Yesterday was one of those days that showed just how far your emotions could swing over the course of a 24-hour period, aided and abetted by hallucinatory gases.
I shall explain.
The first thing you need to know is that I try to get up every day around 5 a.m. to write. “Try” is the operative word here because sometimes, my only response to the piano sound trilling from my iPhone next to my head is to hit snooze. Like 10 times.
Once I’ve lumbered out of bed I need coffee. STAT. And then I get back under the covers with my laptop and get to work.
But not so fast. Before I can get to the writing – the real work – I’ve got to fritter away precious early-morning minutes checking Facebook, emails, Twitter and the daily statistics for the blog.
The stats don’t really dive too deep, but I can see things like how many page views I get each day and where some of the traffic is coming from – like did you get here through Facebook or Google. (It still cracks me up that at least once a day, some poor unwitting soul winds up here after Googling “Cheez-Its.”)
So yesterday, I check the site stats and notice #1, traffic was already pretty brisk for the start of the day and #2, most of it was coming from The New York Times.
So I click on the link and am taken to the Times’s parenting blog, called “Motherlode,” which of course, I love because it’s smart and current and everything you’d think a parenting blog associated with The Grey Lady would and should be.
I scour the various articles and comments and don’t see any links to my blog, nothing indicating how people were ending up from there to here.
I repeated this fruitless effort throughout the day as I noticed more and more clicks on my site coming from “Motherlode,” but still couldn’t get a handle on why.
In the meantime, I had a conversation later that morning that reminded me that people do not change. Not really. Ever.
And it made me cry so hard and so long, I began to suspect that hormones were helping to enhance the melodrama of the event. Perimenopausal madness at its finest.
But it was one of those cries that leaves you exhausted. Emotionally spent. And with a blotchy face.
At lunchtime, I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned, which I look forward to because it’s an opportunity to get completely stoned in the middle of the day under the supervision of medical experts. My teeth are so sensitive that I need the laughing gas even for a cleaning. To put it in perspective, I gave birth to two of my kids naturally. Not a problem. But don’t even try to come near my teeth without some type of sedative.
I might bite you.
Now, I don’t know how nitrous oxide works, if the technician turns a dial to a specific setting depending on how anxious you are or the dosage is based on your size. Maybe it’s just an “On” and “Off” button.
I also don’t know if that sweet, sweet air is affected by your emotional state. But I was really hallucinating as she scraped the plaque from my lower teeth and rattled on about the holidays.
Usually I can stay pretty connected to what’s going on in the room. Can follow the one-sided conversation coming from somewhere above my face.
But yesterday, all I could think about was how my whole body was vibrating, sitting there in the chair, and that the noise of a motor was filling my head and drowning out the chatter and the whir of the brush as it polished my teeth.
And then I’m confused because it’s no longer the hygienist who’s been cleaning my teeth for years but some random mom I know in town sitting there, shining my pearly whites.
“What is she doing here?” I wonder.
Then, in an instant, I’m being instructed to breathe through my nose. “It’s oxygen,” the hygienist tells me. And before I know it, she’s removing the mask, straightening my chair and telling me to have a nice day.
And I’m slightly concerned because just moments before, I couldn’t feel my face.
I am able to make my way home and once again, need to go through the whole check in routine – it’s obviously a compulsion – and continue to be confounded by that NYTimes traffic.
“Why am I not understanding how the Internet works?” I wonder.
I click over to “Motherlode” one more time, and whether it was because I really believed I’d actually find a clue this time or the magical powers of nitrous oxide unlocked a portion of my brain previously closed, I noticed a box on the site I hadn’t paid attention to earlier in the day.
And that’s when I saw it.
At first, I thought, “Well, maybe it’s some kind of ad or something. Like, it’s just coming up on my computer.” Sort of like that pair of Frye boots I looked at once on Zappos that now seem to follow me around the Internet.
But then my 16 year old walked in from school and was like, “What are you, stupid? Mom, it’s really there.”
And I couldn’t believe it. I mean, it was just a quick little mention. A link to a recent post and my blog name. The blog editor tagged a question to it, trying to generate some conversation.
Even so, it was beautiful.
Once I determined it was legit, I took to Facebook to share the great news.
And it was there that I found that validation that I was looking for earlier in the day.
It was there I felt the love.
So many people chimed in to say “Mazel Tov” in one way or another, it washed away the hurt from that morning.
My college son sent me a text laden with heart-filled emoticons – just what I love – and told me he was proud and happy for me. One good girlfriend called to say woohoo and another BFF came over to have a celebratory cocktail later in the day.
(Really, we’re always just looking for a good excuse to have a cocktail.)
And it was all just nice – to have everyone from my kids to high school friends to folks I’ve met through my work as a local reporter –psyched for my success, no matter how really minor it was.
And I know, it’s just Facebook and we could make a whole case that the site just provides an alternate and slightly misleading universe for many users.
But just give me this. Today. I really wanted the petting and kind words and maybe that’s why I do what I do. I’m needy.
But in the end, it was a good reminder that sometimes, you need to find a new well to drink from when the first one comes up dry.
Because that water tastes just as good.