Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day. What is there to say about Father's Day? I've never celebrated this day set aside for men who raise children.

I met my father for the first time when I was 17 years old. He lived in the same zip code as my mother and me. I won't go into what that means. Any person with an iota of intelligence can figure that out. He had a family at his address. A wife, three sons and a daughter. Perhaps they gave him cards on Father's Day. I wouldn't know.

After our initial meeting, I spent many years chasing this allusive thing with him. I thought, at the time, I was looking for love. I've since come to understand that love is a verb. It is a thing that is done. It is not something you can hold in your hand, or pull out of a pocket or wallet, or wear like a hat. Why was I searching for this allusive thing as though my father was hiding it behind his back?

Now that I am a parent, I understand a little more about parenting. I didn't learn this from my father. (Perhaps his absence was an influence.) I didn't even learn it all from my mother (who, by the way, served as both mother and father to me -- everyday). No I learned and continue to learn my parenting from my children.

There is no book or pattern really that can provide you with a How to Raise Children Who are Loved method. I have found the best teacher to be living with my sons. I feed them when they are hungry. I clothe them. I scold them when they are wrong. I hug them. By being present, I see what they need. I love them.

Even though I grew up knowing only a father who carried his love for me in his pocket and pulled it out on occasion to take me to dinner, and my sons, so far, only know about a father who put his love in his backpack when we separated, I'm praying that Nigel and Noah will grow up to be fathers who know that love is a verb.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Been curling my hair and making that extra effort to look nice. It is making a difference, if only for me. I feel better because I feel like I look good. Thought I may have met someone interesting, and of course, he turns out to be married to my boss' sister. What are you gonna do? BUT, I still hold out hope on the romance front.

My mother continues to get better everyday. She still complains about pain in her feet due to the nerve damage that was complicated by the chemo treatments. her nails, though, are starting to grow back. She is growing some fine hair. She is even up and doing things around the house. She has been talking about going back to church since the Christmas holiday, but so far she hasn't quite felt like she can make it all the way through a service. BUT, there is progress.

I am starting to feel the "need to get my own place" itch. I've even started looking at some places online. Just dreaming a little dream, you know. Once I've paid for my son's trip to Europe, I can start saving for the summer and for our own place. I'd really like to be able to get our stuff out of storage and move by the end of the summer. That sounds like a TALL order. I'll just have to remember that I can only do what I am able to do. Baby steps.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Power of Words

I have had an epiphany.

After I apologized to my old boyfriend for what I did to him those many years ago, I remembered what I said to myself then. I told myself, "If you do this, you deserve whatever you get. You will be treated the same way you are treating him, and that is what you deserve." I didn't know then that I was placing myself under a 20 year curse. I have gotten exactly what I told myself I would get. From that moment on I expected to be wronged by any man that came into my life. I expected and accepted that misery would be my company. BUT...

As I released the words of apology to my old friend, I felt a weight falling from my shoulders. I actually remembered those fatal words I put upon myself so long ago. And then I realized, I NEED to forgive myself. I have carried the weight of shame and guilt. I had tied these things around my neck like a shackle. And I have the power to release them.

I accept my apology. I am worthy of so much more than I have accepted. Shame is not my friend and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

"Good-by Shame."

Guilt is not my friend, and I have nothing to feel guilty about.

"Good-bye Guilt."

My friend moved on years ago. I stayed stuck in that place; I no longer want to dwell there.

I forgive me and I am moving on.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I was recently in touch with a former boyfriend on one of the popular social sites. This contact has sent me on a spiral. We were childhood friends who turned into high school lovers/friends. When I went away to college, I had some events to occur that sent me spiraling out of control. I was still dating this high school friend (but long distance). On his last visit to see me, I was already becoming someone and something that I am not proud of today. I especially am not proud of the way I left him at the airport waiting for me to come and get him. He wound up finding another way to get home after sitting and waiting in the airport for I don't know how long.
Long story - short, he has, of course, moved on with his life and done very well for himself. He has a beautiful family. I have also grown up over the years. Although my marriage is now kaput, I have two beautiful sons. I wouldn't trade them for the world.
But when I look at my love life (or the lack, thereof), I feel sad. I am looking for someone who can be my friend AND my lover. See the irony? Of course, who knows what would have happened. We were children back then and may not have made it to this ripe middle age, but it doesn't stop me from feeling sad about what might have been.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Play With Me

Those are the same eyes that used to look at me
as though I was the greatest thing since mashed bananas in a jar
since peanut butter on crackers
since macaroni and cheese
since chocolate cake.
But now those eyes see straight through me.
And even though I straighten up
dust off the wear and tear
cover up the unsightly fear, anger, sadness.
I get the feeling that somehow I no longer measure up.
And there is no more left of me
No more singing in the middle of the living room.
No more dancing like a soul train fool.
No more talking about nothing.
No more.
Can I just have five minutes, please?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reflecting on teaching...

Okay, so I'm sitting around and thinking about what else I might be able to do with this English degree. Editor (where to start), writer (can't pay the bills), Wal-Mart greeter (don't always feel like being cheery - but is that really a requirement?).

I guess I go through this every year. The moments when I'm less than in-love with my current student roster. Even last year, I had a class to inspire me to write poetry again. (Poem below)
I was able to share the poem with the class and even had them analyze it for poetic devices. I'm sure the foul language had nothing to do with their interest.

I Throw Down My Pen in 8th Period
What more is there to say?
You have heard it all.
“Miss, don’t nobody want to hear that s***.”
You say.
But, no.
Here I stand
With pen in hand
Pressure erupting
Muscles tense
Words escaping
Doesn’t make sense.
How can it be
That you don’t care when
Bass booming
Getting’ that gat
Wadin’ in weed
Crappin’ out crack
Dropping that dope
Backslapping b****es
“Naw, we in the trenches.”
The trenches?
What are you fighting for
Your king is now the jester
Your queen is now the joke
To poke
And forget
Your prince is now a regret
Your princess is just an object
I lift my pen from the overhead.
I guess, you told me.
No more left to be said.

It did feel good to get that off my chest, and I was able to teach another day. Perhaps it is time to pull out the notebook again. Prescription: more poetry.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I miss my privacy. Was getting dressed this morning, and my youngest son just opened the curtain. Yes, a curtain is all I have to separate me from the rest of the house. Sometimes I really resent it. Like this morning.

When I first decided to move back in with my mother, I claimed the bedroom with the door and told the boys they would sleep in the other room. Of course, my mother vetoed me and put the boys in the room with the door. Well, I didn't know what to make of that then, and I still don't.

It's only temporary though. When she is all better (hopefully by summer), the boys and I will get our own place. I can once again close a door and have some privacy, sit on my bed naked if I want to.

I think that is the hardest part of being in my mother's house again: sucking it all in with nowhere to spit out what feels rotten.