I kidnapped IZ today for a quick trip to Cannon Beach. We usually try to head out there before the holiday for a little Christmas shopping–but with the 4th Sunday service this year, we didn’t make it. When today dawned a lovely sunny, promised 50 degrees: it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make up for our missed trip.
The Ocean always brings a new sense of calm and focus.
A mocha at Insomnia Coffee. They make their own whipping cream: chocolate flavored for mochas. YUM.
My man in his pink shirt! Hanging out with IZ always makes me feel better.
Ok, so there should probably be a photo with this post. But, the boy has a social life: so he’s not around today to snap a photo. Maybe later this week?
Geo came home from Christmas shopping last night, “Oh, mom, you put my birthday tree up!” And then he got kinda quiet and said, “I’m sad to be turning 17.”
When you push him on that he’ll tell you — with these heartbreaking tears welling up in his eyes — that he feels his childhood slipping away.
“Oh, don’t cry!” I’m a sympathetic crier and I can feel the waterworks brewing up on their own. Lately, tears are always so close to the surface. But his face scrunches up in that unmistakable twist and we’re both wiping our eyes. It’s misery, this growing up stuff.
He’s worried his relationship with his parents will change. We assure him that it will, for the better. There will be friends and women and a family of his own. Grandbabies, even! In time, his father interjects!
“You’ll get a second chance at childhood, we promise! It’s better the second time.”
“When you have children. And then another chance with grandchildren!– Besides,” we tell him, “we’ll happily boss you about for as long as you’ll let us!”
Right now his response is always, “forever.”
That’s a fib he’s telling himself that I’m not correcting at the moment, but I know better. Because he’s never liked anyone bossing him about. Though, he’s romanticized this concept of childhood. For a child who has done nothing but dream of going to college, of being his own man, spending years telling me, “when I’m an adult”. . . well, he has a huge case of cold feet at the moment.
I’m not sure what it is, if this is the result of being an only child? It’s true, he doesn’t have any pesky younger siblings behind him to gently annoy him into leaving the house. He’s in no rush to drive, no rush to move out, dragging his feet and telling me everything.
Or if he senses my own grief and nostalgia? This lovely, brainy boy who also feels too deeply and can read his mother from a mile away — is he reticent because he’s picking up on my heartache?
I’m trying, friends, to gently hold on to the joy and excitement and the loveliness that is 17. But when he makes that face and falls into my arms, he’s crying for both of us and I can’t help but cry a bit too.
It is going to change. It’s already changing. That’s how it’s supposed to be. All those sleepless nights of toddlerhood give way to sleepless nights of mothering a teenager. The worries are different, but just as poingnant. Will he ever talk or will he ever walk gives way to where will his feet take him? How far away from home will a new love carry him?
The gradual goodbye requires being present to the pain and living in the moment in spite of it. So, we are just a bit weepy this birthday. The whole lot of us. Remembering who he once was, dreaming about who he is becoming. Promising, that no matter what changes come, we will remain this knotted bonded family. And we are reminding him that, yes, we’ll continue to boss him about forever — just as long as he’ll stand for it. And, not minute more.
Yesterday’s forecast gave us a 30% chance of snow. But, then, the forecast didn’t factor in the collective prayers of Astoria’s children. In fact, that’s mostly what I heard on Sunday – “It’s going to SNOW!” Not a hope, but a conclusion.
Today, we woke up to snow.
Faith is indeed the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
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.
Thought for the day… or question: “Why do we judge each other?”
Especially women judging other women. I get not liking someone. I get not liking what they do, or how they do it. When that happens, we should take my 80 year old friend’s suggestion, right? And just ignore and move on. But, we often don’t. Instead, we go all judgey judgey let’s totally tear them down because they’re not. like. me. We label, call names, pick, pick, pick.
–Imagined slight: She’s a ________________ (fill in the blank)
–Didn’t live up to my expectations: She’s a ___________________.
–Dared to do something I don’t think she should: Call all my friends “OH NO SHE DIDN’T”
I don’t get it.
And yet, I do it.
I don’t get why I do it. So, I’m working on it.
But I’d love to know: why do you think women pick on other women?
New Rules: Let’s get each other’s back. And if we can’t: Let’s Zip Our Lips.