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Club Barbie

I looked in the mirror and saw a girl who should have been swinging from a pole. The tube top I had on stopped about two inches above my newly pierced navel and the skirt I borrowed was so tight and fitted to my body that it looked like it had been painted on. The smell of pot and cigarettes filled my dorm room and I was already two vodka drinks into one of the worst hangovers I would ever experience.

"See, my clothes fit you perfectly, right?" said my very perky, wide-eyed roommate. "We just need to give you a hint of green to bring out your eyes."

She grabbed the mirror on my desk, "Hold this," she ordered. She then proceeded to grab a baggy from her top drawer and shake powder out over the mirror. Before I knew it, she had blown a line of coke, poured more onto to the mirror and handed me the small straw. Welcome to my first night at college.....

"All you, girl," she said wiping her nose.

"I'm good," was all I could get out.

"Oh, I have E if you want that instead," her very dilated, puppy-dog-eyes seriously made me feel bad.  I was used to bonding with my girlfriends over a tub of cookie doe not a pile of narcotics. I was so naive. The best I could do was offer to light up a cigg and refill my glass of vodka and sprite. This seemed to make her happy, that and me being her dress-up doll.

"You are so friggen cute. You're like Club Baabie. " she said with her heavy Brooklyn accent. She commented that she even had pink boots, which were thankfully too big for me. Luckily the girl down the hall had electric blue platform heels that clashed matched with my light blue skirt.

I looked longingly across the room at a picture of my six best friends. I had thrown a party chuck full of booze over the summer which resulted in a broken banister and a near fist fight on the front lawn. This was nothing compared to the current state of affairs in my dorm room.  Although if you ask my parents, it sure was something. You kind of know that you are in more trouble than you have ever been in your life when your father paces your room telling you he may actually let you leave the house because he can't stand to look at you.

My mother said she knew the minute she walked in that I had thrown a party when she saw that the pillows in the den were not "organized correctly." Yes, she was that good. Needless to say, this left me with a two-week grounding and no access to the car, which considering how angry my parents were, was not so bad after all.

My girlfriends all called my mother to apologize about the party. Mom thought of them all like they were her own so an apology from each of them re-instilled her faith.  If I was going to be later than my curfew all I had to do was mention that I was with one of "The Sevens" and it softened the blow. This isn't to say that my mother didn't see through my bullshit. She knew immediately when I wasn't really with one of them and was able to sniff out any jerk I was keeping company with.

It wasn't until after my roommate left college to go to rehab in the beginning of the second semester that I admitted to my parents that I had been living with a drug addict. To this my mother simply said, "Ya think? The last two times I called and got her on the phone she thought I was her mother for the first five minutes, even after I told her I wasn't." Like I said, she always knew.

That first semester I missed my friends very much and everything I thought I knew. There were drug deals happening every night in my dorm room followed by the occasional sheet shake afterwards. I should have opened up these romp sessions to the public and charged admission because it was like listening to an R-rated soap opera. My girlfriend who would end up being my next roommate and partner in crime for the rest of college sat on the top bunk with me one night to witness the "ugly."   She couldn't believe it.

"This needs a little something," Krissy had jumped off the top bunk, grabbed two Coors Lights from our baby fridge and hopped back up without my roommate or her flavor of the night even flinching. We opened our beers, cheersed and laughed like two jackasses. Truth is, Manhattan College would have been in my rear view mirror had she not come over that night.  Change could be embraced after all. Sometimes it just takes a few adjustments.

After bringing home our first born from the hospital, my early college experience looked like a walk in the park. At three a.m. I was fully clothed in the shower hovering my two-day-old daughter's bum under the water while my husband looked at me in sheer horror. We were three spit up sessions and one atomic poop into the bumpiest night of our lives.  Everyone talks about the labor pain and the physical recovery your body goes through, but no one tells you that the first night home without the help of a staff of professionals may leave you feeling like your baby would seriously be better off with anyone other than you.

The first few weeks that Maddie was home I was in a Mog. You know—a Mom fog.  It felt like a hundred years since I had gotten dressed up to go to club or bar with my friends and a thousand more since I had gotten a proper night's sleep. The last few month's of pregnancy coupled with the two nights in the hospital where my body hurt every time I rolled over wasn't exactly quality snoozing.  I was also having serious Sevens withdrawal. What used to be  a quick phone call and a "Let's do Houlihan's in an hour" turned into "maybe next Tuesday or the Friday after we can do dinner." Distance had already made it harder to get together more frequently so this just added insult to injury.

It was reminiscent of those early college days in that I felt lost and unsure of what my future would hold, but there were also those other euphoric moments where I was wildly intrigued and excited as to what lied ahead. Sure, I had lost the ability to make impromptu dates with my friends or for that matter, with my husband. I had also lost the liberty to pee and shower carefree without having to listen for a crying infant or later- fend off a toddler's grab for the roll of toilet paper, but I had gained the freedom to be as silly as I wanted.

I could make a million funny faces and twice as many ridiculous noises just to see my daughter smile. I could dance like I had ants in my pants just to make my daughter laugh. I could belt out all of my
favorite songs not caring how awful I sounded just to make my daughter coo. I could do all of these things just to get a reaction from that little face. A little face that depended on me for everything, that trusted me with everything, that suddenly was my everything. Life had changed immensely, but just like that fleeting moment as Club Barbie, I was willing to play the part without forgetting who I was. I was the same person I had always been except this time I was a mother with a real life Cabbage Patch doll.

MeMa even reminded me, "This one's real, we can't just throw her in the washing machine if she throws up." Ok, so I may have thrown up on my Cabbage Patch, my dear Suzy-Q.  It was only because I brought her everywhere with me. What can I say—I was a loving mother even at the age of four.

Sweet baby girl, your MeMa always reminded us to not lose ourselves in other people or in situations. She wanted us to always think for ourselves and not take life too seriously.  Accepting change is necessary because it enables us to learn, grow and most importantly love.


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