Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Sign That Your Husband has been Listening to the Oldies Channel on the Radio

R.: What does it mean for someone to be two and three times a lady? I mean, I get that you can be a lady once, but who is a lady two or three times?

Me: ...

Miss T.: It doesn't matter, Dad, he loves her.

Friday, January 25, 2008

And There is Still Just One

The last week of January is always a hard one for me. In addition to the frigid weather, and the cabin fever which often accompanies it, the dark nights which come on so early, and the predictable inability to get out and run the route I have often trudged through our neighborhood due to the ice on the streets, the last week of January also presents an anniversary which is always accompanied by complex emotional baggage. It's a place I don't like going in my memory.

January 25th is the anniversary of my parent's separation. It is the anniversary of the day when I was in 5th grade and was met at the door on an unseasonably warm and damp January day by my parents, still dressed in their work clothes, who sat me down in the orange shag-carpeted and wood-paneled family room and told me that my father would be moving out. It is the anniversary of the day when I ran upstairs to my room with my trusted Shetland sheepdog, Misty, and locked the door. It is the anniversary of the day that despite my mother's begging me to open the door, and my father's sobs, a sound I had never heard before and hope to never hear with such force again, I curled up in a ball with one hand covering my ears and one hand clutching the ruff of Misty's neck as I sobbed my own angry tears. And refused to allow anyone in to comfort me.

When you are an only child of parents who have divorced, even when the divorce was a good divorce, a healthy divorce, even when the divorce presented new life possibilities which allowed wonderful step-parents into your life who nurtured you far more than you ever could have hoped, there is still a strange anniversary which you seem to mourn alone. There is no one to share the grief that comes with being the sole survivor of the shipwreck of your parents marriage. No one I can call today and remember the details of the story, no one to confirm whether my memories are accurate, no one to ponder over the nuances of the what-ifs.

I don't usually share this anniversary with my parents, because it isn't really their story to tell, and it simply is what it is, and there is no going back, no change that can be made. My mom and dad have their own stories to tell of that time in our lives--stories of what led them to make the decision to dissolve a union, a decision which must have been wracked with questions and guilts and sadnesses all their own. They both must have wrestled with how to do what was best for me, with what this meant for me, with how they could accompany me in my grief while maintaining their own sanity in an insane time. I remain committed in my belief that remembering this anniversary is not about placing blame or desiring that they feel remorse. It is a day when I need to sort through my own reflections, when I need to scour the insides of my own heart again to create a fresh perspective.

This is a day when I stand alone without siblings, without even the presence of that Shetland sheepdog who has long been gone, and reflect on how this pivotal event has shaped and changed me, for the better, and occasionally, rarely, for the worse. I am the sole survivor of this particular and common family tragedy.

But while it is a day of solemn remembrance for me, it is not a day without hope, for the relationships I have with each of my parents is richer, I believe, than it may have been had they stayed married. And the step-families that entered my life have made me a more whole person, I believe, than I would have been without each of their unique imprints on my being. And now there is a little person who has two extra grandparents, and a host of extra family, who love him.

And he will not know what it means to be alone. Not if I can help it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Have Not Forgotten...

...that I have a blog, contrary to popular belief.

Entries soon and very soon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh, and also these...

My very favorite elves ever. All three of them.

Doctoral Dissertation

Were I a medical type person, the type to understand biochemistry and thyroid function, the type who knew the difference between tarsals and metatarsals and could explain why one's pee gets, well, funky when one eats asparagus, I'd have a brilliant idea. Were I that type of person, the smart kind with all sorts of initials after my name, the type who understands why when one looks at a white wall sometimes globs of floaty things seem to pass in front of one's eyes, the type who could explain the difference between the cold medicines sold in front of the counter and those behind, I would have a great research project, a doctoral dissertation.

And here is my brilliant query, the answer I would like solved and presented to me on a silver platter, along with the proper medications to actually correct the problem. My question is this, "Is there a medical reason to explain the phenomenon of feeling as if one has actually lost brain functioning, lost the ability to reason, to follow a train of thought, to write coherently, to think of common words when needed (the other day I couldn't remember the words baking soda when explaining a recipe and had to refer to it as the "risey stuff"), to multi-task after giving birth to a child (heck, maybe it happens with adoption too...I didn't think of that, since I can't think too coherently myself)?" Were I this wise, I would make it my life's work, for I would love to convince women that there is indeed a medical explanation for the way in which one's brain simply seems to explode, and reassure mothers everywhere that we are not crazy, that the truth is that actually the brain does explode and what is left in its place are little fluffs of brain clouds floating randomly in between the right and left hemispheres. Little fluffs which allow you to remember the phone number of the boy you had a crush on in sixth grade (448-3243, actually but don't tell Peter Fratellini I gave it to you, and don't you dare call him and tell him it's just "Avon Calling" 'cause he's figured that one out by now), or the words to the rap song Funky Cold Medina, or the atomic mass of Carbon. Really useful stuff, stuff which comes in handy daily as one struggles to parent, as you can imagine.

I am not sure if it is sleep deprivation, or the fact that I constantly am thinking of Grayson's needs, or the fact that I've taken too many cold medications in the past several months, or that I have lost all sense of what it means to be alone, or contemplative, or grounded. But, I've talked to my other "Mom Friends" who echo my sentiments, so I suspect there's something in the water that the medical community better start taking seriously, sort of like whatever gets dumped in the water when a ton of women get pregnant at the same time in a certain workplace.

Now, I'm off to drum up some support for my cause, as this is only my first rallying cry. But first I need to change Grayson's diaper and clean the dog's poop off the floor, and prepare the syllabus for that course I'm teaching at the college in just a few short weeks, and finish the last chapter of my book for book group and help R. take down the Christmas tree...

Get ready, medical-type smart people (what's that word again, oh yeah, doctors), I'm coming at you with the tough questions, and I expect some answers, dammit.