Don, Dean, Frank--my steadfast "don't do it, girl" heroes, got me through another self-questioning period this week where I have really really really wanted to smoke. As I get closer to the one-year anniversary, the disappointing thing to me is how badly I sometimes still want one. How easily those 10 months disappear before my very eyes and it feels like I lit up ten minutes ago, so what's the big deal.
We have a new baby sitter for Jenna on Wednesdays. A nice lady, in her 50s, grown children, she comes from the agency we use for baby sitting. We all like her.
Jenna said to me the other day, "Miss Mary smokes."
I was surprised that my reaction was near panic. "She what?"
"She smokes, but not around me."
"Well then how do you know."
"After we went to the Dollar Store she stood outside the car and smoked, like you used to do."
"Do you smell it--has she ever smoked in the car or near the house?"
"No mommy. She made sure. I didn't smell it at all--I was in the car. She was right next to the car."
I thought a lot of things about this. Probably about 102 things if you add them up. My first thought was rage: How could this woman leave my child in a car and pay her no attention while she had a cigarette. Then, I remembered how it's done. Because I did it for seven years. You simply turn on the radio, make sure the child has something to do, you stand right next to the door so no carjacker can come and grab them, and you make happy faces through the window while you shoot up--I mean have a cigarette.
So, how do I feel? I still don't know. It was, for sure, the fist time I was repulsed by a smoker in my midst. I started thinking of her as an addict--how much attention can she pay if she's jonsing to step outside. Again, I know this because I WAS THAT. And yet, they have a ball. The woman is smart, accomplished, fun, energetic--lots of the things I used to be.
George smokes--maybe three a day. Never in the house. Never in the car. Never around Jenna. How many conversations did we get to have with us standing outside the car and her in the backseat playing with polly pockets when we'd run our errands? Those were the times we had a chance to talk without a seven-year-old, insistent, only child in our faces. We don't get those car-side conversatins anymore.
So I'm caught between envy and repulsion as I weigh whether or not it matters to me that this woman smokes. Even though she doesn't do it in my house or in her car or in Jenna's breathing space, and I've never smelled it on her (I sure used to smell it on me!), I've changed how I think about her.
Because now I see her as an addict. And at the same time, I'd like to join her for one of those car-side talks.