Day 38: Spend some time in a church today.
Ahhh… sweet synchronicity. Just a few days ago I had what seemed like my 653rd conversation with Emily about how I really don’t think it was God that made it rain for the third day in a row. And wasn’t she paying attention when we read that awesome weather book? And then the following day MQD mentioned again that he thought we should try to catch a service at the local Unitarian church (an idea we have tossed around for well over a year.) And then… yeah, still another mention, Amy asks me last night if I would be interested in joining them at the Unitarian church, as they went last Sunday and really enjoyed it. And now THIS? It’s a SIGN, God Dammit!! I need to carry my ass to church!
I have been thinking about getting involved in the local Unitarian church for… since forever. I first was interested in Unitarianism when I was in Williamsburg. I had several professors that were active members and I really liked the idea that there was a community of people joined together, not by their common beliefs, but by their desire to appreciate each other’s beliefs and spend some time reflecting on their own. (And to be perfectly honest I was down with the Drum Circle possibilities.) This interest was filed away in the Things To Do When I Stop Sleeping Until Noon on Sundays bin.
It surfaced again when Emily was a baby and I realized that while it may not necessarily require the proverbial village to raise a child it would be much appreciated. I had an interest in establishing a community for the first time in my adult life. Motherhood… it’s crazy shit. Made me learn to sew, and make soup and buy matching silverware. This desire to attend a church didn’t really surprise me. But I reasoned it away. I was too busy. And I worked on Sundays.
And now here I am. I’ve shed my “single parent” status (a subject that is long overdue in my writing about) and I am out of excuses. I want a community. And I don’t want Emily growing up thinking that MQD and I are the only people on earth that don’t pray to God before we eat or think that God is responsible for Green Town (the Emily-named phenomenon of driving all the way to school without a single red traffic light, of course.) I don’t so much care what she grows up to believe. But I know I want her to decide for herself. And I want her exposed to a big, fat assortment of theologies.
So yeah… we’re going. I mean, not this weekend because MQD is out of town and I am phobic about doing shit all by myself, and well, the next weekend we’re all out of town. I guess we’d better go the 17th? Because you know the Demolition Derby is on the 24th. And I know Jesus would want me to go the Demolition Derby. Jeez. What do I wear? Jeans? Patchouli? I guess I should bring my hula hoop?
He sent me this picture yesterday. And in light of my revealing my recent theft to the interwebz… I needed a little reminding.
Man… I am disappointed to report that today’s challenge is another in a string of challenges I am failing before I ever really begin… I peeked at the challenges coming up in the next few days and I am pleased to report I shall be attacking them!
But today… Day 37: Eat and Run, dine and dash, chew and screw, fuck your waitress (and not in the way you hoped when at your favorite bar in your twenties…) I won’t be participating today.
I don’t have a lot of moral platitudes I hold dear. But “what goes around comes around…” I can’t help but believe. The karmic boomerang is not something I’m willing to tempt. My luck has turned around so significantly in the last few years that I am not about to start stiffing waitresses. Heh. In most restaurants if your table walks out you are responsible for picking up the check yourself. Depending on the size of the tab this can eat up most of what you’ve made that night. I can remember in college, working at Berret’s as a Pav Girl (What! What! Shout out for my Pav Girls (and Mike P, Jason, Andre and Joey, who were (in my heart) Pav Girls) I had a few tables walk out. It was so easy to do there, the Pavilion had entrances at all of the corners and a restroom only inside so it was easy to lose track of your customers. Fortunately for me I was typically well lubricated by bourbon and gingers and never really felt the pain of picking up some bozos $40 tab… but still…. I know whereof I speak. I didn’t bring you buckets of Bud Light, let you talk shit to me all night for the pleasure of picking up your check at the end of the night. So I just can’t bring myself to do it….
Now… lest you think I don’t have a single shred of “stick it to the man” in me… oh, but I do. I stopped at Food Lion the other day. Mums were two for $10. I told the kid at the checkout counter that I wanted four. He looked at me blankly, as I had nothing in my hands to ring up, they were all still outside. I said “They’re two for $10, you need to ring up the SKU for mums at that price twice.” Again… a blank stare. He charged me $10.
I totally put four mums in my trunk. Take that, Food Lion. Shhh…
The challenge today is shut the fuck up, in so many words… This isn’t something I’d likely be capable of under the simplest of circumstances. But today I had a billion people to call and it wasn’t an option. However, to those who know me even marginally it is likely a surprise how often I am quiet for most of the day. At least a couple of days a week I don’t see a soul in my office and it’s just me and the tunes… if I was so inclined I could probably get away with Do Not Disturbing my phone and enjoying a day of solitude while in my office but I’d struggle with explaining to my daughter that I’d not be opening my mouth all day. Not that she can’t appreciate some quiet. She can see the need for quiet spread across my face and she’ll ask “If you want me to, Mom, I can just be silence?”
She hasn’t yet come to understand that sometimes “being silence” is not a means to an end but the goal in and of itself. I’ve always enjoyed the quiet of my own mind. And I am more than pleased to see that Emily is content to go up in her room and busy herself quietly. Coloring, puzzles, looking at books…. she can give quietly entertaining herself a pretty good run most days. I like that she’s inherited this.
I could go on and on about this…. but that kinda defeats the purpose, huh?
So here I am being “silence.” Sadly, I can not seem to communicate to my forehead the need to keep a lid on it. My forehead has tons to say….
The challenge was to cut up these little pieces of paper that had tasks written on them and hand them out to people. I considered making a photocopy of the page and handing a few out just to see what kind of reaction I’d get… but instead I spent a good part of the weekend really listening to the number of “tasks” I hand out on a pretty regular basis.
The other morning I asked MQD if he “wanted” to do something. Something along the lines of making the bed or emptying the dishwasher. Surely not something that anyone WANTS to do. He responded by asking me if that was a request or an inquiry. A fair question. And a question that got me thinking…
My relationship with MQD has transitioned from being boyfriend/girlfriend to being roommates and co-parents far more painlessly than I ever imagined it would. Being a parent is an impossibly difficult task some days. My time as a single parent made me more than well aware of this. I am beyond grateful for the millions of ways that MQD has become a parent to Emily overnight. Their relationship grew alongside ours, naturally, but it was not until we moved in together that his role took on a permanency in her eyes, I think. He volunteered not long after we moved to start taking her to school. This has been a huge help, it gives me a few minutes of “me” time in the morning that I haven’t experienced in a long, long time. And it affords me the opportunity to watch the two of them leave the house together, looking like family. It chokes me up still, at least two or three days a week. All of this to say that perhaps it was my experience being on my own that makes me never take for granted his efforts to help me as a parent, and to be his own parent independent of me. I am embarrassed to admit that I might not be so grateful had I not had this experience. And gratitude is so essential to fostering an environment of respect.
I like cooking dinner. He likes eating. So I cook and he does dishes. I can’t stand the cat hair. He can’t see it. So he cleans the litter boxes more often than not and I clean up the cat hair. I’m a stickler for the way my clothes are folded. But he’ll switch it from the washer to the dryer without so much as a reminder. The list goes on and on… We fell in to an easy division of labor. There are certainly days, sometimes weeks, when one or the other of us drops the ball, but it is picked up by the other with the knowledge that the pendulum will swing back the other way in due time.
I started thinking about why, why we are able to exist for the most part in a fairly peaceful state. I believe our efforts at clear and concise communication are largely to credit. I have a tendency to slide backwards, in to a style of passive-aggressive communicating that really doesn’t benefit anyone. It’s lazy. And even if I can blame half of it on my low self-esteem and my struggle to speak up about what it is I desire I have to admit that the other half of it can be blamed on sheer laziness. MQD routinely calls me on it. Somehow I have learned to take his criticism as constructive and try and learn from it. I also have a tremendous tendency to ask for opinions I won’t heed… so I am working on that, too… I’ve learned a lot about communicating, oddly enough, from a person that communicates/speaks far less frequently that I do. There is a greater weight to his words than to mine it seemed. And in the last couple of years I have learned that my words have significance, too. And that I should choose the more wisely than I have in the past.
So, I passed on this challenge. Because there isn’t much I need to ask for. I have been rewarded with a partner that anticipates my needs and fulfills them. I’m proud of the work we’ve done. Independently and as a unit. To get our own needs voiced and met. I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate. And how to listen. And how to be patient. I’ve learned enough to feel like a complete asshole when a careless statement slips through my lips and hurts someone I love.
Oh, and I am trying not to be so god damn bossy. And this challenge didn’t really jive with that.
Per today’s challenge I have been on the look out for “the paranormal.” Paranormal can be described as any activity that can be described as outside “the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.”
Last night was the Autumnal Equinox and I thought it might be ripe with paranormal activity. We sat outside for a bit waiting on the sunset and the full moon’s rise. I witnessed no paranormal activity. Not unless you can count Emily throwing herself to the floor as if it was the end of all days when she did not have chance to see any bats before it was time to hit the sack. Note to self: Be mindful of my language when I “promise” that we will see bats. I “ruined her night.” Sadly, this was not outside the realm of normal.
I opened up my office door as I have been all alone in my office all day. This way I am a little more tuned in to what is going on in the woods. I thought maybe I might get the heebie-jeebies over something and I could call that paranormal.
I don’t know if you’d call this “paranormal.” He has been hanging around all day, and answers to “Shortie.” Inventive, I know. It has been a while since I have had an office visitor.
So… maybe I am just not tuned in. Perhaps if I had managed to not detect and fix my flat tire this morning I’d have ended up stopped on a dark road with a flat… that might have been spooky. As it is… I told Shortie to keep his eyes peeled.
Today’s challenge suggests you write a letter to a world leader, and encourage them to put an end to torture.
His Excellency The President Ernest Bai Koroma,
I am writing to request that you continue to support Free Care for Pregnant Women, Lactating Mothers and Children Under Five. Just one year ago you had one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the world. The support you have shown for the women of Sierra Leone and their children speaks to me directly as a woman and as a mother. I also believe that it speaks out to the leaders of other countries that are trying to keep their nation’s people alive. Maternal health care is a vital part of achieving this goal.
Your decision to launch your program supporting women’s right to health care on April 27, 201, the 49th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, was a decision to take a strong stand.
The World Health Organization reports that maternal death rates have declined by nearly 33% this year. I believe this is happening because of decisions such as yours to speak out and take action.
Thank you for your dedication to maternal health, for supporting Amnesty International’s efforts to make maternal health a human right’s issue.
When I was in high school I was active in our Amnesty International club. In the last decade I have taken a stronger interest in domestic issues, maternal health, breastfeeding, etc…. This seemed like a good opportunity to research what was happening regarding women’s health on an international scale. In doing so I found that just this week the U.N. had a large conference and maternal health was a major part of their discussion. I am really pleased to see this.
This clock appeared this week in Times Square.
If you care to sign up with Amnesty International to take a part in their annual letter writing campaign you can do so at their website.
I was super excited about this challenge…. I made a point of thinking about all three of these things: hedgehogs, airplanes and midgets all day. ANd what did I get? A super weird dream about taxidermy and a squirrel skeleton turning in to a lizard. Disappointing….
I have always enjoyed examining my dreams. I have the big old dream book. I used to write it all down…. but somewhere along the way realized I didn’t really think there was too much there to go on… It was interesting, but no more or less interesting than what goes through my head when I am awake.
Yeah… now I can’t get this damn song out of my head.
Today is NAURU Awareness Day! So…. in an effort to be painfully aware of Nauru I did a little research. Nauru is an island in Micronesia in the South Pacific… and speaking of South Pacific. I have decided that I am going to force my offspring to watch “South Pacific” with me this weekend and teach her to sing “Wash That Man…” a la Mitzi Gaynor in the shower. I can’t really think of a better way to celebrate the island of Nauru. Come to think of it… I just might be a sailor for Halloween….
The second part of this ridiculous segue is I believe I will hunt down some “Cherries in the Snow” Revlon nail polish. The lovely lady that played Mitzi’s part in my high school production of South Pacific would not have been caught dead without bright red nails.
You make my heart sing. Thank you for being such a strong little girl. In you I see the strength that has always been in me.
In the last year you have grown like a weed. You have gotten taller, smarter, stronger, sassier, kinder… and more compassionate. The toddler you were last year that said hilarious things and likely had no idea why they were funny is gone. She has been replaced by a little girl that knows exactly why her clever comments are so hilarious. But she also knows what it means when she says “Come here, Mom, I’ll give you a hug.”
You still hold me tight. But I hold you even tighter. Because I see in you the little girl you are becoming. And I know that the woman is right around the corner. I’d slow the earth’s rotation to make the day’s longer, just to make now go on forever. You are a pleasure, you are still my big, bright star, Em. There’s still no other way to describe you.
This year your dance parties have continued to be a highlight. I think it’s time to teach you how to spin around a room like Molly Ringwald. This is the song that comes to mind right now…
|I’ll stop the world and melt with you
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time
There’s nothing you and I won’t do
I’ll stop the world and melt with youThe future’s open wide!!!!
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
I’ve seen some changes but it’s getting better all the time
There’s nothing you and I won’t do
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
The future’s open wide!!
I love you, baby girl.