samedi, juin 27, 2009

Five reasons why

I am not a romantic in a way commonly understood

1. I don't believe it's a sign of a healthy relationship when lovers can finish each other's sentences.

2. I don't feel as though there's one special person for each of us

3. Love is a decision as much as, if not more so, than a feeling

4. There's probably a corollary between chivalry, passion and affluence -- who has time to brood over a lover when your family might be killed or you can't feed your kids

5. The language of most romantic cards or pop movies is the quick and dirty way of expressing emotions that demand time and care to explain -- not to mention proof.

That doesn't mean that I don't like chick flicks and happy endings as much as any other person -- I just don't believe them. Do you? Although I do have a weakness for movies and love songs in French.

How about you? Can you readers defend the Western ideal of romance?

And as if I needed affirmation of my feelings, here's an email I got last night. I'm protecting the sender's identity, although he doesn't really deserve it, except to say that I'm guessing he has material resources to fulfill not only his romantic needs but his fantasies (without help from yours truly, if you were wondering).

"Could you enjoy a 3-way romp without writing about it? I remember you as very appealing, but a writer. She and I (she who I met here) have had great sex and great openness since November and we both want to make love with another woman. I think we would both enjoy you, if you let us. We are determined to find a compatible woman who would blossom under our touch and kisses. Is it possible?"

A few emails of that ilk is enough to put a girl off romance for quite a while --- cue the moats teeeeeming with crocodiles, snakes and monks who are not what they seem...

vendredi, juin 26, 2009

Sins of the mothers

I was wrong. I'm the Puritan on this venture into a fairyland of galleries, tshirts, gay chic and $13.00 burritos. It's "energetic" mom who forced her14 year old to walk the bridge between New Hope and Lambertville. I'm the one who insisted, after a breakfast of French toasted croissants (topped with orange slices that the DQ quickly handed over) that we walk on the D&O towpath.

What sort of mom would force her child, whose legs hurt and needed to go to the bathroom and was starving, to walk around a wildflower refuge? Oy.

I guess I didn't walk her through enough churches, palaces and ruins when she was a child.

And this is the (hopefully not final) result.

I'm fat, she moaned, in one of those endless teen litanies of physical disabilities apparently brought on by exercise. You aren't fat, you are slothful, I said, walking briskly through a gathering of Canada geese -- eager to get back to the inn for a well deserved nap.

jeudi, juin 25, 2009

The moralizing voice

With Mr. C and his dad safe in London, wandering from Madame Tussaud's to Ripley's Believe it or Not, I'm taking the DQ up to New Hope for a few days of shopping,canoeing, eating, and complaining about how her feet hurt on the trail by the Delaware.

I've been realizing what a dour, self-martyred complainer I'm in danger of turning into -- so easy to condemn in others, so difficult to recognize in myself. Overwork has made me vigilant about my perpetual fault, oversensitivity. It's a gift when it helps me to read a room or empathize with someone else, and a real bane when I start feeling sorry for myself. Having run out of a very tough board meeting last week, close to tears, I said to my colleague apologetically, "I'm not having a lot of fun right now." Yes, she'd noticed, she said to me, accepting of my frailty.

But exhaustion is only a partal excuse.

I have friends, of many income brackets, who know how to have a good time. A walk with a friend. A nice dinner out. A few mildly risque photos (not sure about these)? But I need to push myself to be a little more daring -- and willing to quell the moralizing voice (ancestral) that says it's not OK to laugh and love and even spend while others are suffering.

I think that it probably is Ok for us to enjoy life -- as long as we do something constructive about the suffering, too. There's a real difference between morality and moralizing, and too often I pair the two. A common fault.

How do you work this tension out in your life?

lundi, juin 22, 2009

Skies over the Atlantic

Somewhere, over the Atlantic, they are now, many miles from one country, heading for another. Is he sleeping? Tuned into his Ipod? Watching a movie? Asleep next to his father, who must be really tired from his long day?

I didn't know how badly I was going to miss Mr. C -- had urged my ex to take him, hand't known that it would feel like this.

The DQ and I drove them to Exton station. This morning Mr. C graduated from fifth grade, dressed in his Scout uniform in a sea of white shirts. Favorite teacher Mr. Wood, giving out awards to the chess team, complimented Mr. C on a quality I value above almost all others -- his compassion.

Watching those young faces in the video made for to commemorate the fifth grade (second to graduate from the school), with their joyful smiles and unmarked faces, I was too embarrassed to ask my ex for a handkerchief again. Then brunch at a local diner, back to his dad's to pack, and the afternoon was almost gone.

Yet one more emotion to overlay what was already there, so full already -- I asked my ex to give my love to his friend Ian. A big part of the reason for going was for him to see Ian, whose wife had died last winter. "I hope he lasts till I get there" blurted out my ex. "He's very bad."

My ex isn't prone to being overly emotional, but he seemed to be struggling to stay in control of his feelings. Ian and Jeanette his wife had housed us and the children whilst in London 11 years ago. Scholarly and humble, they were delightful hosts, making us feel totally at home.

Please, God, I know it's selfish, but let him get there in time to say goodbye, to share a few memories, to let him know how much those days in Cambridge together meant. I had so many grand wishes for Mr C and my ex -- trips to the zoo, to the Science Museum, to that London Eye he keeps chatting about.

Now I just want them safe.

When I expressed my emotions to the DQ tonight, she came and hugged me. "I bet your mom felt the same way about you," said my poised and increasingly canny daughter. "You'll feel the same way when you have kids" I said. She smiled, and went back to the laptop.