Sunday, October 21, 2007


my son came back from a good weekend with his dad and his girlfriend. except he came reporting about their moving from the girlfriend's apartment into his new apartment. he said to me something about papa's apartment and then added "and she is going to be living there too, they're the happy couple." and then i noticed he had paint in his hair; he said the three of them had been painting their new apartment. it's always the smallest things that come and pull the air out of the room, just like that, and flood the room with a sadness you swore you had run out of ll the way. but you find there's more leftover. and on the tail of the sadness invading, come its million questions, fundamental ones that seem to shake your bones. and ridiculous ones like, "after my ten years how is this family painting new apartment scene happening without me?".
but still, i know this is just an emotion that has to come and go, and not reality. reality is, I don't fucking give a fuck because I want better than that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lately I am moody with my grown up thoughts

My son was talking to his father on the phone. His father was on
speaker...They were talking about shopping for winter clothes on
Friday. About looking good and funny things like that. His father said something about "being
fly". It wasn't serious. Then I heard my son saying something that if
it had not been followed by much more I would not have believed.

My son opens up to me easily but not to his father. The immensity of
their love and the strength of their bond seems untouched by that
distance and incapable of bridging it either. He idolizes and fears his father's disaproval in one smooth
emotion. He suffers from his father's immaturity and forgives it in
the same moment. I am very familiar with having that special resident
in your heart. It's not the love hate at that tender age so much, it's the
love hurt. He doesn't say confrontational things to him ever. But yet
I heard him say this:

You think we're both fly but I know that I am fly but I don't know why
you think you're fly.

I can't imagine what his father would say to that, I couldn't tell
from his mumbling. Then my son asked:

Well on a scale of 1 to 10, how mad would you be if I told you I
didn't think you were fly?

Three times his father asked him to repeat and clarify--a measure I
appreciated as I too could not believe my ears even while I typed on
my laptop all the little words... Three times my son enunciated this
question: on. a. scale. of. one. to. ten...

I am not sure what was said after that. But then my son moved on:

I think you think you're fly but I don't know why you think that
because your dad he quit being a dad and so you're not really fly but
you think you are. Me, I know I am. But you that's what happpened to

All the "you"'s and all the "me"'s were very pronounced.
His father, after a long pause said,

So that's what you think, huh? That's interesting...

My son said quickly said:

No, that's what I think you think, what I think happened to you.

His father paused and mumbled again and said something about what a grown kid he was, then repeated
the words, what you think happened to me. And quickly wrapped up the
conversation in the usual loving manner that they do it.

I did wish at that time that he and I were in better
terms, speaking-wise, because no matter what, I know this was difficult.
And no matter what he allows himself to even contemplate, I know he is shocked by it and in normal
times we would debrief it together. As things are, he had it coming and these are not normal times.
He got his ass proverbially handed to him by our seven year old and I can't really be there for him.
These are not normal times at all.

My son came back to me a bit after the call and I asked him what that was all about and he
said--I know I have this right because I typed as he spoke:

Whats his dad's name again? Yeah him, well he quit being Papa's dad
and because his dad quit being his dad on him and wasn't fly so if
Papa thinks he's fly how could he think he was fly? He thinks he is
fly as a dad but he's not cause how could he know how to be? He thinks
he is but he's not . But me I am fly. I know that I am and the reason
that I am is because I am nice I am honest and do things right. And
that is really true, you know? I am honest and do things right.

I didn't really know what to say to him after that which was
okay because he quickly followed with:

And YOU, I have a very hard question for you, which I really hope you
can answer.

(I swallowed very hard and I braced myself for something painful, then I heard this, as if seemingly completely related):

If cats hate water so much, how come they drink it?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Living in a Break Up World

My son gets all the serious talking done right when I send him to bed. One reason is that he gets thoughtful and contemplative once alone in bed. Another reason is that he loves an excuse to extend his time awake and cuddle up on the sofa and sneak a peak at grown up TV...Last night we discussed his father's new girlfriend again (I told him about it myself because his father would not, but his father would however, make him share a bed with this "friend" and make him spend his weekend with his father at this "friend's" house and bake his father's birthday cake and attend his father's birthday dinner with said "friend"; what a mighty mighty special friend that is!). We also discussed his frustrations with his father for not talking to him about issues and for making him share said bed. We agreed we would request the purchase of a sleeping bag for next weekend with Papa. He upgraded to "one of those air beds with a pump"; I agreed that is a feasible request.

Then he asked me if his father's having a new girlfriend meant he would have to switch moms. Because he really did not want to. It took a lot of invisible men handling me and strapping me down to with invisible chains to my chair to keep me from screaming and shaking him and saying WHAT THE FUCK EVER GAVE YOU THE FUCKING IDEA THAT I WOULD EVER EVER EVER EVER STOP BEING YOUR MOTHER, LET ALONE THAT THIS OBSCENE CHANGE WOULD HAPPEN ON OCCASION OF SWAPPING ME FOR YOUR FATHER'S NEW LITTLE FUC--you get the idea... Instead what happened was lots of very tight, very repetitive hugs and explanations and drawings of family trees...And conforting words like "no matter what" and "forever" and "ever" and "always" and "this changes nothing between you and I."

Then he asked me whether she was his stepmom and I said he should ask his father. I don't know frankly that this is a permament relationship and I don't want my son's emotional life turned into a circus for his father's benefit. I remember very acutely my mother force-feeding me her first boyfriend after their divorce, basically orchestrating my falling-in-love with the idea of a new father figure when the romance was so clearly volatile and short-lived. Instead of the one heartache and torture of losing my parents being together, I had that in close succession to the loss of a new so-called Parental figure, just because adults are sloppy. And selfish. So no kid, I don't know that she is your stepmom. But for now, how about she is a great friend?

And finally he (astutely) seemed to change topics into my making him a list, by dictation of things he prays to God for a lot but is "pretty sure [he's] not gonna get." It reads:
Things I Pray To God For But Am Pretty Sure I'm Not Gonna Get"
1. A watch like "Ben 10" that can make me transform into anything even fictional things.
2. Me being a member of the Venom family with my own special costume.
3. My parents being back together and me not living in a break up world.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Happiness is only real when shared"

Two am! It is very late and yet i have to take the time to say i just watched Into The Wild and it is a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful experience. It has an immensity of life and love and resonance and emotional and human consequence. It shows an almost obscene amount of skill from Sean Penn as director-writer and from every actor, but as huge as that concrete quantity of talent is, it (willingly and happily) allows itself to be obfuscated by the feel of that film--the way it starts winking at you, nudges and triggers you to pull you in from out of your complacency (but without melodrama, no cheap shots), then takes you very slowly to the place where it just digs into you the way only real things do... Things like getting something or losing it or how you love; and who. It's not the kind of film though that I would dare go into detail talking about beyond this that I have (incoherently) said. I will instead go listen to that Eddie Vedder soundtrack immediately and quietly.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Vintage Seven Two Point O

This is what I overheard. My son was on the phone with his uncle, updating him on a situation I was already informed about after school...

So you know how I told you I was going to tell Chelsea I love her? ... Well I did and guess what? She-she-she gave me a note with-a-heart-on-it yeah, yeah and it said I love you-and it had her phone number...Me, duh! I'm like dancing right now.

And he was, he was dancing while on the phone and was still dancing when he called his father immediately after to repeat the same.

Then he applied himself to make a note of his own, which stated, Chelsea, I love you too, Love me. And then had his phone number; read: my cell number.

Then he drew a heart and t hen a picture of two little aliens, well actually intended them to be kids, but given his drawing technique and poor fine motor skill, they looked like aliens holding hands. Heading said "you and me". Then he said, triumphant, "the picture really makes it like...a total love note."

Then he did one more happy dance. And said, "my first real girlfriend, can you believe it?"

And later at night he welled up again. He's been crying at nights, getting emotional over things he thinks and thinks about, some of which we discuss. Earlier this September it was massive growing pains, wanting to go back to first grade and being terrified of his challenges in school (he's still writing slowly and is just now getting to write legibly; the confidence is shaky at best) and the new Terrifying Teacher. And of course, Chelsea. But there was and is this other thing, like a sense of danger or precariousness that I can't quite pin down. A recent instance was when he asked me about whether the apartment was safe or we could get attacked by burglers like he saw on the news. Then he asked to call his dad about that little panic. Today he asked that we say a prayer--we did, it consists of him silently asking for stuff and then saying his Our Father out loud and me just reveling in the way his voice is getting thicker like a boy who just ate a baby though, something my mind calls baby raspy depth of voice, and can wrap around Lead Us Not Into Temptation. But he was clearly worried and then he said, again, almost in tears, or asked rather: "if something happened to you, you would call me right? like you would wake me up?"

It occurs to me that again, you can't forget, they are intuitive sponge-like little souls, they pick up the nuances and the subtleties of the space of the time, of the unsaid. So much so much is communicated to children through channels that are children-only access channels. I remember that clearly from my childhood but never keep it in mind enough, which I gather is a Universal Parental Sin. I'm going to guess that he feels a bit of what I feel, of the stresses of changes, again. We have had so many scenarios vis a vis his father, so many oh what to say, frequencies of relationship, schedules of appearances, disrupted patterns. We've had many apartments, many New Life Starting Today episodes. And by many I don't mean 20, I mean many. I feel battle-weary and I am 31, how the fuck did I think he would feel? For all my efforts and they are profound and thorough efforts to maintain a stability For Two in the face of all kinds of odds, it is still his life that he is left to live and sometimes it finds the nerve, it finds the cruelty of heart to kick his little seven year old ass like it would an adult. And I have to be here and just say so to him: it is not fair nor warranted when it is this hard.

When it's like this we talk, we do baby therapy I guess. I said to him that we'd be talking more about these "feelings" and that you know if he listed all the things he's got to worry about in his own seven year old life, he'd see he has no space or time left to worry about grown up things like whether something's gonna happen to me, and if it does, will I call him. I said, I'm the caretaker here, I'm the one whose job it is to worry. I said, your job is just (to improve that handwriting and reading and)to be happy--find a way always to be happy; that's what God wants from all kids. He said he promised to do so. I reminded him of his (our) way to vacate the mind so he can sleep when he gets like this. He has to close his eyes and watch himself breathe in and out only, "and if your mind starts thinking, tell it to stop and just watch." But before I said he should remember what he told me today after the phonecalls to everybody, telling them about the love note. Do you remember what you told Mama today, after you hung up from telling Papa about the note? He said, "Yes, I told you, I love being me."

He won't ever understand how much I too have had to hang on his every word to fall asleep at night...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Drinking Alone

What do you make of drinking alone? I picture myself in a black and white classic film, face half shaded, wearing a fedora cocked to the side, part Bacall part Bogart part Le Samourai, smoke bellowing out, eyes glossy, asking the question. But in this scene the question would be better, like:
What is wrong with drinking alone?

I tell you what is: nothing. Nothing at all is wrong with drinking alone. Except if you are me—a person discinclined for solitary contemplation. It has taken me 31 years and all the instances of the Bad Drunk—some accounted for on this very blog—to finally figure it out. I figured it out this morning when I, waking up from an outing of drinking alone, had to do the following:
--attempt to “Unsend” a drunk e-mail to no avail because it had been read already.
--check, with baited breath, the financial damage my lonely drunkeness had caused my ridiculousky tight monthly budget (I am someone’s mother; I can’t actually run out of funds on booze…)
--ask myself the question: why on Earth did you do that on a Monday night?

All things considered, it wasn’t such a bad aftermath, when damage was assessed: the money damage wasn’t so bad all things considered (I paid no rounds, I did not have 5 drinks, I did not order myself an expensive meal, I only was there 3 hours) and the drunk e-mail, for one, was an e-mail and not a drunk dial and content-wise, though it wasn’t my best moment, it wasn’t something that will prevent me from looking the person in the eye today. That said, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to look the person in the eye today… Which is good. So again, damage is sort of minimal. But to the substantive question: Why on Earth did you do that on a Monday night?

Oh, wow, I don’t know… Which is why I’m going to therapy. I’m all over the place, very restless, very persistently counterproductive: the scales steady and I feel balanced, and then I don’t. I resume going to the gym and feel wonderful for that, then I’m out drinking by myself. I find the loneliness peaceful, profoundly so, then I’m lonely in very profound way. Lonely even in a pathetic way, as in you know, the drinking alone way. This is not news but there’s a way that a swinging mood is more exhausting than a steadily gloomy one. Very much so. I seem to have developed a real swinging mood quality about myself of late. I know some obvious part of that is my impatience with the process of feeling something. I don’t quite know what that means and how one lets go and does that. I just know how to write everything and say everything and tell myself that having felt everything and thought everything through I am now done with everything and on to another thing. See, it’s tiring just saying it, but this I think, is how I know to live. And that requires a captive audience, no? That includes myself, a most discriminating, critical, audience member.

I think that’s to the point of why we’re social beings and without our linkages we don’t do well—well in certain specific cultural contexts, I mean, like ours. I think this is to the point of why solitary life is for monks and buddhists and people who really cultivate their inner knowledge and really dig in there and get to know themselves. The rest of us—well let me stop pontificating and just speak of myself. Myself I think I don’t do very welll left to my own devices to deal with a process of feeling something of magnitude. For all my talking, there’s a whole lot that’s just talking myself out of the ability to do the emotional equivalent of *not* going drinking alone. Which today all sounds very creepy to me, like maybe I am needy; I don’t think I am, I never thought I was, I would hate to find that I am. But maybe I am, even if momentarily, needy. And that would be bad timing on my part because I have needs that are on a long term suspended schedule. I will spare myself the listing of all the things I need and have needed and am not getting anytime soon… Point may be though, that maybe needy people should never drink alone. It’s a false pretense.