So when I had my colon removed in April, my surgeon said the recovery would take six months.

So I did what any masochistic ambitious person would do: I cut it in half.  Three months, I said.  Three months for healing, and not a day more.  In three months I would be good as new, back to normal…only better than ever, without that pesky 11 foot colon (it grows a foot everytime I talk about it) to contend with.   

Well, the three month mark came and went, and then the four month mark…and am I surviving?  Sure.  Am I “back to normal?”  Uhh, no.  “Normal” used to be running, teaching yoga, drinking lots of wine green smoothies while existing comfortably on 4-5 hours of sleep. 

What does normal look like now?  Well, I’ll spare you the details, but it involves a lot of Wonder Bread and Preparation H.

I’m tired.  Like, REALLY tired.  The things that used to invigorate me, like doing cartwheels with Emma  or a  90 minute yoga class, now wipe me out for days.  I ran a marathon in November and this morning walking up the stairs had me panting like a 13 year old Cocker Spaniel.  I am a total bitch cranky by 3:00 PM, and by 6:00…well, let’s just say Phil comes home wearing a helmet.

 I am currently on an antibiotic for a bacterial infection in my small intestine for which the #1 side effect is “furry tongue.” On Monday I called my surgeon and asked if there was a blood test for Scurvy.

 To which he replied: “SIX. MONTHS.”

Now, anyone who has spent time with children under the age of five get that they have no concept of “six months.”  They have no concept of six MINUTES. And while I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything (Emma’s last summer before starting school, Phoebe turning 2, etc)… being home with the girls all day,  topped off with “vacations” that involve hours days of packing and sleeping on an air mattress… it hasn’t exactly felt like a  “rehabilitation period.”

So on Tuesday, deep in the trenches of Stupid Fight of the Summer #159, I turned to Phil in a moment of absolute, honest-to-God-surrender and said, “We should go to Jamaica.  Next week.  Just you and me. ”

Phil would never say “No” to a pool bar serving Red Stripe.  He  jumped on the bandwagon with enthusiasm.  However a few days later, when making the difficult decision between “Villa” and “Premium Villa,” we hit some rough waters…when Phil innocently asked THE QUESTION NO HUSBAND SHOULD ASK:

Are you sure you won’t feel SO GUILTY about LEAVING the KIDS??”

(Sigh).  Oh, Phil.  Phil, Phil, Phil.  I am sorry, but that was not one of the answer selections.  Thank you for playing. 

Of course I would feel guilty about leaving the kids, you asshole.  I feel guilty when I give the kids apple juice instead of apples, when I choose yoga class over bedtime, when I scream like a lunatic because Emma keeps finding my new hiding spot for the Sharpie markers. 

I’m a Mom.  Feeling guilty – it’s our modus operandi. It’s what we do.  If guilt were money, I would be Oprah.  The Inner Critic (who lives in my head and supplies me with an endless barrage of judgmental admonishments) was napping for a minute when I spontaneously suggested a romantic vacation, but now you have woken her up with your earsplitting stupidity.  Nice work, Rico Suave. 

I read a book a while ago called Taming Your Inner Gremlin.  Stop laughing.  It was actually quite helpful, and asks you to personify negative self –talk in the spirit of distancing yourself from the narrator in your head.  I think of mine as Bree, the obsessive compulsive, perfectionistic, Martha Stewart wannabe from Desperate Housewives.

 Yes, I read a lot of self-help books. 

So once Phil awakened the sleeping beast that is my inner Bree, boy she was ready for action:

“You can’t go to JAMAICA!  This is real life, darling, not MTV Spring Break.  What kind of mother are you?  Everyone knows that a good mother doesn’t ABANDON her children with their grandparents.  What will people say? Aren’t you planning to go away in the fall for some little yoga teacher convention?  Do you actually make any MONEY?  Or do you just spend your husband’s money while trying to “find yourself”, when incidentally your bedroom carpets are just screaming PLEASE REPLACE US? Why don’t you stop being so silly and selfish and go whip up some osso buco.”  

She could go on and on and on.  She usually does.  And when her rant finally comes to an end, I am usually left wondering, “What the Hell are we talking about again?”

The whole idea of “taming your gremlin” is that you are not this voice and this voice is not you. Then where did this voice come from, you ask?  Well, I don’t know, but my theory is that our ‘inner critics” are a mishmosh of verbal pig lips and assholes we’ve been fed over the years…kind of like Mental SPAM. 

Once you make this distinction, you realize that what you do with your life is up to you, not the Desperate Housewife (who is made of SPAM)  in your head.

The realization that I am in charge of my own life, the captain of my own ship, is both terrifying and exhilarating.  I imagine it is how Kevin must have felt when he realized he was Home Alone.

I get to make my own choices, but be ready to own my mistakes.

So I choose to go to Jamaica.  Furry tongue and all.

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