Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Moral Compass

October 7, 2015

Inspector Foyle

Inspector Foyle

Daddy

daddy

I have been knocked off course.

I need an ally like my father, or D.C.S. Christopher Foyle, to help me find my way.

My dad was the only person I have known who could actually change a person’s mind about something they thought they believed without ever raising his voice.

When I was in first or second grade at St. Hilda’s & St. Hughes Sister Mary Margaret was angry at me. I was terrified. She can’t have been more than 4″5″ but she was a nun, and nuns are fierce. I was afraid to go back to class. My father said he would come with me to school and clear up any misunderstanding. That prospect terrified me even more than the tiny but furious Sister Margaret. My dad was insistent. He was at least 5’10” and he had on a suit and tie. He looked impressive, strong, tall. He held my little hand and we walked into my classroom together. I sat at my desk. He strode up to Sister Margaret’s desk and leaned down to her. I don’t know what he said because it was a quiet exchange, but I had no more trouble from Sister Margaret. And I felt the way every child lucky enough to have a parent who believes them feels. I felt stronger.

My dad died in 2007 and I have found myself thinking of him, needing him in a way I had not when he was sick. His illness was long and by the time of his death I was not stunned. I was exhausted. Our whole family was tired, depleted by the medical community, by mismanaged care, by faulty diagnosis. I felt grown up, fully adult. I was a wife, a mother.

I have been thinking about my set of adults because certainly I should know some heavyweights by now. But somehow when you are supposed to be the wise grown up you feel small. When something happens to knock you for a loop you want to turn to someone with wisdom, gravitas, inner strength, and age.

Thus my love of Christopher Foyle. Nearly every night since I have been engaged in this dilemma I sit with my husband to watch 90 minutes of Foyle’s War. Last night he sent a priest off to be hanged. Of course, the bad guy was not really a priest. He was a German spy. But Foyle was not intimidated by the irritation of the clergy who tried to shoo him away, nor by the idiot superior who had to beg Foyle to come out of retirement to fix his blunders. He was quiet, wise, kind, strong, clear, and ethical. I want to reach inside my t.v. set and pull him out into my world, just until this is sorted out. I know he would immediately see wrong from right.

Alas my dad is not alive. Mr. Foyle is really Michael Kitchen and he is not available to help me.

But I know right from wrong.

I, along with my husband and my very excellent friends will have to be the adults. I have to be my own compass. My dad gave me the tools I need. I just have to find true north, and follow the arrow. It will be okay. And when my son finds himself faced with his own Sister Mary Margaret, or something more formidable, I’ll be his adult.

compass+old

Advertisements

Are You Mad At Me?

October 13, 2014

IMG_0002I almost always have a list in my head of people I think are mad at me. It is a sign of my self centered-ness, of my insecurity, and of my knowledge that at least once a day I say or write something that makes someone mad at me.

But this list is of real friends. People I love and respect and who I know love, or at least like, and respect me. If I have gotten in touch with one of these people via phone or e mail or facebook and I don’t hear back in a timely fashion (that day, that hour, that minute), I  worry. When my son was young I would look at him and say “I think Lulu (fake name to protect the innocent) is mad at me”. I did this from the time he could have any sort of back and forth conversation with me, which was four. He would look up at me and say “mom, why would Lulu be mad at you?” in a reasonable, calm, reassuring voice. I would give him a list of why I thought Lulu might be mad and after a while he would convince me that I was being an idiot and I should just call Lulu again, or send a new e mail or even forget it. Eventually I would hear from Lulu and I would tell my wise son, because of course he was right and she was NOT mad at me. She was just busy with real life.

I am one thousand times better than I used to be and now I only think friends are mad at me once or twice a week. My son is in college so I can’t bother him about the list of angry friends in my head and for whatever reason I don’t find it soothing to tell my husband. When I tell him, in a somber and almost teary fashion, who I think is mad at me, he barely glances up from the newspaper or book he is reading or sports game he is watching. Instead I tell our dog Alice. She is  somewhat reassuring because she is never mad at me.

This  sounds funny, as do most neurotic tendencies when they are the neurotic tendencies of other people. But when it is your own self telling you that your friends are mad at you, it is sort of painful. Now that I am addicted to facebook and I have friends I have never met but still consider quite real, I have MORE people I can think are mad at me.

Sometimes they really are.

There is no real solution to this. I just want to put it out there because although I know I can be harsh and tactless and blunt I HATE to hurt anyone’s feelings. I love my friends, real and virtual and if I do not hear from you after I have written to you or called just know that I am sitting in my kitchen or studio with coffee or if it is evening wine and I am telling Alice that someone, maybe you, are mad at me. And though she will look at me with love she can’t tell me that they are not mad because as crazy as I am I know she can’t talk. So, write back or call back or send me a message back or something, even if it is to tell me you are mad as hell at me.

 

Approximately 186 miles x 2 x 8

July 26, 2014

I am in Brooklyn, again. This is around the 8th time I have come to Brooklyn since April.
This time, my oldest brother Paul is also here (a rarity). There are three of us. My two brothers, Mark and Paul, and me. Mom loves Paul best. It is a fact of our family, and we all know it. It’s fine. So what if when I arrive she completely forgets that I was ever coming, yet when he arrived she waited up until midnight, to let him in? And now, they are out for a nice stroll. I don’t mind, that when I ask if she would like to walk she screams “leave me alone and stop criticizing me!!!!”.

I walked the dog.

At home,I started the Stitching Mom project, barely:

>
20140726-162734.jpg
>
20140726-164056.jpg

This will be much more of a challenge than the Ulysses Gloves were. That little bit of stitchery took around four hours. I can’t even say why.

I had to take a break from my Ruled Un Ruled series.
Once I start a piece I become obsessed with it. It is all I want to do, and everything else goes out the window.

And that’s fine.

20140726-165210.jpg

<a

It's a beautiful summer day.
Mom is with her golden boy, and it takes some of the pressure off of me. They are still strolling. The dog and I are back.
And that's really fine.

The Truth About Mother’s Day

May 14, 2012

I don’t love the concept of Mother’s Day, or Black History Month, or Poetry Month, or any of those sorts of shout outs to people and events that are on the bottom rung of most ladders. If you get a day, or a month, it means you aren’t doing very well (exception:Father’s Day).
That being said, I want acknowledgement. Today I mowed the lawn, washed the tub where we feed our cats (so our dog won’t eat their food), did some laundry, put away some laundry, and vacuumed. Kind of a regular Sunday.
But first thing this morning my husband gave me a gift. It is a book I wanted (there is ALWAYS a book I want) called Are You My Mother?, by writer/artist Alison Bechdel. I love it. And my son walked about a mile to buy me a chocolate chip scone, one of my favorite baked good items. And he sort of cleaned his room. And he got me an i tunes gift card.
I had time to write an extra half page of Ulysses for my Glove Project and I worked on a new slinky drawing. I took a long walk in the park with my girlfriend , and watched an episode of Glee. And I called my mom. I was very happy with this day.
A long time ago, before I was married and even a little after, I did not want to be a mom. But my therapist convinced me I would be happier having tried, than not, and I trusted him so I did try.
First I had a miscarriage. It was very early in the process, but kind of traumatic because of a lot of medical problems that made the ending of my pregnancy last longer than the time I spent being pregnant. The positive outcome was that it helped me feel much less ambivalent about motherhood. I felt ready for the real thing. Until I learned I was going to have a boy. When the chirpy moron on the phone told me the amnio results I said “what the hell am I going to do with a boy?”.
But, I am happy to report, it all worked out. The boy is now 16. He is exactly the child I would have wanted if I had known what to wish for.
We are not a very sentimental family, but I will say I had a very happy Mother’s day.