time wasted in a town or in a relationship, hoping for something that shouldn't have been. No history of turning someone gay...:)

I smile because I've been struggling lately with feeling worthwhile. Feeling like I'm doing right by my kids---particularly when most days turning on the TV is the most I can do for them. Feeling like I'm holding up my end of the deal in marriage. Did Jay really mean to marry a smart, sassy, slender, redhead, only to end up with 3 kids and a plump, frumpy wife five years into it? Could keeping a house and finances really be this hard?

Tonight I have a husband coming home after work who is more of a friend, husband, and father than I ever dreamed I would have. I have a home I love to be in. I have friends I can call at any time for any reason. I have a blog. :) I have an almost 4 year old who's smile melts my heart, who gets my jokes, who tells me daily--things like, "I'm smiling because I was sinking about that joke dad told me about greasy chicken" and every time he has to use the bathroom, and then long monologues while he does. I have a two year old who says "I need a hug" right after I scold her and always wants "one more tiss" at nap time and night time. I have stretch marks. I have dirty dishes in my sink. I have a future I look forward to.

I hope in 17 years I can close my eyes as I lather flax seed spread for regularity on my wheat germ bread and "relive" these moments and feel the perfectly blessed way I feel now.

Having the blog is the main thing. :)

This is such a tender and real post..."none of what might have been is part of my history." Such a perfect phrase. And isn't it great that THAT is a blessing?

And I really needed the giggle over flax seed spread for regularity.

I don't remember if I have told you this or not, but... you really are a wonderful writer. This one single blog has conjured up memories from high school that make me want to cry, smile, and wonder if I should have done something different. At the same time it has made me pause and look at my three girls and want to cry, smile and wonder if I should be doing something differently or better. I stick to my opinion that you should be writing short stories for magazines.

Now I am off to figure out those finances!

And I forgot to give you back the best advice you ever gave me: "Being a mom is mostly about being PRESENT." That has saved my hormonal lazy butt more times than I can tell you and it completely holds true. You can be assured that you're holding up your end of the deal. At least you still turn the TV on for your kids. I make them do it themselves. :)

Oh yeah, and keeping house and the finances IS this hard.

Hey I remember that boy...those were the days. I really enjoyed your blog...you capture the mommy moments like no one else. Don't fret too much my kids know how to turn the tv on and work the DVD player, have days when pjs are the order of the day...it's a lot a work being a mom, maid, accountant, food and other inventory person and so forth. Best advise I can give...don't get a dog to top it all off:)

Awwww, Angela. The minions work SO HARD on moms. I know you know that but I thought I'd throw it in. It's good that you're stopping to count your blessings in the midst of wondering about your self worth. You're worth more than diamonds to me. Seriously. If someone said to me, "You can either have this diamond tennis bracelet and kiss Angela goodbye forever, or you can keep Angela and no tennis bracelet," I would say, "Angela all the way, baby."

I'm really glad we both have blogs because how else would we have found each other?

This was a beautiful post.

OH MY GOODNESS you got 6Gunns to comment! Great post but I got news for you flax seed spread comes a LOT sooner than you think:) I agree with CYM but miss MILLIE....what kind of tennis bracelet exactly??
Dear husband is always trying to get me to relive my youth and I can't seem to do it either.

what a sweet post, angela. life really is so good to us, when we take the time to realize it. and i think none of us deserve our husbands. i know mine is way too good for me.
"save the best for last" was a song i had with a stake dance boy. whenever they played that song, last, of course, he would wander over to me, both of us nervous, and ask me to dance.
but now he's a dork, and i married a dentist. :)

I love that this. I have a box like that I need to go dig it out! Maybe I'll get some cool perspective too, or more likely I'll just laugh at myself and not get the bigger picture. But then I can always come here for that!

Ditto on all my fellow commenters have said :) Aww, makes me want to pull out my old tapes. There is a season for everything.

"No history of turning someone gay", you and me baby.

PS: If someone offered me a tennis bracelet attached to the wrist of Fox Mulder, I would also turn them down Angela. How dare they think I could trade you??

CYM--You done it again! :)

Breitmama--Hmmm, that comment was sort of---poetic, maybe YOU'RE the good writer...:)

CYM2--I'm so wise. Wow. I was really impressed with myself, reading what I said to you. Thanks for sending it back, it was timely and a good thing to be reminded of. Any chance I said something like "mostly being present and whaling on them if they annoy you"? cuz, that would solve all my problems...

TMM--Really! Awww, you made my day. What about diamonds on the soles of your feet. What if someone asked you if you could have that or me---THEN what would you choose?

S--you rude dog. :)

Leslie--"But now he's a dork, and I married a dentist" made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. So funny.

Sketchy--there was PLENTY of laughing at myself. I save the impressive stuff for my blog. :)

NCS--I listened to the tape. It bored me to tears. You would NOT turn down Fox Mulder---don't lie on my blog. Everytime I see DD, I who has never seen an episode of X-Files, can't help but sing, "David Duchovny, why won't you love me..." What is THAT!?
But I do appreciate the sentiment. :)

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