vendredi, avril 24, 2009

Three women sconed

This morning I went up with a friend to see her daughter, who attends a college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Over lunch in an "Irish" tearoom, I asked her if she'd had any boyfriends. An attractive girl with bright blue eyes, she listed the number of dates she's had -- she's a junior. They come to about three or four. Students don't date, unless they were already together in high school, she told me over a cup of tea and a scone(well, what else would you have in a tea room?.

Boys watch porn on their computers, because well, it's easier. We're the generation which wants everything immediately, she said. We IM, we text, we email...instead of talking on the phone or in person.

How wonderful that my generation has picked up some of these disturbing tics --and how potentially scary that her generation, starting out doesn't seem to have the communications tools they will need. Of course, this is overstatement, but to hear it from someone as articulate and attractive as my friends 21 year old daughter gives one pause.

mercredi, avril 22, 2009


Mr. C and I are doing something decadent -- going with friends to a Phillies game next Wednesday night. He's going to be very tired the next day -- fortunately school is right across the street. My friend and her husband don't have kids, so it's probably hard to understand the kinds of insanity we go through allowing them to pursue their goals.

Neither my ex nor I are particularly driven parents. Being a split couple means that sometimes homework doesn't take first place in the order of things. But we are raising opinionated, engaged,inquisitive children. These traits come naturally to our son. Thanks in part to our daughter's ADD, her passions have taken longer to evince themselves in her drama troupe, her pottery, and occasionally a novel about bloodsucking night undeads.

Drama. Karate. Chess. Oh, and the "Bs." Band. Baseball. Boy Scouts. Church and church events. On Wednesdays, between work and the DQ's drama troupe, I probably clock more than 110 miles. But I can't imagine asking them to give them up unless they got in the way of normal school. My parents, in another age, sent me to a school where all of these recreational needs were met. Out here in the suburbs, we leave large carbon footprints...all in the interest of having kids who grow up to be socially conscious, creative, and compassionate adults.

It's nice to play hookey occasionally. Even mom needs an evening vacation from her recreational activities.

mardi, avril 21, 2009

Finding reasons not to believe

I wonder if that might be a better m.o for me -- not to take anyone at face value, and to believe that they are not telling me the truth -- unless it's about how much I owe for that pretzel and Diet Coke. I can figure that one out for myself. Add a candy bar and it gets complex.

But I don't know how not to take someone at his or her word, at least initially. And I choose the path of directness so much more often than not that I'm amazed when others do not.

I've watched this play out in my own family -- and I guess I'm just wired to trust. The trick is to not to be too vulnerable to those who toy with your trust -- account it a small, salutary shock, and move on. Just a little ouch, and its all over -- until the next one.

lundi, avril 20, 2009

Vegetarian chili with a side order of grace

I see him coming up the incline of our little cul-de-sac, hanging on to the trumpet case for dear life and dragging the suitcase he uses for books behind him. I had meant to be home ten minutes earlier to meet my kids at the bus stop -- ten points off the good mom test for today! When we arrive home, the DQ is already there. "Mom I stood in the rain for five minutes waiting for you" she says accusingly, dressed in the spring uniform of polo shirt, kilt and knee socks. "But you knew where the key was," I pointed out -- it's been in the same place for about 3 years. "I forgot" she lobs back with the perfect illogic of adolescence.

When it's just you, the cats (one normal and one ADD cat) and the computer for most of the day, two kids carooming through the kitchen door at 3:30 is invogorating, but also brings unpredictability, resistance, and dirty dishes everywhere but in the sink.

Those of us who had difficulty conceiving, or miscarried, or got married when we were older may bring a particular appreciation to even the most chaotic days -- but for the grace of God, parenthood might not have happened for us. "I want vegetarian chili" says the DQ, going downstairs to watch TV with her brother before she starts her homework. 'And you expect me to make it?" I say, but indulgently, aware that these moments are precious, and ordinary and blessed.

dimanche, avril 19, 2009

Novel girl in a Twitter world

I was updating my status on Facebook today -- and then I began to think about what exactly it was I was doing.

Would Kevin, an editor for whom I rarely write, care about how far I had run that day?

Would my ex's first ex care to read that I had mowed the lawn? And how do I feel about her trip to Africa (if you really want to know, I'm enjoying the pictures).

In another context, some of my Facebook "friends" might not be more than acquaintances. AND many of them, me probably included, live pretty white bread lives.

Nonetheless, I continue to post mysterious comments like yesterday's -- EE is thinking of mowing her lawn, and the sensuality of pantheism. I'm not quite sure what that means myself. Maybe it will continue to make my "friends" wonder if I'm eccentric (true), an overwrought intellectual (also accurate) or just nuts (sometimes.)

What was I thinking? About the smell of the crushed onion grass after the mower has trod over it, the star-petaled purple flowers, the bees flying just about the clover...I stand there until they move, most days, not wanting to slice any into little grass like pieces. How can one describe the synthesis of all of these experiences in a Facebook status update? And yet....there is something that draws us back, wanted to see and be seen, expose and watch somebody else exposing...a millimeter of truth.