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At the risk of quoting John Mayer: I want to run through the halls of my highschool.

We took a family trip to Staples last week. The energy assistance paperwork was sitting on my desk all signed and ready to go, except I needed a copy of our last heating bill. Unfortunately we had run out of printer paper, backup printer paper, scrap paper and paper we should be saving for nice cards and things. We had no paper, in other words. It was really time to go to Staples.

I hate going to staples, by the way. Everything there costs SO. MUCH. MONEY.

(Oh, in case you're wondering, the energy assistance thing gives poor people a discount on their fuel bills. A family of four qualifies as a poor if they make under $60,000 (!) Half or my readers are now wondering if they too are poor and can cash in on this. Here's the link, though I'll warn you the initial application must be made in person and is a giant pain in the ass. But anyway...)

Staples. There we were standing in this awful airtight office cubicle of a store, and the easy listening is feeding this oldie by John Mayer through the speakers: "I want to run through the halls of my high school. I want to scream at the top of my lungs."

And I thought to myself, I haven't thought about that song in a decade. And then I thought: A decade? Seriously? A DECADE? Like TEN YEARS? Yes, well, I guess it's true. It's 2012 now and I owned "Room for Squares" in 2002. On CD. When all my music was on CD and CDs were things that I purchased rather than things that I encounter in boxes in the basement to throw away.

And then I thought, good Lord I'm almost ten years out of college. What good have I done for myself? With A DECADE of adult life behind me? With A DECADE of independence, wisdom and maturity, I am standing in the cubicle superstore wondering if I have enough money in the bank to clear the checks I've written plus nine dollars of printer paper.

Preach it to my soul, John Mayer. Tell me there's no such thing as a real world, just a lie I have to rise above.

I mostly love my life, I mean, the portion of it when I don't have to be shopping at Staples. What I hate is feeling the need to THINK about my life, or JUSTIFY my life, what I've come to in the last ten years when others have gone on to be movie actors and White House politicos and, I dunno, people who eat out a lot at fancy restaurants, judging by my facebook feed.

A related story: I was walking today past our local high school; it was part of our "scenic route" home from the playground, which is code for "I have no agenda for this afternoon and I want to kill an extra half-hour before Dada gets home." So I'm walking with the double stroller and the dog, and the extending leash broke last week so I have the short leash which means the dog is pulling me this way and that as hard as he can and I'm struggling to keep hold of him and the stroller. And also the baby is crying because we didn't get go to the library after the playground, and Harvey is screaming at him, "No Zi! We're going for a WALK in the COUNTRY! Don't you KNOW? This is the COUNTRY!" There were some high school students sitting outside on the steps who looked over as we passed. I wanted to scream to them, "Don't have sex! This is what happens!"

Which is to say, you may end up with yelly children. Not that you immediately get a dog who's a pain in the neck to walk; I don't want to perpetuate any false myths on our youngsters.

There are few things that make me so happy as those screaming children. Or so angry or so exhausted. So completely "in it" and so completely "over it" from one second to the next. I wonder if that's what Master Mayer meant when he sang "there's no such thing as a real world." The real world of life after graduation is every bit of wonderful and every bit of grindingly awful as you can imagine. It's not like you get to pick one life or the other, it's that every life you pick is both wonderful and awful at the same time.

excited for the road ahead. Or behind. Or whatever, i don't know, I'm so tired.


Leah, Your column so takes me back to my years with two little boys! I once travelled with them by myself by air when they were about 1.5 and 3.5 years to visit my parents in PA. I also thought I would bring my 33 lb dog, sedated in a carrier. Shortly before the plane took off, the flight attendant came up to me, and said, "m'am, I don't think your dog is breathing." This after hauling a very heavy dog carrier, a double stroller, and a child carseat through the busy South Florida airport. Not one person offered to help, and I thought I was going to collapse. During the plane ride, Jason kicked the seat in front of us furiously, while refusing to sit in the car seat that I had hauled through the airport for him. Tyler calmly interviewed and entemologist across the aisle about his research. I was preparing myself for a "dead dog," that I loved dearly, and how would I handle the kids once we landed and discovered the dogs condition. Well, we landed, and the dog was alive, just groggy, but I was thinking at the time, why did I abandon my career, drop out of NYU's MBA program and put myself through this horrible torture? It definitely comes with the territory! All my parents wanted to know is why I did not visit more often. The story gets worse...Jason fell in their house, had to have 44 stitches in his face, by a plastic surgeon, that I insisted on instead of the resident in the OR. Luckily, only I was traumatized! The moms get the scars, the kids hardly remember it. Jason just ran around in my mothers house, yelling, "Doctor, Bad Guy..." He also screamed this loudly when we went back to have his stitches removed by the same doctor. Hang in there, it is worth it, you are doing a great job, and they will thank you someday! Love you and your family very much, Marcy

Leah, your bit about wanting to pass on wise advice and experience to high schoolers made me laugh OUT LOUD. The whole situation might've had more impact than a week of having to carry an egg around the halls of the highschool. :-) But seriously, I'm praying blessings for you and all of the ups and downs and unexpecteds that life holds. Thanks for sharing your humor, wisdom, and heart!

When Noah is screaming about something or other, I can actually feel myself losing my mind. Then he does something really sweet and I worry he's going to die because he's too perfect. I think the second thought is a result of selective memory, but it feels very real.... Anyway, thanks for sharing that Zi and Harvey still scream. It's depressing because it means I have another year of this waiting, but encouraging because....well... I guess it just is, because they're pretty awesome kids.

Thank you guys for your sweet comments. Every one of them made me laugh, which is probably what I needed most. The boys are now playing together very sweetly while I am reading blogs, so it's not like I can complain all the time.

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