Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

January 22, 2009

Lumpy, Jenn & The Harlot: My Security Blankets

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:23 pm

 

Where Is My Blankie?

Where Is My Blankie?

Getting the girls ready for bed can be compared to a delicate dance routine. When we hit each step on beat it is a graceful thing to watch like the waltz. Yet, if we miss just one mark the rumba turns into a bloody rumble. It’s similar to a train wreck or Warren Sapp performing the cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars (they are one in the same), as horrible as it may be you cannot direct your gaze in another direction.

The other night it appeared as if Jenn and I were going to receive perfect scores from judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. The rhythm was there: bath, pajamas, milk, Blue’s Clues, teeth, story time, songs and prayers. While we were about to hit the ending by clicking the gate closed and move into our jazz hands celebration, shrieks of horror rang out from the bedroom. Rewinding the routine back in my head, I realized a misstep had occurred.

We had tucked Madison away for the night without her beloved Pink Blankie. Our oldest made it abundantly clear to everyone in our neighborhood that our lack of wisdom was an affront to God. How dare we forget to make sure her long laundry list of dolls, books and blankets were not all spoken for and wedged all around her. Maddie is incapable of sleeping without everything being in its’ place. They provide her a sense of comfort and support.

No matter how old we get we all are still children inside. We need something to cling on to get us through our days on this spinning globe. They may not be pink pieces of cloth with a silk border covered in slobber or a stuffed monkey in a dress. But, do not be fooled. Each one of us has our security blankets. The thing is we’ve become experts at concealing them so they are hard to detect with the naked eye.

There are three ladies in my life and they all make me feel secure when I know they are around: Lumpy, Jenn and The Harlot. Lumpy is my body pillow who I spoon through the night except for the agonizing stretches when Jenn is pregnant. Being married allows me to pass off Lumpy when I check into a hotel room on vacation and get weird looks from the guy behind the concierge’s desk.  

One of the reasons I love Jenn is for the fact she was wise to my affinity for body pillows pre-engagement, but still decided to marry me anyway. This is a sign of a good woman. Without her by my side, I am lost and incomplete in so many ways. Jenn is the ying to my yang. She is the social butterfly to my inept conversations. She cares for people so deeply while often times I am a selfish dirt bag. This probably will come across wrong, but I don’t have to speak a word if we go to a social event because Jenn does all the talking for me and I would have it no other way.

First Lumpy created a divide in our marriage bed – literally. Having come to grips with the Great Wall of China, Jenn had to watch as I welcomed The Harlot into our relationship. With envy in her voice, ‘The Harlot’ is the name Jenn gave to my beloved Macbook. She knows if I would leave her for anyone, it would be this sleek white laptop that with my North Face vest, Buddy Holly glasses and facial hair complete the artistic trendy poser look I have tried to achieve for so long.

Yet, The Harlot is my security blanket for more than my image issues. I wonder if I pursued a career in writing because my words remain upfront while I stay behind the scenes. A shy guy like myself relishes the ghostwriter role. The laptop allows me to be the man in charge of every conversation. In this dialogue of one, I feel powerful and free. Trying to get my thoughts down on paper comes with ease while expressing the same feelings verbally is down right painful. With that said, the vulnerability of making my thoughts public in a blog terrifies me as well. Because if a reader rejects my writing then what I am left with? How will I make it through my days on this spinning globe? I guess it will involve draping my leg over every faithful Lumpy and crying myself to sleep at night. 

December 6, 2008

The Two Things I Can Be Assured Of: Amy Winehouse being in rehab & God being the same yesterday, today and forever

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:26 pm

 

Now, Amy....don't scare my readers away....

Now, Amy....don't scare my readers away....

Everywhere I look right now I see utter chaos. Clutter reigns supreme in the Ripa household tonight. A few short hours ago, Jenn and her friend Melissa took on the task of painting our living room. Where were the husbands you might ask when this was all taking place? Good question. No, you would be mistaken if you answered relaxing in style in front of an HDTV watching college football on this very important conference championship weekend. Instead, we were strolling throughout Wilmington in our mini van playing My Two Dads, watching A Little Mermaid and heading to the aquarium. Sadly this is how I walk, how I run, how I spend my days in the sun wandering free now as a 30 year old man. Don’t you want to be part of my world?

Like with most projects the Ripa clan takes on, we left all the prep work until a few minutes before Melissa showed up. This means couches pushed awkwardly together up against the dinning room table. Coffee tables, lamps and picture frames create an interesting maze of mess. The toys that had been consuming our living room are now spread throughout the kitchen. Going potty places you in quite a predicament because it requires one to contort their body in ways almost humanly impossible just to shimmy past all the mess.

So, here I sit in the midst of the clutter waiting for the second coat of paint to drive in hopes of regaining some sort of normalcy again. I love the finished project, but dread waiting in the midst of the points in between. Chaos stresses me out, which is unfortunate because life is all about change, unpredictability and from time to time utter chaos. When my world gets turned upside down I reach out in hopes of finding a constant for some grounding. I yearn for something consistent to get me through life’s inconsistencies. Over time, I’ve begun to experience comfort knowing that when everything else changes that I can still count on a few things to remain the same:

 

1.     Kid’s night every Tuesday at Atlanta Bread Company

2.     Not being quite the musical elitist to “get” a Radiohead album

3.     The gas light turning on every time we’re running late for a party

4.     Amy Winehouse entering rehab, getting clean, going on a coke binge and ending back in rehab

5.     After every weekend, having a coworker say “Looks like someone has a bad case of the Mo-ndays” and the urge coming over me to punch them in the face

6.     Cubs fans saying this is finally going to be their year and them being dead wrong yet again

7.      Al Gore blaming all the world’s ills on global warming, even illegal immigration

8.      My two girls wanting to dance when they hear “Mercy” by Duffy begin to play on my iPod

9.      The waves at Wrightsville beach breaking when they reach the sand

10.  A loving God being the same, yesterday and forever

 

I know there will be some who read this list and get up in arms about the inclusion of #10. They look down at the cards life has dealt them and question where a caring God could possibly be in the midst of their anger, sorrow, hurt and pain? Or they watch scenes of genocide, war and poverty on the evening news and come to the conclusion there is no God and even if there is one he could care less about the events transpiring in the world today. I’d be a fool if I attempted to give you a pat answer or bumper sticker slogan to try and explain away these issues and prove “my” point.

But, my inclusion of the consistency of God’s character isn’t to prove a point or win an argument. All I can talk about is what I have experienced firsthand. Engaging in this process of becoming a man, I’ve begun to realize being consistently inconsistent marks my character. The only constant I provide my family is the fact that I will add to the randomness that is our life together by constantly wrestling with my integrity and being a man of my word. When you look in the mirror and see a reflection of a man who is up one moment and down the other, it shakes your very core because you are forced to face the realization that you are not being the husband and father your family needs.

Left with all my shortcomings and failings, it would be very easy for me to feel hopeless and lost. Yet, I’ve found refuge in the grace and love of God. The relief I’ve experienced is not a neat little trick I use to gloss over my behavior and excuse my actions. Rather, it drives me to become a better man. The times when I take two step forwards and almost instantly take one step back, I know the loving God who has sparked this change in the first place is there with me in the midst of the process.

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