Monday, March 29, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
|Me and my brother Ted, or "little Butch" or "Straight-Ted"|
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Whew. I am still coming to terms with the fact that my son is now a married man, and will soon be a father. It’s a lot to wrap my head around, and it’s come so fast.
I am cool with becoming a grandma. The image of grandma conjures up warm, fuzzy memories. Everyone loves grandma. Of course, I want to set my own rules for being my own version of Grandma. I aspire to be a fabulous, free spirited, salsa dancing, gigging, world traveling Grandma who still rocks her grandbaby to sleep and bakes cookies with him.
But Mother-In-Law? I haven’t gotten used to that title yet. How many comedians have made their fortunes taking jabs at the proverbial Mother-In-Law? How about that movie “Monster-In-Law”?
I’ve given a lot of thought to this, especially since my son and daughter-in-law live with me. What type of Mother-in-law do I aspire to be?
I’ve always told my kids that I would love whomever they chose to love. I trust their judgment to find the person who is right for them. Whether it lasts the rest of their lives, or whether it lasts a summer, I know that they are choosing a person who is worthy of their love, and is going to bring rich textures and learning experiences to their lives.
But now that my son has taken his vows, and is committing his life to this beautiful young woman and their child, I feel that I should make some vows of my own.
My Mother-In-Law Vows:
I vow to be a support system and mentor to them as they make their way.
I vow to give advice only when asked. : )
I vow never to pass judgment on them, nor to intrude on their young relationship,
I vow to place confidence in their ability to make the choices that are right for them, even if it takes them a few tries.
I vow never to speak unkind words about them, even if I don’t agree with their choices.
I vow to give them the space to raise their child in their own way, which may differ from mine.
I vow to always be there for their children.
I vow, together with my husband, to set a good example of a respectful, loving married relationship with open communication.
I vow to keep my door open to them both, whenever they want to share something or ask for help.
I vow that, even when they have their fights and misunderstandings, I won’t take sides nor judge. I understand that this is a normal part of a young couple finding their way.
I vow to always be kind.
I vow to post this in a place where I can see it every day.
I vow to love my son, his wife, and child. Unconditionally. Always.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Greetings from the pit of despair. I’ve fallen into a black hole of my own making and I can’t get up. Where’s the life alert for that one?
Usually I’m pretty strong. I have a big life, with a lot on my plate, but I balance it well most of the time.
Some days I crash.
Today is a bad day.
But the people in my life expect me to be strong and centered. Always. When I’m not, I find myself alone. People pull away from me. It makes them uncomfortable to see me down. The message I get is Go back to being how we expect you to be.
Sometimes its just not possible for me to wrap it up and put on the brave face. Someone dropped a boulder into my still waters, The ripples are still reverberating, and all the muck at the bottom has been stirred up. So I isolate. And I write about all that muck.
Muck you, muck!
No matter how much therapy I’ve done, there are days it gets to me that I have two living parents who don’t want me in their lives. I’ve been estranged from my mother for seven years. And not because I’ve done anything to her. I was a good kid, never in any trouble, not into drugs, never got pregnant or brought any grief to them. No. My sin is I spoke up against abuse that had happened in the family. I had the nerve to speak the truth, and was banished from the kingdom of dysfunction.
Today is one of those days when I can’t shake the image of my mother staring into my eyes with pure hatred. I was her mirror. All of her disappointment and anger at herself was projected onto me. No matter how good a girl I was, I could never fix it. I performed, I excelled, I tried to shine as best I could, but I couldn’t ever change what she saw in that mirror- me. And I have the unfortunate added bonus of looking just like her.
Instead, she adores my brother. He has been a drug addict since his early teens. He was in a lock down rehab high school, and has been in and out of jail and rehab all his adult life. He has threatened her life with physical violence, punched and kicked holes in the walls of her home, cost her thousands and thousands of dollars in bail money and court costs. Yet he is the one she loves.
My father doesn’t hate me. He is ambivalent toward me, at best. He abandoned me when I was three years old. I found him when I was thirty-nine. When I asked him if he had ever expected to hear from me, he said, “ I always thought I’d get a phone call one day, and someone would tell me that you were dead.” So after leaving me in the situation I was in at three years old, he assumed I’d end up dead but still made no attempt to find me. He added, “I’m glad your mom decided to keep you.” Gee thanks, Dad.
I’ve spent the last seven years trying to build a relationship with him but he doesn’t return my phone calls, doesn’t acknowledge the cards and gifts I send. If my sister-in-law or stepmom answer the phone and physically put the receiver in his hands, he’ll talk to me, say he’s sorry for never calling, and tell me how much he loves me, but if I stopped calling and showing up on his doorstep, he would simply let me slip away. Again.
Is that love?
Today I am swimming in this emotional muck. Drowning is more like it. What can I do.
Write about it.
Write about how much it fucking sucks that I have two living parents who don’t care about me. Write about how much it hurts that until I met my husband, I never knew what it felt like to be loved or to have someone in my corner. Write about how mad I am at myself for holding on to some kind of stupid hope that if I was a good enough person, I could fix it all. For me this is a pain that never goes away. I vacillate between sadness, anger and apathy, but it’s always there.
It’s my pity-party and I’ll cry if I want to. So what.
But in our society, we don’t like people to be sad! God forbid. Get some Zoloft, Prozac, whatever it takes - make it go away! Don’t talk about it, don’t show it, and for god’s sake, don’t feel it! Cheer up! Be strong!
God it makes me crazy! We stuff our feelings and anesthetize ourselves with prescription drugs, alcohol, food. Look at us! We are dying of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and stress. I don’t want to be numb to my life. I want to hear the message in my pain and learn from it. Letting the waves of sadness wash over me is a necessary part of the healing process.
I am grieving the loss of two living parents. So let me be sad today. Don’t tell me not to be. Don’t tell me to be strong. Don’t tell me to count my blessings. Let me find my own way back to strength, in my own time. And what ever you do, DON’T TELL ME TO CHEER UP.
And I know that in a few days I will brush myself off and get back up again, just like I always do.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
My husband made a funny observation the other day. He said that whenever a person prefaces a statement with with all due respect, you can pretty much be sure there will be no respect following that statement. In fact it will most likely be harsh criticism.
Here’s a couple more in that vein:
I don’t mean to sound bitchy but…( here comes the bitchy part)
No offense but….( get ready to be offended)
Don’t take this personally… (cue the personal assault)
I just watched a silly movie with Ricky Gervais called “The Invention of Lying”. And even though it was just a light, formulaic comedy, the film made some great points. In this story, human beings don’t know how to lie. The characters just say exactly what they feel, all the time.
It’s pretty hilarious. Jennifer Garner walks into a restaurant and the hostess says, “Hi, I’m threatened by you. How many in your party?” You can imagine how funny the blind date scene is.
It’s so strange how we muddle up our sentiments, and deceive each other with words. As far as I know, we are the only living beings to do that. A dog doesn’t grin and wag his tail, only to attack you the moment you turn your back.. But people do this to each other all the time. You want proof? Watch a session of congress.
I don’t have a neat and tidy finish to this blog. Instead I have some questions for all of you today.
Why don’t we just come right out and say what we mean?
What would happen to us if we told the truth all the time? How would our society change? How would our relationships and our quality of life change?