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Showing posts from May, 2016

Thanks for All of It

It’s been some time now that I’ve associated the idea of midlife crisis with the end of the “I can be anything and do anything” opportunities and optimism of younger years when most everything in life is still at least a theoretical possibility. I now reflect that a contributing factor to whatever sort of midlife ennui is experienced may also be associated with the unnerving awareness that the morning when I wake up and sense I am fully equipped to handle whatever this day brings may not come. Only a decade ago, I was aspirational that I could follow a plan and get things in order based on an underlying paradigm that there was a certain age at which, if one tried hard enough, one arrived at the place of knowing how life worked. Even five years ago, I still believed that I could learn enough, improve enough, practice enough to really get the hang of living life and at least master most of the basics – leaving myself open, of course, for new adventures. The idea that I would someday a…

We Need More Words for Mother

It’s one of those grade school lessons – the Eskimos have 50 words for snow because it’s a central part of their landscape and because it comes in so many variations and forms. We continental folk see snow, and hail and sleet, but those are different. Really, if it’s white and it floats from the sky when it’s cold, we call it snow. We need more words for mother. The biological parties to the family of origin are a male and female, father and mother. Relationally, that is the most familiar form. But we know by now that many, many children experience other forms of parenting – either in addition to or in place of the biological dad and mom. Our vocabulary remains severely limited in describing and capturing the many varieties of parenting. We add a prefix to the words mother and father but the initial connotation is not that of a close and loving relationship, it’s more scary person than safe parent. Somehow we understand the language labeling children and grandparents, aunts and uncl…

That Kind of Hell

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“I wouldn’t wish that hell on anybody,” confides the woman seated to my left at Tony Starlight’s Christmas show. We are strangers at a charity event and she is winding up the story about her daughter being a stepmother, not knowing that I am a stepmom. What kind of hell is it that she wouldn’t wish? The hell of knowing that if my husband ever decides he doesn’t want me, these children are lost to me, too. It’s the hell of having my sister, absorbed in her divorce proceedings, tell me that she knows her soon to be ex-husband will probably have a girlfriend or wife again, but she can’t stand the thought of another woman pretending to mother her child. It’s the hell of knowing that the only reason I’m present in this role, in the lives of my children, is because of a broken union. The hell of going to pick up our oldest boy from high school for a doctor appointment and being refused at the main office because I’m not an “authorized person.” Maybe the stereotypical snippy lady working the co…