Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm on the edge of Glory

For those of you that don't know, that is a Lady Gaga song... Edge of Glory - a song that our family is a bit obsessed with right now. I have an entire essay (vaguely outlined) inside me about how much I respect and adore Lady Gaga, and how if I can feel this way (as an older, mature, fairly "formed" female) I imagine you can multiply that by a million and barely score the surface of the desperate adoration experienced by millions of 12-20 year old women.

But that's a story for another day. Currently, I live with a (3-days-shy of) 2 year old who may simultaneously be Lady Gaga's biggest, youngest fan... and the ruin of her in my eyes. Milo*** won't let it go. He loves her. Her NEEDS her. And the little monster drives a hard bargain. When it comes to nagging us to play her music, he has the attention span and tenacity of Jane Goodall in the jungle. All he cares to listen to is Lady Gaga. And he is insistent. And I know you are thinking, "How can he know??? What does he really know about it???" But he does and he gets pissed if we try to listen to any other music. He acts heartbroken as if all other music is a compilation of dissonant chords and harmful to his dance-party way of life. For now, his parents are equally stubborn, and when we can't take another 50 rounds or 50 miles of Lady Gaga at the audio helm, we are getting used to listening to all other music with Milo screaming in the background:

(It goes on and on).

So, the title of the post also relates to my mood these days. I'm a little off-kilter; not sleeping enough; doing my best to balance. Finding myself needing to write more, but not writing. Finding myself needing to eat less, but eating like cRaZy. Finding myself wanting to exercise, but not turning the machine into high gear.

Despite what you just read, I'm pretty damn content with this life we are living right now. I am full of gratitude. I am amazed by my wife and our sons and basking in their glow. BUT... I am experiencing a fog of apprehension, and that familiar angst that comes with waiting too intently for the other shoe to drop.

The summer is fading, but it has been quite wonderful. Despite the fact that we experienced an earthquake (my first) and a tropical storm in the span of 5 days, we've had tremendous weather.

We’ve spent a lot of time this summer swimming and playing (and eating food) with friends and family… Some of that food has been seasonally fresh and healthy, and some of it char-grilled, processed, fried, and yummy (but very much the opposite of “good for you”- unless you are counting the “good for the soul” excuse that I keep coming back to.) We've had some terrific vacations: Ohio in July, Rhode Island in August...

This last week, though has found me in a bit of an angst-y, Don't-look-down-you've got-too far to fall melancholy.

To be fair, it's about to be autumn and I have a history of angst-y autumns at various times in my life. At this latitude, in this hemisphere in September and October, there is a very specific change in the angle of sunlight. The time of sunset sprints back toward the afternoon. It is still “summer” during the day, but the temperature plummets 20 degrees by a few hours after dark. You can close your eyes and smell the air (before more than a dozen leaves have changed color) and know you are breathing the first breaths of autumn. You could be in 80 degree sunshine, but know that shifting glare on the horizon means that the summer warmth will dissipate after dark.

Today is September 11th. I just finished watching the season finale of True Blood (a totally f'd up TV show that I can't quit) and about 2 hours of 9/11 "never forget" coverage. And I can't help but wonder, who is that slogan for? Isn't forgetting required a little in order to heal. I got my first glimpse of the WTC memorial and I just sort of burst into tears- it was the visual of the pools- water plunging down into the footprint of the original towers. I couldn't help but think of those people that jumped. I'm not one to get overly sentimental, but something about firefighters dying will always cause me to come a little unglued I think.

It's not just Sept 11th...

Last week, a 4 1/2 year old boy (a friend of a friend's kid) drowned in a neighbor's pool. The parents are a lesbian couple. The kids were with a sitter at the time of the accident. Feel the weight of that devastation for a moment.

Next week, the trial is about to begin for the second man who was caught in the act of, and then confessed to, robbing, pummeling, sexually assaulting, and murdering our friends one summer night in their own home FOUR years ago. But until the end of this trial we have to keep saying he "allegedly" did these things. His team of lawyers seems even more desperate and untrustworthy as he has shown himself to be. I know they have their job to do. But this guy is the one that is going show himself to be some kind of real SOB and I know you are going to have to put up with a little ranting from me in the coming weeks...

Then, there's Jake*** and Milo*** with their impressive, end-of-summer tan lines, and their ever-expansive brains and sharp observations of the world, and their little perfect bodies growing out of toddler-hood and baby-hood respectively. I know they are still young, but they are already growing up. And it's hard to imagine how we will continue to keep them safe when we know so much about how things can go wrong in the world.

There was a festival in town this weekend- food, fun, crafts, music (sorry, Milo, that the Marching Band, did NOT have any Gaga). One tent set up by a local insurance company was producing "kid ID kits". While you waited there, they took photos and fingerprinted your children. I wanted to do this because I can't imagine anything scarier than needing this data and not actually having it available. The entire time I was under this tent (probably 20 minutes for both boys) I felt like I might burst into tears. It was so anxiety producing to complete a kit that would help us if one of the boys disappeared, that it was actually hard not to mutter "never mind" and just run away from there. I felt as if someone was choking me and telling me a really sad story at the same time.

But you should see Milo*** in gymnastics class... and you should see Jake*** in ballet and tap and t-ball. It's a trick of the mind to worry about what bad might happen, when there is so much good happening all around. And I think it's a fool's choice to give into worry, when there is so much celebrating to do. These are the heroic lives we lead- planning a little for the worst, but doubting it will ever come and doing so with such loving intention that, that you make your kids feel all the safety the world may or may not offer.

1 comment:

amber said...

this post left my heart sad and my chest tight. being a parent is so emotionally exhausting and thrilling, I was the parent who walked out of that tent at that same festival, not even being able to swallow the saliva in my throat at the notion that this perfect little being could be taken from my momma bear grasp. it was a thought i could not bear to even wrap my head around.
it is sad that we even let ourselves think this way...but unavoidable.