Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I can honestly say that we are....eight days from lift off. I have three children. And I'm like...12 percent done with my shopping. Maybe 13. While I might justify this with "last minute sales" and "BOGO on legos at K-Mart," the reality is that I've been.....traumatized.
Episode 1: Retard.
It's a mutter-word. We all think shit we'd never say outloud. We might murmur it, whisper it, snarl under our breath...but we don't actually say it. Until you're in Wal-mart, searching for the "legos with the motors." "The what?" "Mo-ohhhm, the MOTORS!" Yeah. And there I am. Ditched the boys in video games to cause havoc with anyone actually shopping for something--and I'm in the lego isle....and "What RETARD stocked these little...." And there he was--my 10 yr old. Owl eyes... lookin' at me.
We get in the car. "Dad, mom said retard." Little shit told on me.
Episode 2: Decorating
When you plan ahead for a Kodak moment...conspire to out-do Norman Rockwell...engineer holiday-licious delight...you are doomed.
Hot cocoa, Christmas tree, mistletoe and merry, carols on the stereo. Cinnamon candles mingle with orange and cloves....I've got star shaped marshmallows for goodness sake! I actually had cookie dough to bake afterwards. After...Deco-Night. That evening--with glinting sparkles, stockings hung, holiday cheer so thick you could cream your coffee. There was a ladder. In the foyer. I love the dark wood and trim and tile--it sold me this house in 3 seconds flat. Such potential!
Boxes of twinkle lights, a hammer, nails....jingle bells ringing--I call the boys. My 8 yr-old flies down the stairs and launches himself into my arms. The crack of his forehead against my jaw was audible all the way to the kitchen.
I reel....spinning, his body clings to mine I teeter and SMASH into the ladder. It whips over and crashes to the floor...pinning the cat's tail to the tile. Yowling like a cheetah, he flips backwards, pees on the floor, and falls down the stairs into the basement. Distant thrashing sounds are heard. Child and I gyrate across the room and descend upon the SINGLE live plant to be seen. Obliterated. Rebounding, we absolutely decimate the box of chocolates intended for the mailman.
We found the cat. Briefly. Disposed of the plant, ate the chocolates--never got to the lights. The mailman is getting skittles.
Episode 3: Library
Is there a place more warm, more inviting, more the embodiment of educational envelopment of our deepest aspirations than...the library. Especially when this particular library is actually a renovated Victorian mansion. We're talking FIREPLACES. Gorgeous woodwork, staircases....and as I enter, that smell--ancient knowledge, intelligence...good carpet. I approach the desk. She's so...librarian. She's savvy, clever, witty--you can just tell. And she was wearing holiday fluff. Wowza. Flashing Christmas tree earrings were competing with the battery powered candy cane that hung glowing from her pine-green sweater vest edged with gold thread and embroidered stars. She even had a Santa ring. There was garland in her hair.
"Please, can you help me resolve my son's over-due account?" She paused. She calculated. I was: an offender.
"Uh...he's eight. It was Thanksgiving break and he was with my ex and...." "HE OWES FIVE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS." "Er...you don't have to shout--I'm right here..." "FIVE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS!" At this point people were beginning to stare. "Ok, do you take debit?" "CASH ONLY." Um...(sweat beading on my upper lip, shifting my purse...I could smell my deodorant) "I'll be back with the--" "HE CANNOT TAKE ANYTHING OUT UNTIL THIS IS PAID." I smiled. I leaned over the counter...and hissed, "you say anything else and I'll fake a seizure and pee on your rug."
It still amazes me, the power of urine. She blanched. I later learned she was subbing....not a regular. If I ever find her home base...
Episode 4: The Party
Everyone has those "overload" weeks. Mine just happen to...breed.
Remember the gremlins. Dear God.
So I accepted a new position on Thursday--only to learn I was to teach a 6 hour english class in FOUR days. The next morning I was notified my ex was suing me. Sick kids, crazy family and a cat that has recently discovered the ability to piss in my basement without repercussion until the furnace kicks on. Damn if I don't wake up in the ER. Friday night, inescapable pain in the left side of my head. Passed out. They scanned my brain a few times, shot me full of morphine, wrote some scrips, sent me home with a neuro apt. Did I mention that SATURDAY we had a 50+ rsvp holiday bash planned with KIDS at our home? Shoot me now.
Awesome girlfriend....who called at 11:28am Saturday to tell me that she was ill and unable to make it.
I am NOT advocating parties on narcotics.
HOWEVER. Oxy-blah blah rocks. Decorated, cooked, dressed....kicked the damn cat out of the house and burned half a box of Nag Champa....and the mulled wine was killer. At 2:45am I kissed the last guest good-bye....and finished the merlot. I think.
Last night I watched "Olive, The Other Reindeer."
Bring it on.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I was the photographer for a wedding this summer. It was a lusciously hot August day. Sublime sunshine and aquamarine skies were the perfect backdrop to a garden wedding at the conservatory. The bride was stunning, the groom elegantly handsome...perfection. Time raced by, my camera catching delighted grins, sheepish smiles, fairy-like little girls dancing in the grass. Hands holding, cheeks blushing, stolen kisses and tender glances... As the day melted slowly into evening I filled roll after roll of film with joy. Moments suspended like crystal stars that will be gazed at, held, cherished by many for generations to come.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I was standing in line at the grocery store. It was the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day...one of those crisp days, like apple pie and golden leaves. I had filled my cart with roots to roast--turnips and parsnips and sweet potatoes. Fresh rosemary, a loaf of garlic bread, brie to wrap in pastry and bake...and I arrived at check-out. Three lines open, two carts in each--throw the dice, right? I park. Now, I might add to this mental picture that the attached liquor store was having a "tasting" which meant I had three choices of merlot to sample as I waited...yum. (chuckle) However, it was very shortly apparent that things were amiss.
The cashier was in his early 20's. Kinda scruffy, rugged around the edges, well mannered, but needed a good meal. (smile) He was polite, nice...tired. And the two carts in front of me....wow. Soon after my first sip of a dark californian blend I noticed--she was swearing at him. She was the same age as he. There was a baby in the cart...and she had a pack of WIC checks in one hand and a cell phone in the other. She ridiculed him. It was so obvious he was new, nervous...she was that "pretty" that had faded...paled. Highlights a little too white, black eyeliner a little too thick, cherry lips that pulled back over viciously sharp teeth--ready to bite. She asked if he was stupid. She joked about his blush with the girl behind her who also had a stack of checks and an "access" card.
His pain was palpable. It radiated from his reddened cheeks as he struggled to put the numbers in the system, calculate the credit...scan the specific food. He cringed as he told her the juice she had chosen wasn't covered, and physically cowered as she raged at him. When it was all done and he had fed her checks into the register....she asked for four packs of cigarettes and pulled out a wad of 20's to pay for them.
I gripped the bar of my cart so hard I knew I would have bruises later.
She sneered. She laughed with the girl behind her--this one also in her twenties, with two kids hanging on the sides of her cart and her belly stretched tight with a third....she swore. Language that made me gasp--actually out loud--so that they both looked at me. She tossed her cheese and milk carelessly on the belt, "What, you got a problem with that??"
As the previous director and executive director of numerous early childhood centers and preschools-- I was speechless. Dumbfounded. Outraged. I fumbled....me, with what I've done--the places I've been, I fumbled. I stepped back. At this point it had been 40 minutes. I'd watched four other people get in line behind me...observe....check out the other lines....then smile almost apologetically, and move over. I watched them leave. There was some part of my mind that was screaming for me to just SWITCH LINES! What on earth was the big deal?? Just "move along".....
But there was a day. One day. Warm, indian summer that year...when a single mom....with worn out sneakers, a cranky toddler and a hungry two yr old...she stumbled into the welfare waiting office 4 minutes before her appointment. She wiped the tears from her cheeks. She was horrified. Three months ago she was a stay-at-home mom. A wife.That caseworker told me I was what she lived for....that I was someone who had worked since I was 17 and had paid into this system and that is was a pleasure to help me when I really needed it. She was amazing. She took one of the most humbling....awful moments in my life....and filled it with kindness. I have never been so grateful. So thankful. With that green plastic card came the ability to feed my boys meat. Doctor appointments and immunizations. I gave up selling plasma.
I have stood in many lines wic checks in hand, cheese and milk and juice....and never fathomed ridiculing the person who's very taxes was paying for my meals. I stood humbled...appreciating every mouthful of food, every gulp of milk.
Four months and my life was different. I signed a lease, a contract....I sold a painting, opened a center. I smiled as I hugged my caseworker and told her goodbye. I was done. Years have gone by.....for every frightened mother that I have held, connected, and cheered on as they landed on their feet.... For every proud and hungry parent I have urged in the direction of help...even when it hurt. For every moment that I have understood people who are struggling....I have been grateful for that time. There is no replacement for walking in a pair of shoes.
But what have we become?
How is it that there is a wave of people....that ridicule those of us that work forty, fifity hours a week--god awful black cold early mornings....late nights comforting your son because you missed his Christmas play to handle an employee emergency? How did that happen? I have LIVED the life of a "family supported." I have been there. Not for a moment....a single instant did I not know that the food on my child's plate came from the table, the paycheck, the taxes of someone who got up and went to work.
I raise my boys now. I watch them....watching me. How do I teach them this? How do we teach appreciation?
I've been told that appreciation is the child of "without."
Doing without....is this the seed? For every day you go without the jeans that everyone else had in 7th grade--is this what makes them magical? Every day you eat hamburger helper....isn't that what makes lobster heavenly? Every lonely night...makes the arms of a loved one priceless.
Every day you sell plasma and give your kids mac and cheese for breakfast.....
Is there a waiting period? How do you take a significant portion of our society and make them understand what it is to do without....when they never do.
I'm truly lost here. I stood in that line. For an hour. When I started unloading the lukewarm milk and brie from my cart, the chashier said to me, "If you're wic, get out of my line." I smiled. I told him he was doing an excellent job. His shoulders unknotted....he turned, watching their carts as they left. I wanted to tell him they weren't normal. They weren't...what we were working for. He and I...standing together on a warm fall afternoon....wondering what the world was coming to.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
My sister recently told me she was considering deleting her entire facebook profile. She's had a tough year...and the world is filled with people who don't know when to say nothing. Silence can be such a gift. Our relationship grew a great deal the day I told her, "I love you but I have no idea what you're feeling....I can only imagine and I fear I will come up short. I have no advice, only ears. I love you." She started to cry. She thanked me. She's had enough empty husks of brittle comfort that crumble for lack of substance or truth.
About facebook, she said, "It isn't real." And I was shocked. "Did you think it was?" I mean, my sister is an incredibly intelligent woman; to listen to her dismay over this--threw me. Have we come that far in society? That this fabricated wireless world should qualify as real? But wait--I mean, it is....right? You're real...sorta. Somewhere out there, hundreds, thousands of miles away sometimes--there is a person of flesh and blood that is reading these words...thinking about them...emotionally responding to them....but are you real to me? Maybe you're only real when you write back? What if what I write means nothing to you? If the wind blows but there is nothing to move in it.....
Words are real. The joy and the agony they can infuse is palatable. There have been times when the cruelty of another has left an iron tang in my mouth like bile...or blood. Bitter venom that sickened me. I've known a physical surge of sensual pleasure from fevered whispered words. I've know paralyzing fear, soul wrenching sorrow. These are real--I know this to be true....but perhaps there are levels of reality? Is comfort more real when someone softly wipes the tears from your cheek rather than sends a *((hug))* on your screen? Is that white hot surge of anger more real when you find your car window smashed than when you read a vicious attack on your character? Has our new anonymous world lost the sense of reality? Have we begun to unconsciously loose ourselves, our "realness," in atmospheric communication?
My children recently have resisted going to my ex's for his weekend. When questioned, they told me that, as it was Halloween weekend, they wanted to be at our house...in our neighborhood. Further discussion revealed that while he and his new wife have lived in their home for 3 or 4 years, they know no one on their street. No one. I truly do not mean to compare so readily, but we purchased our home and moved in barely 4 months ago and have met, laughed, shared beer and hung out with nearly every family on our block! Our kids play, wander in and out of each other's homes--we've had a ladies potluck lunch that was a blast and in a week are throwing a party they're all coming to! My point being.....how on earth do you not know your neighbors?? How is it possible to live for years someplace and still be strangers? When my husband was in the hospital recently, I came home to discover that my neighbor mowed my "could-bale-hay" lawn. I cover her son's four-wheeler with a tarp if I find it's blown off. We live together.....sharing air, and parking spaces, and....life. I find it almost incomprehensible that one would live that obscurely. Is that kind of community real?
We have become almost...nameless. Hell, I'm the first to say I love the movies, a great book, my blog life--I joke that I passionately adore my "vicarious enjoyment of others lives." Yet, have we gone too far? Have we reached the point of consuming another's experiences, emotions...their pain or joy, like sushi--and then we have the privilege of just...disengaging? Has our distance, our removal from the genuine intimacy of relationships....have we begun to lose what is truly real?
There was a time when you only personally knew the life stories of your companions, perhaps friends of friends or relations. The death of a child or spouse was felt by the literal absence, the vacancy of their smile. When someone lost their job you noticed their car disappeared...and they got thinner. Now, it's just numbers on a screen. Words that you digest...perhaps respond to "in the moment"...and then click to the next screen, the next news story, your e-mail, your bank account. Life shifts seamlessly from one subject to the next with little real consequences.
There is a novel series called Otherland by Williams . It explores the futuristic world where virtual reality has become the central venue for business, education and entertainment. Can you imagine if you just "plugged in" and were able to literally feel, taste, smell whatever you wanted!? Sex. Pain. Ecstasy. Fear. Friendship. From sailing a pirate ship through a raging storm to giving birth to...committing murder. You could experience anything. Everything. Experiences with no consequence.
Are we close?
Technology is advancing at a terrifying pace. I fully expect to see this in my life. We are taking steps daily toward this...anonymity. What is real? You can create a star or decimate a career with the right words. We can choose to comfort a hurting friend or simply ignore a chat request when we're too tired.
I am challenged. I am slightly frightened. This two dimensional world on my laptop threatens to substitute flesh...contact. I will open my door, step outside....connect...touch.
I can feel the wind on my skin. It's real.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
But to return to grandma. So I paint the room. It's pressed tin--walls and ceiling, which means that it took about 4 extra gallons of paint and tested my supremely lacking patience. Then there was the Shopping. (sigh) I despise shopping. You can always tell a hostile anti-shopper by the dreaded occurrence of...PURSE SHOULDER. You can spot us three stores away in the mall as we shift our purses from the elbow crook to the left shoulder and then the right...and we begin to sigh. And then whine...and then need to sit down; helplessly massaging our aching bodies, we beg total strangers for coffee (or liquor) while making moaning whimpering noises. I cannot take it. My spirit lags....it nearly always results in a mad dash for a large bottle of merlot on the way home.
But oh, there was shopping! Shopping for rugs, bed frame, mattresses and dresser. Towels, sheets, pillows...even the doily on the night stand. (gotta have a doily for a grandma, right?) And finally--(after the removal of suspicious lightsabers under the bed....poor grandma has no idea what she's in for)--voila!
And the day we've been waiting for....she arrives!
The first day.
The house smells of roasted chicken and rosemary. I have fresh bread rising in the kitchen. Nina Simone sings so sultry....its lovely, warm, welcome little grandma! (she's 4'8"....I am actually 6 feet tall--genetic mutations run in our family) She laughs, she's happy, dinner is delicious....she breaks her teeth in the sink.
Days 2 through 6 pass in a whirlwind of ham, grits, black-eyed peas and cornbread. (did I mention she's southern?) I shop again; sweaters this time--she's cold. We laugh, we talk....we rip three tiles off the shower wall attempting to install the "mighty suction cup handle" that would help her in and out of the bath. I underestimated it's tenacious hold. Note to self: pick up some liquid nails before husband uses the downstairs bathroom.
She left yesterday. The boys were a little sad--my youngest even offered to let her borrow his lightsaber until next time. (she was very confused) However, she did seem to enjoy herself. We reminisced over the summer my sisters and I spent with her and grandpa in Arizona. (grandpa told me I could catch a rabbit if I put salt on it's tail....and grandma spent hours removing cactus prickles from my bum with tweezers as a result) There was a spanking with a fly swatter that summer too...and I learned to play poker.
Grandma returns in two weeks. My mother needs knee surgery and I've volunteered to keep little grandma while she recovers. Sawyer asked me last night, "will we have to eat cornbread again?" Brennan wants to know where his lightsaber is. Noah said we can put his pumpkin in her room.
I told him that might frighten her. He agreed.
At least the shopping is done.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
So I'm at the post office. Stand in line, shift feet, check out the good lookin' guy in the raincoat, (the first look is free, my father always says; the second one costs you) shift again. Purchase stamps from depressed ancient matron behind the counter that really needed her roots touched up. (yet again another piece of evidence to support my move toward powdered prozac in splenda packets for emergencies...) Anyway, I step over to the grimy, chewing gum studded counter and prepare to stamp the heck out of my postcards....tap, tap. Someone is taping my shoulder. I turn around and it's this extremely well-dressed older gentleman of Indian persuasion. (as in lamb kabob--not beaded moccasin) He says, "I don't mean to be creepy, but your hair is beautiful."
Dude, if you have to say you don't mean to be creepy--you are.
What is with our nationwide need to preface? I have this motto for all of my friendships, "Say what you mean and mean exactly what you say." It's simple really. No innuendos, no implications. I mean, didn't we all have enough of that in junior high? (and then there was high school and then college....) Isn't there some magic age when we all stop the crap? Someone once told me that "but" negates everything you say before it. An interesting thought to ponder. "I love you, but when you do this...." "Those shoes look great, but..." Hmmm....can we lose the "but?" Perhaps I should circulate a petition that we start a new holiday: "But-less Day."
Oooh, I'm liking this new holiday idea. I could make cards! How many people do you really want to just be honest with?
Dear Neighbor, I like your car. Your dog sucks. Love, Lola. (this would be the neighbor several streets away whose dog must be tied outside--and he is NOT happy about it)
Dear Mailman, You are nice. Why the hell can't you close the mailbox? Love, Lola. (which is what my husband calls me, btw)
Dear Sam, You have great taste in music. Your living room smells like leftover perogies. I adore the color of it! Love, Lola.
No "buts." Don't tell me you don't want to be rude BUT....or that you don't mean to hurt my feelings BUT... Well, if you don't--then flippin' don't! Don't interrupt, don't cut me off, don't "not want to bother me, BUT"...own up. Say it just like it is.
But-less Day. Hip hip Hooray!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Did I really just say that to my sister? Smart off to my husband? Snap at my son for something ridiculous? Who told the completely inappropriate joke at the dinner party? Who barked at the "bag-not" at Kuhns for putting my bread in with the fabric softner? At the waitress that spilled blistering coffee down my arm? Who slipped in the glaring sexual innuendo while talking to her husband at work without realizing she was on speaker phone? Was that the hussy in me? The insecure 14 year-old? The bitchy twenty-something that thinks she knows everything? The impatient director who expects everyone to just try harder? The flaky artist? The spoiled brat? Who the hell is in that mirror? Will you please identify yourself?
It's amazing how direct confrontation--especially of ourselves--is intensely difficult. Stop for a minute. Make eye-contact.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
There was a time, in a land far away--YEARS ago....when I loved the cold. Kid you not. I raced from the house with my hair flying in the wind, yelling over my shoulder, "COAT?? MOM I DON'T NEED A COAT!!" There could be snow drifting from the heavens and we'd be traipsing about the neighborhood, driving with the windows down, icy flakes melting on my cheeks... Of course, I was like 15....and hard-headed, stubborn, (moi?) and had yet to discover that I was not immortal. (still working on that one) Cold smold, what was the big deal? Run a little faster, dance instead of stand in line, laugh when you feel like you might shiver--cold had no hold over me!! Ahhhh.......and now I sit here bundled in a 3 inch thick sweater and nursing a cup of steaming tea. And I wonder...did my skin get thinner? My nerves more sensitive? I mean I sure as hell am not skinnier! And it comes to me.....is it just that when I was fifteen and stupid--that I embraced it? I relished it! With arms wide open I flung myself into the chilly world, savoring the icy clench my breath made in my chest. And now thoughts of gas bills, head colds, snotty tissues, and frozen pipes leave me.......um, cold?
What else have I forgotten or lost the ability to embrace? Friendship for sure. After 7 years in a marriage that was rather a fraud--not to mention the relationships that went with it that vaporized as soon as the divorce was granted--I no longer assume that everyone is what they seem. I share little....listen alot....and wait. Headlong plunges into friendship are a thing of the past. (my husband has actually found me in the coat closet at church pretending to read the bulletin during "meet and greet time") Remember when you first saw the new girl at the bus stop? Buckteeth, zit on the chin, wrinkled denim jacket with "friendship pins" on your shoes--the two of you were inseparable by the time the bus arrived at school! Oh, to be able to trust like that again.
Then again--perhaps I have just exchanged "embracing abilities." When I think of my freakazoid 15 year-old self with the bad perm and ocean blue eyeshadow--I also remember hating all food that wasn't served on a bun. I had serious issues with my parents "mus-aaack" (gag, choke), and I only wanted Niki's. Now? I adore food--and the stranger more authentic it is--the better. Bring on the sushi, roasted goat, polish, russian, greek, pad my thai baby! Music? Everything goes. I love jazz and blues, will rock my ass off to anything from tool to garbage, yet have the classical station tuned in on the shower radio and can sing more dolly and alabama than I will ever admit in person. And fashion? I know what I like. I hate labels....and if it looks good--buy it. (and if you can find it at the good will--you can buy MORE of it!) lol
Funny how we change. I still hate the cold. I'm making soup tonight. And buying whiskey. I think I will also try harder to make new friends. Seriously, if I will embrace a plate of stewed pig with figs and funky cheese...I can say hi to the bizarre lady at church who wears bird pins and has pink hair.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Are we running away from our lives? Living out repressed urges? Resting? Recharging? Or merely finding an excuse to take pictures of the kids other than Christmas morning or Easter dinner...
And so I set out for the first real vacation my new husband and I have ever had together. It's been....well, waaaay too long since I left home without turkey stuffing recipes, bottles of brandy stashed to spike my egg nog, protein bars to supplement frightening "casserole" meals and a trunk full of gifts. (i.e. going to your sisters/parents/in-laws for holidays does NOT count as vacation. An exercise in sneaking sex at naptime or in the bathroom while hollering "hang on grandma--just brushing my hair!", dealing with constipated children, or contemplating the benefits of powdered prozac you could carry around in splenda packets for emergencies--yes, these are holidays, but not vacations)
Seven lovely sun-drenched days in St. Croix....
An excuse to not wear a bra at all. Though this will not come as a surprise to those of you that know me, it did seem to come as a complete shock to every gawking male and judgemental female I sat with, walked by, or accidentally flashed in the airports we traveled through. Six flights of boobilicious fun.
A reason to buy multiple bottles of $6 rum that line the grocery store isles next to the tp and cornflakes...Y.U.M.
Cooking with one knife, two spoons, and no potato peeler.
Arguing over the absolute STUPIDEST of things.....the stress of traveling with 3 boys under 10 on six flights when someone always has to "go"....or sand in the bed, wet towels, "where is my camera?!", "I have to eat THAT?" failing deodorant, peeing in the bushes, and "WHO DRANK ALL THE RUM!?!"
Playing cards till 2am all the while marveling at how your sweet dear mum has transformed into cutthroat Sammy-the-bull before your very eyes---she's even squinting at you!
An outside shower that has a very large toad living under the slat floor.
Spiny lobster. Bowls of melted butter, rare steak and single malt. (does it get any better?)
Sitting for four HOURS next to a woman who swears that the 6 month old baby in her LAP usually "sleeps like a darling" on all flights.....but ours.
Picking avocados off the tree and making guacamole for every meal. Yes, guacamole for breakfast rocks.
Baby hermit crabs the size of your pinky nail that skitter across the floor while your children peal with laughter.
Having a panic attack when your darling friend back home calls to tell you that she can't get the spare key to work to get into your house to feed your cats.....your two semi-psychotic, completely neurotic, outside felines that are trapped inside most likely WWF wrestling and eating the carpet like they did last time the boys forgot to feed them.
Tree frogs that sing when it rains.
Rediscovering the thrill of sneaking smooches behind kitchen cabinets and trees cause you and your babe haven't been alone in like FOUR DAYS.
Seriously considering.....even pondering....living in a treehouse. If it meant you could stay.
Perhaps I will never tear it up in vegas, never "ooh la la" it in a Parisian cafe, never run away and pretend to be someone else for a weekend.....but I do know the soul piercing joy of watching my children play in the surf, giggling while my 10 year old holds onto the biting gecko to prove he's tough, the wonder of mangoes we picked from the tree on my ice-cream, and the simple joy of not thinking about the bills, the schedules, e-mail or the neighbors.
I mean, who cares if they see me naked?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So what's your scrambled egg? For some it's their children--anything goes better with giggles, right? One of my dearest friends cannot live without her camera--it takes the mundane and makes enthralling documentaries of her life. I think my sister has an umbilical cord to her phone; our old neighbor doesn't do a thing without beer, seriously! For me, it's my husband. I can take the gourmet moments of very intentional life--vacations, candle-lit dinners in the back yard, football games, concerts and parties--and without him they would be tasteless. But I can also search through the leftovers and chopped onions in the back of the fridge--cold pizza on the living room floor watching re-runs, nights the power goes out and we play scrabble with flashlights. Winter mornings when I'm just too cranky to get out of bed--even those indie films you rent 'cause they look cool--and they turn out horrible? I can take them all and add him.....and voila, superlative pleasure.
So here's to scrambled eggs. May you find yours.....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
And then.....the return. Five days of being the absolute center of attention. 120 hours of "what do you WANT to eat sweetie?" instead of, "here's dinner....take it or leave it." Amusement parks, late nights, tractor rides, movies--a civil war reenactment!! What DIDN'T they do at gramma's house? Did I mention the "blueberry popover pancakes with chocolate sprinkles" yet? (I heard all about them while I was toasting ye ole Eggo waffles this morning...) The whining...the complaining..."we have to go to Walmart with you--awwww, man!!" The topper was when my eldest actually said, TO MY FACE, "whatever mom." The gasket was officially blown. Poof. There she was, the crazy redheaded woman in the hair care isle lecturing her 10 yr-old about respect and kindness and this is NOT how you treat your mother and......and......
Yeah.....stellar moment there. (I knew I had crossed some kind of line when the pale mouse of a woman at the end of the isle took her little girl's hand and whispered loudly, "honey we'll come back and get you some new shampoo later..." glancing at me like I might assault them as she snuck out past the pantene)
My mother used to tell me the times my half-sister went to see her other mom were hell afterwards. She actually said Terri would be rotten till she spanked her--and then it was all back to normal. (sigh)
Do I dare? "Hi guys, I missed you---bend over?" Umm......it's tempting.
Monday, August 10, 2009
One particular story on Sunday morning has lingered in my mind. They were discussing how they were changing the law to include violence against homeless people as a hate crime. (and please--this is my muddled memory of the article, look it up for the absolutes) Did you know that the definition of a "hate crime" is violence not motivated by personal gain or angry exchange? In other words, it is a crime done for "sport" or out of "personal belief." So as I'm digesting this, they start throwing out the numbers for how many homeless people are murdered every year.....and then they talk about the murderers. Nearly 50% of all homeless violence and murder is committed by children under the age of 19. 73% total by people under the age of 25.
I had to sit down. Literally. Hundreds of people....brutally murdered...for no gain, and for no wrong done. By our youth! What has become of us? I have my own beliefs about family and politics and such--hours of good-hearted debate with friends over burgers and beer.....but there are moments when there is this sickening thud in my soul. When you realize that the arguments and explanations and rationalizations are all rather useless against the facts. There is something wrong with our world.
My boys have been gone for 5 days--I will pick them up tonight. (cannot WAIT!) The house has seemed so empty and the cats have followed me around like friendless puppies. But I find myself motivated even more to face parenthood with passion. There is no wishy washy ground to be had here unless you want to fall on your ass! (lol) There is a right and a wrong. There are kindness and hate in this world.....and every day, every moment is a choice. Parenthood is exhausting, overwhelming, and utterly amazing. In it I face my own demons, see my own bad habits, and strive to open my children's eyes to the ugliness in the world--while empowering them to NOT be part of it.
Take a deep breath; we are incredibly blessed...but we are also responsible.