Facebook and I are frenemies. (And Pinterest is our bastard child who resulted from that one night when we both had too much to drink.)

I love Facebook. I really do. But Facebook and I are frenemies. Or, really, Facebook is more like a pesky younger sibling. No matter how many times it manages to piss me off, I keep coming back for more. Ultimately, I can love it at times, and hate it at times, but I can never bring myself to not care at all.

I love having a central place to "check in" everyday, to catch up with people's news, big and small, to check the temperature of everyone's mood, to see photos of long lost friends' babies and pets and what-have-you. Through Facebook, I've facilitated new relationships and rekindled old ones. On occasion, Facebook has served to remind me why I didn't keep up with a certain person (or persons) in the first place.

However. However. However. Facebook is also a gigantic black hole of time suck (bet you haven't noticed this!) into which my very soul disappears on an all too frequent basis. Every time I open my laptop, regardless of the task at hand, I go to Facebook first. I think to myself, "Well, I'll just pop on over there for a minute before I _______." (insert "balance my checkbook," "grade these essays," "respond to my work email," "write a blog post," etc.) Two hours later, I haven't managed to do anything but "like" various statuses, photos, and posts, and click through to news stories with headlines like "Snooki's Bikini Body" and "I Will Always Love Whitney Houston's Open Casket Funeral." This, my "friends," is clearly time well wasted.

I blame my lack of blogging as of late on my complete inability to resist Facebook. Throughout the day, I have ideas and I think to myself, "Ooooo, I should write about that." I fully intend to set about some serious writing just as soon as I get a chance. And yet, when I get home, I inevitably find myself on Facebook and before I know it, not only is that 30 minute opportunity I had to write long gone, but the sun has gone down, I haven't fed my kid, mice have taken up residence in my kitchen, and both my legs and part of my ass has fallen asleep because it's been untold hours since I even shifted position. All because someone I barely know from grade school posted something about Rick Santorum, and their page was just begging for my snarky comment. Also, I had to "like" thirty different people's posts about how much they hate Monday because I also hate Monday! Solidarity is important!

Thus, my blog sits and collects cyber-dust, and the world is deprived of that 500 word eloquent musing I otherwise would have written about the disturbing alien dream I had several nights ago--the one that may or may not have been inspired by a cross between an awful Netflix movie and an episode of Iron Chef where the special ingredient was some sturgeon-esque fish/monster/beast the likes of which I'd never seen. I know, sad, right? Tragic, even, that such pieces have been lost due to excessive Facebooking.

I would probably write something profound right now, if I didn't need to go update my status. Because while I'm there, let's face it: I'll probably need to pin some pictures of wide-eyed, adorable kittens with snarky captions to Pinterest. That's gonna take awhile.


What I think about when I think about love.

This morning, Eliot asked, "Can I be Robin today?" He was asking if he could wear his Halloween costume to school for the Valentine's Day party. Yep. That's my boy. :)

Of course I said yes, because there's no day that ISN'T a good day for a costume, as far as I'm concerned.

As I was helping him don tights and cape, I was thinking back to October, thinking about stitching up his Robin suit and then playing superheroes in the front yard with cars slowing down to watch the spectacle of us. And it occurs to me that this is what love is.

When I think about love, I think about kicking and karate chopping and zowie-ing and bam-ing around the front yard with a pair of underwear on the outside of my clothes and not really caring because all I can see is this giant smile on a little boy's face.

 When I think about love, I think about risking the dire mortification of appearing in public in a swimming suit when Eliot wants me to swim with him at the rotary pool. I think about how my self-consciousness drops away as soon as I see him splashing and laughing and paddling around.

When I think about love, I think about 2 yr old Eliot smacking his lips and saying "Ooooooh, this is delicious, Mommy!" while eating a grilled cheese sandwich that I had made him for lunch because I was incapable of actually cooking anything that qualified as real food.

When I think about love, I think about this speechless but wailing infant, finally quiet in my arms at 4:00 a.m. as we sit in the rocking chair in his bedroom. I am looking out the window at the first rays of sunlight and feeling amazed that I have survived another day here with this child.

No chocolates, no roses, no hearts.

Just this child who both depletes me and sustains me, every day.

This is what I think about when I think about love.



If I couldn't drive, I would be lost.

I didn't get my driver's license on my 16th birthday. There was no one available to drive me to the Department of Motor Vehicles that day so that I could take my test and get licensed, and I remember walking around my small hometown aimlessly, no destination, just walking and walking and raining self-pity down upon myself, thinking, "Oh woe is me! It's my birthday. It's my birthday and I'm sixteen and I'm all alone and I can't even drive. Woe is me." The funny thing is, I have no memory of the day I actually did get my driver's license. It couldn't have been long after my birthday, maybe a few days later, maybe the next week, but all I can remember is walking around on the 15th of June that year, eyes cast downward to the cracked and rolling sidewalk, and feeling powerless, restless, and shifty.

I guess I've always felt the need to get away. To me, driving means going, leaving, taking action, even if only in the smallest way. If I cannot drive, I am stuck. Even if I'm just circling around the block, driving makes me feel as though I'm doing something. At least I'm moving, and it doesn't have to be forward.

And maybe I inherited the need to drive from my old man. I don't remember he and my mom ever fighting or arguing during their thirteen year marriage. I remember being shocked when they divorced; I kept thinking, "But they don't ever fight!" Shortly after he moved out, though, I realized that I didn't ever witness fights or arguments between them because my dad would always leave before the tension could escalate to that point. As soon as there was friction, he'd head to the driveway. His little brown Nissan truck would rev and back up, and soon all we could see were red taillights and a grey cloud of gravel dust kicked up as his spinning tires propelled him the hell out of there.

I'm the very same way. And the leaving is not necessarily avoidance, but more...achieving the space and the quiet that I need in order to listen to what my heart is saying. When I need to figure things out, I take to the road. When I need to move, I drive.

Eliot has inherited this need, I think. From the very beginning, he has loved being in a moving vehicle. He was a very Jekyll and Hyde baby, one who stayed perfectly content for most of the day, but then morphed into a screaming, wailing, inconsolable banshee of pure evil every evening from twilight until dawn. Through trial and error, we eventually found the only two things that would keep him from screaming: the vacuum cleaner and car rides. (Not at the same time.) Eliot and I went for a LOT of car rides when he was an infant. As soon as the motor was running, he would conk out. As soon as I shut the car off, he would wake up and resume wailing. Over the course of a few particularly terrible weeks, I started driving him around in the afternoons, listening to books on CD while he napped. I remember soaring down endless county roads, listening to John Grisham's A Painted House with Eliot in the backseat, snoozing away, secure in his tiny five-point harness. Driving represented the calm, much-needed respite from real life.

Eliot still likes riding in the car. Sometimes he'll be the one to suggest we take a car ride, and we'll buckle up and head out to anywhere, both of us singing along to the radio and dancing as wildly as possible against our seat belts. Sometimes we'll just ride quietly, with only the sound of the wind and our tires rushing along pavement. It gives us time to think and space to feel grateful for just being alive. Or at least, that is what it gives me. I feel an unexplainable connection to the world as it rushes past the windows of my car. When I am driving, I feel tethered to my life, not in a restricting way, but in a reassuring, comforting way. I feel like no matter how far I may roam from it at any given moment, I do have a center, and a purpose. And when I look in the rear view mirror and see Eliot's little face, so like my own, reflected back at me... then I look forward to the road ahead, wherever it leads us.