Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Bunny With Cookies

I keep forgetting today was Easter. The age of egg hunts and bunny baskets has passed for Katy so the holiday doesn't mean much to either of us anymore. My closest family is down near Philly, Mark went to his sister's house, and I took Katy to the airport to go to my mother's in New Mexico for Spring Break, then I came back and finished some work from Friday. Exciting. (Edit to add: I ate way too many Girl Scout cookies while writing this entry - does that count as celebration?)

The best Easter I ever had happened when I lived in Arizona. I think Katy was probably 6 or 7. For whatever reason I decided not to drive out to my grandmother's house that weekend. (She always cooks a big dinner on "major" holidays even though none of us are Christian.) Instead, Katy and I went to a Native American Pow-wow (not our first, and definitely not our last). As I sat in the Great Circle watching the hoop dancers in all their feathers and finery, I remember being truly present in the moment, and thinking how even though I love spending time with my family, it was so much more appropriate for us to be there that day, celebrating Life in general with these strangers whom I admire so greatly. If you've ever had a moment of complete clarity like that, where you feel so peacefully connected to everyone and everything, you know what I'm talking about.

I hope the ease with which those moments used to come to me will return when we live in San Diego. Not to say I haven't had any here in NJ, but it definitely comes easier to me on the western edge of our island. I've started letting go of the furniture to get there.

~*~

The We Inside of Me

If you have 20 minutes to spare, use it to watch this video. It is a most amazing story about (and by) Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who witnessed her own stroke and came away with a spiritual experience that obviously changed her life.

My Stroke of Insight

It's especially cool to understand the science of right brain vs. left brain functions, and connect that to our perception of the world around us.

I love at the end when she says: Which would you choose? Which DO you choose? You'll have to watch to understand.

~*~

What about taking this empty cup and filling it up
With a little bit more of some innocence
I haven't had enough; it's probably because
When you're young, it's ok to be easily ignored
I'd like to believe it was all about love for a child...

Mraz has this new song, Love for a Child. It's not released yet really (will be on the CD coming out May 13), but it got leaked on YouTube. He says he wrote it for his "very divorced parents" and I'll tell you what - there are not many songs that make me want to cry, but the chorus of this tune hits home a little too hard.

My parents have been divorced since I was 3, and only speak to each other if there is no other alternative. I have no memories of them being together, and when they're in each other's presence they act like business associates. It's hard to believe they were ever in love, and if my stepmother is witness to their meeting it's hard to remember Love exists at all.

Was it Mom who put my Dad out on his ass
Or the other way around
Well I'm far too old to care about that now...

My mother left my father; she wanted to finish her college education but Dad wanted her to be a stereotype stay-at-home mom. I don't think my mother had a cell in her body (at the time) that would allow her to be happy doing that. They both remarried, but only my Dad's marriage has survived (30+ long years, but at least this time he married exactly what he was looking for). My stepmother and I have reached a tentative peace just in the last decade.

My mother cut her second husband out of our lives so completely after he divorced her I probably wouldn't know him if I tripped over him now. I don't harbor any ill will in his case, but only because I can't remember much about the time he was in our lives. His mother, Fran (whom I considered one of my grandmothers), actually made a bigger impression on me. She looked like Queen Elizabeth and had manners to match. :) She was a very proper lady. Maybe it came from being Canadian. She did not put on airs, airs would be lucky to put on her, but in the kindest way possible. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'll bet she's the reason I love having tea. I have a vague recollection of having tea with her in the afternoons. Unless that's one of those things I made up until I believed it. :shakes head: No, I'm pretty sure that happened because I remember her collection of tea cups (they were lovely) and not being allowed to play with them. Hmmm. (My mother just confirmed it on the phone, that tea with Fran is a valid memory. Yay, I'm not insane.)

All my childhood memories are so misplaced in time it feels like every story I know about my younger years happened when I was 12. I'm often surprised what age my family claims I was when I'm recounting an event. I surely didn't feel that young when it happened.

Growing up with a single mother and minimal involvement from my father made me precocious in many ways. When you have to fend for yourself a lot, I guess you take in knowledge at a faster pace in order to survive, thus gaining more skills than the average bear. It can produce some nasty side effects though. I don't need a shrink to tell me that a good part of the control freak in me was developed from having no control over what happened with my parents (especially my stepmother), combined with a lot of time alone (and precious little control over that) because Mom was busy trying to make ends meet, and Dad stuck so rigidly to the court-appointed visitation times you'd think he was brainwashed to believe that was the only time I existed on the planet.

It's kind of nice to work the floor since the divorce
I've been enjoying both my Christmases and my birthday cakes
And taking drugs, and making love at far too young an age
But they never checked to see my grades
What a fool I'd be to start complaining now...

My birthday is five days after Christmas, so while I smiled at this part of the song because it's true children of divorce often get to celebrate things twice, the proximity of these two events in time sometimes cheated me out of the only positive result of my parents' split (from a child's point of view).

I forgave my parents long ago, but the scars etched in my history pushed me forward beyond my years. At age 19, just when I was about to get over my lack of childhood and maybe regain some footing on a different kind of immaturity, I had a child of my own and any innocence I may have hoped to enjoy disappeared. Maybe that's why my 30th birthday didn't bother me at all. I feel like I've been two ages so far in my lifetime: 12 and 30. Once in awhile a random fairy godmother makes me 21, but the feeling never lasts more than a few hours. I can only wonder what age I'll feel consistently next. Probably "retired." :rolls eyes:

I hope what they say about Capricorns living backwards (being serious in youth, and youthful in old age), is true because that means there is still hope of filling up my own empty cup with the star dust of so many innocent wishes. That would be brilliant. In the meantime, I'll just keep searching for the steady beat of peace and love and security - those moments of clarity that make Life wonderful.

~*~

We saw Horton Hears a Who last night at the theater. I've always loved Dr. Seuss, but my favorite book was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I don't remember reading Horton too often. I was surprised at the bold stab this movie takes at group-think religion, but I like the message it conveys of "exercise tolerance and respect, but don't stop questioning." Yay for teaching kids HOW to think instead of WHAT to think! I also appreciated the more obvious communication that just because you can't see or touch something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I have to make a trip to B&N now and refresh my memory of how the book actually goes because I don't remember Seuss making such a stand on controversial points. Perhaps it just flew over my head. The movie is worth seeing though, IMHO, so grab your kids or nieces and nephews (or go with adults, because you really don't need kids to justify wanting to see an animated movie) and escape for a couple hours this week. It does use passages from the book, but they don't rhyme the entire dialog.

Jim Carey and Steve Carrel are just awesome as Horton and The Mayor of Whoville, respectively. You can just see their faces in your mind's eye as their comedy makes you smile. Worth the price of the ticket! (The title of this entry will take on new dimensions as well.)

2 comments:

Chucka Stone Designs said...

It is interesting to me that you smiled at that part of the song, I actually almost cried. Thinking I was completely insane for that, figuring I heard the words wrong or something, I listened again and sure enough, there were the almost tears filling up the corners of my eyes again. I was 7 when my parents got divorced and although my dad has been with a woman I really like for the past almost 15 years my mom never really found anyone else. Neither of them remarried and it makes me wonder often what really happened. I am sure I will never actually find out even if they both told me ya know? Thanks for sharing the link to this, I am really going to enjoy this one on the cd.

The pow-wow sounds like something amazing, fun and far more spiritually motivated than searching for plastic, colored eggs that have chocolate candies or money in them. Go west girl, is katy going with you? We are right behind you next year so you will have to tell us about all the good places to eat when we arrive :)

draagonfly said...

The smile was not one of joy, more like one of irony or understanding. Like saying, "Yeah, I've been there."

Sometimes I think I was a bit lucky that I don't remember my parents being together. As hard as it's been, it must be worse for kids that do remember, then have to adjust to the different circumstances. By no means do I think I had it worse than anyone else in similar situations.

I've already had suggestions on restaurants in the SD area. A girl I met this weekend in Hoboken told me I absolutely HAD to eat at Croce's in the Gaslamp District, so I have that on my calendar. Even tho Jim Croce's music is slightly before my time, I'm familiar with it because I hung out with my aunt a lot, who is 10 years older than me and she loved Jim Croce. :)

When you come out next year, at least you'll have a place to crash for awhile! LOL We can make room!