Friday, August 27, 2004

What the fricative is going on here?

See, I told you I was gonna use that word out of context. I swear it's my new F word...take out f*** and insert fricative. Love, love, love it!

This post is actually going somewhere, I promise. The girls don't start back to school until Sept 8th and in the meantime my ex-husband's (my first, the one I like) wife has generously offered to take care of J while I attend my classes. This is not something extraordinary for us...I often watch their almost two year old baby boy so they can squeeze in some alone time. In fact, I moved into their house for a weekend to play nanny while they jetted off to Vegas for their honeymoon. We share our kids birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, go trick-or-treating together, sit together at school functions, etc. It never occurs to us that this is strange and unusual behavior, not until someone points it out to us. J's teacher took me aside one day last year to tell me "how cool it is that you and K's dad get along so well. I wish my boyfriend and his ex had the same relationship. It would be so wonderful for their son."

When I arrived to pick up J this afternoon, Maureen had family visiting and it was the first time I was ever introduced to her sister's husband. He seemed really uncomfortable and didn't hide his raised brows and genuine surprise very well when I was introduced as the ex-wife. It's times like this that I realize how very fortunate we must be in the world of ugly divorces. It also makes me extremely sad and disappointed that my current marriage will not end with us parting as friends. The most I can hope for at this point is civility for the sake of our child. I can finally understand why my first husband, myself and our extended family are a minority. Divorce is never easy or pretty. There's a big difference between possessing the kind of love and respect for another person that fills you with hope and concern for their future happiness as well as your own vs. sharing a life with someone who has done nothing but humiliate you, invent new betrayals, and suck your soul dry. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is be pals. I just feel so sad for my J....my hurt comes from knowing that I won't be able to give her the same childhood her sister had. One that doesn't erase the fact that her parents are divorced, but embraces all that was good about her mommy and daddy together, one where she can see her parents laughing and crying together, sharing her triumphs, her mistakes, her growing up. For that, I truly hate him. He failed me, and that I can live with but I just don't know that I can ever forgive him for failing our daughter.


Adversity is like a strong wind. I don't mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.- Arthur Golden from Memoirs Of A Geisha

Even the yellow brick road has a dead end

So said my ever serious K with her four year old furrowed brow.... I remember laughing so hard at that and then being so sad at the same time. To realize that she might be so full of pessimism, such disillusionment at such a young age broke my heart. She served up this pearl of wisdom to me while I was grieving over the break up of whom I was sure was the love of my life, my soul mate. Could she have really known at four years old that it's really about the journey and not the destination? More importantly, can I, at 36, make myself believe that it's the truth?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

PENIS!

As a 36 year old college sophomore, here's some things I know. You are all but invisible to *boys*, which I'm 99.9% sure is a good thing. There's just that teeny percent of me that wishes I were the stuff of some college boys older woman fantasy, but alas, as my older daughter so eloquently put it a few years back, I look like a mom. I am pitied by the girls with their perky breasts, pierced belly buttons and tatooed lower backs and can hear their silent vows that they will never be me. And college professors give you that, "good for you for deciding to join us, it's never too late to make something of your life" look every time they make eye contact with you.

With the approach of the first weeks end, I'm feeling fairly confident that I will walk away from Biology, Shakespeare, Literary Study and Critical Thinking with decent grades. Although, there have been lots of times this past week where I have felt at a disadvantage to the newly high school graduates....things have gotten a bit rusty after 15 years and the cobwebs are many. For instance, when discussing onomatopoeia and labiodental fricatives, uh, nothing coming to me. I do think I like that word fricative a little too much....can see that I will be using that way out of context. The week wasn't a total waste though. I give you Shakespeare's sonnet #20:

A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart but not aquainted
With shifting change as is false women's fashion
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created,
Till Nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure.

The question posed by the professor, "So, what does Shakespeare mean when he says "By adding one thing to my purpose nothing" ?

I will forever be remembered as the old lady in the class who blurted out the correct answer of, Penis!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin

Life Is Good

You know those moments where you experience true happiness, a sense of well being, of all being right with your world? Well, I can honestly say that up until the last few months, I had only imagined brief glimpses of that over the past six years. Now it is with genuine surprise and giddiness that I find myself embracing the life I am creating for myself and my daughters.

I am so fortunate that I'm not even sure where to begin.... First and foremost, I would not have made it here if it weren't for the love, support, inspiration, tenderness, kindness, humor, encouragement, and optimism of my friends. It was a tough journey and I'm so lucky not to have had to travel alone. My Kaleigh, at the wise old age of three once said, "Mom, just have girlfriends, they are easier than boys."
Girlfriends, I adore you all!

My girls are so funny, smart, sensitive, creative, and beautiful. I love our family. I love that we eat dinner every night together, that we are silly and laugh together, we host dinners for our family and friends, we make plans for fun vacations and the upcoming holidays, we bake together....I love that we took all the great things about our family with us and left all that was unhappy behind.

Now that the summer is winding down, I am feeling nostalgic for all that has happened over the past six months. The girls and I moving into our own little house and making it our home, K performing with a summer theatre group, J taking art classes through the local children's museum, K and I traveling to Maryland for her school trip, outings to the zoo, taking a vacation to Florida, going camping and hiking together, making some new friends and spending time with them, lazy days at the pool, walking to the park, watching lots of movies, eating tons of icecream, and me....

Me, finally realizing my fears and facing them with as much courage as I can muster. I was admittedly afraid to take on the role of a single mom. Afraid of what divorce would mean to our family in a financial sense. Afraid that I would have to give up my role as full-time mother and be less available to my children. Afraid that my girls would grow up and live lives of their own, and I would be left behind, all alone. Afraid that being a twice divorced, single mother of two would make me very unattractive to the opposite sex. And sadly, afraid that I would have little self-worth standing on my own. I face these fears one at a time, visualizing them as hurdles to jump over.


Once I realized that I was playing the role of single mother throughout my marriage due in part to my husbands demanding career as a physician, that I had been running the household, managing the finances, the upkeep of the cars, doing the shopping, organizing the girl's birthday celebrations, planning for the holidays, preparing the meals, helping with homework, reading the bedtime stories, and taking care of sick babies, I thought, "Hey, not only can I do this, I'm pretty good at it too!"

In fact, my new role as single mom affords me alone time that I never had the luxury of before. When the girls spend every other weekend with their dad, I have glorious uninterrupted time to read a novel, watch a movie other than Finding Nemo, talk with a friend on the phone, cruise the internet, eat when and if I feel like it, paint my nails, etc. It's true that things have changed on the financial scene, but we are certainly living comfortably with careful budgeting and in part due to the courts dictating that a certain percentage of my husband's generous salary be allocated for child support. In addition, my husband has stood by his commitment to finance my education making it possible for me to study while the girls are in school and maintain my availability to them when they are not.

I realize that once the intimacy and trust were lost between my husband and I, that I fell out of love with him long before I was willing to relinquish the fantasy of our shared life together. The hopes and dreams that we had for our family, the life we shared with our children, was so precious to me. Part of my definition of what it means to be a good parent is to provide a stable and loving environment for my children to grow up in. A home filled with laughter, love, support and encouragement, and a mommy *and* a daddy...together.


I was a child of divorce and later a stepfamily and as these experiences were not positive ones for me, I fiercely wanted to protect my own children from a similar situation. For a long time I told myself that I could handle the unhappiness, uncertainty, and disappointment that came with a dysfunctional relationship if it meant keeping our family together. It wasn't until I asked myself how I would react if one of my daughters were involved in a similar relationship that I found the courage to stand up for myself. I hope that through my example my daughters will accept no less than the love and respect they deserve from a partner and realize that giving that up is to big a price to pay for something else gained.

At age 36, I am returning to school after a 15 year hiatus to have children and support someone else's ambitions. I have always been afraid of failure and masked those fears with indifference. I was telling myself and others that I didn't have any passion outside of parenting and homemaking. It is true that I do love my role as a mother and enjoy making a home for our family. I consider it the most rewarding and important contribution I can make but now when faced with little choice, I am surprised to find that I am a multifaceted person and embracing my hopes and dreams doesn't mean I'm abandoning my children.

Although I was a good student, my parents never encouraged me to explore my talents or to use my creative energy. They were both very unhappy, pessimistic people and through my upbringing, set me up to expect little from my world except disappointment and disillusionment. The self-destructive beliefs I have held for so long were impressed upon me long ago. It is through my children's eyes that I am able to see the world in a different light. They truly motivate me to change my attitude and be a better person.

I continue to cherish my daughters as the joy of my life and celebrate them as such. The relationship I share with each of them continues to be my number one priority. That being said, I have set several goals for myself in order to be the best parent I can be. I am working at forgiving myself for my failed marriage and in the process building up my self-esteem in order to pursue my education, a successful career, maintain close friendships and eventually, someday, allow myself to be vulnerable to a new love.

Funeral Etiquette Do's & Don'ts

Please don't think I have a particularly sick sense of humor....it's just that I'm watching back to back episodes of Six Feet Under and this made me LOL.

  • Don't attend funerals of people you don't know.
    Don't try to outdo the family's grief.
    Don't use the occasion to "schmooze".
    Don't videotape the service.
    Don't ask for "just a peek-a-doodle" if it is a closed casket.
    Don't rate the funeral with a 1-10 rating scale in front of the family.
    Don't race the hearse to the cemetery.
    Do offer your help, but don't charge for it.
    Don't make statements like "something seems fishy to me" or "I hope they did an autopsy."
    Don't remark that the deceased looks "way better than they ever did"
    Don't sit in the front row of the church and lean over the seat to wave at everyone you know coming in.
    Do realize that the grieving family probably knows the deceased more than you do: especially if it is your neighbour or your friend's aunt.
    Don't approach the widow/widower and ask for the fifty dollars the deceased owed you.
    Don't make an offer to the widow/widower on the deceased clothes.
    Don't try to make the grieving family feel better by handing them a typewritten list of the deceased's faults.
    Don't climb on headstones to get a better view.
    Don't do impressions of the deceased.
    Don't ask about the "eats" the minute you arrive at the funeral home.
    Don't use the word "rooked" if a discussion of funeral expenses arises.
    Don't ask the widow/widower on a date at the funeral home.
    Don't tell everyone how much your flower arrangement cost and offer to show them the bill if they don't believe you.
    Don't remove anything from the coffin as a memento.
    Don't tell the grieving family "it could be worse" and then go into a long rambling story about the passing of your little dog Blue.
    Don't tell the relatives that this is the smallest funeral you've ever seen.
    Don't use a fake name like "I.P. Nightly" in the guestbook.
    Don't offer to make a beer-run.

For more priceless advice, visit: www. happywomanmagazine.com


Monday, August 16, 2004

My Mantra....I don't look good in an orange jumpsuit...I don't look good in an orange jumpsuit...

An on going joke between my oldest daughter and I throughout the sham of what was my marriage was that "I don't look good in an orange jumpsuit".... prison is not the place for me. So explains the title of my aspiring filmmakers digital movie, inspired by my very good friend and talented beyond words director, Jenny. My daughters film eloquently follows the life and times of what was the relationship between my ex husband and I. Beginning with our arrival in San Francisco, filled with her recount of actual word for word dialogue, a startling resemblance to said ex husband, and finishing with the here and now and her own concerns surrounding the hell that is puberty. I ask you, is she not the up and coming director of our times?

http://mm.dfilm.com/mm2s/mm_route.php?id=1931020

Mama loves Jordan, Jordan loves Mama

Truly the most gut wrenching thing about *finally* going through with this divorce is having to be separated from my baby for stretches of time. She's with her dad every other weekend and while I should be basking in my just for me time, I'm more often than not counting the hours til she will be back home.

Bedtime is hard. I miss our silly little rituals, bathtime when afterwards I wrap my little one in a fluffy, warm towel fresh from the dryer. We jump into our pj's and snuggle in my bed with a few books to read aloud. Once the lights are out we have a whole series of kisses to exchange, butterfly kiss, nose kiss, elbow kiss, hair kiss (J thought this one up where she touches a piece of her hair to mine) and we always finish with me whispering, "Mama loves Jordan" and J will wait a minute and whisper back, "Jordan loves Mama".