Thursday, September 25, 2014

World War III

While our congress is off having cocktails with major donors- it is election season, you know- Obama continues to beat the war drum. We are now going to fight ISIS's "Network of Death" anywhere and everywhere. And oh, by the way, there was this other thing called the Khorasan Group that we bombed the shit out of the other day, too.

Um, if  World War is defined by multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple places... doesn't that make this WWIII? And while our congress clearly thinks sipping martinis is essential business of the country, are they not shirking their constitutional duty to debate and vote on this?

No, no, let's all talk about the lazy salute with a cup of coffee in Obama's hand. I mean, WOW. Can you believe that he was so disrespectful? And why didn't Michelle curtsey? or something?

Let's take a peek at where we are now fighting, or planning to fight. We have sent troops to Africa to fight the Ebola virus. Mind you, perhaps a dollar short and a day late, as the infection rate at this point could easily be 1.5 million by January 2015. Okay, this is a good fight and we should have been there at the beginning. I know, hindsight is always 20-20.

We are giving Russia the "one more step and we are going to lose it" look in the Ukraine. Of course, Putin continues to inch forward a little bit more to see if we are serious. No one in any country has any appetite to take on Russia in a war. Except for Ukraine, and that's only because they have to. Let's face it, they didn't mobilize their entire army to go fight. Luckily, there is an uneasy peace right now and it appears Russian troops have started to withdraw. Although as I tell my students, if you are not there? You have no idea what's going on.

Which brings me to Syria, and Iraq. No boots on the ground - just in the air, and at sea but it's not ground! I'm sorry but that reminds me of my kids holding a finger an inch away from their brother's face saying, I'm not touching you! There is not one reporter or news agency of any kind there. All of our information is coming from the military. Great. Not at all unbiased. And this Khorasan group? Just a little concern they are plotting attacks on the US and Europe.


Now the politicians are telling us we are headed into a long, drawn out war in the middle east. Call me crazy, but when I look at the calendar? Seems we have been at war since September 11, 2001. That is a long, drawn out war. And hiring Blackwater to go in and do the dirty work doesn't mean we don't have boots on the ground.

What about Israel? We give billions of dollars in military aid to a conflict that my son Zachary says, both sides suck. Sure, we're not fighting there, but we are involved. Deeply.

Multiple continents, multiple battles. Seems to me that we have, in fact, entered WWIII. Add to the mix the effects of climate change- droughts, food shortages, extreme weather disasters- and I'm not exactly sure what this world will look like in ten years.

But please, Congress. Don't stop your campaigns of mud throwing and nasty to address this. Don't bother having a debate. We'll all just sit back and watch the nightly news showing the glory of our missiles leaving warships from 10 different angles.

We, the American people, are all good with it. Right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Emptying Nest

I was talking to a fellow parent of a child off to college yesterday. She asked me how it was going and I said, I miss Ben. I miss his sassy commentary, his whirlwind through the house. I keep looking in the refrigerator, expecting to find something with a single bite out of it.

He always took a single bite out of pretty much everything. Incredibly annoying but better than peeing on things to mark his territory.

She said, Yeah, well, you have back up children.

It's true, I have two more children. No empty nest here. This same person once referred to my other children as the "do overs." You know, you screw up on the first one and get a do over on the next two.

Sad, but true. There was once a time in history when the first born got all the privilege. Now, they get all the mistakes of brand new parents. Of course, you used to have a lot of children because they were economic benefits. They were additional free labor, minus the piece of bread you tossed them.

Not so much anymore. Costs me five bucks to have Jake mow the lawn. And they would throw the piece of bread right back at me, telling me they wanted it lightly toasted with butter, please.

The other two, while learning to spread their wings in the newly available space. It's been a delight to see them shift into new roles. Mostly a delight. They have both decided that drinking straight from whatever container in the refrigerator is their way of marking territory.

Of course, I've never taken a single bite and returned the item to the refrigerator, nor drank straight from the container. If I did, I would have to claim insanity from living with so much testosterone.

While there are fewer dishes to do, I miss the camaraderie of the three of them. I get tremendously sentimental, thinking of what it will be like when they are all out of the house. The way they interact will never be the same again. I want to put on Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You" and cry.

Then I hear that Ben texted his brothers on their first day of school. My heart melts. Turn up the volume, get the tissues. (Unless no one is looking, then just use the inside of your tee shirt.) Until I hear they both texted back the same thing- Fuck You! I realize, it's not changed all that much. They are a tight band of brothers. Nothing will change that core.

I appreciate those who have only one child means everything happens at once. There is no process of change. One day, the house is simply empty.  I'm lucky to have five more years before a truly empty nest is upon me. Of course, by then? Ben will have graduated and considering the economic realities for college graduates? The refrigerator will have plenty of one bite items in it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Courage to Change

Almost four years ago, I took a deep breath and found the courage to change. It was impossible not to do something. What I didn’t know at the time was how hard it would be. I’ve never been afraid of being alone. I rather like it. At times, I need it. But deep down to the bones alone? I wasn’t prepared for that.

It’s hard to think back to that time. I cried a lot. I missed my kids. I missed my sister. I missed my home, although my sister left me with everything I needed to start over again- a house, fully furnished, close to the kids. I even missed my mother. Suddenly, I was in her shoes- divorced with three kids. There were days when all I wanted to do was to crawl into bed and sleep. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt like such a failure.

Let’s get one thing clear- nothing about divorce is good for kids. Okay, if there is abuse, yes, but when it comes to two parents not able to be together anymore? Nope. Nothing. I knew that. Leaving felt like one of the most selfish things I had ever done.

It took a long time to realize it was self-preservation. That’s the tricky part as a parent. My kids have always come first. They still do. That didn’t mean I had to suffer. My life mattered.

What I didn’t know then, is that pain is not necessarily permanent. Not for me, not for my kids. Healing takes time. The loneliness I felt and still feel, is not forever. It comes and goes. I still feel the ache when my kids are not with me. I know it, see it for what it is- a moment.

Healing doesn’t mean there aren’t scars. When one loses a limb, they continue to feel it, phantom pain, for a long time, nerves without a pathway blindly triggering the brain. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, the stages of grief, swung wildly about because in divorce, fear is thrown in, not allowing for a smooth transition. Eventually, I learned to accept my children would have lives that went on without me. That I was alone as a parent and had to navigate the empty spaces on my own.

I no longer miss what was. I’ve pasted back together pieces, a mosaic of the old combined with the present. I do not regret my marriage or my life up to that day when I packed a bag. There was much beauty, times I will always cherish. I’m taking the shards of glass and torn pieces, along with the new, weaving them together, creating something beautiful.

It's not perfect, not without struggle and doubt, both riding shotgun, always present. This ride, with the windows rolled down, the sun strong on my face, is for me.

I found the courage to change because I realized I was worth saving.

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's been a long time. Much has changed.

The Suburban Lesbian Housewife now is divorced, teaching, and has moved to the city.

My oldest, as you all may remember, is Ben. He's off to college. He's six feet tall and very beautiful. I mention that first because I know he would want me to. He's grown into a young man. It wasn't easy. Growing up never is. I'm proud of the person he is.

Zachary, the middle, is by far the tallest. He absorbs school and likes to learn for the sake of learning. He has a deeply rooted belief in justice and calls me a communist in our dialogues about the world. Perhaps. I love the way he thinks and considers issues. Smart, beautiful young man. (He would want that mentioned last, if at all.)

First born, third child Jake is no longer chasing his brothers around trying to get their attention. I take that back- he's not trying to get positive attention anymore. He's a powerhouse athlete- nothing out there he can't play and play well. Beyond handsome, he will still mug shamelessly for the camera. He believes in being a good man, in a classic way. Kind and real to everyone he meets.

As for me? Divorced. I won't go into details. I wish I had some beautiful story to tell about how everything worked out and no hard feelings. I don't. What's more important to write about is the journey. What it's like to be divorced, now, at 51 years old. How it feels to have my kids half time after spending my life until that point as a stay at home mom. How it feels to suddenly have half my time free.

I'm still teaching. I love it. It's amazing to sit in a room over the course of 16 weeks with groups of musicians just beginning their path. What a gift.

And I moved to the city.

Yup. After 29 years in Newton, I'm moved to Boston. In that move, I finally let go of the rest of my sister's things. It was hard leaving her house, but it was time for me to have my own. I still miss her. I think of her every single day. I reconnected with her very best friend Patty over the summer. She gave me the one thing I needed the most- forgiveness. She knew my sister and was there at the end. I hadn't been able to forgive myself for not being all that my sister needed. Patty did. It was a gift.

Big shifts for me. I wanted to start writing this blog again because I believe I am not unique. I realize that while I have my children, and good friends? I am doing this alone. Not a self-pitying alone, rather a nod to the reality that people are dead. Relationships, over. I'm not 25 looking to start new, rather 50 plus and wanting to integrate the good and move beyond the losses.

How to have faith, for the lack of a better word, when everything going forward looks fraught.Wide open spaces can be scary to a girl who used to hide in the woods.

Big shifts in our world, too. When I was 25? I thought pigs would fly before gay people could marry. Now marriage equality is almost a ho-hum experience. Yet will we ever get to a place of equality for all?  Politics have become such a farce, people refusing to vote, which is a fast train to crazy government. Global warming has been successfully reframed as climate change- hopefully in time to make real impact.

New York City saw one great protest yesterday. The question is, will it continue?

Mostly? I need to write again. The blog was the best place for me to do it. I made myself write every day. So it begins again. I have been wary of anything that feels like a backward step, and yet understand that there was much that was good and beautiful in my previous life. I have barely written in the last few years. You know the old saying, if you don't have anything good to say... I didn't.

I realize everyone is over blogs. I realize no one reads them anymore. I'm doing this to write again, not to try and change the world. Okay, I always want to change the world. This time, though, is for me.

But I need a new name. Lesbian Divorcee? Single City Mom? Any suggestions?