Sunday, May 17, 2015


Family Gatherings

Last night was Nate's 9th birthday party. At the rink where he plays hockey.

Since I adore that kid, I would't be anywhere else, of course, but sometimes I take a step back from my life and look at events from an outsider's perspective.

A pretty odd habit, to be sure, but how can you truly see the sweetness, the craziness, the moments of pure joy and incomprehensible longing if you don't take yourself out of the picture?

It is my photographer's eye, I think, that wants me to focus sharply, and to pay attention to all the elements in the frame.  So it is that I bring you Nathan's birthday party, as seen from the black and gold helium balloons that floated silently above the scene.

Nathan is joyous and loving and silly and all boy, head to toe. He is having a marvelous time, and is oblivious to anything but the fun around him. His smile lights up the room, and his laughter is everywhere. He is surrounded by buddies and the inside jokes and laughing insults and gross out humor is flowing freely.

He makes me smile.

And that's saying something because this is one of those situations that tests my fortitude and grace. In addition to my son Michael and his wife and older son Brendan, I am surrounded by my ex-husband, his wife, their son and his family, and Sharon's father, the 97 year old Herman who has recently been released from the hospital (again). I like Herman, and he's an interesting old dude, but it hurts to see him failing a little more each time I see him.

Aside from a few parents of the dozen kids in attendance, the other adults in the party room at the rink are my daughter-in-law's parents -- divorced now and still studiously avoiding one another even in small venues like this one. My other son and his family are not in attendance, so I'm pretty much left to entertain myself.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Thoughts on Mother's Day 2015

Happy Mother's day....

I am not ready to be the Matriarch

This has become such a complex day for me in recent years...with Aunt Pat's death, my brothers and I became the oldest living members of my family-- Our parents and grandparents are all gone, their siblings are all gone, our spouses parents are all gone.....we became the grownups. And with Peg and Maryellen gone, I'm the only female of my generation left. (Not to discount Gail and Dianne) but it's weird to think of myself as the oldest anything.  But I have four grandchildren ranging from 14 years to 4 months, two spectacular sons, two nieces, two nephews, and two grand nephews and 2 grand nieces.  We are not a large family, but we are complex family. Despite pretty traditional values, our family tree would give graphic designers fits. 

My Mom

I spent 45 years of my life trying to earn her respect and approval. I never got it. As an adult, I learned enough about her to forgive her for resenting me and shutting me out. She wasn't evil, she was damaged. She probably was doing the best she could, and she probably couldn't even see the effect her emotional disengagement had on me.

But Mother's day brings it all up again. I simply don't have the kind of sweet stories others have been posting all week. No fixing my hair for the big dance, no teaching me to cook, no tender moment shopping for my prom dress or wedding gown. She just wasn'
t that sort of person with me. No matter how much I yearned for her to be. No matter that she was with my sister.  So I read all these sweet tributes to Moms here and ocer the rainbow, and I force myself not to make jokes to ease the ache in my heart or pretend that I know what that kind of thing feels like. 

My sons get tired of hearing me say it, but what my mother taught me about grandparenting and parenting is that I want more than going through the motions and writing checks. I want to know what books and music they love, who their friends are, what maked them laugh (and why) what scares them, and what their dreams are.

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