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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Letting Go That Never Stops

This morning a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook. I spend way too much time watching strange videos like this:
But this video about moms was different. Out of the blue, on a normal, dreary, Wednesday morning, I found myself crying.

As I watched these moms rousing their sleepy children, giving them breakfast, and getting them on their way, I was struck by a cascade of feelings I haven't been aware of for a long time - I miss my kids. And more than that, I miss caring for them.

I became a mom at a very young age and kind of grew up with them. I have spent all of my adult life being a mom, and while I obviously still am, it is not the same.

My children are now 34, 29 and 27, and they are doing what they're supposed to be doing - successfully and happily living their lives on their own and away from me. I console myself by saying this is how parenting is supposed to work - they are together and happy and don't need me the way they once did. This is good. I know it's good. I keep telling myself it's good. But if it's so good, why does it sometimes feel so bad?

We all like to feel needed, and as a mom I am no different. I sometimes really miss the day to day life with them, and all that family time. So now I fill that need by caring for them when they come home to visit, making sure I bake the cookies, make the eggs, (Dylan) the chicken, stuffing and broccoli, (Ben) and have the rice and kimchi (Emma) that makes them feel like they're home. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like, so I try to appreciate every second when it does.

As much as I love being a writer, and do embrace the freedom I now have to spend my days working on my career goals, nothing, absolutely nothing will ever mean as much to me as raising and loving my kids. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but I would not have missed it for anything.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Staying or Going?

I've been following this book, "The Normal Bar"for weeks now. I am fascinated by relationships, enough so that my next novel, "Being Good" is about an affair.

What is "normal" for one is probably not for another. I have deal breakers that would probably make others laugh, and things that bother others might seem inconsequential to me. Such is the nature of humans.

I was reading an excerpt from the book last night and went to sleep thinking about what makes relationships work or end. I probably would have been more successful trying to crack cold fusion I suspect.

One of the gifts of divorce I have found is that I know I will never settle for, "this is as good as it gets." If it's not working, and no amount of tender loving care is making it work, I won't stay. I have raised my children, I have no reason to stay in a relationship that isn't fulfilling and happy. I'm willing to work, but if work overpowers joy - no thank you.

Life is way too short to stay when it's not working, and sadly few of us have the skills to do either well.. Especially the leaving...Here's something from my book about how hard it is to go:

             With each step it all became so much clearer to Claire. Rarely does anyone make a graceful exit from a relationship. We are ham-fisted and awkward because it’s too hard to say, “I’m not happy. I need to go.” So we do stupid things like cheat, become terrible partners and pray for the other person to do what we are too scared or weak to. We want them to end it, or, in the absence of that out, we step outside the bounds of marriage and do something we know is most likely unforgivable.

            Most people are not brave enough to actually calculate their exit, they bumble into it, often breaking things too badly to repair them. We are not a terribly sophisticated lot when it comes to things like ending a marriage. Without a conscious awareness many marriages just die of neglect and human frailty.

All the years I've spent on my own, in and out of various relationships has taught me some important things. Whether that translates into being successful in my present relationship only time will tell. but there are a few things that I think are important to remember:

Treat the person you love as kindly as you do others

Be patient. Don't say the first thing that crosses your mind. Use that self-edit button liberally

Affection goes a long way to foster closeness. If you're not kissing, hugging and having sex it's awfully hard to feel intimate and connected.

Have a sense of humor. Even in the worst of times you can find something to laugh about.

Talk to each other. It amazes me how little time some couples spend actually talking to one another.

Take time on your own to be by yourself and with friends without your partner. No one person can fulfill every part of you. Keeping your own identity brings freshness and energy to your relationship.

As I said, I would have a better chance of solving one of physics biggest conundrums than cracking what makes things work or not between people who love each other, or once did. It's probably one of the hardest things we do. I just know I refuse to let it be miserable. I'll go to the mattresses trying to make something work, but hopefully will always maintain enough sense of self to know when it's not. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Can You Be Good and Do a Bad Thing?

I have spent the last seven months marinating in infidelity - as a writer. My next book, "Being Good," explores the idea of whether or not you can be a good person, but make a bad choice... Can you?

I interviewed people and have done a lot of research about infidelity, and what I have come to believe, save the random sociopath who has no moral compass, is that most people are good, and that cheating is a symptom of a relationship that isn't working, and of being unhappy. No one can "steal:' your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, if someone is happy and healthy where they are they are very unlikely to cheat.

What I learned is that good people do indeed sometimes make bad choices, and I don't think that makes them bad people. Is it ever a good thing? That's hard to say. Sometimes an affair is the catalyst to get you out of an unhappy marriage, and sometimes it makes you see you have too much to lose.

It was an interesting topic to explore and write about. It's certainly one that evokes a lot of discussion amongst people...I have been privy to some pretty passionate thoughts on the subject!

Would I cheat on someone? I never have and don't see that as very likely. It is a choice, nothing "just happens" as the man in my life often says. At some point you have to consciously decide to take that road. But, given the ingredients of a relationship that isn't working, I posit that none of us is immune...

I look forward to "Being Good:" being published and seeing what the world thinks... I'm sure I will hear a lot about it.