Sunday, July 29, 2007

This Possum Don't Play

When X used his attorney to draw up the original separation agreement, he was so paranoid that his lawyer put in a clause that neither party could marry within 12 months. I don't remember whether I left that in or struck it out, I just remember it was offensive and ridiculous. Obviously, I'm not the one who moves at the speed of light when considering forcing a new family arrangement on my children.

I did not really relish the chance to begin the weekend by sitting down with my kids and assure them that while someday they will likely have a new family to love and should be happy that daddy has a new woman in his life, what is between them and me will not change, not how much we love each other nor our time together. Giving them this "permission" and reassurance was the right thing to do, but it felt odd finding myself stuck with the task, as the most uninformed of all three of us. For Potter fans, it's a bit like being in the mid-air during a Quidditch match on a stormy day and someone just threw an extra snitch into the game.

To be clear, I think it would be great if X were happy. Everyone has a right to be happy. But we have children, and he shares that responsibility with me. It's not going to change. I don't believe all parties are quite aware of that. I think there are quite a lot of things that all parties are not aware of but that's not for these pages.

It is interesting to watch single parents lunge at the opportunity to remarry (although not necessarily pleasant to be in the dark when you're children are asking questions about it). What is the void they are trying to fill? I respect that life can be sometimes a little lonely and that it's nice to have adult companionship and intimacy. But I don't need marriage to have those things. Between the available research, my own experience, and the professional advice I've received about the impact of remarriage on children, I have little interest in rushing down the aisle again for any reason. I also don't believe love has to be experienced under one roof to be meaningful. And I don't expect to rely on someone else to take care of me. So while I will give you that for some families, a second marriage might be a very good solution and beneficial to the children (and I know at least one circumstance personally for which I am hopeful), overall the idea of remarriage any time before my children are relatively stable is the least compelling of any relationship arrangement I can think of.

When I left my altogether vacuous marriage I found myself with enormous freedom to really think about who I was and what it is I wanted to do. As a result, my life is very full. I'm guessing that many parents with a great passion to remarry either lack some of that wholeness or the confidence that they can manage without a spouse. Based on the success I had with my first marriage partner who did absolutely nothing to save the marriage or to keep his family together, it's hard to imagine my doing that amount of work ever again with zero results. I took the opportunity to make my life full and wonderful on its own, including the time I spend parenting my children alone. It truly is, "all good." A really nice relationship with someone who isn't compelled by a personal mission or agenda to take care of us or move in or save me from my situation would be, as I once referred to it, like the vanilla sauce on the side of a perfect slice of chocolate cake. I'm sure I'll go off my diet now and then for that slice.

But the whole thing leaves me wondering whether I'm expected to be out hunting for Mr. Sugar Daddy. I get all kinds of solicitations to try various services for free but, no matter how nice it might be to have some new adult companions, I'm just not a mail order bride. I've had an experience or two with Find A New Mate Dot Com, and with one or two rare exceptions it was decidedly disastrous if not merely disappointing. While I certainly am learning all the time, I am by no means an amateur when it comes to human anything.

X and others forget that, at the end of the day, behind all the arts and culture and music, I make my living doing one thing: assessing people. I'm good at it. I can see through most anything. Authenticity is rare. Maturity even more rare, especially in men who are newly freed up from their marriages and ready to act 21 again. I just don't have time for games. Since my kids are such a high priority, I don't leave them to go out much when they are here, and sometimes we skip things like festivals or concerts where I might meet new people either because of the time or the money or the likelihood that my younger one might not last through something.

I am proud to own a home, have a job I absolutely love and refuse to give up to work for Corporate City, wonderful children, an active calendar, great friends, and hobbies like learning new instruments and writing for this blog that keep me from losing my mind and allow me to press on toward the next phase in my life. To be honest, I'm not sure where a new relationship would even fit in to all that. I'm very selfish about my private time because I have so little of it. As an online dating specimen, I completely lack credibility because there is not a single thing a man can do for me that a) I haven't been able to live without, and b) can't do myself.

But yet I feel I better get myself a partner QUICK, or sign up for the next Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Frankly, I feel I'd do better in the latter.

This is why I love music so much. Music is my perfect partner. Music does not deceive. It is always there when I need it. I don't have to watch it beat someone up. I don't have to take it to court to get it to pay attention. It isn't trying to hide something from me or my children or lure me into some sort of timewasting game -- in fact, it always feels like a win. The more time I spend with it, the more I learn about myself and the more I have to give to others.

I am fortunate to have taken up the fiddle. The only possum I'll play for or with anybody is this old tune, Old Possum Up A 'Simmon Tree. It is a great joy to release my fears of the unknown and relinquish any attachment to other people's random acts and intentions into the posture, bowing, tuning, phrasing of an old tune. To create something. To make a noise that might have been made 200 years ago. To really participate in something that is so much older, so much more expansive, so much bigger than me that I cannot be successful in trying it unless I let the worry and attachment to these other petty things fall away like stones from around my neck. Otherwise I had no room to rest the fiddle.

I am learning this tune from Art Stamper's last recording, a different version from the version below from the late Buddy Thomas. It's a little less modal, and I'm more modal, but the essential line is there. You can find a snippet of Stamper's version here.

Old Possum Up A ' Simmon Tree

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well, maybe I'll just pick up my fiddle and go home.


At July 29, 2007 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, MM, X was SO not worthy of you!



At July 29, 2007 4:26 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Well, Shadow, nonetheless, as a young person I married him anyway. And it's no matter to me, other than the example set for the kids. I also had a talk this weekend with my daughter about making sure she puts herself first and knows what she wants before getting tangled up with somebody like I did. Damn, I really shoulda gone to graduate school...

At July 30, 2007 2:10 PM, Anonymous don't know said...

Seeing through it you may find it is all empty. As it is. that is even too much, just - is. Is that ever enough?

At July 30, 2007 5:57 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hello don't know,
Yep, worry is an empty experience. I should say, it empties us of useful thoughts and energy and practice. Letting it all be, though, is kind of tough. I'm working on it.

At July 31, 2007 4:23 PM, Anonymous it took years said...

It's ALL empty. keep peeling your onion, don't stop here, los!

At July 31, 2007 8:59 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

I must practice, practice, practice.

No need to play the game.

No need to feel alarmed.

No need to feed the illusion.

My real life is a wonderful, far more interesting bright shiny object. It should catch my attention more often.

At August 06, 2007 12:19 PM, Blogger My Boring Best said...

Oh, shut up and marry me already.

At August 06, 2007 6:15 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

D'OH! LOL I'm a changed woman, BB, I have seen the error of my ways and know better to be a single girl. Least for now. But I'm happy to split a bottle of something with you anytime.


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