- I resolve to stop apologizing for things that are simply not my fault, like the near extinction of the Mountain Gorilla. Moving forward, I will only say sorry if I make a mistake, like that time I didn’t enunciate properly and the waitress heard, “I’m allergic to relish” rather than “shellfish” and she brought me lobster and I ended up in anaphylactic shock. I felt so sorry for that poor waitress who had to witness the paramedics working on my limp body like that. My fault entirely.
- I resolve to say “No” more often to things like babysitting around the clock for my friends. Being their surrogate mother so they wouldn’t gain weight has been exhausting enough and the emergency C-section from the last pregnancy left me weak and without a uterus. Bearing twelve children has tuckered me out so moving forward, I will only commit to babysitting for 24 consecutive days at a time even though that makes me look selfish. I hope my harried friends who deserve those retreats in Bora Bora can work within my restrictive schedule.
- I resolve to be honest about how I want to spend my time and stop pretending that taking all twelve kids winter camping is a “fun adventure.” Losing fingers to hypothermia while putting up a tent in the middle of a blizzard isn’t exactly fun. They do love it though, especially when we play “Bury Her Alive.” They laugh so hard when my face turns blue and I try to claw my way out of the snow coffin. I’d hate to take that away from them so I’ve decided I’ll only take them winter camping when there is no blizzard in the forecast.
- I resolve to use positive self-talk by repeating my mantras—I deserve thirty minutes/week for myself. A uterus does not define me.
- I resolve to stop being available to everyone 24/7. It cost me $2,000 to change my flight home from Mexico mid-vacation to take Alice’s daughter, Emma, to the doctor because she had a fever. It’s not Alice’s fault that she had a manicure appointment that morning and couldn’t take her but, in the future, I will only rearrange my schedule for friends when I’m in the country—or if that’s too prohibitive, the continent.
- I resolve to be more assertive. If Jenna asks me one more time to donate my AB-negative blood to her in case her children require it, I’ll be firm and say, “Jenna, I’d rather not. The nurse said my daily donations have collapsed my veins. Would a bone marrow donation help, though?”
- I resolve to stop fearing rejection. I will no longer text my friends hourly to find out why they’re not texting me back. I won't imagine the worst—that they think I’m selfish for no longer providing my womb and limiting my babysitting hours. God, I hope it’s not that! I better text them to apologize and to see if any of them might need my spleen. I can easily live without it. It's no trouble.
- I resolve to accept compliments. When someone says something nice about me such as, “I can’t believe you carried babies for twelve friends and now you’re barren! There’s dedication and then there’s resolutely staunch. Jesus.” I’ll just smile and say, “Thank you. I’m blessed to have friends who need me,” instead of my usual deflections like, “Aww, it’s nothing. Being pregnant for over a decade gave me the most beautiful glow and besides, I don’t have time for a relationship or children of my own anyway.”
- I resolve to stop neglecting my own needs. Between the C-sections, babysitting, and blood donations, I used up all my sick days. After my long-term disability ran out, my boss had to let me go which of course is totally understandable. I'm so grateful for food banks but they don't serve fresh vegetables which has led to scurvy, unfortunately. Moving forward, I will take better care of myself by growing my own vegetable garden in the little plot beside my sleeping bag at the park.
- I resolve to not care what others think. When people walk by me and whisper, “Is that Susan? My God, what happened to her? She looks like death.” I’ll hold my head high and thank my battered body for the miracles it provided for my super busy and wonderful friends… who I’m certain will text me back any minute.