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9:05 p.m. - 2012-07-17
evening with kids and animals
DMV, pool, shopping, A's with kids and animals ... My kids are not the questioning type, not yet -- they are just along for the ride. And the animals. "Pet animals!" Cashy insisted all afternoon, after I told him that's what we were going to do later.

This is a first for my kids going to A's, a testing out. I suppose for us to have any future, not only do she and I have to like each other, but her animals and I have to like each other, she and my kids have to like each other, and my kids and her animals have to like each other. Tall order. Am I looking to put an X instead of a check-mark somewhere? As luck or fate would have it, my kids love animals and animals seem to love my kids (not just A's animals, but most animals). Mar got Sadie, the dog who doesn't like/is afraid of kids (was probably abused by them) and doesn't play, to play with her. The cats loved Mar, as do all cats. Cashy was fascinated by the birds and ferrets, and did very well playing with the ferrets although I watched him like a hawk. (They are so delicate; he tries to be but is not.) Nobody got bitten or stepped on. I suppose that is success defined.

We had dinner (pizza I brought for the kids, leftover spicy Chinese for me and A) and went for a walk. Cashy snapped out of his gentle animal mode and was hell on wheels for the entire "walk." Then he got tired and wanted me, and then A, to carry him. I try not to let my kids impose on people -- they are mine, my responsibility, my thirty-something pounds of sweaty, wiggling almost-three-year-old to haul home -- but she seemed flattered and wanted to and didn't seem to be struggling too much.

That, I admit, impressed me. A is about as tiny as I am, two inches shorter actually and maybe a few pounds heavier, but popped Cashy on her shoulders and kept walking fast and talking like nothing was up. Matt, who's 10 inches taller and weighs about 70 pounds more than either of us, pants and complains every time he carries one of the kids. Apparently size isn't everything (now, that's news...)

Being around her makes me happy.

I feel like she brings out the better parts of me -- not an idealized me, but a me who is comfortable in her own skin and therefore more sensible and confident and balanced. The first person I met on the dating site, Heather -- who I am still friends with and who I really like a lot -- is sort of a super-mom, or should I say totally a super-mom, homeschools her kids, has a master's in behavioral analysis (of kids), adopted a child she knew would have (and who has) many behavioral/learning challenges ... I like her as a friend and I find her fascinating, but when I'm with her or around her, I feel less confident as a mom than I do when I am around A., who doesn't have kids and claims to know very little about them. I feel like a pretty good mom around A., and therefore fairly good about myself because being a good mom is very important to me, and like an inferior mom and a not-so-special person around Heather, although I am sure that Heather wouldn't want me to feel that way.

I think maybe having too much in common, and feeling that often I was the inferior one, is part of what undermined my self-confidence over the years with Matt. We worked in the same industry, often for the same company, sometimes in the same building and sometimes right next to each other. But Matt was older, he was my boss when I met him, and even when he wasn't my boss anymore, he was my peers' boss, my peers' bosses' boss, and on up the ladder -- the prodigy, the rising corporate man, the money-maker. I didn't climb the management ladder at all; I stuck to writing and went to newspapers with larger and larger circulations, and made a little more money each time (but nothing compared to his raises) and I won quite a lot of "story of the week" and "story of the month" kind of recognition but so what? At least compared to him it seemed like a "so what" to both of us. Even if I was a much better writer and reporter than he had ever been or would ever be, so what? What we did for a living was close enough that I could compare, and I always found me lacking.

Now I am starting to wonder if I threw in the towel on journalism too soon -- if what I really wanted to get away from was not journalism, but him. I wanted to have confidence in me and I couldn't do that when I was working in a field where he would always start name-dropping and make me feel small if I say, landed a freelance gig and was dumb enough to mention it...

When I talk to A about writing, she just thinks it's cool that people pay me to write and doesn't name-drop at all, and I don't feel small and overwhelmed. I don't feel full of myself at all, but capable and somewhat practical -- this is what I know how to do; you know how to handle medicines; I know how to write. And, practically speaking, writing is still the most lucrative thing I know how to do, and it is probably going to remain that until I finish nursing school. So it would make sense to do more of it...

Anyway. Just figuring things out in my head. I think I have finally nailed down what I couldn't put my finger on at first -- why I feel attracted to someone who, on the surface, I don't have that much in common with. (When there are other available people I know or am meeting with whom I have more in common... on the surface...) I think I've come to the conclusion, for tonight, that it's a feeling that's more healthy than pathological...



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