BE HERE NOW

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sleep
2:30 am is starting to feel like an ok time to get up. This is what all of those menopausal women talked about years ago in that yoga class when I was just 25 thinking they were exaggerating, maybe even crazy, too much time on their hands, rich, home all day, of course they were awake all night. Now I arise like so many night animals on the search for something and yet I almost know what it is but then I forget by the time I get downstairs and start the day's cleaning. The dog again accusingly looking up at me and then back down to sleep. Animals can sleep their whole lives away.
I have never been a big fan of sleep, seems such a waste of time with so much left to do and this is the season when I get most things done so mind as well take advantage. Those long dark cold days of winter and dread and achiness and slothfulness are over. Bring on the spring with new hopes and dreams and energy and with it sleeplessness.
I wish I still had some of the dreams I had in those younger versions of myself. Now when I start a dreamed up dream I quickly dismiss it, too old, too settled, too expensive. Why can't I just settle in to mid life? I look around at all of my mid life friends and they are happy to clean the house and grocery shop and stay still. My ex husband was so happy to stay still. I never want to stand still, I am always restless, ready to go, on your mark, get set, GO.
Jay likes to race me in the pool and all the observers around us must think that we are 25 the way that we laugh and carry on about it. Until they look closely and see the creases in our faces from a lot of worry, and sleepless nights and hard living and laughter and life because Jay likes to live like I like to live and when we were younger that was not so pretty.
Now we both kick each other at night with restlessness, wake each other up gently and then not so gently with, "Are you awake?..." "ARE you AWAKE?" until the other stirs. We wander around and think of things to do and talk and talk and talk.
I met myself in him.
It's 6:10am now and the house is still so silent. The kids will sing in their concert with Gary today and I will watch in the audience and it still makes me sad. I miss the community of singing with the folk chorale. One of the many loses to my divorce and choosing this life over the other. It's true what so many people told me a year ago, I might suffer this lose and so many others that I could not understand by leaving my marriage and I have and I continue to realize and recognize new and sadder loses.
Sometimes I mourn these things and then sometimes I tuck them away somewhere dark and out of view that maybe I'll come back to tomorrow or when I'm 90 or maybe never.
I watched Nora teach Jay how to use apps on his phone yesterday in the dark of our living room while we were watching a movie and it touched me, their friendship. They are like two peas in a pod, both a little funny, a little dark and awkward with each other and the world. She's his favorite and everyone knows it and we are all ok with it. She can get him to give her money, treats, rides, smiles and time. Mostly he gives her a lot of time. He tells me she reminds him of his twin sister, the middle one. Sometimes when we are all bunched up talking at the dinner table or in the car Jay will say, "wait, what Nora? What did you say?" As if he is the only one that can hear her to begin with, so stuck in that role of the middle child in between the overachieving older sister and the only boy. The boy, as Jay calls him.
I wouldn't trade anything for this life, not the wretched year I had, the money I lost, the home I lost, the community, the singing, the lawyers or court time. I could almost say, it happened for a reason... if I believed crap like that.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday morning

Saturday mornings as I get older seem to get earlier and earlier. What used to be a definitive clear cut separation of day and night is now very murky. Does 3 AM count as the night or the day anymore. Lately it's the day and I am up. I remember this every spring and then I forget again in later winter. My insomnia is the worst in the spring and then every year it gets worse and just when I think that I can't believe I can live on 5 hours of sleep I find myself living on 4. It's my age, people tell me, usually women who are a little bit older than me. I'm cold all the time and when I wake up it is like a train is flying through my head and it's already had a head start before I am even conscious, already heading towards my 50's retirement, empty nest, disease, poverty, death, world hunger, wars, the Hunger Games.
I watched the Hunger Games twice this week. I won't bore you with the details of why but suffice to say I was stuck somewhere I really didn't want to be with all of the sudden, A LOT of time on my hands. No cell phone, no distractions, no kids.
Time and lack of distraction are not my friends.
The kids will be here later and I haven't seen them all week. And they just keep getting older. The dog isn't even up with me at this hour. Occasionally she peeks her head up accusingly, like I have interrupted her secret place, her quiet slumber. Jeremiah is up there probably tossing and turning, buying time before he will come down, knowing I like the stillness to read in the morning. He can't sleep either. He's like me. Our brains move faster than our mouths and so sometimes he chatters on and on and I can't open my mouth for fear of the rambling that may fall right out of there.
I have to shop and I've forgotten how to feed myself. I'm not sure when that happened again either. I am sure that mid life is not going to be good to me, so restless anyhow, like an engine, permanently running, no tune up necessary.
I wonder about the sun and when the sun will decide to make it's appearance over the skyline of our new house.
Jeremiah is awake and hopping through the house.
I wonder if our neighbors can see and what do they think of this all happening in the dark. The dog is up and resigned to her insomniac roommates, family, parents.
Music and books and thoughts about the future and I remember that this is the best time to be awake. The time before everyone else.
The time when it's just the two of us, ok Pebbles, three.
And then the sun shines.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Walking Through

More time alone. Sadie and Jonah are both in the woods of NH for most of the month of August hopefully having a great adventure. I am secretly envious and forlorn at their absence. When I am in Gloucester I am left with 12 year old Nora, who is a sweet child, but much more quiet than the other two, very similar to Gary. Long stretches of time go by where we don't say much. This is probably very good for me. This feels very uncomfortable for me. Yesterday I came home from work ready to spend time with Nora. Excited to see her as I had been away from her all weekend, looking to make up for lost time. This is what divorcing parents do (at least I think it is, I'm still a novice). They make up for lost time, they buy things to win people over, they say " I love you" way more than they used to in an effort to convince the unconvinced. They check in, and then recheck in to the angsty tween's dismay. Yesterday we went down to the dock. It is hot here this week, humid, we are finally getting a summer week at the end of summer. Nora found some kids her age and as should be expected, abandoned me on the dock, for joy, for fun. I jumped in with my new athleticism, wondering how far I could swim and still be considered a good parent. I had already swam a mile and a half earlier in the day, in the pool, but I could have swam an ocean to get away from these feelings, the tape playing in my head, "you are a bad person, you are stupid, you are selfish, you are alone, everybody hates you, you can't swim....."
I actually can swim pretty well. I learned that this year. It's been nice to build my body into something very efficient and strong but as the summer comes to a close I recognize, my mind remains the same.
Jeremiah tells me I have a case of alcoholism and he's right.
He says its the serial killer in my brain that wants me dead and he's right.

So Nora wanted to come back up here right after the kids left and so we did, me dragging behind, not feeling that super " I can conquer anything" feeling that I have held on to for about 4 months now. Feeling totally alone, to be honest.

I gave Nora lots of space and cooked a pretty good meal. I called Ashley and of course felt better. It always is a good idea to call Ashley. Some day I'll write a whole entry about Ashley but for now, it is safe to say, she's the best thing in my life as only a best girl friend can be.

We ate and chatted a little. Me trying to be upbeat and perky and then checking in, and rechecking in, as only a guilt ridden newly single parent can. She says she's fine, tired (she is always tired these days ) and agreed to play a card game with me. She asked me to start her gimp bracelet and I got a flash of panic, remembering what a terrible art and craft mom I am, really bad. I get an F everytime but in light of trying new things I was going to conquer that thing so I watched youtube videos where little children whipped together the basic beginner version of gimp and I cursed and bit my lip and all the while Nora stared at me probably enjoying this moment of my complete ineptitude. Finally we both decided that for the sake of our sanity I should put the gimp down and we resumed cards.

I went to a yoga class and gave her more space and came back to her bracelet half done, gimp puzzle solved. She didn't need me after all.

This is the thing about my children right now and it really has little to do with divorce or parenting or anything other than their age. 15, 12 and 10 year olds need their mommy less and less for the day to day and actually probably do better without my intrusive overbearing watchful eye 24/7. This kind of makes me feel elated and despairing at the same time. It's confusing. What is motherhood anyways and why can't I be like those pleasantly plump soccer moms who always remember the right snacks, spend countless hours cleaning the house and waiting for their children and husbands to come home so their purpose in life can continue and they can feel complete.

I've never been that mother.

Even when I was homeschooling and trying to push my square body in to a circle mold and make myself have feelings I just didn't have, I was not that mother.

I am the mother that gives great advise. At any hour of the day if Sadie or Molly calls me I can guarantee that I will have good solid advise and something that resembles the old Saturday night live Chris Farley "Down by the River" motivational speeches. I will drive you pretty much anywhere. I will. I love to know that my children are happily doing something they love and so I will get in the car several times in the day to take them there and then I will usually stay to watch. I am the working mother and I really love to work. I love to get up early, dress up in pretty clothes and talk to adults all day. I love to financially support my family. I really do.
I am the mother that loves to move and travel. I hate this house, not the house in particular, but being in the house. I love to be outside, hiking, swimming, watching their games or at the movies. If you want to do something, I am your go to parent. I am a funny parent. All of my children generally think this and enjoy laughing with me. When we went to see the movie "Inside Out" which was a fantastic story, my children all agreed that I was joy.

But, I am busy. I am restless. I like to move and change things around and I'm quick to anger and frustrate easily. I have "low frustration tolerance" as we say in therapist world. I am also the only morning person in the house and by 8 pm am completely useless. I am annoyingly happy in the morning, much to all of my children's dismay.

I am a faithful mother. I have my children's backs no matter what. They can guarantee that whatever decisions they make, I think they are right and I love them. That is just sewn in to me. I am not sure where I got that but it is part of the fabric of who I am. It makes me completely unable to be objective and I don't care because if you can't have one person in the world who totally and unconditionally believes in you that is going to be a scary ride.
It was for me.
And still continues to be.

The hardest part about divorce is the voices inside my head.
And then when those voices are validated in any way by anyone out there, they set up shop, pull up the sturdier camping gear and get a fire going, this is going to be a long visit this time.

And so the only person I can convince is this one here at the screen. You are a good person. You try your best. You are having a tough day and this too shall pass.
Monday Molly will give me my 6 year medallion. I'm also a miracle.
And so are you.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The maze

Time alone is an interesting and different phenomenon in my life. As a child who spent days alone, it was my biggest fear for adulthood. The perfect solution, of course was to fill my house with a flock of the most wonderful kindhearted little people I could create and its been busy work ever since. Work I am so grateful for.
I have a new apartment that I am sharing with a friend and we both work so when I am here and not at home with the kids there are many moments like this where I am sitting in this peaceful feng shuied simple little place with the cutest little furniture and some artwork that I splurged on this week having all this quiet swim around me and in me and through me. And the most surprisiest of things is that I am not afraid of this silence at all.
I fnished my work week and the kids are still down at the Cape with Gary. I miss them like an organ or a part of my soul that is sleeping.
I talked to them last night and laughed and smiled for 45 minutes listening to all of their adventures and the traditions that we had created as a family. They went to the Canal after the beach, they went to Perry's for ice cream, they went to the 99 Restaurant, they watched  a movie. Sounds so great. I'm so glad for them. And yet, I don't miss these things at all. These were not my childhood traditions. I had borrowed them for years, thinking I could make them all my own and then realizing so quickly and suddenly that these were not things that I really enjoyed doing at all.
Next week, I get to take my little chicks to the middle of the white mountains, 4 hours away, by a lake in a cabin. No internet, no regular television. Just me, the kids, a full kitchen, a DVD player, and the mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, birds, bears and deer that I can take in for six days. That is my idea of a vacation. That is a tradition seeped in my soul from years of walking through the woods or finding my place next to a tree as a child.
Yesterday I had some down town and went to a yoga class down the road and laughed through it with a dear friend of mine who happened to be there too. I went to my new local grocery store and bought spices and created this exotic halibut and lentil dish and as it turns out after all of my life of being terrified of food and worrying about my body and my weight, I am in love with the things that I can create from food. And I am really good at it. I made dinner for Jeremiah who ate it like a starving child and then chased him through Beverly listening to him talk and talk about his life, me twelve years his junior, huffing and puffing along side him.
And then more quiet.
A book, my iphone playing Ella Fitzgerald and the night air.
I have no idea what comes next. After all my my plotting and planning and mapping out my life, it's a maze right now. I think I'm up for the challenge. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

MUSSELS
 
The boy played a game
tussled tracked walking back
Smiling and carrying my abiding care
heart tears
in a cup
I gave to him three years ago.
It was a Tuesday.


It’s raining and then it’s sunny
the river flows with god
Or something you promised me yesterday
And I don’t remember is it summer
Is it nighttime?
What is the forecast?
How am I supposed to be?
How am I supposed to be?


You tell me
I’ll read it in the manual
Sam gave to me
twenty years ago
drugged out from the marsh where we wake up
You
Tall and silent chattering meek me
Jumping to greet you
It was a steady stream
and then it was drugs and dreams
And I couldn’t believe
you gave me away.


And now here you go again,
the boy on my porch
playing games again
so much older now
So much more tacit
flying words with meaning out of my faucet
and then a drip drip
and it’s hush
hush.


And so I’ll touch you carefully
And I won’t speak loudly
How am I supposed to be?
fearful frightened child like again
Or risen like the small careful mussel shells that we found along the marsh
all those years ago.
You asked me to eat them
And I swallowed them whole
in front of you
And then
for the world
in front of the mirror
with the sign that says “Stay Out”
Don’t touch talk look scream rave
I will
I will
I will.

May 17, 2015


Sadie looks a million miles away as I glance back at her, so steady and strong and old. How did she get so old so quickly. She has taken on the task of reading this blog now and its fun for her, to look back and revisit and to remember things she didn't even think she remembered until now. I have also been revisiting. Thinking about John, and then thinking about homeschooling, young childhood and now this, this new stage, adolescents, tweens and of course Molly is 22 with a child of her own (how did that happen).
It's a miracle and a curse how quickly these last few years have blown by and what happened and what will happen and what is clear and what is so unbelievably unclear. I write these words from an apartment I have rented and things are changing
at a neck breaking pace. And yet there are these slow moments where everything seems to stand still, like now, in this apartment, in the middle of my work day, having an unexpected break, eating my sandwich and listening to the turkeys outside my window. My friend Jeremiah calls them dangerous dinosaurs and has threatened to punch them if they approach him and I know he will if I don't intervene but I think they are sweet today, gazing up at me like they know me, like maybe they could give me some advise but for that tiny pea sized brain.
Sadie, Nora, Jonah and Gary are going to the beach house for the first time without me and I can't believe it. I can't believe my children are ever anywhere without me.
But they are.
And they have their own angels and their own ideas and hopes and dreams that sustain them and welcome them even when it is rainy out and there are no friends to play with. I'm so glad they have each other. This week I am working and have some easy plans to see Ashley tonight for coffee and to ride my bike a lot and to have lunch with my maid of honor at my wedding and this weekend to go to Maine to participate in a triathlon. Scary stuff, easy stuff, good stuff, different stuff.
I have hung a picture in my apartment of the three little kids and I at the Museum of Science from 7 years ago. Jonah was around three and needy and appears to be demanding something of me as I gaze in to the camera with the biggest mommy smile ever. I remember that day so well. Sadie was in her Red Sox shirt, short haircut pretending to swing a bat in the picture and Nora was looking away from the camera probably caught up in something much more interesting like a painting on the wall or a family walking a dog outside.
I love this picture.
The only other picture I have on the refrigerator is of Jonah and I at Justin Timberlake last year. We got second row tickets thanks so my dear friend Jimmy. He and I are sporting a really "cool" look and ready to rock. It's a younger version of me which is weird because it is also an older version of me. And this is what I am learning today, that with age and wisdom also comes this surprising innocence and humility and wonder as if all those things I knew when I was 30 have completely been knocked off the kitchen table, swept up and thrown outside along with all sorts of other crazy notions like predictability, self will and the fact that I have so very very little control over my spinning life. And yet, like a child, I awake everyday before the sun, excited to start again. I've been waking up like this for years but recently its with hope and kid like expectation. Last winter I awoke early to an unbelievable heaviness weighted down with age and something I can't quite put my finger on but it doesn't really matter right now anyhow.
I spent four days with these kids, now 15, 12 and 10 running around to movies, the ocean and around our community. They are my greatest joy. I am glad I can bring a joyful mother to them again.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Sky Inside

What is Inside


The sky inside
is colored in a field of grays
there is a place inside where rain
does not feed the grass
and overgrown forests
are a place to be lost


There is a river buried
deep
that flows over bridges and breaks down
the dam
taking in all that is rainfall
all that is the deepest and most subtle
called despair
you are buried there


The ground is ash and that stuff
that remains when things have been burned
to the ground
and in the woods
I am lost
and can’t be found.


2/20/14