Thursday, March 20, 2014


I've been unusually introspective lately.  I blame a conversation I had a couple weeks ago with OOTC.  We were having dinner (yes, sometimes we just spend time together like that) and he said, "When you mention The Farmer, you go all soft. You get a far away look in your eye and you seem to recall things fondly."  I pondered that for a little.  Then he asked me a stranger question.  "If you could have chosen...would you have had a child with The Farmer rather than with anyone else?"  That was tougher...I had never intended to have children, never planned, never tried.  It just....happened.  Like rain, like snow, like the wind.  The gods chose their time and a seed was quickened. Some never came to fruition, one did.  Would I change that, would I want to further impose my will on the order of this part of my life?  That's one I still can't answer.  Or maybe it's that the answer changes with the day, the hour, the rain, the wind...

Since then, I have been doing more thinking. It's like his words pushed me a little farther into myself, at the right time. Work and life are busy, yes, always so. But not so all-consuming as at other times, leaving some space for introspection.

I do go all soft-filter when something causes me to bring up The Farmer. What is it about that relationship? I told OOTC - admitted, it seemed - that it wasn't all perfect.  That it was an incredibly dysfunctional relationship, that I did things out of love that came to be expected, demanded.  That when the long-term relationship took a left turn towards true commitment, I was forced to re-evaluate. Could I bring children into such an emotionally distant, dysfunctional family? Because regardless of my satisfaction with being childless, children would be expect, nay - required of me.  At the same time, I felt like I was blossoming into my true calling of a career all while The Farmer seemed to try to push me back into the space he was comfortable with me occupying: a job, and helping him with his when I wasn't doing mine. It came to a head when he told me I "wasn't getting my work done" (work for him, my job was taking too much of my time and energy) and I retorted, without thought for how it would hurt, that no one was helping me earn my annual income the way I was helping him.  It was all downhill from there.

Was it good?  Is it worthy of the soft eyes and soft words when the memories resurface? Or am I, a decade plus past it all, finally at that point in the grief where I can acknowledge the bad and still bask in the good? Is the whole thing more poignant because we do not have a relationship of any kind?  I feel that his awkwardness in my presence at his father's wake was telling...but I don't know what it's telling me.

More questions, not as many answers. Sometimes that's what introspection brings, I guess.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

For The Farmer

Last night
     I dreamt of the turned earth
          of the smell and feel of it in my hands
     I dreamt of a greenhouse in March
          of warm dampness and green

Last night
     I dreamt of machinery stilled
          of tractor and backhoe and excavator, silent
     I dreamt of trees wakening in the sun
          of small buds bursting forth

Last night
     I dreamt of soft words spoken
          of forgiveness and peacemaking
     I dreamt of calloused hands on my skin
          of teeth and hot mouth on my neck

Last night
     I dreamt I was back where I belonged

Last night
     I dreamt of you

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Going Back

A few months ago, I blogged about being that girl.  I spoke of The Farmer, and how we hadn't yet come to our place of forgiveness.

Last week, The Farmer's father passed away.  I mentioned him in that post too, the man I could work with in comfortable silence.  Hearing of his passing had a deep impact on me, and sent me into an internal struggle: whether to attend his services or not.  I asked my trusted broads in a Facebook group; I asked close friends who knew him, and those who did not; I asked a mutual friend who is still in touch with The Farmer. In the end, bouyed by their assurances that it was the right thing to do, I decided I needed to go. That any awkwardness between The Farmer and I would be outweighed by my need for closure, by my need to show the rest of the family the love I still held for them and their husband-father-grandfather.

I know I over-thought this. "What if it's not just awkward with The Farmer? What if the whole family will be displeased to see me?" countered with "Why would his nieces, sister and brother-in-law stay in touch via Facebook if that were the case?"  "What if they don't remember me, recognize me, and I'm in the even more awkward position of having to introduce myself to people I considered family for a decade?" And then there were the more personal, shallow concerns - I'm 40 pounds heavier than the wild, sensual tomboy he proposed to. I'm not good at hair and makeup, so people see me without any kind of mask.  I can clean up pretty nicely, but I usually need professional assistance to really shine. No one wants to see an ex- when they aren't looking and feeling hot - but was this really a circumstance where I should be concerned about my appearance? Or was that just my own self-confidence, hiding in the shadows like a scared schoolgirl?

Deep breath, Deety. Do you have tights with no runs? Good.  Do you have a skirt you can wear? Yup, that black and grey velvet burnout that goes to the ankles. How about a top? I think the grey cableknit turtleneck will suffice.  Now shoes to keep you from stepping on that skirt without falling on your ass? Maybe these black suede boots with a sensible heel. Dress. Don't think. Brush your teeth, brush your hair, stop thinking about wrinkles and sunspots and weight. Autopilot, Deety. Get in the car, drive, walk in and hang up your coat. What voice is this? I wonder, but I listen. 

walk into the funeral home with my heart thudding. I use the time hanging up my coat and looking at photo boards outside the room to breathe deeply and calm myself. I can do this. I can do this with grace and poise and respect. Entering the room, I see that The Farmer is immediately to his mother's left, the second person I will face in the receiving line. I go to the casket, bow my head and ask that The Lady of the Fields and The Lord of the Hunt receive this man in forms that bring him comfort, that he find peace and know the love that was had for him. More deep breaths as I turn away - to find myself embraced by his brother-in-law, husband to his sister, whose wedding I was an attendant in. "Deety, it's so good of you to come!" he exclaims, and I admit I wasn't sure I should...he shakes his head vigorously. "No, no reason not to. It's good that you did."  We speak for a moment before I break away to see The Mother, the wife of the lost, in her 80s herself, starting to sit as she is clearly tired from standing.

When she sees me approach, her face lights up, she calls my name. Unexpected, that. She starts to stand and takes my hands, calls me by name again - she remembers me, she seems happy to see me, she embraces me.  "Please, sit. Look, I can get down here so we can talk" and I kneel at her feet. She still holds both of my hands in hers, squeezing them, massaging them, looking in my eyes. She admits it hasn't hit her yet, it's all not real, he'd been in hospital for a few weeks, she was used to him not being in the house. The rest...I don't recall. I know it was warm, it was loving, and after a time, I said, "I shouldn't monopolize you, Mother. There are others waiting to speak with you. But I wanted you to know how sorry I was to hear of this." She squeezes my hands again and says, "But I never get to see you...please stay for awhile?" gesturing towards the room.  "I will," I promise, and my heart is full and I know I've done the right thing.

Next is The Farmer. We don't make eye contact, there is a brief moment of we shake hands?..then he hugs me awkwardly, coldly, "Thank you for coming" but he's looking out past me, body stiff and I just move on with the absurd thought that I had forgotten how tall he was. IT seems we still haven't gotten to our place of forgiveness. This saddens me, but doesn't surprise me.

His eldest sister is next, always frail emotionally, and of all the family the one who seems most in shock that this man in his late 80s is gone.  Her daughter, always dear to my heart and now a mother herself, then the younger sister, closest in age to me, who told me once she wanted me to be her maid of honor but was obligated to ask her sister and please, would I still be an attendant? This one tells me she read my condolence note online and it made her cry. Hugs, cheek kisses, smiles. They are all glad to see me and I forget the wrinkles, the weight, everything but the love I had with them. His brother next, father of four girls and I tell him they are all beautifully grown women, and this normally taciturn man grins at me and hugs me and again, I know I did the right thing.  His four daughters - even the youngest that I thought wouldn't remember me - hugs, smiles, brief shared memories.

I move off from the receiving line, only to encounter again the brother-in-law who first greeted me. Father of a boy not much younger than my own, we spend the next 20 or 30 minutes just catching up, like 15 years hasn't passed. We talk of parenthood and how you talk to a child about tragedies like the Newtown school shooting, and the death of a grandparent, and where life has taken us. I dare hope, for a moment, that maybe I can rebuild my relationship with this family without hurting The Farmer further, and for a time, I bask in the glow of Family Love That Was.

I notice the crowd thinning out and I realize that if I stay too much longer, there will likely be another awkward encounter, and that's not why I'm there. I'm not there to make The Farmer angry, or uncomfortable or feel awkward. I tell the brother-in-law I'd best go, I find the mutual friend, who'd been nearby all the while, and thank him again for helping me work through the decision. We promise to meet for dinner. As I turn to go, I look for The Mother, wanting to speak with her again, but she was in too close proximity to The Farmer and there...there I lost my nerve.  I signed the guestbook, took a remembrance card and fetched my coat. I didn't notice the cold on the walk to the car...the love I carried out of the wake enveloped me.

I did the right thing by going.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Acorns And Oak Trees

I grew up hearing the cliche "the acorn doesn't fall far from the oak"; today, I had an opportunity to see it in action.

Today was a clean-the-house day, mostly because my birthday happened this past week and because I was a little snotty about the sperm donor's plans to spend both days with his guy friends.  Normally, I don't give a rat's ass about his social plans, except for when it's at the expense of the shit we need to get done at home.  Oh, and the birthday is relevant because I always ask for housecleaning for a gift...isn't that just sad?

So instead of spending two days helping other people, he gets one.  I think it's a fair trade, given we both work outside the home.  And in the spirit of the weekend, I didn't even start lighting fires under asses until at least noon.

But when I did, I presented the Sprout with a list of chores he was to do. Nothing beyond the ken of a child his age - clean up your own crap wherever it may be, gather your dirty clothes together, make your bed, unload and reload the dishwasher.  This last is where it fell apart on him.  As the sperm donor was scrubbing away in the kitchen, he discovered that Sprout had not emptied the utensil rack...and we'd all added dirty items to it, thinking that's what was there.  Himself lost it, sentenced the Sprout to wash every item in there by hand, dry it all and put it away - clean or dirty, every piece.  It degraded from there.

Between every task that child was assigned, he'd hot foot it into the living room, snatching up a hand held gaming device, or staring intently at the television. Even when the TV was turned to nothing but Pandora radio, he would stop what he was doing at the start of each song, running in to see who was singing or the name of the song.  Sperm Donor was beside himself - "Just get it done! The more you dawdle, the more of your day you lose!"

But see, here's the thing...the kid didn't lick it off a rock - he comes by this trait honestly.  And I know this because I watched his father today.  Scrub the counters and clean up the kitchen.  Go have a smoke and play sudoko on the iPad for 20 minutes. Clean the bathroom. Go have a smoke then sit on the couch and fiddle with a cell phone for 20 minutes.  Put away clean laundry.  Go have a smoke then pull out the laptop for half an hour.

I'm also amazed that every weekend, when there's cleaning to be done, the sperm donor tolerates a fantastical amount of procrastination, TV watching, video game playing and all-around shenanigans from the long as I'm not harrassing HIM to clean.  Oh, now and then he'll mumble "Go do what your mother asked" and be ignored. But the minute HE'S on the spot, it's all hellfire and brimstone if you're not pulling your weight too.  It never bodes well for the sprout when Daddy's gotta clean.

Today, the acorn pissed the oak off so much that the acorn lost privileges. Only for a day, nothing too catastrophic.  Maybe I need to ride them both to clean EVERY weekend so it's not such an ordeal.  Or maybe I need to do that thing I'm very, very close to doing...hiring a cleaning service.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I've been making a conscious effort to write more.  It's not always easy to find the time - remember that "About Me" post, and all the hats I wear?  Just like you, right?  Hard to find time for what you WANT to do in between all you NEED to do.

But writing makes me feel good.  Not as good as masturbating, but I think you get my point.  I get to take things that I think about while I drive, or shower, or vacuum - those mind-blanking tasks that let the brain do a little free-form exploration of it's own depths - and put them down in a coherent fashion.  Of course, I could be completely delusional and be completely incoherent and wouldn't know it unless you told me.  You'd tell me, wouldn't you?

I'm no Nikki Knepper (all hail She Who Came Before, Goddess of Honesty In Parenting!) - I don't expect I'll ever get a book out of being me, and frankly, I don't think I have the same angle of insight as Herself.  I do hope you enjoy my ramblings nontheless, I hope you'll comment when you do - or when you don't.  Keep me honest, gentle reader, and let me know if I'm writing shit. The gods know we have enough shit in our lives to deal with, no need for more.