vendredi, septembre 30, 2011

I am not good

It's when I get so tired that I fall asleep in my chair that the critical monsters raise their ugly gargoyle heads...

Or when my daughter texts me (news from the DQ often comes in a text) to say she's invited a male college student to her father's house a half an hour after I've gone for a statistics tutorial at the new house.

Or when my son puts out the garbage an hour or so after the garbage guys have already been and gone.

When I haven't signed him up for a chess tournament, connected with the Boy Scout dad who drives him to the meetings, left my own homework for the last minute.

When their dad calls from the hospital and I bitch about my day before I ask him about his.

When I don't get the kids to doctors this week and put it off until the next.

"You aren't good at this" they tell me. Other dads or moms would handle these circumstances more adroitly. Other people are more compassionate, competent, efficient, composed.

And then this one-sided dialogue becomes even harsher.

Not good at loving. Not good at being loved.

And truly horrible at statistics (though the lovely man who volunteered a session to tutor me was encouraging).

I know that much of this negative self-talk is born of exhaustion, stress, and the emotional burden of being a single parent (at least for a while). I also know that I am not used to asking for support from my local friends -- a pick-up here, a shared meal there.

I don't think that anyone would be "good" at picking up all these balls and keeping them in the air.

Inevitably, things get dropped.

I have to accommodate myself to being exceptionally imperfect.

Hopefully even lovably so.

Time will tell -- but I'm not very "good" at being patient, either.

mercredi, septembre 28, 2011

Spring and summer memories

Tonight I went for a run down Indiantown Road, turning around near Springton Manor Farm. It's not a long run, about four and a half miles, but it has its challenges.

It gets darker a lot faster in the evening. I'm still in denial that summer has officially gone, and winter will eventually be here.

A few times, I've really wanted my miner's light (which looks totally dorky on me, by the way). Instead, I just stop by the roadside, and let the speed racers go by.

There are still wildflowers by the roadside. The air is warm and humid, sweat dripping down my face, t-shirt clinging to my body.

It feels like summer - or maybe fall in the tropics.

And as I run, I think about all the times I've been down and up this hill over the past six months.

After a difficult winter in which I suffered from back problems that didn't allow for jogging, I was thrilled to get out on the open road when the snow finally ebbed.

Gradually I got to the point where I could walk and jog up the hill, past meadows and houses and schoolbuses.

After a while, running became easier, though I still look like a turtle as I clamber up the road.

During the spring, the route to the Farm became the great escape: a chance to flee stress, leave behind analysis, and observe the changes around me.

The days grew long, the trees sprouted leaves, the deer paced across the road.

There were many times when I would pay attention. Other times, I was too caught up in unfamiliar emotions.

Often I would walk for hours, oblivious to the time.

Sometimes I would cry, the lightly driven road offering a refuge. The month of May is just a blur of tears. Looking back, I am not sure I know that woman.

Thin and nervy, she was not calm, or rational, or even sane, perhaps.

I wrapped myself in solitude, as is so often my wont, like a protective cloak.

And in a summer that also owned its share of tears, the road to the farm has been an avenue for tranquility, and healing, and challenge -- the uphill never seems to be significantly different.

On the way to the Farm, I have found times of gentleness, and respite, alone and in varied company.

Who knows what the fall to come will hold as the air chills and the leaves drift? And the winter...trees weighed down with snow, booted feet tromping over glistening white.

What will the changes on Indiantown Road reveal?

It's exciting, and a little scary, to wonder.

A grown-up in the 'love game' - I hate it.

He sat across from me in the restaurant as we lingered over tea.
He liked what he saw. He wants to see me again.
I looked just as he'd imagined me.
What did I want? he asked me.
That's the tough part.
I genuinely am not trying to collect male "scalps" for a collection to make myself feel good -- but neither can I imagine a relationship right now.
I'd like to imagine a relationship.
I'd like to stop thinking so much -- it's so paralyzing.
Being a grown-up is no fun.
I'd love to hurl myself into the oblivion of a crush. I'd love a sabbatical on endless analysis, scruples, and trying to do the right thing by everyone.
But the fact is, I'm not constructed for such delights.
A few days ago, I had a lunch date scheduled -- and then the nurse at Mr. C's school called. He'd broken out in hives.
He's still got the hives -- possibly stress related, but possibly not. I still have to find an allergist.
I wouldn't know "Mr. Right" if he walked up the driveway.
"Yes" almost always loses to "maybe" -- another polite evasion for "no."
I am haunted by the sense that I'm trying to adjust my sentimental heart to suit the reality of the men who appear in front of me.
I wish I could love more easily.
Someday perhaps I'll be able to form my lips around "yes" and mean it.
Perhaps there are mysteries yet to be explored, someone to pull me out of my meta-funk, and into the waltz.
Enough with the speculation...there are doctors to call, statistics to study, articles to write, and dreams to defer -again.

lundi, septembre 26, 2011

The man you deserve - for Katie

No need to dragon-slay, no rivers to cross on horseback, no jousting to win your heart.

You have had too many false knights.

Those are the thin-armored men, whose outward form may not conform to their true selves.

But he will be very brave, this man of yours --brave enough to face down his own demons before he arrives at the castle walls (or sends you an email to let you know he's free on Sunday night-- sadly, we don't all have castles any more).

And when he arrives, it will be with humility -- a humility born of deep learning and wisdom. He's no smarty-pants know-it-all.

Owning his past mistakes, he sees in you new life, the seeds of laughter, and passion and joy.

The spell he weaves will be a mutual one, binding heart to heart in a rhythm so intuitive that you don't know the music until you realize you are dancing.

Will he look good in a kilt? Hmm...after a while, I don't think you are going to care.

He's going to be hot. Sizzling. Ravishing in whatever garb he chooses or does not choose to wear.

(Phew, I'm getting hot myself.)

Most of all, he's going to be worthy of you.

Worth waiting for, this man of substance. No joker he, but the king of hearts.

Of one heart -- yours.

Tag...I'm "it." (And terrified)

He sat there in a chair, unable to move beyond it.

Now and then he would look at me, with eyes drained by hours of pain and lack of sleep.

"It's a bad day" he said. "It was a bad night."

I won't go into the symptoms, the many distresses this barbaric treatment brings with it.

The chemicals (she listed an alphabet stream of letters I can't recall) were hitting him early -- and hard, said the nurse. It was to be expected. It was what they hoped for --because it would kill his immune system, and allow a new one to take its place.

Imagine that. Give it a shot.

The kids joked around. Mr. C. messed with the bed, using the buttons to make it go up and down. But I know that they saw...and took it all in.

Love's a funny thing. We've become friends, this man I couldn't live with, the father of my heart is breaking for him.

I asked him whether he wanted to be part of the decisions about parenting we'd always made together. Weakly, he told me that it would be better if I made them myself.

Then, thanks to the powerful anti-nausea drug they gave him, he slept.

And here I am.

I've never done this before.

On the knife's edge.

Balancing like a ballet dancer, and so afraid of falling.

Only I can't --because who else would be here to catch everything that is, inevitably, going to crash through the air?

I cannot surrender.

For him.

For them.

For me.

For the sake of everyone depending on me. God give me grace. Please.