Posted March 31, 2013 by jimhigley
Tracy Beckerman is lost. Make that Lost in Suburbia, the title of her new book whose subtitle is A Momoir: How I Got Pregnant, Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs.
And my suggestion is that you find her. Stat.
If you don’t know Tracy, let me make a little introduction. Professionally, I’d tell you that she’s a nationally syndicated humor columnist whose observations on motherhood show up in 400+ papers weekly. She’s the Erma Bombeck of our world today. A brilliant writer, she is capable of hitting her stories out of the park over and over again.
I could go on.
But I would rather tell you who Tracy is to me.
Tracy is one of the primary reasons I write. You see, a few years back, when I stepped out of the familiar world of corporate America into the unknown world of writing, Tracy was one of the first writers I met. And she was one of the first who told me I could write. Her initial – and on-going – support has been an important part of my self-discovery. She may be known for her humor. But I know her for her golden heart.
This is one Bobblehead Dad who is really glad to have found Tracy. Now go do the same.
Want to know a little more about her new book?
It’s about a mom who trades in her pre-kid world – as well as what seems to be her identity – for suburban life. It’s the story of the “every mom” experiencing the universal trials, tribulations, and triumphs of motherhood. It’s about staying sane while fishing Barbie heads out of the toilet; how to laugh when your kid asks the fat cop at the doughnut shop if he’s having a baby; and how to look good when your post-baby butt is so big you want to hang a “Caution: Wide Load” sign behind you. How about a tiny excerpt?
Chapter 6 “The Only Thing Good About the Suburbs is They Deliver Ice Cream to Your Door”
My husband pulled the old bait and switch. It was just like those ads for used cars that promise you a sexy convertible for a ridiculously low price, and then when you get to the show-room, they give you some old clunker.
When we talked about moving to the suburbs, I had fantasies of living in a castle. What we got was a cottage. Actually it was more of a shed. But at least it was a shed with a garage.
It was not, admittedly, my husband’s fault. We thought our single income would go a lot further in the suburbs than in the city. But after narrowing down the playing field to a location that was a reasonable distance from New York City, we discovered that you don’t get that much more house close to the city than you can get apartment in the city. Since we had been renting for all of our adult lives, we didn’t have anything to sell and therefore we didn’t have any money to buy anything bigger than a bread box. So we decided to rent again and hopefully save enough money to be able to buy a house in a few years. Unfortunately, there were not that many great house rental properties. After searching high and low, we finally found a cute house with a cute backyard on a quiet street in a cute New Jersey town (I know . . . that is an oxymoron). The catch was, it had one bathroom and one closet.
We decided to take the plunge and prayed that we would have enough money to buy a house with more bathrooms before my son started potty training.
The good news was the house had two actual bedrooms and a living room and a dining room and a kitchen and they were all separate rooms unlike our apartment, which had basically been one room divided by toys. The plastic playhouse had separated the living room from the kitchen and the teepee had separated the kitchen from the dining room/baby’s room. When people asked me what style of decorating we had, I said it was Early Modern Playskool.
As small as it was, the house had a lot of charm in a compact, puce-colored-aluminum-siding, shag-carpeting kind of way. Based on the steepness of the staircase, it was clear the house had been a ranch that had been converted to a two- story. I thought the previous owners who decided to do the conversion must have been dwarves if the extraordinarily low ceiling height on the second level was any indication. They also, apparently, had been dwarves with great bladder control because the master bedroom was on the second level and the lone bathroom was on the first. While this was very convenient for my son who lived on the first level and didn’t even need the toilet, it was less so for me when I later got pregnant and had to hurl myself down the staircase whenever I had to puke or pee in the middle of the night.
Charming as the new house was and excited as I was for our new suburban adventure, I found myself mourning our life in the city before we even left. As the moving van pulled away from our apartment with us in our new, used Buick LeSabre following behind, I looked back at my soon-to-be former life and cried. When we got to our new house in the suburbs, I put my son down on grass for the first time, and he cried.
We were off to a roaring start.
Reprinted from Lost In Suburbia by Tracy Beckerman by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2013 by Tracy Beckerman.
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