Homeless, Hipster, or Redneck: A Guide to Distinguishing The Younger Generation

I remember as a teenager that my mother was often aghast and confused at the things I found fashionable.  This seemed especially true whenever one of those trends was a throw-back to something she had an association with from her own childhood.  When I went through a bohemian phase, I remember her asking me why I would want to dress like a hippie, the word hippie dripping off her tongue with the same contempt that one might use for the word pervert or cancer.  I remember rolling my eyes and wondering why my mom was so lame.

And yet, here I am in my mid-thirties, struggling with the growing feeling that young people and their fashion choices are confusing me.  I don’t want to be completely out of touch, so I still subscribe to the Urban Outfitters catalog.  Although, as I flip through it, I often find myself wondering if these clothes are for real, or meant to be some ironic joke.  Rompers?  Suspenders?  Paisley MC Hammer pants?  SO CONFUSED.

And yet, I saw something yesterday that went beyond confusing.  In fact, it disturbed me quite deeply.

I’m talking about the hipster mullet. 

The hipster mustache was already alarming to me, and the hipster beard has frequently made it difficult for me to distinguish between film students and homeless people.  There have been occasions where I’ve seen a guy with an overgrown beard and torn jeans and assumed he’s an indigent, only to observe a few minutes later that he’s listening to NPR on his iphone 4 and wearing Tom’s shoes.
If I’m honest, there was also an occasion where I saw a scruffy guy and thought he looked pretty hot in an artsy, rock-star way, only to watch him lay down on a cardboard pallet next to a shopping cart of his belongings.

IT’S CONFUSING.

And the hipster mullet . . . my brain just cannot compute a mullet resurgence.  My first sighting was during a documentary we were watching about an organic furniture craftsman.  He was young and stylish and good-looking . . . and he was rocking a mullet to rival Jeff Foxworthy circa 1989.  He lived in Portland, he was a vegan, and he had a tattooed girlfriend named Astrid.  The documentary was quite interesting and very artfully shot but all I could really think about during the next 90 minutes was OMG THE MULLET IS MAKING A COMEBACK, MY BRAIN MAY EXPLODE.

And should I even be calling it a comeback, as LL Cool J would say?  Can it really be in again if it was never really in to begin with?  I mean, clearly the younger generation is not holding the same collective association of the mullet with things like steel-toed boots, muddin’ trucks, homophobia, bad grammar, chewing tobacco, taxidermy, and blatant racism.

So, as an act of public service, I’ve created a simple flow-chart for non-hipsters to determined whether a man with a mullet is a hipster or a redneck.  Because you never know when you might be faced with a 20-something in a mullet, and need to know if you should inquire about his artistry with reclaimed wood or his […insert interesting topic that one could converse with rednecks about here…].

bachelorette finale recap: ashley, ben and jp

Last night was the finale in Ashley’s journey to find love on The Bachelorette. Two men, one rose, and one really self-righteous sister who almost ruined it all. Let’s begin.

We start the show with Ashley reading the obligatory script about her journey to find love, the fairytale romance, the last chapter of her love story, et al. I think it is the same monologue that begins every Bachelor/Bachelorette finale show. This is the part of the finale where I like to pee and make a snack.

After a commercial break, we return to the first of the Meet The Heberts dates, taking place on a beautiful island in Fiji. JP is up first, and he will be meeting Ashley’s mom, step-dad, sister Chrystie, and a brother whose name and face I have already forgotten. Ashley’s sister is wearing a cotton romper that bears a striking resemblance to what my two-year-old daughter wore today. I’d like to mock her for it but to be fair, she’s kind of rocking the look. However, the entire family is also wearing shell necklaces that they likely bought on the island with the same blind enthusiasm that one might decide on getting cornrows while visiting Jamaica. It always seems like a good idea at the time.
Ashley has a little pre-meeting meeting with her family and breaks it down for them. The dilemma: she’s falling for two guys. One is really different from her, but she feels an insane, passionate connection with. One who seems more compatible, who started as her friend, and who makes more sense in the long-term. Gee, where have we heard this story before? I don’t know, maybe EVERY 20SOMETHING ROMANCE MOVIE AND TELEVISION SERIES EVER?

Chrystie gets my first impression rose for the finale. She is stunning – she’s cute, sassy, has great tattoos and the best hair ever, and she speaks her mind. I’m enthralled and thinking that she should be the Bachelorette. Or come be my bestie who does my hair and picks out my clothes. My affection for Chrystie is short-lived, though, as she reveals her true colors after the commercial break.

JP’s meeting with the family is made awkward by the fact that the full island sun is causing all of them much squinting and sweating. So much sweating, you guys. There is so much sweating that they are HOLDING TOWELS. All of them are dabbing at the sweat and Ashley is trying really hard to keep her bangs from actually touching the wetness on her forehead before they enter “separated bangs” territory. (If you’re not sure what I mean by that, just have a look at Ben’s bangs during his family date). I cannot imagine the pit stains that are hiding under Ashley’s silk shirt.

During the family meeting, Chrystie asks Ashley if JP makes her laugh. To which Ashley basically answers, no, but he’s hot. Chrystie isn’t really feeling that answer. In fact, she’s not really feeling JP at all, and she takes the first opportunity to tell Ashley just that. Now, at first I was jiving with Chrystie’s concerns. I’m a fan of the funny boys myself, so I can see the sense of humor being a sticking point.

But after giving this feedback, Chrystie doesn’t really let up. Ashley is confused about what to follow, her head or her lady parts heart. Chrystie has taken it upon herself to be love’s executioner, and starts asking some tough questions. At first, she seems like a protective big sister. Why is JP, a hot guy in his mid-30’s, still not in a comitted relationship? YES. This is a good question. But when Ashley asks her sister to back down, she only amps it up, telling her that she is just looking at logistics. I’m the rational one here, Chrystie says. (Because nothing says rational like a tattoo on the inside of her lip that says “Whatevs” ).
ashley sister bachelorette finale Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

Chrystie doesn’t end the criticism with Ashley. She sits down one-on-one with JP, guns blazing. She tells him she doesn’t see them together, outlines her concerns, and generally gives him the side-eye. JP is visibly shaken, since her mind is pretty much made up. She wasn’t asking questions or seeking to understand, she was just here to tell JP that she can’t give her approval. She was playing some serious armchair psychologist with JP, and he was adamant that she was wrong, and that it’s impossible to judge someone after ten minutes with them.

(I think Chrystie illustrates this point well, because just ten minutes ago I wanted her to be my sister-wife, and now she is on my list of People I’d Like To Punch just between Sarah Palin and Nancy Grace).

The family meeting comes to a merciful close, after both parents and brother give Ashley a pep talk about ignoring her judgey sister and following her heart. Ashley and JP regroup in private. He’s clearly looking for reassurance, and she’s totally not giving it. She’s waffling, and says she’s confused. He’s concerned about her questioning things, and isn’t about to propose if she changes her mind based on her sister. Things are tense as they say goodbye.

Ashley confronts her sister’s attitude, and her sister plays the “I’m just telling the truth” card, which elicited a collective eyeroll from The Twitter because she seems so insanely negative. I can’t figure out if she’s jealous or protective or just a control freak. Or maybe she’s having a heat stroke? I did some reconnaissance on Chrystie Corns. As it turns out, she has some reality tv aspirations of her own.

ashley sister reality whore bachelorette Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)
And . . . she’s a BLOGGER. And we all know how attention-seeking and drama-prone those bitches can be. So now I’m wondering if all of this was just some pot-stirring by Chrystie to get her name in the media. Which, apparently, is working quite well for her. As evidenced by the “As seen on The Bachelorette” photo on the top of her blog, and the top post, subtlely entitled, “I am Ashley Hebert’s Sister Chrystie Corns From ‘The Bachelorette’.”

bachelorette finale chrystie ashley sister Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

I felt that Chystie was being harsh and unfeeling. But see, this was before I knew about the dog voice. Dear Lord, the dog voice.

So. We learn about the dog voice when Ben comes for his big date with the family. He showed up, and there was more profuse sweating. The family is enjoying Ben, and laughing, and suddenly they start talking about the dog voices that they talk to each other in. And then they break into the dog voices in what can only be described as . . . well, as two adults talking to each other in dog voices.
And here’s the thing: If they find that endearing in each other, they need to be married.

The family was gushy about Ben, and Ashley and Ben seemed to be lighter together At this point I am fighting the sinking feeling that Sister Judgey McJudgerstein is right.

After Ben leaves, Ashley asks more soul-searching questions, like: Ben is so nice but why I can’t forget is how hot JP is? Indeed, Ashley. Indeed.

The next day begins with a last date with Ben, who shows up in a fluorescent pink top and bright blue dolphin-type shorts. He looks like he’s ready to audition for a Wham video. Though, if I recall, this is the not the first time we’ve seen such a wardrobe malfunction on a last date . . . who can forget Ed’s green shorts from Jillian’s season on The Bachelorette?

ed jillian green shorts bachelorette Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

Ben and Ashley take off in a romantic helicopter ride where they exchange meaningful proclamations like, “This is awesome” and “Oh wow, look at that,” since the giant helmets and mics mean that they can neither kiss nor hear each other. They are flown to a healing mud bath and we are treated to more scenes of Erotic Rubbing, akin to last week’s episode with the sunscreen.

ashley and ben bachelorette mud rub Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)
At one point, Ashley jokes that she would like to rub him “down there”. Simmer down now, Ashley. This isn’t Game of Thrones.

Also, I believe that Ben’s pecs and Ashley’s boobs are about the same size.

Ben and Ashley move into the evening portion of the date, and Ben confesses his love to her. Ashley kisses him and seems genuinely touched, and things seem very tender and sweet between them, and I start feeling the anxiety that she has to go with Ben. She needs to go with Ben. SHE’S GOT TO GO WITH BEN. Basically, about an hour into the show I become as crazy as Chrystie. But also, I feel confident that she’s going to choose Ben. Something was just telling me that he had a leg up.

ashley ben kissing bachelorette finale Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

Cut to the next day’s date. JP is also wearing a jaunty neon shirt, presumably to draw the eye away from his beet-red sunburned face. And his disappearing eyebrows. (Mean. But seriously. They are.) Ashley is rocking an incredibly effective push-up bikini. She’s a strong B cup for JP’s date. JP and Ashley talk about the stuff with her sister, and Ashley expresses some concerns about how they defend or explain their relationship. Her confidence seems to be slipping, and I begin to feel some relief because I need to see a front-runner emerge in order to manage my anxiety with this show. In further evidence of the relationship cracks, Ashley kissed him on the cheek after he professed his love. At this point my husband, who usually retreats to the dining room in protest as I watch these kind of shows, proclaimed from the other sofa, “A cheek kiss? It’s so over.” Let’s hope so.

Ashley talked to the camera about how she felt like she had the strenth to move fo-ward, and I tried to figure out if she had an accent or just a poor grasp of the English language. Then Ashley and JP strolled along the beach so we could admire their bodies more, and had some passionate kissing after he ripped her towel off. Rawr.

ashley jp bachelorette finale 2 Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

During their evening date, JP gave her a poem and picture album, and also professed his love. He is sure that she is The One. And I begin to feel really, really sad for JP. Seeing the way he has been stressing about the sister, seeing the attention he gave to this date, hearing him talk about Ashley . . . it’s obvious he really loves her too. I AM CONFLICTED.

Ashley strolling down the beach in yet another bikini to a voice-over of her reading a prepared monologue sharing her innermost feelings about each guy.

The next day, we see both guys getting ready to propose, and I get the yucky feeling in my stomach that, I suppose, is in some sick way the reason I keep watching this show. Like a dog returning to it’s vomit. It is such a train wreck to watch the inevitable rejection unfold. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

Both guys visit Neil Lane to pick out engagement rings. Neil Lane appears to be multi-tasking as jewelry broker AND premarital counselor.

Neil Lane Bachelorette Finale 580x386 Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

As the guys talk about their excitement for the day, I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I’m really feeling like her sister is right, and really certain that Ashley is going to LISTEN TO HER BRAIN and pick Ben. But then again, this is the girl who fell for Bentley. And the girl who pretty much sabotaged things with Brad.

We see the first plane arrive, and Ashley talks about how hard this is going to be, so we know whoever steps off this plane is going to give the rejected proposal. We see shoes, and a purple sock, and . . .

It’s Ben!

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Ben is talking with such assurance that she will say yes. He is thinking about his dad who is deceased, and how proud he would be, and how this will be a new addition to the family. I am thinking about whether or not there is any more boxed Target wine in my fridge, because this existential angst is driving me to drink.

When Ben approaches Ashley she is visibly upset, but rather than waiting for social cues, he launches right into a proposal and make it stop make it stop DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP. He’s on his knees, and I’m thinking, stand him up, Ashley. Don’t let him do it. But she does.

ben proposal bachelorette ashley Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

He proposes. And she says no.

Oh Ashley. Ashley, Ashley, Ashley.

Ben storms off. Ashley tries to get him to talk, assuaging his wounds by telling him what an interesting person he is. She wants to leave it on good terms. Ben is shocked and not in the mood to make nice about it. “Good things don’t end unless they end badly”, he tells her.

Let’s all take a moment to marinate in the truth of that statement.

Ben is taken away in the Rejection Rowboat, back out to . . . wherever he is going? The middle of the sea? Meanwhile, Ashley is crying about how this was the hardest breakup of them all.

JP shows up and recites the dramatic monologue that was written for him by the producers that he planned all by himself. He talked about taking about a leap of faith . . . but unlike Ben, he waited to get confirmation that he was Ashley’s choice before getting down on one knee. Smart man.

jp proposal bachelorette ashley Bachelorette Recap: Season 7 Episode 10 (FINALE)

Ashley says yes. There is a beautiful sunset, and they kiss and hug and look generally happy and gorgeous together. I try to temper my annoyance about Ben, and the fact that they are playing “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” over the romantic montage. The montage of the undeniable sexual chemistry. And uh . . . yeah. It’s there. The JP chemistry is there. Does someone have a fan?

JP and Ashley wade out into the water under the sunset for more picturesque kissing, ruining her pricey pink gown and making me wish, just for a split second, that she had on one of the mini-dresses or bikinis that she had been wearing THE WHOLE REST OF THE SEASON.

The couple seemed very happy during the small window of time they were allotted during the After the Final Rose Special, sandwiched in between extended previews for some show about something or other and OMG THE NEXT BACHELOR PAD.

Is it just me, or does this show look like the most awesome train wreck ever? It’s a special home for Bachelor rejects. There’s gonna be a LOT of crying, a lot of skin, a lot of fantasy suites, and a lot of drama. I can’t wait.

of skulls, yellow pants, and the awesome that could have been

Oh, so much drama surrounding picture day.

Jafta’s was last week.  The night before, we went to a pumpkin patch.  And by pumpkin patch, I mean a bunch of bouncehouses in the parking lot of a mall.  We let the kids jump to their heart’s content, and then let them get their faces painted.  (Side note: the gal who painted their faces was a lovely young woman who was also transracially adopted from foster care.  She told us her story and proceeded to thank us for adopting our boys, and how much she loves seeing adoptive families.  Then she started bawling, and then I started too, and the next thing I know she and I are embracing and doing the ugly cry right there in the middle of the pumpkin patch.)

Jafta got a skull painted on his cheek.  He is a little obsessed with all things “scary” right now.  On the way home, he reminded us that it was picture day, and then started talking about how awesome it would be that his face would have a skull on it in the picture.

And of course, I’m like, um . . . . about that.  We’re gonna have to wash that off before school, buddy.

Then he starts wailing like we just told him Santa isn’t real.  He is totally devastated, and sooo mad at us, at which point I blame it on the school and act like I’m just as disappointed. 

“I KNOW, Jafta. Those darn school rules!  IF ONLY!!  Having a skull on your school picture would have been so awesome.  Your grandma would have loved that.  And it would have been such a conversation piece in the class photo. Life is so unfair!”  (shaking my fist at the sky in solidarity).

Jafta was inconsolable.  He was finally calmed by my suggestion that I would paint something scary on his hand.  So here is Jafta, on his picture day, with my handrawn spider on his hand.  With Lancome Artliner in Noir.

badidea (2)

(To be honest, I’m terribly concerned that the pose he’s striking in this photo is what I will see when his school picture proofs come home.  I mean, really, what are the chances he did not work his hand up into the frame somehow?  Very slim.)

Speaking of makeup and picture days . . .  Kembe, in the Murphy’s Law of picture days, has a HUGE scrape across his cheek.  Well, really, it is mostly healed.  So now it is just a large area lacking any pigmentation.  I confess that when I filled out the picture forms, I checked the “touch up blemishes” box and paid an extra $6, knowing that this is probably not what they meant.  I also had the bright idea of buying some concealer to cover it for the day.  But let me just tell you –  Target?  Apparently only sells concealer for people as dark as Buff Beige.  So tomorrow I will again be attempting to use my own eyeliner on one of my children for picture day.  Only this time, it will be MAC in Espresso. 

I will also be attempting to comb matts of frozen yogurt out of India’s hair in the morning, because I totally forgot about picture day tonight and didn’t wash her hair.  It looked so bad at bedtime that I had the thought that the teacher would judge me if I sent her to school like that.  Then I shrugged and decided I didn’t care.   But now, I get to have her greasy hair memorialized for the whole class.

In other news, the Celebration of Color was going well.  Until tonight, when Jafta informed me that tomorrow is yellow, and he would be requiring yellow pants in addition to the yellow shirt I laid out.  I laughed a little and told him that he didn’t have yellow pants.  He let me know that this was GRAVELY SERIOUS and that if he didn’t have the pants, that it wasn’t really “in the spirit of the Celebration of Color”.   To which I really wanted to say, yellow pants would be a Celebration of Lame,  but instead said:

“Jafta, no one has yellow pants.” 

To which he replied, in an angry huff:

“I KNOW A KID!!!”

Ah, this week oughta be fun.

dwelling on design

I’ve been trying to find the time to sit down and write out my weekend, and here it is almost Thursday.  I’ve been distracted this week with filling out a mountain of paperwork for Jafta’s kindergarten application.  How in the world do I have a child old enough to go to kindergarten?  Jafta got to have a look at the school today and he said as we were leaving, “I think this place is going to be very positive for me“.   I really hope so.

This past weekend was quite a big one for me, given that my usual weekend involves fighting over my Netflix choices with Mark, popping fat-free popcorn and then falling asleep halfway through a movie.  Somehow a flurry of fun activities converged over one weekend, starting with the Dwell Design show on Friday.  If you are not familar with Dwell, it’s a design magazine full of beautiful homes and the morose people who live in them.  I’ve been a fan for a long time, so I was thrilled when I got an invitation to go to their show as a blogger.  We were also treated to a nice lunch, where I found myself seated between the writers for Apartment Therapy and Daily Thread as the editor of Dwell introduced us to Vivienne Tam’s computers for HP, and Heath Ceramic’s newest designs.  I sat there trying to fit in and act in-the-know, all the while wondering what junior PR rep accidentally sent me an invitation to this soiree.  I was clearly outside of my typical genre of self-incriminating poop stories. 

I must confess  to some oddly conflicting feelings about home design.  It is something I used to be incredibly passionate about.  I used to love design – before kids I spent most weekends plotting how to artfully arrange things in my house.  I’ve often felt regret over not going to design school, and there was a day when Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor graced the coffee table instead of Goodnight Moon and the latest catalog from Right Start.

But a few years ago, I had a shift in values, and started feeling like design (along with many other things in my life) was just a useless luxury – a passion that cost money, that led to envy and discontent, and that illustrated some shallow attempt at creating external beauty with objects instead of relationship.  (And also, who has time to shop for pretty things with four kids in tow?  Four kids who are probably going to smear peanut butter all over whatever pretty thing you buy, anyway).  I become ambivalent about design. I appreciated it, but it also annoyed me.  Especially as I started reading more and more blogs of mothers who photographed their crafts, their living room tableaus, and their whimsical nurseries.  It all seemed so show-y and competitive and meaningless.  Especially in light of everything going on in the world.

This expo, though, sort of awakened the giant within, and I found myself enthralled, and also a little wistful of this art-loving side of me that I’ve suppressed and demonized.  And I found myself having a little existential moment – on the one hand, wary of how materialistic I’ve been in the past, but also suspecting that perhaps some of my “denial of design” was really coming from a place of inner frustration . . . frustration that I don’t have the time or energy to care, so it’s easier to pretend I don’t.  I mean, yes, I think it’s good to be aware of how I’m spending my money and energy, and make sure I’m putting the majority of those resources into people and not things.  But at the same time, there is something to be said for indulging in creativity, and finding a little satisfaction in the aesthetic.  And this doesn’t need to cost me a lot of money – my friend Julie is a great example of that.

I think there is also a part of me that is so bogged down by the reality of global human suffering that I’ve become a little masochistic with myself.  As if I’m somehow helping by refusing to indulge in a creative outlet.  When, in fact, I need to figure out to be a happy, joyful person for the four kids I live with, and a part of that might include some frivolous passions over mid-century furniture.  Or chalkboard paint.  Or whatever.

Not to mention, the Dwell show was full of great ideas for going green.   This chair is made from 350 old decks of playing cards .  I mean, this chair is PRACTICALLY SAVING THE PLANET.  And leaving wicked indents in the back of your thighs.  For only $5000.

sustainable design, green design, recycled materials, playing card
 chair, deuces wild chair, Chair, Cards, brc designs, ICFF, 2010, green 
furnishings, green interiors

Okay.  Well.  This post started as an attempt to tell you about this weekend where I went to LA for a show and a flashmob, and we’ve taken an interesting little turn into the inner-working of my neurosis, haven’t we?  Let me lighten it up with a little Jungian quote:

The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is ‘man’ in a higher sense – he is ‘collective man,’ a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind. (Carl Jung, Psychology and Literature)  

Anyways, ahem.  Yes.  Iif you are still reading . . . I guess I’ll get to the flashmob portion of my weekend later.  But until then, I’ll say this:  the flashmob was all that I hoped it could be, and more.  And a great illustration that art can bring great joy, to both the participant and the observer.  As the youtube clips went up, I watched with amusement as one spectator started filming and squealed with glee like a little boy on Christmas morning as we broke into the choreography and he realized what was going on.  There’s something really beautiful about that.

And also, I’d like this in my backyard.

This is the footage that my friend Moya’s husband got with my camera.  I’m in the bottom right-hand corner in the green jacket and white tank.  Moya is in yellow (she’s the really, really good one).  I’ll post the official (and nicely edited) flashmob video tomorrow.

faking it

If I’m being honest, it is getting increasingly difficult to write about my life in this public space.  It’s easy to post a funny story about my foibles, or rant about something in the media.  But life at home is heavy – probably about as heavy as it has ever been.

I’ve told the story before of how whenever someone is mean to India at school, she comes home and repeats whatever mean phrase she heard to me, in a way to become the aggressor instead of the wounded.  It makes her feel some sense of power to take out the hurt by inflicting it on someone else.  And when India does it, it’s usually something rather benign, something silly that would make for a funny story later, when she’s out of earshot.

Now Kembe, on the other hand.  Kembe has three years of pent-up wounding, and he is feeling out of control as he learns to live in a family.  Much like India, his three-year-old self looks to the safe people in his life to experiment with power and aggression.  And the behaviors that result are not things that make for a funny blog story.  They are often a little horrifying, really.

So I struggle with how to describe the ways our family is hurting, because I don’t think exposing his brokeness in specific ways is honoring him.  I believe that Kembe is a good kid – an absolutely lovely kid at heart.  But at the same time, I feel the need to be honest about the fact that the last few months have been some of the darkest for our family.  As we (all five of us) have become the recipients of his trauma in different ways, it seems like we are all living under a cloud of anxiety.

Kembe and I both fake it well, in our own ways.  Kembe is absolutely charming with people outside our immediate family. He has a million-dollar smile and a hilarious sense of humor.  I’m sure to the outside world it looks like we have it together.  At home, it is a very different story.  And me, I hide behind sarcasm . . .  or just plain hide.  In my house.  For days.  Only emerging for preschool pick-up and the occasional playdate, where I try to pretend like we are a normal family, capable of doing Normal Family Things.  Some moments, I even feel normal.   Those moments are fleeting.

I know that we will get there.  But enduring this season is harder than I ever imagined.

I was talking to a friend about it the other day, and she told me that she was surprised to hear how bad I was struggling.  She assumed I was doing alright because I’m still posting snarky status updates and blog posts.  And I suppose that sometimes, social media is the easy place where I can fake it . . . and not because I want to pretend for others.   But because I need to pretend for myself.  I can pop in and profess concern about the LOST finale or some other water cooler chat fodder, because it makes me feel normal.  It gives me a reprieve from the all-consuming realities of our day-to-day right now.  And because nobody wants to see “Kristen is contemplating how she can best muffle her audible crying from four small children” in their facebook feed, do they?  (And because, dammit, I don’t want that to be true.  Even if it is).

(Case in point: today. 4pm. Jafta: “Mommy, what’s that sound? Do you have the hiccups or something?”)

So, yeah. I fake it.  But not really for you.  For me.