If you missed it, read chapter one.
It was just a little hit off of a joint in Angie’s hotel room but it seems to make everything that much better. She’s forgotten how much she enjoys pot. Suddenly, the florescent lighting in the bathroom highlights her glowing complexion. She feels sexy in her too-tight black pants, high heels and Chan-Liu necklace. It’s the sort of evening attire that all the Palisadian women wear but at the Riverside Hyatt, she feels grown up and glamorous.
She and Angie giggle as they check in at the reunion welcome table and attach nametags to their silk blouses. A cash bar is crowded with middle-aged people who look vaguely familiar. Glasses clink over nervous laughter in the dimly lit ballroom.
“And what do you do?” the former yearbook editor asks her as she recalls his handwritten prom invitation during their senior year.
“I’m a mom,” she says and smiles. She had said no and had gone with one of his friends instead. That must have been hurtful.
He’s looking around the room as if waiting for someone more interesting. Heather wonders if she has lipstick marks on her teeth.
“No children for me thank God, at least none that I know of,” he says and chuckles at his own joke. “I run the morning programming for KXPZ. I always thought you were going into journalism.”
“I majored in it at Berkley,” she says as she pulls out her iphone and shows him a recent photo of her children; one year old Ava sitting between Kaitlin and Dylan on the back of a hay wagon at the pumpkin patch.
“How old?” he asks and waves to someone behind her.
“One, seven and ten,” she says. Perspiration glistens on her forehead. The crowded room is getting warm. She takes a sip of her cocktail.
“Looks like you’ve got your hands full,” he says and walks away looking eager to talk to someone else.
Heather wanders outside to the patio for some fresh air. Sitting alone at a large glass table she can see Angie through the window, smiling and mingling. Angie’s once puffy and thick black hair has been cut and styled into a glamorous sleek bob. She sips a pink drink from a martini glass and looks confident, no doubt sharing her success in Washington D.C as an attorney. Heather wonders what her life would’ve been like without Michael and the kids. She could’ve lived in New York and worked for The Times. She always liked the city. She takes a sip of her vodka tonic and stands up sober enough to know that she should keep drinking. What kind of mother pictures an alternative life without her kids? Maybe most.
The extra bed in Angie’s hotel room is comfortable enough for the night and besides, it isn’t worth risking a DUI to drive to her mother’s house. Heather wakes up with the sun shining through the large window and reads the digital clock. 8:32am. She hasn’t slept that long in almost a decade.
“Last night was great, right?” Angie says from across the room. She’s wearing workout clothes, bending to tie her running shoes.
“I guess,” Heather says and sits up against the upholstered headboard. “The drinks were good but I ran out of things to talk about.”
Angie stands and stretches her arms above her head. “Come on, you have so much going on in your house. You live in the Pacific Palisades after all. That’s an accomplishment in itself. Besides, I’m so envious of you and those kids. I might resort to the sperm bank soon. Seriously.”
“I feel like I wasted four years of college tuition, which, by the way, I am still paying for.”
“One of my clients told me about these Mommy bloggers,” Angie says. “I don’t know if they make money, but I’d read yours.”
“That’s boarding on narcissism,” Heather says. “The only way I keep my sanity sometimes is by journaling but really who cares about my daughter’s tomboy tendencies or my son’s ADHD.” She rubs the sleep from her eyes. “Anyway, are you sure about the sperm bank thing? Did I tell you that I am absolutely petrified that Michael is taking better care of the kids this weekend then I would? What kind of mother hopes that the children are pining for her?”
Angie finished stretching. “An honest one,” Angie says. “Think about it. And no, I’m not sure about the sperm.”
Without Internet connection at her mother’s house, Heather sits with her laptop at table in Starbucks. She googles Mommy Bloggers and finds four pages of links. She begins to read and suddenly an hour passes. Some blogs are funny, others are sentimental, either way she’s entertained. She takes a sip of her cold café mocha.
It takes only a few minutes to format her blog. An angry Faye Dunaway in smeared face cream, holding a pink ruffled dress is the image she selects to insert next to her domain name, Mod Mom. She intends to forward this to Angie as a joke.
I hope I’m not as bad as Mommy Dearest…
But, what kind of mother am I? I’ll tell you if you care to know or not. I am the kind of mother who stays awake all night with a feverish child and who buys baked goods for classroom parties. I can fill in for an absent t-ball coach and with a SUV full of screaming children, I can navigate my way safely along PCH. Maybe I am more talented than I realized.
During PTA meetings and trips to the grocery store, I fantasize about a different life. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant and married (yes, in that order) then I could’ve done marvelous things: traveled to exotic locations and covered world news, won a Pulitzer or two. Or maybe not. It’s impossible to know what would’ve been. All I know is where and who I am today. I am a mother. It’s the most important thing in my life. Does that make me terribly unique or special? No. In fact, in the ways that really count, I am like almost every other mother I know, including my own. In fact, we might all recognize some bits of ourselves in each other’s blogs and maybe that’s what makes reading them so entertaining.
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families.