Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Lotta Wind

Man, I got friends.

I sort of find myself in the middle of a situation. I guess I did sort of get a little uppity and tell my X that he needed to get his head out of his ass and deal with the stuff going on with the kids like a man. In a manner of speaking, I asked for it.

But my kids didn't really ask for what's happening to them. What kid does?

I remember being a kid. Basically, there is little or no democracy. You kind of have to do whatever the grownups tell you to do. When my mom had to sell our house out in the country, and move us to town, it was the very smartest thing she could do. Hell, we lived in an old house. The people who built it were buried in the cemetery down the lane. It had a door in one cellar which opened into the underground railroad. It was a monster to heat. And 20 acres to mow? What single mother has time for that?

So I remember the night before we moved just feeling like I would never sleep again. My life was OVER. I lay on the floor in what used to be our sort of family room, listening to the radio. I was so afraid of the change that was coming.

And you know what?

I survived. And my sister, too. And we had a great run. It had it's moments, but overall, my mother knew what she was doing.

Granted, not all grownups do. But I do understand that sometimes a sort of martial law is called into effect. My kids and I don't respond to that very well but pretty much we know that there's little we can do when it is invoked.

So we listen to the wind.

I like to stand on hilltops and mountains sometimes, and enjoy the wind and the view at the same time. I realized tonight that there hasn't been a moment in the last four or five years when I stood at a beautiful place and felt, "Gee, this would be so much better if I were like, glued to somebody's side." The majesty of a place is there whether we are alone or with another to witness it. I love that I can breathe deeply and allow the expanse of a beautiful vista to wash over me and be completely in that moment.

Tonight the kids and I watched a silly movie, Princess Diaries 2. What a sneaky little movie! At the end, the lovely young Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) convinces her Parliament to abolish an outmoded law that required that a female heir could not be Queen unless she were married. How about that? Disney--who knew! It was a timely message. Sometimes I feel that I am not living up to some standard by being alone, as though being married automatically confers special powers. It doesn't. It does however confer additional responsibility, and you're either up to it, or your not.

I'm not sure that the so-called "benefits" of marriage suit me very well at this point in my life. I do love to be able to put my children first without reservation, and to spend the time I'm not with them any damn way I choose. Certainly the genuineness of the union and the benefits of my remarriage to my children would have to prove enormous in order to convince me to take that step.

But my kids are in a situation, and I'm in it with them, and so I gotta go listen to a lot of wind. I hope it is well intentioned. I hope there is genuine concern and integrity behind it. I hope I am utterly convinced of sincerity and love.

And if I'm not? Well, then I can refer the matter. And listen to more bluegrass while it gets sorted out.

Blow Big Wind


At November 21, 2007 9:05 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

Well, all I can say about marriage and singlehood is that no one is ever happy. Almost every single person I know is always dating and trying to meet someone so they're obviously not happy being single. And most married people I know pretty consistently complain about the downsides of marriage. I think it is just part of human nature to want what you don't have. There's a lot of people I know who are currently between 30 and 50 who are single and, despite serially dating, tell everyone that they're happy being single. I think we tell ourselves this to convince ourselves that we're okay with not being married and certainly, while you're young and healthy, being single is fine. I just wonder how all these self-assured, single 40-somethings are going to feel about being alone when they are not-so-healthy 70-somethings. I think it will change.

Not that I'm any shining example of successful marriage but, after thinking about this a while, I think being married is better. It certainly isn't perfect. It can be tedious and, of course, sex with new people can be more fun than sex with the same old person. Still, I think there's a real value in a long-term connection with someone. I guess you could live with someone and not be married but that, to me, is different. You can leave any time in that situation. It is not the same as being legally bound to someone.

Then again, I might just be full of crap.

At November 21, 2007 12:11 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Doc,
True enough, there's always something else one wants. I guess I'd have to say right now that for me, what qualifies is a maid, a basement, and maybe a new coffeemaker.

I understand what you're saying, but I think being "alone" and being single are two different things. I never feel alone, and quite honestly, I never feel lonely. I have wonderful friends and family. I don't like being all wrapped up in someone, and I really can't stand someone being all wrapped up in me. It's kind of gross. There has to be a balance.

I appreciate what you are saying about what happens when we are older. But that's what community is for. Now, if I didn't have friends, or family, or colleagues both personal and professional, relationships of all kinds that I've cultivated, I might feel differently. But when I'm 70, as long as I'm able I'll still be heading out to live music. Or bringing it to my home. By then, who knows. It's a long way off.

Some statistics report that marriage is healthier, that people live longer. Others say it makes you gain weight. I say that if you enter into an institutional contract of any kind, it damn well better be worth it. Yet I agree with you about the living together thing -- there is no data to support this does any good whatsoever. And there's always an out. So why the hell bother? Maybe when I'm older, and don't have kids living with me, and really can justify giving up my own space, and of course just can't bear the thought of waking up alone. For the confluence of those factors to occur, I suspect there will have to be a monumental shift in the universe.

I have long term connections, they're just not all exclusive. If that person comes along and surprises the hell out of me, hooray! All this is not to say I won't fall in love again and have wonderful relationships, or even meet one person with whom I just groove on continuously. But even then, it's not his job to "complete" my life. That's my job. My job to be happy, my job to create a joyful fulfilling life. Not someone else's job. Mine.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your travel went well and that you're not stuck working tomorrow.


At November 23, 2007 11:03 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

Mando - Can't disagree with anything you're saying. I also feel like there's a difference between being single and being alone, though I think it's pretty subtle. I still believe we humans parse language like this because it is self-protective to a certain extent.

Although Angela is not currently living with me, I rarely feel lonely either. I'm working full time, have friends and family, have the blog and hobbies, etc. But that's my point about getting older. None of us knows what life will be like at 75. We may be healthy and robust, we may not. But a couple things are probably certain. I'll no longer have a job filling up 40 hours of my week, some people who are in my life now will no longer be around, and I may or may not have the energy to do things I do now (you don't see a ton of 75 year olds at concerts).

Now, you have children so when you're older life will be different. You'll presumably have grandkids by then, although maybe not if the current trend of people staying single continues. But for me, I can see having a bit more alone time than even I'm comfortable with. That's not a reason to marry someone but it is one of the potential benefits.

In the end, this is all just useless rhetoric. Our lives at 75 will be whatever they'll be and we only have a bit of say in it. Hope you had a good holiday!

At November 23, 2007 6:46 PM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

Wow... Timely message for my, MM. I've let the lonliness build again and am Hurting from it. Pretty bad, all things considered.

Even w/o kiddos of my own, I can still catch the wave you've described, and be alright with riding it alone until ... well, whomever it is comes along to ride it with me.

Thank you.


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