Date Archives July 2010

The Great Divide

It’s my last night in the house. The kids are in bed. It’s really, really quiet.

I’m sitting at the high kitchen table, where I always seem to end up working even though I have a desk in the dining room. There are a lot of boxes around but there’s still some packing to do — mostly random piles of clutter that will take some tedious going-through. I’m think I’m just going to swipe them into a couple of boxes and sort them out on the other end. Because the time for sorting and organizing is over.

Now is the time to mark the moment. An end. A beginning. A transition that is occurring right now as I write this.

The kids spent the day with my sister (THANK YOU, TREAS!) while my mom helped me pack (THANK YOU, MOM!). I picked the munchkins up and as we were all getting out of the car and I was digging out my keys, it struck me that this was the last time I was going to unlock the front door as a resident of this house. And it didn’t bring me to tears, although plenty of other things have. I felt resignation. “Yeah. There was going to be a last time. It’s now.” Megan whined that she was hungry and Benjamin chattered as I carried him and they had no idea that something significant was occurring.

My normal impulse is to turn things over and really try to get at the meat of what’s going on. But over the past few months I’ve had to learn to power down a bit just so I could do what needed to be done: details, logistics, tasks. They can be a nice distraction.

In my power-down mode, I don’t have a lot of insight into tonight. I don’t really have a lot to say. I just want to note The Moment. I want to nod my head and say, “I don’t quite understand you, Moment, but I know that you are important.” We don’t always know when the Big Moments are happening, so I might as well acknowledge one when I know it’s here.

If I want to address anyone, I guess that would be my house. I want to tell it that while I’m leaving it, I still have warm feelings for it in my heart. I’m comforted that my children will be able to come back here to a familiar place when they are away from me. I want to thank the house for being good to me. I want to part as friends.

I wonder if growing up in a military family is paying off right now? Moving must’ve gotten into my DNA along the line somewhere because it all feels pretty normal to pack up and start over.

Start over. Not totally but some. I realized today that as long as my kidsters are with me, I really have nothing to complain about. (But don’t hold me to that. Sometimes I find complaining to be entertaining. No, really.)

That’s all for now, blogmuffins. Signing off from this location. Next time I write to you all, I imagine that I’ll be at my desk, which will be tucked into the corner near the stairs, one of my favorite pictures hanging where I can see it. There will be spaghetti sauce on the stove (a house isn’t a home until you’ve made spaghetti sauce there) and the kids will be wrestling their way across the couch, laughing and ignoring SpongeBob on the TV as they burn off their evening crazies. I’ll be trying to squeeze in a little writing before dinner while they’re not paying attention. I won’t finish until after they’re in bed and the house is quiet. Really quiet like it is now.

And instead of boxes to fill there will be boxes to empty.

Nighty night, campers. See you on the other side.

The heart of the ocean

Oh, enough already. I’ve semi-written 3 blogs in the past week and none of them are gellin’. (Is it jellin’? Whatever.) I can’t keep a coherent thought train on the tracks. So just consider this blog a big bunch of random crap. It’s like leftover night. There will be some good stuff, some bad stuff, some stuff that used to be good but hasn’t aged well and some stuff that’s better the second time around. But you know, I have to feed my little blogmuffins, so here we are.

Let the random shit begin.

There’s a lot going on. I’m moving in a week and a half.  There’s packing to do — packing half a house actually involves touching every object in the whole house so you can decide what goes and what stays. There are kids to watch, one of whom was pretty sick for a few days. There’s a job to do — which recently doubled in size (at my request, I might add) so, uh, that takes some getting used to. And I work from home. And it’s summer. And I have a babysitter exactly three hours a week. And I’m having mouth surgery tomorrow. I’m not a big fan of the wallowing in self-pity thing, but I admit that it happened this week. It happened. I went there. I turned into a big whiney babyhead and did the woe-is-me dance and cried to my mama. I know that things will get better. Soon even. But before “better” arrives I have this giant boulder that I’m pushing up the hill inch by inch. Sometimes it slips a little and I have to make up some ground. But it’s temporary. I can deal with temporary. And soon the kidsters and I will be in the single-mom townhouse, surrounded by boxes that can be unpacked at our leisure… perhaps we’ll camp in the living room the first night or two.

I have absolutely killed the area thrift stores the past week or so (yeah, I did it) so we’ll even have some things like lamps and curtains and crap to hang on the walls. I resisted the urge to buy a lamp shaped like a rooster on a log (HOW could I pass that up???) but I did go for some seriously sexy lamps for the boudiour. (Did I spell that right? I can’t pull that off, even in print.) So yeah, my single momma bedroom. Where I’ll be sleeping. Alone. (Sometimes.)

Moving on…

I went to the beach yesterday. I had from 3 PM on Tuesday until 9 AM on Wednesday to go wherever I wanted because my children’s father (does that sound better than “the ex?”) had the kids. So I put my behind in the car and I drove until I hit ocean. I have this spot that I like to go to — I call it the secret beach because it’s not very populated. It’s juuuuust far enough away from any parking spaces that it’s sort of a pain to get to if you’re hauling a bunch of beach crap, but once you get there it’s awesome if you’re a kid or a daydreamer (and I am both). There are many, many massive tidepools because it’s right where the island turns into the inlet (so much for secret beach — I’ll be so pissed if the paparazzi start stalking me there). I went there a few weeks ago at night. There was a full moon and the tide was in so it seemed like there was a half mile of flat, shallow water before the breakers started. It was incredibly romantic. My sister and I both thought so, anyway. But it was so amazing that I just had to completely stop walking for a moment so that I could look up and applaud. “Good job, God,” I said. And I meant it.

So this beach is where I go in my mind when I’m feeling a little too stressed from the real world. I picture it that night with the light from the full moon on the water. And I picture it the next morning when I took the kidsters there early. It was just the three of us. Benjamin did not want to walk there, he just wanted to run into the ocean. So I carried him, kicking and screaming, until we got to a massive tide pool and then that was it. Bliss. For all of us. The kids played in the water and I played, too, and sometimes I just watched them, feeling the sunlight as we spun on the globe and made muddy sand castles and picked up dead crabs. I carried B back along the beach toward the car and I sang to him the whole way. He did his little dance  where he puts his arms straight out and twists his chubby hands like he’s turning a doorknob. Megan trailed behind us in her pink bathing suit, looking out at the water and talking to herself, lost in the thoughts of a girl who is juuuuust about to turn 7. I had about 20 cents for the parking meter when we arrived but I knew that there was no way that I was going to get a parking ticket.

And here’s why: I’ve decided to live a charmed life. I’m off to a good start. On paper, things may look less than hot. I’m 38. I’m moving out of the house that I’ve lived in for 9 years — where the word “wife” first started applying to me, where I brought my babies home from the hospital and where I grieved for my dad. I have two smallish kids and I’m not exactly sleeping on a mattress stuffed with money. But still, a paper life isn’t anything that I’m interested in.

I’m interested in a life where the waves surprise you sometimes and get your clothes all wet. Where you get sand in your buttcrack and it makes you walk so funny that you have to laugh at yourself. Where the wind picks up your hair as you walk down the beach and for a few moments, you just feel absolutely fucking gorgeous. Paper can’t stand up to that kind of authenticity.

So will I get my ass kicked here  and there in the coming months or years? It’s a possibility. I can live with that. I’ve taken a good ass kicking every now again and I have to say, I’ve never looked back and gone, “Nope. No idea that why that happened. No lessons learned here. What a waste.” I’m sure someday this will all make sense. Maybe that day is tomorrow. Or today.

BUT, I have to tell you what else happened at the beach. I’m walking along yesterday on my solo trip and I see a guy, maybe in my age bracket, sitting alone in a beach chair looking at the ocean. It’s close to 6 at this point, so it’s a great time for the ponderers to come out and brood. I like that in a person. So I spot him up the beach and I’m thinking that if a guy is sitting there all by himself at that time of day, he must be single. So as I get closer to where he’s sitting, what do I do? Survey says…. I look at my toes and plow on past. Then I really had to giggle at myself that I am SUCH AN IDIOT that I can’t even say hello to a man! It’s hilarious, isn’t it? Had that been anyone else in the world, I could’ve just said hello. But I came to the realization that I really can’t recognize my own tribe — you know, the “single again” folks who are possibly wandering around the planet just as clueless and sheepish as I am. And I really, really have to put that long-ago Shy Trish back in the basement. (Yes, people, I used to be seriously, painfully shy. I’m not making this up. Perhaps it’s a topic for another blog, another time…)

But wait! There’s more! No,  not about the guy. Put him out of your mind. He’s a footnote to this story. What happened as I passed him is that I started looking at shells. I was happy to be on my own but I was also missing my munchkins when I spotted a shell that absolutely perfectly embodied the essence of my daughter. I think I actually squealed a bit when I saw it. This shell was Megan. So I put it in my pocket and kept walking and looking and then I spotted one that was Benjamin, without a doubt. A step or two later I found myself. And then my mom. And then I thought, “OK, if all the people I love best are represented on this beach, what would the shell of my ideal partner look like?” Now I didn’t want to overthink it. Because up to that point, I had been going on pure instinct and not looking for anything in particular. After a minute or two, I spotted it. I will not describe it because that belongs to me alone. But I added it to my collection and continued walking when another shell caught my eye. I shit you not (the best phrase ever), it was a shell with a perfect heart inside. There was no mistaking it. I laughed out loud and then I looked up once again and said, “Good job, God!”

The heart of the ocean.
The heart of the ocean.

A charmed life. Believe it.