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Last night I went to bed late, yet woke up early. I got a ton done yesterday. Things I had been putting off for what seems like years were crossed off my list. I had a ton of energy, whenever I felt myself flagging I reminded myself of why I wanted to get things done, to show myself and my children that people can change, to prove to myself and them that I could, to give us the gift of a mom who does more than come home and fall into an exhausted heap or sit on the computer or phone all night. I had a great conversation with a friend of mine who has been through some of the exact same things that I have. We talked on the phone and then sat on her porch when I stopped by to drop off a couple of things for her. It was a reprieve, it was normalcy, an unexpected treat of companionship, support, laughter, and an experience I don't typically have.

I thought I would do errands when I woke up this morning, I drove to a lot of places, but didn't accomplish much. I left each place dissatisfied, listless, growing increasingly angry without really knowing why. When I got home I was in a mood. I ate some lunch and tried to get my children to do something, anything, around this place. Since my friends were being supportive; I tried something new. I told them that I needed each of them to make some food, and to organize one of the areas I had yet to do. Thankfully this place isn't huge, and there's not a ton of disorganization to be done. I pulled out a pork tenderloin, a head of cauliflower, a piece of salmon, and the Brussels sprouts I had purchased with great intentions previously. I said that these things needed to be cooked and I didn't care who did what, but someone needed to make the fish and the cauliflower while her sister made the other two items. 

There was immediate resistance and I expected it. They didn't know how to cook any of these things, they wailed. I told them that they could Google recipes if they didn't want to use anything we had, I even went over to the bookcase and found recipes for them that they rejected. They made halfhearted attempts to search the internet, but when I looked over their shoulders they were deep in their video games. I scooped up their computers, phones, iPads, and other devices and took them with me. I said that the desk, the bookcase, and the bathroom cabinets/closet needed to be organized and asked who wanted to do what. I said that there were three things to be organized and three of us. I was frustrated, angry, and drained of energy, but I kept insisting that this work get done before 1:30 which is when I wanted to leave to do something other than sit around this place.

A friend of mine sent me a four leaf clover text. I've never asked if he's actually Irish or just likes the emoji because his birthday and his son's are both in March. I wasn't expecting his next text, but it felt heaven sent. He said that a friend of his was coming over and asked if I wanted to go to a flea market with them. It's not typically anything I love to do, but I was so eager to get away from the toxicity at home that I jumped at the chance. I changed my clothes, got lost going there because I took roads I don't normally travel, and made it there a few minutes late due to an accident on the freeway. I met his friend and her two children, boys that didn't seem thrilled at the prospect of going to a flea market with the rest of us. We drove separately and that was awkward, making it seem as if I was on a date with my friend.

Coincidentally we were both wearing yellow shirts. Mine was bright, his was more golden. One of the boys was wearing yellow shorts, none of us had planned this and it seemed strange that there was an abundance of this color without a satisfactory explanation. I had been cold this morning and was now way too warm. My friend's friend spoke harshly to her children, we walked in halting start and stop fits, I was regretting my decision to go when suddenly we stopped at a sword exhibit. I learned that both of the boys were into swords and commented on their choices which seemed fairly sophisticated for their ages. My friend went ahead while I walked with the woman and her children, feeling as if I owed her some conversation and not totally understanding why the three of us were together in this non-love triangle.

I learned that one of the boys was particularly interested in coins and told their mother about my collection of old money. I still remember opening the cedar jewelry box that held old bills I had collected through the years. On the car ride down I had told my friend about how I used to collect piggy banks. When he asked what happened to them I told him I didn't know and he thought that was odd. I did too. I had a log cabin, a barrel, actual pigs, and other banks that people had found, purchased, or gave to me. It made me happy to see them together, story minute quantities of money that were going to make me rich someday. I couldn't imagine getting rid of those banks, but I no longer have them today. Did my parents do something to them? I have a vague memory of a fight about them, but the details are lost to history.

In my car is a glass pig that was given to me when I was in high school. Everyone else went somewhere and the small glass pig filled more slowly than I would have liked. Only old money could go in there, that was the rule. When I moved I put it in my car. The girls had spent my cash, the silver certificate dollars and other oddities I had discovered at my job as a cashier at a local gas station. I didn't know what to do with the money in the pig so I just left it in my car, not dealing with it by letting it languish. When we were sorting through old coins when I mentioned this to the people I was with, I offered to show it to them when we got back, I thought it was funny that we had just talked about the old bank collection and now I was talking to someone with a similar interest. I thought about the pig, maybe it was time to let go of that money.

We walked around the fair for a while longer, then my friend said that the others were going to leave. I was so surprised, we had just gotten there. They had been thrilled to find coins from 1861 and 1862. They knew the dates of the U.S. Civil War, WWII, and other events that I had forgotten. When we found a coin from 1892 we had a discussion about who had been president then. I made a comment and heard something I didn't expect come back to me. We waved goodbye and I wondered why they had left so suddenly, but my friend said that his friend is like that. Sometimes I leave early so I know how that can be. It felt hollow after they were gone. I went back to get a pair of sterling silver owl earrings for my oldest. She has liked owls since she was much younger. We saw a woman doing henna tattoos and I sent a picture to my youngest who thought that was neat.

I arrived back at home sunburnt, thirsty, tired beyond belief, but with a broader view of the world. I ate a bite of the pork tenderloin that was overcooked and asked my youngest to please cook the vegetables that she and her sister had left out on the counter. I laid down, slept for a bit, woke up still thirsty, and drank some very cool water. I ate supper, thought about the things I had accomplished lately, and decided that I need to do more of the spontaneous and impulsive things I would have said no to in the past. I had told my mom I would pack a picnic and then called to explain I was backing out due to extreme nausea. My stomach rolled, but everything stayed in place. My life is not always what I wish it would be, but today I did new things; gave my children easily accomplished specific tasks with a deadline, and went out and did something fun rather than sit at home and stew in the bloody juices of my boiling rage. A small step forward, but I'll take it.

Xoxo,

J

P.S. I was told I would get a formal job offer and haven't. So that's not a great thing, but I'm not going to worry about it. Whatever will be, will be. Not everything is up to me.

j