Archive for the ‘This Life’ Category
My social media streams are lit up like fireworks. With protests and fury over the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia this year. Many of my friends are disturbed by the culling of stray dogs in the town of Sochi and rightly so. For months, Russia’s horrific stand against basic human rights for its LGBTQ people has played out in the news. And while I don’t think we’ll see much “action” during the games, I fear for what will happen after the world turns its attention away in a few weeks.
And then there are the deplorable conditions (both for those who live in Sochi and those who are visiting) of the games. Buildings unfinished. Plumbing, what plumbing? The “don’t drink the water” memos. Sochi is a hot mess. And the games haven’t officially opened yet. Well, they have, but NBC doesn’t want you to know that until 7:30 tonight. But that’s a different post.
Yes, in its totality, the Sochi Winter Games are a debacle of historic proportions. My twitter feed is likening the games to Berlin and dropping the H word when talking about Putin. The pictures are demoralizing. And I get why many of my friends and social acquaintances are boycotting the games. Either from sheer disappointment or in political protest, it’s just not something they want to invest their time in. I can’t blame them, I really can’t. I get it.
Growing up, I didn’t have a television. So, when the games would roll around I didn’t get to see much of them. Long before the internet made news instantaneous, I had to rely on my friends to sum up the events of the previous night. Sometimes, we would be invited to come view the opening ceremony at a friend’s house. And the thing that always stood out to me was the interviews with the athletes. Even as a child, I could hear how excited they were to just BE there. How important this experience was for them: representing their country, meeting new friends, experiencing different cultures, and knowing that the eyes of their country were upon them. These athletes would talk about what an honor it was to carry their country’s flag. Or their jitters before taking the ice. Or how charming the host city was and how honored they were to be a part of the games. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Their tears heartbreaking. Their smiles. . . electric.
In a world where being notorious can make you a “Star” Olympic athletes are Super Novas in contrast.
The TV commentators would do back-ground pieces about the host city and give all of us folks back home a taste of this world that was, for at least two weeks, magic. And you couldn’t help but want to be part of the magic. To be an Olympian. And because you couldn’t be — you revelled in being part of the moment. There are iconic Olympic moments we can all point to: moments that marked a sport in ways we can all identify with. Moments of courage. Moments of determination. Moments of utter defeat.
Moments that those athletes will hold in their hearts forever are also moments we, the audience, witnessed. We watched with baited breaths and cheered with abandon. We wiped tears from our eyes, and mouthed the words to our National Anthem as our athletes stood on podiums and our flags majestically rose. Proud to be American. Or Canadian. Or French. Or Russian.
We rooted for the underdogs. We cheered for the victorious. And we wept with those who came so close. All of them, elated to have just been a part of something special. All of us, privileged to bear witness to the remarkable: Super novas bursting across our television screens.
The Sochi games are plagued with problems. There is even a twitter account to collect all the horror in a humorous way. My heart breaks for the Olympians who have worked so hard to get to these games. I don’t think this is the Olympic Games they expected. So, it is tempting to throw in the towel (I mean, have you seen the freak show of an uniform the USA has to wear tonight? Memo to Ralph Lauren, NOBODY looks good in white pants) and boycott. To not watch. To make a political statement. To side with human rights and dignity.
And you are free to do so, whatever your reason. But I will be watching the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Because every one of these athletes deserves a magical moment. Their handwork deserves to be seen. Their determination deserves to be witnessed. I am so sorry if these games are not all they expected or deserved, but I don’t want to part of that failure. So, I will watch. I will cheer with the victorious. Weep with those who came so close. And I will bear witness to the magic they create: holding the other part of their memory. All of their determination, the sacrifices of their families, their sheer grit and determination to get there was worth it, because their moment was amazing — and I, watching from my living room back home, witnessed it all.
I took this photo yesterday in Starbucks and posted it on Instagram with the caption, “for tomorrow we cleanse. . .” not realizing that the paper beneath my cup sums up my advice for a happy marriage. “Talk things out. (have a ) sense of humor. (Sometimes) cut a rug.”
Oh, and the definition of true love this week is agreeing to a cleanse because your adorable husband doesn’t want to do one alone. It might also be the definition for divorce by day 6.
Our little family at the Ocean. . . a little trip to Manzanita last Saturday
So, it’s the New Year. Is your list of resolutions as long as mine? I figure I’ll wittle it down a bit and then maybe talk about it. This is a big year for me: turning 44 and that seems like a magical number. Worthy of big intentions and endeavoring.
But for now, I’m just hanging out with my little family, watching murder mysteries, and avoiding all the chores I should be doing.
Should is such an ugly word, anyhow.
But this much I will give you, I’m easily charmed. And I think, if I can remember that this year — or even be motivated by it, there is hope.
What I am not, at nearly 44, is a risk taker. Little things make me happy and change is not my friend. Not for the reasons you might think: I’m happy for things to be different. I’m just essentially lazy. If you want to make it different, I’m down with that. If you want ME to make it different, I can’t hear you.
Example A: Any suggestion of moving, I immediately shudder and sputter: “I’m going to die in this house. In fact, I hate moving so much, they’ll bury me in the back-yard because it’s too much effort otherwise.”
This is not true, of course. I suspect a move is closer than even I can imagine. But, oh, how I hate the idea of packing. And that’s just one example.
My in-laws are in their late 70′s early 80′s and they are the epitome of change resistant. They’ve earned it. It’s not a criticism, but an observation. And a realization, that in my mid-40′s I’m well on the road to saying, “Oh, that’s too much of a bother.” Over the holidays, IZ and his sister were chatting via FaceTime and my FIL just waved his hand… it’s not for him. I can identify, I feel the same way about cell phones. I practice that hand-wave, often.
So, I don’t know how I’ll cut down my list of to-do’s, must change, resolve to endeavor: but one thing is very clear to me. It’s time to face my fears and embrace this notion of change. This crazy idea of being connected to the outside world . 2014 may indeed be the year Wende gets a cell phone. (you should know I’m breaking out in a cold sweat just typing that sentence. Let’s just move, OK?!)
And no, I will not give you my phone number. I said I was easily charmed. Not stupid.
It’s Thanksgiving here in the US. And I should probably say something profound or meaningful. But it’s too late, the Prosecco is already open, so instead I’ll just share the really silly things we’ve said today during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“No, really, Sophie, we’re not going upstairs to the office.” (after she stood on the couch for 30 minutes trying to convince us that we really shouldn’t be downstairs watching tv at 9 am.)
GEO: “I think the whole Miss Universe thing is egotistical — we’re not the ONLY Planet in the Universe.”
Me: “THAT is your only objection to The Miss Universe pageant?!”
IZ: “He’s a boy.”
Geo: “Well, I’ve never watched it, so I don’t know what there is to object to.”
IZ: “He’s a boy AND a nerd.”
Me: “It’s official, I’m old. I have no idea who any of these people singing are.”
IZ: “What, your cutting edge radio station hasn’t informed you?”
Me: “My cutting edge radio station plays Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ every time I get in the car. I’m starting to get a complex.”
IZ: “You probably think that song is about you.”
Geo: “I’ve never really shared this before, but, baking soda can be activated with heat.”
Me: “Thank you for sharing”
IZ: “My life is now complete.”
Me: “Ok, can we all just admit that Joan Jett is a badass.”
IZ: “Who is she?
Me: “Smart ass…”
IZ: “No, really, who is she?”
“Spider pig, spider pig. Does whatever a spider pig does. . . ”
“We totally have to play Cat Monopoly… here, Snickers…”
Ok… we’re off to cook and watch the dog show. I hope however you spend this day, you are surrounded by love. Blessings! ~Wende
The dress code was “business casual” so of course I interpreted that to mean, artsy casual…
IZ, my husband who already works ridiculous hours, was invited to be on the board of a local charity. They’re looking for good people. He’s good people. And he has mad skills they can really use, so he said yes.
In theory I championed this idea (he comes home from board meetings with wine and donuts, what’s not to love) but it did bring up a few worries. Mostly around his work hours. He’s so busy. Really folks, the man goes constantly. And with our work at church and the 4th Sunday ministry, he really doesn’t have a free moment.
But then there is that perennial worry (because I’m vain, dontcha know) — what am I going to wear? Oh yeah, did I fail to mention that this charity puts on a HUGE musical festival in the area and there are events to attend?
Oh my goodness… I love writing that.
IZ sees these events as a chance to go on romantic dates. He’s right: but it’s not without a wee bit of angst. In my case, I’ve been super lazy about buying new shoes. Living here on the edge, it’s always about shoes that can live up to the wind and the rain. Sure, it’s nice if they’re cute shoes, but really–you want shoes that will keep you protected in the weather. I have a great pair of boots that meet this description. And, they’re even cute boots; but I’ve been wearing them with jeans and sweaters. That’s hardly the attire you wear to a private concert of Schubert Lieder.
And you guessed it, I don’t have dress shoes that work with clothes you would wear to such an event.
Like I said, I’ve been lazy. Additionally, this is major role reversal stuff. Since he’s worked from home, I haven’t had to be his “wife” in public for ages. He’s spent years supporting me in all my ministry related fiascos, er, events. . . but it’s been ages since I’ve played the supportive wife role. Frankly, I’m out of practice!
So, my little dilemma begged the question: do I buy something that works with the boots? Or do I try to find a pair of shoes that will work with something in my closet? I don’t know, but the answer is always Goodwill.
I’ll cut to the chase, as this is really a post about nothing: other than I’m gloating. Hello $5 dress at Goodwill to the rescue. That looked great with my boots. (and, of course I layered a Mireio slip beneath it and tied it all together with colored tights! I’m loving THAT trend!) Girl has suitably artsy casual attire to attend an afternoon of opera and champagne.
That no bank was broken to clad my artsy self, well that’s just bonus material.
So, we went on our date on Saturday. It was lovely, lovely, lovely. For a few hours, I sat next to this man I adore, who works too hard, and we soaked in the beauty that is Schubert together.
In a week where we focus on all the things we’re thankful for: I’m thankful for Goodwill. I know, that’s crazy talk. But sometimes, Goodwill really is my Anthropologie.
So cute, right? I thought so.
I do not want another baby. I’m cruising toward 44 (that number seems like magic!) and the next chapter of our life story is keenly on my mind. Our son is nearly out the door and I’m thinking about what comes next for me. Because despite the writing and the day job and all the creating on Mireio, my calling for the past 17 years has been “Mom.”
And I’d like to think that I’ve been good at being a mom.
That isn’t going to stop, but it’s evolving. My role in his life is changing: I’m now a sounding board on social situations and an in-house college advisor. But, he’s also starting to consider his next chapter (His mother has odds on the Mathematics department FTW) and he needs me less. IZ and I know, it’s just a matter of time. And as we walk closer to the edge of an empty nest, the old wounds find their way to the surface.
Not in the claustrophobic way they once suffocated my day. I no longer yearn or dream or pine. I’m long past being angry about our fertility issues. Instead, our conversations drift to, “I wonder what it would have been like. . . ” And providing cautionary tales to my Youth Group on loving your sibling, because not everyone gets a sibling.
But if someone handed me a child tomorrow, I would give up sleep and food and sanity to do it all over again. Because I will forever mourn the loss of what could have been. What was rightfully my dream.
Unlike people who choose “Oh, no, we only want two, three, four…” I didn’t make that choice. My body did. And while it is a bitter truth, there is also the grace of the reverse: it is a miracle I ever carried any child to term. That I survived the process is also the result of prayer.
But I am human. And I am greedy. And I wanted desperately to defy my odds and I tried and tired and tried, until the untold losses were just too much to bear.
Somewhere in the process of letting go, I placed my hopes and dreams on becoming an auntie. I didn’t do it consciously… it just happened. A way of making myself feel a little bit better about the loss of a dream. But it is too much of a burden to put on the shoulders of one baby nephew. And as it turned out, he wasn’t to be mine either. So, the losses are greater than anticipated.
This is life. We cannot always dodge the trauma. Nor can we expect others to understand. Sometimes, we must mourn our losses. And then pick ourselves up and move forward. Not on. Never on. Just forward.
So, I coo over babies I meet, I dote on other people’s children, I whisper into the ear of my own child, “No pressure, but 4 grandbabies would be nice.” I make promises to myself and Geo about who I will be as a grandmother. And I recite the names that were not: Henri, Francois, Jean-Phillippe. (Henry, Frank, and Jack to join our Geroges) Remember, remember, remember.
Somewhere in a parallel universe I am a mother surrounded by all of her children: no losses in sight. I’m probably sleep deprived and harried and not nearly as organized as I would imagine.
In this universe, I am gently holding my memories of what could have been.
A bit like this. . .
This tray sits in the “pink” room’s window. I can see it from the hallway when I walk past, and the light pouring through it is so beautiful. I keep trying to capture it, but I either end up with an overexposed photo (see above) or I miss the moment altogether.
I’m feeling a little like this photo. I always do when I start writing what’s really running in loops in my head. I suspect we all feel a bit exposed whenever we put ourselves out there. And it’s never fun to be reminded that we are not universally loved or cherished. The world can get… petty.
That pettiness crashed into my world, this week. I thought I had all the hatches proverbially battened down, but I missed one. The temptation to draw back into my head to nurse the hurtful things said in my own private misery is pretty alluring. So is the desire to “set the record straight”. Some people are fabulists and it’s hard when they start fibbing about you. Directly to you, as if you don’t know who you are and don’t remember what happened. I’ve bounced between both of these “reactions” all week.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that fading away won’t make me feel less exposed. A less negative way to see that exposure is to see it as vulnerability. Vulnerability and authenticity are good things. Sure, it’s hard, but most worthwhile things are. So, I keep writing my truth.
I’ve also come to realize that “setting the record straight” isn’t necessary either. Letting other people be wrong about you is a difficult thing to do: but unless you’re in politics, it won’t kill you.
It really won’t.
And here’s the thing, as much it might be therapeutic to disabuse your abuser of their misinterpretations, it really falls on deaf ears. It’s been a liberating realization to discover that, despite my own personal code of ethics, some things just don’t need a response. And some people don’t deserve a response.
But you do.
So, I’m going to stand here, back-lit a little more than I like (did I remember to wear a slip with this dress??) and tell YOU my truth. And if that gets uncomfortable or hard or difficult, you can look away. It’s OK. I’m already about as vulnerable as I can be, I don’t think I can get any more naked.