Today is moving day and my best friend of 40 years helped me pack but is physically unable to be here now. And Sweet Greg who also joined and calmed me from my urge to enter into packing hysteria, is away on a scouting trip…So physically, I am alone for the move. And yet, emotionally, I feel un-alone. The people who show up are always the right people– consistently, without hesitation for the small things that add up to life- random meals, rides to airports, sick children, special days, help of all sorts, doggy watching, spontaneous visits. This is how we experience and recognize love-not formal, fancy, or rigorously scheduled and managed. Love, like god, just is— or is not. Love is…not forced
I acknowledge an achey-ness that not once (even before the schemed triangulation began) did my “family” show up in small meaningful ways. I now see that we define and do love so very differently. To me, love does not require contraction, in order to be together. When everyone Is welcome/encouraged to show up, as they are, when they can, love happens and it lasts and nobody is scared shitless or IN CHARGE. When we moved here 2.5 years ago, I allowed myself to hope that this sort of love might become possible for my family of origin. That was foolishness, not faith.
My boys and I were blessed with a joke(that always delivers) from our last meal at my sister’s home, strained and white knuckley, we sat around her well set table at a dinner time which was heavily negotiated by me; an effort to accommodate my boys’ bedtime. My mother bought shrimp which my sister cooked and served to perfection. My boys and I– voracious eaters. Period. No secret, no shame- a well-known fact. We only eat food we like, in large quantities, at times when we are hungry, until we are full. Unreasonable—right?? So….My sister laid out one beautiful shrimp skewer for
each of us, leaving two on the server plate. Before anyone had taken barely a bite, my sister declared “I know what I am having for lunch tomorrow.” She not only showed visible agitation— when moments later, I reached for a second skewer for myself and my boys. She (no joke) frantically snatched at the last remaining skewer. Laughing, I said “I thought you were having that for lunch tomorrow”. She said, “I cant, if I don’t have it now, somebody else will.” My boys and I roared and replayed all the way home. Every chance we get, (Even Sweet Greg) now will announce at the beginning of a meal “I know what I am having for lunch tomorrow.” (Translation: That shit is mine, back TF off).
Teachable moments. My sons and I agree that when you invite people to eat, you prepare and offer more than enough for seconds. And when there is only a little
left; before reaching for it; you ask who would like to share whatever it is. That is how we do food and love–no snatching and grabbing
(as my also sister did with my ex and my sons,-total smash and grab maneuver) Anyhow, for us; we enjoy paper plates, the shitty kind, with more than enough food and love, no fretting the amounts of food and at a time that accommodates the little ones, and we don’t wait until we have time, but we make time for each other. And, we always have enough and are happy to share, even when we are struggling. We don’t own each other but definitely belong to each other, by choice and by birth….in that order.
Departing this gorgeous home is bitter-sweet. Chosen for proximity to my mother and for school zoning, the empty-nester community was not ideal for my children, and was a lil beyond my financial comfort zone. Who needs that? FOO never stepped foot in the house, neither to casually help nor to visit. So, it makes sense that they are not here for this. My ex,sons,dogs and I moved cross country at breakneck speed for time-sensitive “family matters”, even while not speaking and highly unresolved. We showed up. We served. We tried. Now, it is time to move on with our lives into a community that is best for each of us– surrounded and supported by those who want to love and be with us exactly as we are, when possible. People who genuinely want the best for us. Period. I cannot help but be reminded of my mother’s last words to me when I asked her to please stop with my ex for the division it causes us as divorced people who co-parent: “I wish you well, Maggie” as she locked the door behind me with her implicit NO.
Movers to arrive shortly for relocation to our new home, well beyond the original radius to THEM, to a neighborhood richly populated with children, with great schools, lower property taxes, and even yard for the pooches—with a mortgage and HOA dues that leave room to breathe and maybe even the option of saving for something like a vacation with my children.
I do not deny moments in which I long for a mom or sister whom I could call for casual contact and deep connection—the opposite of what is available. But that is not my story. Today, 11/18 marks the ending to the chapter we might call: “So, that happened” and the beginning of a new chapter. Seems like a fine occasion for some more ink. I looooove getting tattoos at major turning points in my life. Even this difficult chapter enriches the story that is my life. I will not forget the hard times before I have learned and grown from them. Doing one next right thing after another with courage and faith in God and those whom consistently and gladly show up for us, is how we do life. We are now entering into a very wholesome and badass new and exciting chapter. I wonder what it will be called. Maybe “Fk yeh”—much better than the past two years of “fuck
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