Thursday, March 25, 2010

And a child shall lead them

to their knees.

It started out a perfectly lovely day, BC made pancakes for breakfast. We gathered around the table to gobble down the food. The Kid's friend was dropped off for an overnight play date.

A classmate had decided to have an inaugural WebKinz meeting that afternoon - yes I realize you had no idea there were such things, well there really aren't; it was the spark of imagination of a little girl. The truth is I do not get the allure of webkinz, nor do I love the website games from what I have heard of them at deafening volume when The Kid spends time there. I did think it was a clever idea for a gathering that did not involve presents and time at a Chuck E Cheese type of place (again very little experience, I may have gone to one but I scrubbed any real memory from my brain of the event other than there was a lot of noise).

We dropped them off at a lovely house and proceed to giggle like school girls cutting school. It has never happened that we had a bit of free time on a Kid weekend. I tell you it was totally exciting - we went to Targee {tm}. Finally we got fun coffee drinks and sat in the car, wishing for a bit more time to run home for some serious grown up time, but there was only enough time to sip from paper cups and dream.

I never know what I should do in moments like this, but given the car I at least need to get out of it to let the kids in. Because I try to respect boundaries and not step on toes, I ask BC if it's okay, if I should come along. While their split is common knowledge by this time, showing off your new relationship is something else again. She assured me that it was fine so we stepped up the walk to enter a noisy and cozy house filled with children. Our girls were getting there things together, BC introduced me to the host parent and we chatted. The mom wandered to deal with something and a little girl, eight at most I would say, with mousy brown straight hair, very round watery blue eyes and a slightly narrow, pinched face looked up at me and said "Who's mom is that?"

For a moment the world froze and my heart stopped. It is not like I haven't heard that before but it's been years and years. Perhaps it was during the time I was trying to get pregnant, I don't remember. What I do know is this time was different. This time I had already tried to get pregnant, it hadn't worked, then followed an abyss of indecision and stony silence, finally a decision, of sorts had been reached. And now? Now I exist in the nowhere land. I am not a parent, but I am with someone who is, we are not in the state where the label "stepparent" is used or applicable. It was a bit of a panicked moment which I was rescued from by someone, I don't remember who or what was said. A response was flubbed or redirected, something.

This moment stuck with me for several days but I said nothing. It then faded away, submerged in the river of denial. Until yesterday, while doing my daily pages it suddenly turned up. This is the thing about this writing exercise, doing it everyday, even late in the day, without a plan, without intent there is no telling where your mind will take you if you just let things flow. This parent being that resides in me has nowhere to go; she just bangs around, walking in circles, into walls looking for somewhere to rest, looking for someone to nurture, to care for in that way. There are no animals to take care of, to snuggle in the night anymore. There are no doula clients to soothe, to support, to coo over. But there is this child who rightfully, reasonably holds me at a bit of a distance; who I hold at a distance, rightfully, reasonably. I have no name in this relationship, I may never.

In the meanwhile I will continue to try to find a place for that parent self that resides within and maybe she will not throw the panic switch the next time a random child asks that question.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Happy Find

It has not been the happiest of days, lately. Feeling raw, unkempt, at odds. Having nothing better to do to distract myself I googled me. I know, it's the height of self involved grumbles. But in doing that I found this:

One of my all time favorite clients. Seriously. These folks rock the world the inhabit and the world rocks them back.

One "yeah" for the day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One last burst

Some of the last bit of time at the house in New Paltz I was snowed in, not an unpleasant experience in such a lovely place. In addition I lost cable which meant no television and no internet, plus my cell stopped working. Thank goodness they had a landline. Four days of complete silence from outside sources that usually inundated with via cell, television, the web was a nice reprieve. It seemed timely and fine the way things started to go a bit wrong, or rather not blissfully perfect as they had my last few days, the universe way of saying it was time to move onward.I found myself wanting to arrive in Cleveland with little to no laundry, I wanted to end with as many things tidy as possible, and clean, a fresh slate to start my next phase. Not something I have done before but I liked doing that, as well as making the house especially tidy for my departure and the homeowners arrival.

I appreciate my time there so much. It was much like something I have thought about doing for years, eons really. At various points in time I had the vague urge to go to someplace like the to do a session of silence and reflection, or wondered what it would be like to become a Buddhist monk. When on the cusp of leaving C. and deciding to see where things lead with Her Geekyness, I had a strong urge to leave them both behind, to rent a tiny cottage in the mountains or by the beach somewhere in Northern California, to gain some piece for myself. Fear of so many things kept me from doing this. It took five years but I finally got my personal retreat. The place was beautiful, somewhere I love physically, a place with reasonable creature comforts where I could discover and impose my rhythms. There were things I did not expect to discover while I was there.

Years ago I had read about the notion of the daily pages for The Artist’s Way, but there was no way to know how much I would learn about myself while doing them, how much I love writing them, that I missed real journaling. I like, and crave being neat more than I knew. I have had partners who teased me about my piles, who nagged about how the house looked (like it was all on me!), who knew I could be different than I had been. I had forgotten how tidy I tend to be when on my own, when I like where I am. I can feed myself just fine and even be healthy and not gorge, even though there is no one whose disapproval I perceive lurking around the corner.

Something I had not expected to discover about myself was I am a bit more old fashioned than I thought. In my conversations with BC when she visited I realized that I did not want her to ask me to move in unless she was willing to marry me. By “marry” I don’t mean a wedding per se, or getting a ring as much as I mean that I need to know she is asking me because she is committed to the idea of us, to working on our relationship for the long haul. Perhaps it’s a matter of no longer being in my 20’s or even 30’s, maybe it’s having done this too many times before without enough conversation about what we want, how our relationship will look in other's lives, but I need to know that it’s the whole deal. I don’t want to be asked because it’s convenient, because she is lonely, because she thinks maybe she’d like to build a future. I don’t want to say yes for those reasons. I want us to buy the cow, the barn, the house, and go to town meetings. I want a plan, I want things spelled out, I want to know that will we will review things regularly to tweak them, to improve, to repair something that isn’t working.

Would I turn down a ring or a wedding party? Hell no. But it is more about what follows that I want. I want to have a room of my own where we live, even if it isn’t a full room, but I need a space that is mine to retreat to, that I do not share with anyone, where the desk can grow messy without complaint except my own at which point I will clean it. I want to remember my rhythm in the midst of couplehood, I want it to inform that dyad and I want to know when to back down and listen to their rhythm. I want a healthy pairing. I want it to be the soft spot where I land when I return from being in my space, from my travels, my retreats, from work. I want to be held as I grow. I want to hold as they grow. For us to entwined in some places and reach for our own sunlight in others.