Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Being a Woman

My paternal grandmother passed away almost three weeks ago. She was an interesting woman, held down by a deep and abiding love for the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and the Republican Party. It should come as no surprise that she and I were quite different in most aspects of our life, barring that we both only like half and half in our coffee and could eat raw cocoa beans and not think them dark enough. Oh, and the beer drinking. And wine drinking. Ok, that's it.

In 2001 she asked me how you find people you haven't seen in a long time. She was a nursing student at a hospital in Tulsa and met a dashing young Dr. named Wilmont Burgess Boone. In her story, she knew she loved him before she even saw him because of the books he had in his office. They met, and fell in love and carried on a five year love affair. Problem number one, he was married with three children and told my Ma that he would never leave his wife. She continued on in this relationship hoping that one day he would realize she was the one. But he didn't. She met my Pa and Boone (as she called him) told her to marry him because he would take care of her and give her all the things she deserved. My Ma followed his advise and married my grandfather. My grandfather knew about her past and that she did not in fact love him, but he was so smitten with her that he didn't care.

At this point, there are a lot of gaps. She shared once that after she was married, she saw Boone, and got pregnant with his child. Problematic because this child was conceived when my Pa was in the Korean War. She said she had a miscarriage and never had to deal with the issue with my Pa. After she had my uncle and father, she ran into Boone at a park in Tulsa one day. He was on a his second wife. She tore up all of the pictures she had been saving of him except for one, which she asked her friend Steve to hold onto for her.

I took his name and when I got back to Atlanta I googled him to find out where he was. With the click of my mouse I had his phone number, address and a slew of articles that I sent to my Ma. I called her that night with the phone number. I told her that I hoped this could bring some resolution to her and that if she felt like sharing I would like to know what happened. Two weeks later she called me in tears. She had just hung up the phone from calling the number and his family was returning from his funeral. He had died two days before.

Ma called her friend Steve and asked for his picture. For 50+ years Steve had kept it in a folded up piece of pink tissue paper in her lingerie drawer, knowing that in time, Ma would want it back. My Ma took down the photos of my grandfather and only had Boone's picture up, she took of her wedding ring and wore a mourning ring she had purchased in London years ago, and became a different person.

The one time in my life that my Ma and I had a connection was when I was separated from Marvin. She was the single family member who encouraged my act of defiance in my marriage and told me the best thing I could do was to go off and figure out what I wanted, that a life unexamined was not worth living. She was right. In my story I ended up where I needed to be, with my husband.

When we traveled to Dallas this past weekend to hold a makeshift Memorial Service/apartment clean out, my stepmother kept telling me she needed to spend some time alone with me talking about a few things. I had asked to keep a picture of Boone for my grandmother. For some reason I felt that it was something that I needed to keep for her. My Ma had told Gloria about Boone on her death bed and I could only assume that once I asked for the picture she just needed someone to talk with it about.

She first handed me a letter I had written my Ma when Marvin and I were separated. She then handed me a beautiful diamond ring with a note attached to it. The note read as follows: Now that I have departed from this earth-this ring is all that is left of the love of my life-please send this to Bonnie Boone Taylor from Danny (my Ma's nickname in nursing school). She is his daughter.

Gloria said that she had called Bonnie and that she was not happy about the call. She was Boone's oldest daughter and without mincing words told Gloria she was not interested in having any connection to the woman who drove apart her parent's marriage. She further stated that my grandmother had written her once a week for the past three years begging for information about Boone. Bonnie told her she did not want to communicate with her and for the past year had been returning all letters to my Ma unopened. When I had asked Gloria for the picture my dad said just to give me the ring since he was just going to throw it away.

I suddenly didn't know who my Ma was. This woman who denied love to her own children, didn't show affection to anyone had done this? Had become obsessed over a man who wasn't even living anymore. Was this what life becomes for women? Is this all we can ever hope for is trying to find some piece of passion that we once had when we realize our life we lived isn't the life we wanted at all? I tucked the ring in my wallet because I didn't know what to do. It suddenly felt to personal and awkward to be sitting with my stepmother having this conversation in IHOP. I wanted to protect Ma, I wanted to protect what she had denied herself.

Yesterday I decided to wear the ring as a symbol of living without regret. My grandmother regretted everyday of her life and lived it for everyone but herself. We can't live our lives only thinking of ourselves but I do think that as women we tend to not worry about ourselves in light of other obligations. We stay in jobs where we aren't happy, we grumble as we clean the house and feel obligated to live to certain standards. What would happen if we stopped doing that? What would happen if we changed our perspective on our lives and realized we have a choice?

I made a choice over three years ago to come back home to my husband and I haven't looked back once. It has been hard at times because we have both wanted different things but I don't regret sticking up for my needs and wants or sometimes putting up with his. I needed our time apart to live without regret and this ring in some odd way affirms that desire, to still hold onto me, while being pulled by so many other people.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Why Not?

We are in a 24 hour holding period on finding out if our house will remain under contract or not. The 22 year old entitled fucks that are considering it are thinking that the "As Is" sale of our house means they can ask for repairs to be done (ha!) that will increase THEIR resale (ha! ha!). It is weird but I am totally ok with it. Where we are isn't the worst place in the world by any stretch, it just would have been nice to experience something else. Of course, I think that gets into my deep issues of needing excitement and something different when life gets to much of the same dance over and over. Therapy session later, promise.

So, this weekend will be spent either unpacking and deciding how we make this house work or packing and deciding how we class up living OTP. Justin Timberlake just shuffled into my speakers so excuse me while I bring sexy back.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can I Get Off Now?

The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity ranging from offers and counteroffers on our house to Lily having another seizure, to trying to get work done and not worrying about what any blood work might reveal. As someone who is slow to process things I am sort of hanging on to the next few weeks, hoping against hope that I don't lose it too much. The good news is that she is feeling better, sort of. Seeing her hurt or lose consciousness is not something I enjoy. At all. In fact, I had nightmare after nightmare last night about her having another seizure and basically, at 2AM, just sat up for the rest of the night watching her breathe, taking her temperature and holding her. I feel like the walking dead right now, despite the 6 cups of coffee I had with the dude before I came into the office. I just feel empty and lost. And none of it feels good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mexico Has A Fox?

Scene: After a horrible day at work, I am curled up in the chair next to husband watching a special on The History Channel about craters.

Me: Huh, why are there fossils all over the world if all the dinosaurs were in Mexico?

Him: (Giving me the what the fuck are you talking about look)

Me: If they were all in Mexico then did their bones just float all over the world to make fossils?

Him: Are you serious?

Me: Do I look like I am kidding.

Him: The sad thing is, no.

Just to let you all know what I learned last night:

1. Mexico wasn't "Mexico" 65 billion years ago.
2. Dinosaurs were everywhere on the earth but when this meteor hit land (land that is NOW Mexico) it disrupted the environment so much that the dinosaurs and other living things didn't have a chance to adapt to the cold change and died. Basically global warming in reverse.
3. I have a smart husband who actually paid attention in what ever class you take to learn about this stuff. If you know what this class is, let me know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

sweet surrender

Spring has always made me restless. I can’t seem to stay under the covers at night and daylight hours find me wanting to jump out of my office window to enjoy the drenching rays of the sun. I spend too much time online looking for a good baseball game to go to and dream of having just one night away with my husband. Sometimes I don’t even think about my husband. I think about being someplace exotic with someone who doesn’t know my annoying habits or where all my stretch marks are. Maybe I will flirt with someone today but probably not. Those thoughts quickly go away as I realize that, in fact, I have a mom stomach and boobs and that is ok. Comfort is what I need right now.

It is around this time of year that I can taste the seasons changing. It isn’t because I am covered with green pollen, a characteristic of spring where I live; it is because something inside of me is moving. After months of darkness, feeling helpless and tired and unworthy, the sun starts to shine a bit more. The open windows bring in the soft breeze that transforms. I think back to the woman of February who was distraught about her job, aching for more time to spend with her child, crying on her husbands shoulder every night in bed because she felt weak and stupid for not being able to do it all. I looked up the number for a psychiatric clinic in February because I didn’t think I could do it. And the truth is, I can’t. I can’t expect myself to do it all. Some is good enough right now-some is what gets me through the day. Watching my daughter dig her little piglet toes into the dark warm soil in our backyard reminds me I am doing ok. Taking a walk with the dog as the sun sets and the coolness of evening sets in, reminds me I am doing ok. Sitting outside around the fire pit enjoying a glass of wine with my husband reminds me I am doing ok. Spring has shaken me up the right way this year.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Date Stamped

The Christmas of 1985 I was in the third grade and my parents had been divorced for three years. My father had called on Christmas Eve to say he would bring my presents by on Christmas Day. After opening my presents from Santa I went and put on my favorite dress and sat in front of the door, only getting up to go to the bathroom. I heard everyone else playing with new toys; I only wanted to wait for him. As evening got closer my mother, who had painfully let me sit waiting for him, tried to distract me from my watch. I refused to move. While everyone was sitting down for dinner I saw my father’s car turn the corner. He circled the cul de sac and pulled in front of the house. He took presents out of his car, walked up to the door and sat them down. Without saying a word he turned back towards his car, got in and drove away. I still remember feeling the coolness of the glass on my forehead mixing with the warmth of my tears. He went into rehab three weeks later and married his therapist.

Freshman year of college he sat next to me in Intro to Philosophy. We went for coffee one night and didn’t stop seeing each other for months. In January he started doing heroin again but I didn’t know. In March I tried to leave him but he said he would kill me. In May, he threw a chair at me from across the room, the wood splintering against the wall. I wasn’t me at 19 anymore; I was me at 3, seeing my father do the same thing to my mother. My shoes were on and I was out the door, sprinting faster than I had in my life. I hid behind cars and buildings as I heard him yelling after me. I ran to a place where I knew a light would be on. The door was locked. I don’t run anymore.

My meeting had run over and I was the last person to get to the bar. Trivia had become a mindless pleasure that first year of grad school. The only chair left was next to a guy I had met a few times, but wouldn’t have known if I saw him walking down the street. I ordered my beer, an excellent choice he said. I asked what he did; he asked me if I knew who Atticus Finch was. I told him I worked at a church; he asked if I was in charge of the nursery. We sipped our beer. Someone asked me something and I leaned over him to hear them better. His hand was on the small of my back, steadying me. I was home. The game broke up and everyone started to their cars. He walked me to mine and I drove him over to his. As he closed the door, he stuck his head in the rolled down window. With his charming smile he said, I guess I will see you around.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Smack on the Ass

A-Available or single? Married
B-Best Friend? Kristi
C- Cake or Pie? Chocolate Cream Pie with Meringue-made by my mother
D-Drink of choice? Diet Dr. Pepper, strong beer, strong coffee, red wine
E-Essential item I use every day: Tonic Lotion, bumble and bumble
F-Favorite color? Pink
G-Gummy Bears or Gummy worms? Neither
H-Hometown? Broken Arrow
I-Indulgence: a beer and a cigarette
J-January or February? January
K-Kids and names: Lily, duchess, Nick
L-Life is incomplete without? beef
M-Marriage date: September 7, 2002
N-Number of siblings: 0
O-Oranges or apples? both
P-Phobias or fears? Drowning and people touching my eyes
Q-Favorite quote? "if there is comfort in the story of the woman at the well it is the knowledge that Jesus says be bold and fear not the journey" ed miller
R-Reasons to smile: Hearing my daughter laugh
S-Season: Spring
T-Tag 3 or 4 people:
U-Unknown fact about me: I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Hot, huh?
V-Vegetable you don't like: brussel sprouts
W-Worst habit: smoking
Y-Your favorite food? meat
Z-Zodiac? Sagittarius