Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Such Cuteness has to be Criminal

Hello there.

It's summer here in Miami. That means it rains like crazy, and it's hot and humid and my hair is always looking like crap.

But in-between all the rain, there are some days that are so beautiful and sunny, that all you can do is head to the beach and revel in the sand, ocean and sun.

Max and I, we do this a lot.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/30/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Need Some Parenting Advice

My child, who is currently 3.9 years old, has been doing some very unpleasant stuff lately, and to be honest, I'm not sure what to do. I can't tell how much of this is due to his age/stage of development, and how much of it is due to whatever confusion or sadness he has over having to split his time between two homes. And besides being unable to figure out the root of this problem, I also feel like I'm too close to it to properly assess (and resolve) it.

Some things - running out ahead of me, trying to do flips on the tile floor - are inappropriate because they're dangerous. Those, I chalk up to typical of the age and not yet having a proper gauge on safety.

But when I call his attention, and he just ignores me and keeps going - that's where I get stuck. I don't *mind* that he would run out as soon as he jumps out of the car. It's when I call out to him and try to get him to stop (as I run after him, hoping my voice reaches him before tragedy does), and he. just. ignores. me. And when I get to him and get down to meet him at eye level, and I launch into how dangerous what he just did was, what I find is a child who won't look me in the eye and will make it clear he doesn't want to hear it. So I keep it short, make it clear his behavior was unacceptable.

But from there, it's another issue: he doesn't want to hold my hand and has a complete melt-down over it. Or he doesn't want to stop whatever he was doing that was unsafe and has a complete meltdown over it. And then proceeds to keep doing it.

There are other times when he behaves willfully and is disobedient, and acts out in inappropriate ways, like hitting or (UGH) spitting, or saying, "You're a stupid mommy" (or whoever's trying to correct the behavior). And the thing is this: I neither curse (in his presence, and I put a lot of effort into that; plus he gets that *stupid* thing from one particular kid in school), nor hit, nor spit. None of those are ways I try to discipline him - so WTF?? Is he picking all this up from his schoolmates? Is it instinct?

These last few days, I feel like it's all become too much for me. I feel like I do all I can to be on top of these things; I praise what he does right, scold what he does that's inappropriate, punish if it's merited, and overall try to be consistent and fair (but firm, very firm). I probably react a bit too much at times, and given his proclivity to do things I consider dangerous, probably need to step back a bit and leave him alone, but... I don't know.

That's the problem: I don't know. I don't know how to properly assess his behavior, how to fix it, how to monitor myself so I don't make things worse. I don't want to hover, or overreact, or alienate him. And hanging over all this are the constant thoughts about the divorce and how this situation has affected or is affecting him. I now live with the fear that either the entire situation or the ways I handle his misbehavior are traumatizing him, and basically, I'm in so deep that I've lost my perspective.

(And then I think, had I stayed married, the dysfunction within the home would have affected him just as badly, if not worse. I know this. I find some comfort in knowing that I can now offer him a home that is much more peaceful and completely tension-free, and a mother who does not constantly feel besieged. But this is a very small comfort, and passes quickly.)

UGH.

UGH.

I feel so stuck.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/29/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 26, 2009

Please Let Things Continue on this Path

I just got my car back. A full month since it was towed to the body shop, and 33 days after the accident itself.

I have a full, dramatic story to share about this ordeal, but right now, I can only handle this: my car is back. She looks great, is running perfectly and is cleaner (inside and out) than she's ever been.

I started crying when I sat in my seat, feeling like an idiot. I didn't know I'd be so emotional about it. It's just been such an emotionally exhausting experience.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/26/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Improvement Squared

I've been feeling (ever since the great "are you effing kidding me??" episode of 2009) like someone me hechó un mal de ojo (put a hex on me): first that piece of crap to have to swallow, followed by the car accident; and from there, an untold number of incidents (smaller in scale but touching on every aspect of my life) - that have all made me feel frustrated and hopeless and pissy and done.

Getting sick earlier this week was, like, the nail in the coffin. Because all I needed was a couple of days to feel like death, with enough time on my hands to brood over all the things that had been happening over the last month.

And even though I knew it would all eventually pass, I was getting more and more frustrated at how nothing was passing fast or easily enough.

So yesterday, when I began to feel better, I was pleased. When Max and I shared a lovely, sweet, affectionate afternoon/evening, I was happy. After my very nice phone conversation, I was thrilled.

And this morning, a couple more pieces of good news (one totally unexpected but very welcome) have pretty much convinced me that life is (maybe, just maybe) settling back to normal.

No, that's not gonna jinx it.

It just means that maybe I can stop stressing about so many damn things, and feel like myself again.

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So in honor of my being in better spirits, here's a playlist of the songs I'm currently obsessed with.

Rapid Hope Loss, Dashboard Confessional
Trust, Eric James & the New Century
Sleeping to Dream, Jason Mraz
Can't Let Go, Landon Pigg
The Resolution, Jack's Mannequin
Dark Blue, Jack's Mannequin
Dinner Last Night, O.A.R
Today, Joshua Radin

Seriously, I'm massively in love with Joshua Radin and Jack's Mannequin. I can't believe I've just now discovered them both - where have they been all my life?

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I'll leave you with the most hilarious thing I've seen in ages. Seriously, click. (And note, there are many vegetarians in my life and I love them all and would never mean to be insensitive towards them. But really, this is so damn funny. Reminds me of one of my favorite t-shirts.)

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Posted by Tere @ 6/25/2009   | | | links to this post

Improvement

Feeling better and almost back to normal. Meds have definitely kicked in. I had a crazy day yesterday trying to get back in the groove of work, home and child.

I'm kinda bummed I didn't write last night like I wanted to (it's 12:40 a.m. right now, I can't seem to get to sleep). But I found myself once again on the phone, having a very, very nice conversation (insert coy smile here).

Posted by Tere @ 6/25/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Sick Tere is a Generally Unhappy Tere; and the Rant that Wasn't

O.k., so I'm really sick. I've had a fever, on and off, since late Sunday. My throat today is worse, and whatever I have has spread to my ears. It hurt to talk yesterday; today, I can barely get 10 words out without wanting to shrivel up from the excruciating pain in my throat.

I'm threw the towel in and went to my doctor late this afternoon. And yes, I definitely have an ear/throat infection, and right now I'm bummed that I took the first two pills from the Z-pack he gave me, and I'm not feeling any better. I'm in too much pain to wait a few days before it goes away. I want instant healing!

But in spending a couple of days out of commission and feeling generally crappy, it's been impossible not to stop my mind from brooding and analyzing. I'm not very happy about that, but considering that I've spent a lot of time in bed, by turns passing out and others trying to pass out, it's pretty much been inevitable. And right now, feeling so sick and so stressed about a zillion things, I feel cranky and done and irritated beyond all reason.

I was going to launch into this horrific rant about one particular thing that's been bugging me, because as recently as this past Friday I've still been dealing with it, but I've thought the better of it. What I wrote was too specific, too revealing of personal things, too fierce in my frustration. And ultimately, there's just no point to it. That's the key: there's no point.

UGH.

I need to get better from this infection. I need to survive the next six or so weeks at work. I need a break. Seriously, I really do.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/23/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mami Wishes She Could Be a Mermaid

I am apparently not living up to my child's standards of magicalness. As I settled him into his car seat this afternoon, he asked me, "Mami, when are you going to turn into a teacher, or mermaid, or something?" When I explained that I couldn't turn into any of those things, that I was just regular mami, the boy looked thoroughly unimpressed.

Guess you can't win 'em all.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/22/2009   | | | links to this post

Sick Day

Whenever I feel sick (like, really sick), I usually just soldier through and head to work anyway. As a kid, we were only allowed to miss school if we felt so sick that the vomit was pouring out of us, or our fever so high that we had to go to the doctor anyway. There was no such thing as, "my throat hurts and I feel run down, so let me miss school." My mother would never allow it.

So as an adult, that's pretty much stuck. Unless I am physically unable to move, life goes on when I'm sick, and I have to drag my way through as best as I can.

When I was recently sick, sicker than I'd been in a couple of years (literally unable to move), I still worked. From home, but still. Things needed my immediate attention, and I couldn't well ignore them.

Today, though, I'm taking a sick day. I feel so awful that I can barely keep my eyes open. My throat feels as if it's on fire, and it's so bad I can't even swallow. I spent yesterday feeling awful, and today hasn't gotten off to any better a start. It actually feels worse.

I decided to just take the day off when I was on the phone five minutes ago with the body shop that (still) has my car, and they told me it'd be another few days - and I promptly started to cry, the frustration of some aspects of my life this last month finally feeling too overwhelming for me.

So today - today I'm crawling back to bed and taking care of myself.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/22/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The One Where I'm Done with People

I've had one of those weeks where, from an emotional aspect, I've been running a short fuse.

A number of situations, involving a number of people, have all just become unbearable in one fell swoop. I've reached that limit where I'm beyond irritated at everyone and everything. The result is that I've felt moody, introspective and anti-social for days now, and I'm done with this funk, yet am seemingly unable to shake myself out of it.

Seriously, sometimes I just hate people. I hate the way they are so selfish and thoughtless, and so cowardly. I'm not saying I'm above these things, but I sure as hell know that this is not the place I primarily act out of. And I suppose, because I am always trying so hard to be the exact opposite of these things, that I am extra-impatient and lacking in empathy for people who are basically like this all the time. And given the shit I've had to take the last couple of weeks (or really, we could go back a month to the crap that happened just before my car accident), I am just done. Done. Done done done done.

But unfortunately, I will have to continue dealing with them, and in a couple cases, will have to confront some things head on. Which is a whole other mess unto itself.

Argh. For once, I just want to close my eyes and make it all go away.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/20/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back Home

It's nice to be home safe and sound, nice to have survived yet another flight.

I'm still unable to not get in a total panic just before a flight, but I'm trying to stop the anxiety from building hours before I even get to the airport (only moderately successful with that for now).

At the same time, I'm taking some concrete steps towards getting a good handle on this fear, or at least, towards not letting it prevent me from doing the things I want to do.

So, yeah. I woke up feeling quite sick - probably because I ate way too much candy over the last two days. But man, Swedish fish rock. I couldn't help myself.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/19/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Need Sleep

I barely slept last night. Went to bed around 1 a.m., was up just past 5, and have spent all day either stuck on a plane (including being grounded at the gate for an hour) or in meetings.

End result? I'm exhausted. My brain hurts. It's such a whirlwind. Tomorrow, I'll be stuck at the airport for six hours before my flight home. By the time I get home, it will be Friday.

Tere needs sleep. Badly.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/17/2009   | | | links to this post

Oh Noes....

Sorry, but I have to do it. I know it's old and tired by now, but I can't not do it.

I have a business trip and have to fly. I'm terrified.

I'm hoping to g-d that all goes well with both flights. Recent crashes have me extra anxious, but even without that, I'd feel as I do now.

Damn, it would really suck if something goes wrong. For many reasons, but especially, of course, because of Max. So, if anything happens, just make sure he knows how very much I loved him.

Wish me luck, people.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/17/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bad Mami Moment

I feel sooooo awful right now. This morning started out just fine but then ended up quite badly. Ay.

I'd been on Max since yesterday to clean up this enormous mess he made in the living room. I try to be chill about the constant mess, but when he takes a whole box of trains and train parts and just dumps it on the floor and takes off, I get testy.

So last night, I told him as he settled down for the night that in the morning he had to clean up the mess. He said he would and that was that.

Except that this morning, he was in one of those moods where he ignores everything I say and behaves "malcriado" - that is, throwing things, refusing to get dressed, etc.

What I should have done was let it go and focus on getting us out the door. I had very present in mind that this was the last I'd see of him until I get back from my trip at the end of the week, and I wanted us to leave each other on a high note.

But what I actually did was get all pissed off and start yelling. UGH. And then, I was trying to pick up his train-pieces box (now full of wooden track pieces and trains), but as I did so, I came at it fast, sweeping my arms, which made the whole thing slide from my grip and come crashing down all over the living room. I not only broke a part of the box, but I scared the life out of Max.

*Cry*

I moved quickly to try to fix everything, but come on. Damage done. I'd been mad, yelling, then unintentionally made a huge, scary, crashing mess. UGH!! And my thoughts, of course, were about how this was the last thing to happen between us before my flight, and how my bad behavior is traumatizing my child, and all that awful stuff.

We both calmed down and had a talk about what had happened, and there was a lot of soothing, reassuring and hugging on my part. But still. I was wrong. I handled things badly, caught up in how big of a hurry I was, with the underlying anxiety about flying bubbling just beneath the surface. That's no excuse; I'm the adult and have to always think before I act.

UGH. My baby. I was so shitty this morning. At this point, I just hope this won't go down as something that leaves a painful mark inside him or that will affect his ability to trust in me.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/16/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oops, What Post?

I was supposed to write tonight. Something about how terrified I am about flying on Wednesday. But I got caught on the phone, and now it's late and I'm sleepy.

Funny thing, being on the phone. I was on for about two hours. Two hours! When was the last time I was on the phone that long?? And talking about everything from this past weekend to Hume and Spinoza to required reading in high school to religion to plans for this weekend? I've gotten so used to face-to-face interaction or just email and chat that the phone is now a foreign object to me. What was funny was both of us at the end acknowledging this, how weird it felt to just talk on and on like that - on the phone.

It also got me thinking about how much of an aversion to the phone I've developed. Just yesterday my friend Jenny and I were commenting how much we each dislike having long conversations on the phone.

But yeah. Had a nice, two-hour phone call, and it totally got in the way of what I was going to write tonight. Sorry, guys.


(Meanwhile, I fly on Wednesday - and back on Thursday - and can already feel the anxiety rising up. Pray for me. Light candles. Do something, anything, to make it go smoothly and make me come home safely to my boy.)

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Posted by Tere @ 6/15/2009   | | | links to this post

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monday? UGH!

Today was a great, happy day, with Max and me spending time with awesome, awesome friends. Between two playdates, we got to hang with seven wonderful people. We are happy, relaxed and tired.

Which is why the thought of getting back to the grind tomorrow is particularly crappy right now. I have to take Max to his camp in the morning then hightail it to West Palm Beach for a long-ass meeting. Then find a way to cram in all the things I need to do before leaving town on a business trip; and then drag my butt back to Miami to pick the boy up at the end of the day.

I'm exhausted just writing about it. Blegh.

Oh, but just recently, after Max had had his dinner and bath and was about to go to bed, I decided we'd end the day on a sweet note, and I busted out some M&Ms (or "poinks", as he calls them) and surprised him by sitting down with him to eat some. Mami never does that kind of thing (treats late at night or eating them with him), so he was a bit taken aback. He got over it quickly, though, and scarfed them down.

I want to inject some fun moments like that into the daily grind. I just have to remind myself: I'm the mami, and I can. And I should.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/14/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oh Shiz, her Wretchedness is Deeper than I Remembered!

Oh wow. Reading an old email just now, I remembered something about "Eva" I had completely forgotten about:

Initially there was what she did to her then-best friend. Then I recently shared how now she's all chummy with my ex-husband.

What I'd forgotten was that some time last year, another close friend of hers shared her own story with me. A couple of years ago, "Eva" went after the guy this friend was dating at that time. It was textbook as far as her pattern: she flirted with the guy and immediately *realized* he was her "soul mate", told the friend he was a jerk, started sleeping with him, accused friend of judging her when it all came out (after the friend and guy had broken up), but also insisted that the friend should not care or be bothered since the guy was an ex. Wow. It was more or less (with some differing details) the same with her other friend, too. (And given that she cheats on her boyfriends, the fact that she currently has one is negligible.)

So what this all means to me is that it's only a matter of time before she and my ex do indeed hook up, whether for 10 minutes or 10 years, so... whatever. I won't be caught off guard or surprised when it happens, which is something I truly hate (being caught off guard, that is). Of course, I'm an ex-friend, so it's not exactly the same, but I'm also someone who hurt her with my *anger* and *judgment*. And there are clearly some major issues at play here that would make this hook-up a foregone conclusion.

Well. What a shitty pill to swallow. But like I said, it's the getting blindsided that seems to affect me most, so now that I'm ready, well. It will be as it will be. And I'll deal with it.

(Oh, and she's also responsible for this. And in reading it just now, I realized there's no need to keep calling her by a pseudonym, since I used her real name there. I had originally wanted to be all respectful and considerate by using a fake name, but - all things considered - I don't think it'd be particularly mean of me to not do that anymore.)

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Posted by Tere @ 6/13/2009   | | | links to this post

Bikini It Is! (Updated)

Got myself a sweet, sweet, pretty green two-piece bathing suit at Target. Loved the color, pattern and style, and since I didn't scream in horror when I tried it on, I knew we had a winner.

Sweet.

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Amanda had a great idea: here's the top; and here's the bottom.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/13/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tere in a Bikini

Well hot damn, this is going to be a good summer! I decided to buy a new swimsuit this year, possibly a (gasp!) two-piece, and so I've been trying different suits in different styles and colors whenever I go shopping. I haven't found anything that screams "buy me please!!" yet.

However, today I was trying on these swimsuits that seemed pretty, uh, revealing, but nonetheless unique and cute, and I realized something: I'm smoking hot! Holy hell, those swimsuits looked good on me! I mean, really good. Like, I-don't-remember-when-I-last-if-ever-looked-this-hot good.

It was amazing. I couldn't believe it. Basically, I just have to find the one in the right fit, right style and right color that all comes together nicely, and I'll be golden. Wow.

So either I actually look good in swimwear now, or I'm finally in a good place where I can see myself as I really am. Either way, I win.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/12/2009   | | | links to this post

This Friday Might Suck

It looks like I'm going to have to do something tonight that I really don't want to do, so I'm sitting here, already stressed and annoyed. Hate it when that happens.

This has the potential to be a drama-filled meeting over things that aren't really that dramatic - which is why I'm wasting all this time trying to get my game face on. Blegh.

So, be good people and send me some good vibes. I have a long weekend ahead of me before having to travel for work next week, so believe me, I need them! (And yes, that means I'm flying. I know. My stomach's all knotted up over it already).

Oh, and yeah, there's another thing brewing that can either be extremely fantastic or horribly heart-breaking. I guess it all depends on what happens over the next week, as that will determine the way I handle this. So, for that, too (since it's, like, the biggest thing on my mind right now), I need good vibes.

Good vibes, people. I need as many as you can spare.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/12/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gift Certificate Trauma

I'm going crazy here. I've got a substantial gift certificate for Amazon.com, and I've spent the last few weeks trying to figure out what the hell to get.

You'd think it'd be easy, wouldn't you? That I could add three pairs of shoes to my cart and be done with it? Or load up on books and music? But no, it's not easy at all. I'm overwhelmed with the amount of choices. I want to pick just the right things. And also, I want to stop adding stuff for my son. This is my gift certificate, for my birthday. But I keep adding shoes, books, CDs for him. Which, no. Not this time!

I have an ongoing list of things I'd eventually like to get (like a set of utensils for the grill, new black open-toe shoes for work), but even that list is failing me now, as nothing that I see on the site grabs me.

What's wrong with me? How am I failing at shopping?

Man, my stars and planets lately are all completely misaligned.



Other things on my mind:

* I'm falling in love with Eric James and the New Century. Seriously. Wow. (Trust is knocking my socks off.)
* This post is totally coming back to haunt me. Damn.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/11/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Change in Plans

I'm going to take a break from long posts for a bit. Not sure for how long, but probably until I feel I've got something interesting to say and am able to say it as coherently and intelligently as possible.

My brain's been hurting a bit too much lately. I'm kinda at the point where it's getting harder and harder to write because I'm not allowing myself to properly process things before writing about them. The end result of this is that I'm not satisfied with what I'm writing, because it's not coming out right. It just means to me that I have to step back a bit.

Also, a lot of what's going on in my life, aside from the regular, everyday things, is internal. I've moved past dealing with my marriage's ending, and I've slipped into a very introspective place where I'm trying to release the lingering damage, get back to some parts of my old self, and basically figure what I want for myself. The world stretches wide before me, but I'm not quite sure what to do with it. I need surer footing. It's enough for me that I am dealing with these things day in and day out, and I don't think that writing about it will help me right now.

One of the things that I think will help me is to change things up a bit in here, and let this be a space for my funner, more random side. Maybe if I can have this space to lay off the intensity and kick back a bit, it'll help clear the fog in my head.

I've been thinking about the more practical aspect of this change for some time. I keep going back (I actually touched on all this here) to my old blog, and how much more dynamic it was. I gave some thought to Twitter, as well, since how I've previously used that site matched a lot of what I'd like to do here. My problem with Twitter, though, is that while it's a great vehicle to spew random, unrelated thoughts out, there is no permanence to it. Worse, most times, everyone's just writing into the nothingness. I can't count how many times I've been on my Twitter page (in essence, it feels like a chatroom), and either there's no one around, or a few people are writing, and no one responds or picks up a conversation. In using Twitter these last few days as I've sorted all these thoughts out, it's mainly made me feel isolated and bored (with the exception of briefly chatting with old friends).

So my thought is to take what I liked about my old blog and Twitter - the ability to write and publish and have it be as frequent and fun and serious and brief and random - and meld it to the two things Twitter lacks: permanence and connection. If I write four short posts in one day, they will simply stay on here until they drop away days later. If someone reads any one of them and wants to add their two cents, they can, whether I wrote it five minutes or five hours before.

Does any of that make sense?

I have no clear picture of exactly how this will all come together, and I certainly will write some of my longer, "typical" posts when the mood strikes me; I mainly just needed to give some insight to what I've had in mind before jumping into something new.

So... yeah. This is going to be interesting.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/10/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

With Me You Belong

When I was 26, I thought I'd found my home. That is, I thought I'd found that place I belonged to, and more importantly, the person with whom I belonged.

Back then, I believed in fate so much it was nothing short of laughable. It seems that the greater part of my life has been spent on that fine line between predestination and complete free will. I have always believed in both, generally seeing some things in life as simply being fated, but with people always having the right and ability to choose if they would follow that fate or not.

There was no conflict back then. It was so easy to believe that some things were meant to be, and that the only choice was to follow my destiny.

And he, he was my destiny. It took many years and quite a confluence of events to get me to realize it. But after the random run-in that brought him back into my life, that is what I discovered. It was indeed a discovery for me, to feel this way about this person, because I never would have suspected it. But there it was. We belonged together. It seemed that the mere fact that we were destined for each other all but guaranteed that every challenge could be successfully handled, that the depth of that inexplicable thing that made things right between us was the thing that would keep us together, facing every day, every change, every adventure together.

Or maybe not.

He used to tell me he didn't believe in fate, that all that we did, all we had, was out of choice. That he was there with me was a choice he made, not one made for him and over which he had no control. That used to infuriate me. How could he not believe we were meant for one another? Did he not see the things I saw? The connection that existed on every level? The peaceful nature of our relationship? Did he not make sense with me the way that I made better sense with him in my life? That he did not believe was a crushing blow. If we didn't believe in this together, if it was just me that felt there was something larger at play, then it just could not be true. Maybe we weren't meant to be.

Given that I ended up reconciling with my ex-husband, you've probably figured out that I walked away from what I felt my fate was. It was not over this fate thing that the relationship ended, but it deeply affected me. It called into question a lot of things about my life, and, interestingly enough, a lot of the choices I'd made (or not made). Perhaps he was right - there was no fate, only choice.

That was when I stopped believing. That feeling I'd had, of having found my home and of being with whom I belonged - perhaps I'd imagined it, or fabricated it, or misunderstood its true nature. Fate and destiny, while applicable to others and in some situations, did not apply to me.

And in the years that followed, I stopped thinking about destiny and fate; I just stopped factoring that into my life, and in time, I got used to it. I didn't entirely stop believing in the notion of belonging - but I embraced the idea that people belonged wherever they chose to belong. I made my choices (reconciling with my ex-husband), and I fully committed to them. I did all I could to make myself belong there, with that person.

We know how that story ended.

For me, nothing's changed. There isn't much I believe in anymore. Or at least, not right now. At the same time, everything's changed. I am not 26 anymore. I feel like I've lived through a lifetime of hurt and bullshit and dysfunction and anger and am here, feeling good (good!) and hopeful, simply by sheer will (and yes, the grace of someone higher than me), and thanks to the love and support of my family and friends and awesome son. Oh, my son: there is Max, too, and what motherhood has done to me is the greatest change of all.

So when he - HE - sits in front of me now, changed, too, but in so many ways the same, what should I expect? Is it surprising that we would sort through the past to understand the present? Or that we would talk and laugh and be, and that some kind of connection would still be there? And is it surprising to find that yes, everything is different now, that our lives have taken, and will continue to take, divergent paths?

And should I laugh, or should I weep, because I once again want to know: exactly where do I belong?

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Posted by Tere @ 6/09/2009   | | | links to this post

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Things Not To Do If You're Me

So yesterday afternoon/evening ended up being quite surreal in these parts. There was a crazy rain/electrical/hail storm (or a series of storms, depending how you look at it), that lefts parts of town seriously flooded (especially South Beach). Max and I were stuck in the car, parked on my driveway, for a solid 45 minutes because it was raining too hard to get down. Even when we got down it was still pretty bad.

But with us stuck in the car and Max being (as usual) exhausted from a full day of activity, he fell asleep, and I was unable to wake him up. I spent the entire late afternoon stressed about this, thinking, if he fell asleep at 4:30, he'll definitely be up and wide awake at 8... his usual bedtime.

So, between the hellacious, spooky weather and the child falling asleep freakishly early (and being cranky when he periodically woke up), I felt all out of sorts. For a good while, when I still thought he might just be napping, I sat on my couch with him on my lap, his head against my chest (still awesome after all these years). The only thing near me was the TV remote, so I turned it on, and for whatever reason, I settled on that show, Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? on Style. I've seen snippets of the show before, but it's never really grabbed my attention.

Next thing you know, it's 10 p.m. and I'm still watching. Max had long been moved to bed; I'd had dinner, updated my iPod, edited some photos, picked up the mess in the living room... and still I kept that program on.

There was the elaborate, spectacular Indian wedding; the kooky 21-year-olds whose marriage probably won't last; the very touching story of the bride who'd lost her love in 911 and almost lost her fiance (a cop); the single mom whose fiance adored her and her son and had given her a $250K budget for the wedding (and a brand-new car). I gotta say, it was this last story that did me in. Not for the groom's generosity (because I could care less about actual weddings), but because of how in love with the bride's kid he was.

We'll get to the obvious reasons why that story had me in tears in a minute.

By the second hour of this show, I was swimming in a sea of thoughts about things I have no business thinking about. I started out easy: would I hire a wedding planner if I were to ever marry again?; what would my colors be? (OMG, I don't know! and this is why I need a wedding planner). I fantasized, not so much about my wedding, but about how emotional I would be about my happy story and having found such a wonderful man. All this, even as I was tripping out at the nonsense of it all. Beyond the whole "hello, look at the reality of your situation" part, there's the fact that I am so not into that "my dream wedding" thing. I mean, as a kid, I never planned it or fantasized about it. And even with my own actual wedding, I had fun planning, but never got into the nitty gritty of it all. So to sit there and find myself thinking about flowers and cake and centerpieces was bizarre and funny to me.

But with the episode about the single mom, everything changed. My thoughts left the safety of benign things like, chicken or fish?, and I went there. Oh yeah, there: those thoughts I hate contemplating because they're nothing more than my fears and insecurities rising to the surface. It's not that I think, oh, will anyone ever like me? It's more like, with my luck, I won't ever find a guy who falls madly in love with both Max and me. I've realized that even as I see other single parents all around me finding great people who accept, love and understand them and their children (what's more, are excited to share their lives with them!), I've got this thing in my head (un complejo, as my people say) that my being a single mom is always going to be an issue, the thing no guy will be able to accept about me. Why I'm hung up on this, I don't know. I mean, I've long felt that the circumstances under which I lived while married have significantly messed me up good affected me, so for now, I'm going to file it under "remnants of the damage."

And from there, let go. Yes. Let go.

I have to; I have a make-believe wedding of my dreams to plan. But not with that drama queen planner from Texas.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/06/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Max Miscellany

I'm regularly amazed at how my child's mind works. The things he comes up with, the questions he throws at me - 95% of it is bizarre and surreal and hilarious. If I could slip into that brain of his to see how it all comes together, I so would. I'd pay for the privilege. He's always either freaking me out with how clearly (and deeply!) he understands something, or making me crack up at the weird way he connects and expresses things.

Case in point: the way he connects Target to pretty much every part of his life. I mean, I can't tell him we have an errand to run without him asking, "Are we going to Target?" When he loses a toy or small item and you ask him where it is, he always replies, "at Target." Recently, I was explaining to him that he had to go to school, because that's what he does. Mommy goes to work, and he goes to school. And he countered with, "No, I go to work, too." When I asked where he worked, he replied, "Target."

That totally works for me as long as I get the employee discount, too.

Soon after that, we were reviewing (for the 10,000th time) his cousin's birth. While he did not witness the actual birth, he was with me that long night/morning at the hospital and saw my sister in labor. As he understood it, she had pain in her tummy, went to the hospital, and Baby Eva came out. So, we were discussing how a mommy knows her baby is coming because her tummy starts to hurt a lot. I thought I'd make it more personal by telling him that when HE was coming my tummy hurt a lot, too. He seemed puzzled at that and asked why, and I explained that he had been growing in my tummy, and when it began to hurt, I went to the hospital and he came out. I said, "just like Baby Eva grew in Magamoo's (my sister's nickname) tummy, you grew in my tummy. That's where you came from." He was thoroughly taken with this notion, that he might have come from my belly, and in the end decided that nonsense was not for him. Upon his insistence that he did not come from my tummy, I asked him where he came from, and he very confidently told me, "Target."

Perhaps it's time to cut our visits back a bit?

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In the car on the way to camp yesterday morning, Max asked me when I was going to be the teacher in his classroom. I explained to him that I couldn't be his class's teacher, because I didn't study to be a teacher. This, of course, led to a barrage of questions (what doesn't these days?): did I go to school? (yes); what did I study? (here, I knew the technically correct answer would mean nothing to him and would lead to a whole other slew of questions. So I chose the simplest, but also most meaningful, response: to be a writer); so what did I do for work? (I write); what do you write? (I write a lot of different things. It's so many things that it's hard to explain, but a lot of it is important and helps people). And here, people, is what all my effort to impress upon my son that his mother does important work, that she tries to help people, that it's cool that she's a writer for chrissake, all boils down to: "So did you write all the signs in the babies' classroom?"

I have a feeling my *cool* factor would have shot straight up if I'd told him I had.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/04/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Poetry Arrived in Search of Me

I have not written a poem worth anything since before I got pregnant. It hasn't been for lack of trying, because the need, desire and compulsion to sit and crank poems out is never ending for me. It's just that everything I've written over the last four years has sucked.

Considering the fact that when it comes to writing I've always considered myself a poet first, and everything else second, this has been a low-simmering crisis for me. I go through periods where the frustration at my inability to produce anything good rises to a level that can almost kill me. It is akin to having an identity crisis, because who am I if I cannot write poetry?

I don't know the root of this problem, though I have often thought that my becoming a mother, and my life subsequent to that, has played a very big role in all this. It is not because motherhood, combined with working full time, combined with trying to save a relationship that could not be saved left me without time. If anything, all those things should have provided plenty of inspiration.

But rather, I have often wondered if in having Max, the gaping hole I had inside me that only poetry could soothe has been filled, so that my poems - which have all always had a heavy dose of melancholy and pain - just don't flow out of me or come together like they used to. There is only one poem I've written these last few years, written a few months after Max was born, that works. And that poem is about this very topic, how it all ended with his birth.

It seems as if nothing about my life can be properly contained in a poem. Those written about Max or the experience of motherhood sound so trite and cliche that I can't even finish them. And writing about my relationship and its slow death, or even about the aftermath, has never been an option. It was just a place I could not go, for fear that in writing about it - especially the way I write when I'm in a poetic streak - would have made it all come crashing down that much sooner. And once it had ended, to write about it would have been to drag out something I just wanted to put behind me. No; for once, writing about something sad in my life would not have been good for me. The consequence of this choice, however, was that it changed me. I have lost touch with a vital part of me, and I really just want to get back to it.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of poetry, more than I have in many years. It's an activity that never fails to move, and inspire, me. And right now, I am really looking for that inspiration, really trying to get back to that place I used slip into, where I saw the world in a way that made the words come out of me in a way that.... just made sense, just made everything make sense. I want this back. I really do.

At night now, when Max has gone to sleep or I'm alone, I pull out my notebook, the one I began in 2003 that still contains many empty pages. I start with an older poem, trying to finish or rework it. If that goes well, or I feel warmed up, I flip to a blank page. Sometimes I stare at it, and nothing happens. But a few times lately, I bring my pen to the paper, and I write.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/02/2009   | | | links to this post