Saturday, September 09, 2006

Oysters Under the Stars

I spent today working on a piece about my mother. How she had refused to see her grandchildren today because it made her too sad. How she decided seeing Jeanine, who would be bringing them over, reminded her too much of me and it was impossible.

She would not see her grandchildren to drive her point home. I was going to write about how she had now stepped over the line- do not involve my children. Do not hurt them or you will never see them again. Your argument is with me. They are only guilty of loving you.

I could write a lot about that. I have written a lot about that.

Tonight, though, something touched me so much, I knew I couldn’t post a rant about passive aggressive manipulation. Tomorrow, perhaps.

Walter, Allan and I had dinner tonight. Oysters under the stars. Island Creeks, Salutations- oysters from Prince Edward Island, Massachusetts, California, over fifty, all washed down with a crisp, white wine. I started the night by complaining about my mother but was slowly steered to more productive conversations about goals for me, post working at the investment firm. We all shared different things we’d like to do. See more plays, I said. I want to hear the cadence and listen to the craft. Karate and welding, Walter said. He needs something physical. Allan sighed, with two more years of PhD work, he has little choice. But he and I have decided to learn how to do the Tango. I said, I’d lead. He said, in your dreams.

We all watched the cute waiter. Decided the couple in the corner was two women together, two men together, but one of the men was best friends with one of the women- and talked about subtle cues we give off that tells our stories through body language.

The waiter slipped the credit card in his apron pocket in such a sultry way even I was interested. Body language, indeed.

At the end of the night, Walter described the last time they had Jake for a sleep over at their house. The boys go to their house sometimes as a pack, sometimes just two, sometimes only one for special time. Jeanine and I looked forward to the times we are left with one, having time to connect, focus all of our attention on a single child, if but for a night. And the kids feel they have two homes, two places to sleep, two places to be and on weekends, it is often their choice where to go.

They all love their alone time at Walter and Allan’s. Yes, they like being the only ones at home with their moms but they still have mom rules like napkins on their lap, no burping and they have to brush their teeth.

But then, Walter and Allan have the same rules, so it must be a guy thing.

Walter described how he woke up early and peeked at Jake sleeping. There is something powerful about watching a sleeping child. They are vulnerable, beautiful, and in the moment of watching their chests rise and fall with each breath, simple. The feeling of love was so strong, he said, it made him start to cry.

Later, at Dunkin Donuts (okay, that is a dad only thing), he told Jake how he had watched him sleeping and was filled with love. How great it was. How great Jake was.

Jake leaned over and with a giant grin, touched noses with Walter.

And as much as I want to be angry with my mother tonight, I can only think about the love my children have in their lives. It feels so good.

Two Dads. Two Moms. No divorce.

Pretty amazing.


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