My friend Alex L recently sent me a link of NPR’s remembrance of Maurice Sendak. Not bad at all. He really likes Terry Gross and lets it all hang out there during his interviews. He is absolutely honest about how horrible his childhood was, how much he loved his siblings, one brother in particular who helped him survive it. It’s very touching how easily he expresses his affection for folks he mentions, and he says aging is a blessing.
He also says he never wanted children — too much work when he wanted to be an artist. I agree. Having children is a lot of work and at times, sometimes much of the time, a misery, but I guess I do it because the gain I get is mucho love. That’s all. I truly love all three pains-in-the-arses a great deal. Hopefully, when I am 80, I will have sufficiently pleased one of them enough that they will deign to wipe the dribble off my trembling chin…kind of a role reversal pf what we’re going through now (though to be fair, I doubt as a senior I will throw up down their bra and in their hair quite as much as Boy Twin likes to do and First Son did.)
Anyway, check out the interview. Alex got a lot of life affirmation from the interview — he says to “live your life.” For me, it was a tremendous reminder that my spiritual identity is secular Jewish atheist. That’s what I’ve always been, and I forgot.
1) I walked past an SUV stuck at a red light. The driver was BLASTING
“Everything She Wants” by Wham. I laughed and said “What a loser.” And then, I thought “hey, that’s pretty good.”
2) This past weekend, Prospect Park in BK hosted a festival where the main act was Hall & Oates, which sounded really fun to me…no comment.
I know what I said about cancer being a trump card of life suffering. It totally is. But you know what? We’re still in like the 9th circle of dante’s inferno over here. I think the 4 hours of restless sleep, the tag-team banshee-wail styling of the twins, and the stroller on rush hour subway commutes qualifies for some sort of badge. Perhaps even a theme song. I will ponder which one I think will work. Thank you.
For this month, Mom is an enormous influence. My financial advisor? Mom. My dietician/nutritionist? Mom. My family physician? Mom. My personal trainer? Mom.
She’s bringing over a number of aerobics DVD with routines that would have been laughably easy two years ago, but now are a challenge for my scrambled-eggs brain. I do okay on a dance floor, but I’ve never been able to learn and mimic choreography in a smooth manner. The best I can do is like a jerky, scarecrow imitation. Watching my workout makes Mom shake her head. i am amazing in my awkwardness.
Mom: What kind of woman are you, you can’t follow a simple routine.
Me (continuing to huff and puff through the dancing): I know. I bring shame to my gender.
Mom: If you were a man, I could understand.
Me: Thank you.
Facebook is strange because you sometimes find out extraordinarily intimate information about friends and acquaintances you no longer talk to. One playwright I know was tagged in the photos of her husband’s funeral, so I sent an email, because I like her but also felt like I was spying. Anyway, through the FB Newsfeed, I learned that fiends from grad school got married once same-sex marriage passed in New York, they had a child before that, one of them got cancer, before the wedding. All of this I learned from afar, and none of it did I take too seriously. Everything, I believe (maybe naively) will work out. Nothing happens to us that we can’t handle. But I just learned the woman died this week. WTF. That wasn’t supposed to happen. She was supposed to get better, heal, then write a theater piece about that dark period of life that no longer exists. I thought for sure, she would survive. She has a three-year-old son. Ugh.
I have my life stresses, but I hear something like this and my troubles seem puny.
P.S. Cancer sucks. I hate it. It blows.
As a mother to 8,000 children, I feel qualified to blab about certain topics. (being a major mother has nothing to do it with it — I am very opinionated). Let me just say in most cases, there is more than one parent involved. In my case, there are several people raising my children — me, Husband, friends (two in particular), You Tube (Elmo, in particular), a cadre of babysitters, day care, my dad, and my mom. Today, allow me to bow down to my mom. She has taken a few weeks off to help out with the Wonder Twins, she is here every single day, helping with baby duty, cleaning and taking care of me. Along with taking care of the kids, she is making sure I eat, nap, and get outside. She is my personal trainer, providing me with DVDs and post-partum exercise sheets she found online and will assist when Im too weak to lift my leg, etc. With the exception of Husband, she is saving my arse in a way no one else can. Anything I’ve complained about her in the past is out the window. It’s not that she’s not guilty of the things I’ve poked fun at, but it really doesn’t matter now. It so doesn’t matter. She’s an 80-pound ball of senior citizen fury. You would not believe how hard that woman can work and what she gets done. I’ve told this all to her, so it’s not secret. At some point, First Son interrupted and I had to say, “Son, please, I’m in the middle of kissing Grandma’s butt. Give me a minute.”
I’ve told her in the past if she plays her cards right, there will be a tent with her name on it in my backyard. This year, she has been upgraded to the back porch. Thank you.
Recently, Husband asked for a reading recommendation. I gave him Who’s Irish by Gish Jen. Lots of cultural differences that both he and I can relate to. First of all, Gish Jen is an amazing, incredi-balls writer. Her writing blows me away. The title short story captures some Asian/American cultural clashes, but it’s mostly about (to me, anyway) how we manage to bungle the relationships with family who make us the most crazy and whom we love the most.
To generalize, the story characterizes Asians as hardcore and brutally blunt, and Americans as extraordinarily considerate but wieners. I kind of agree with that assessment, and at different points in life, have considered one quality better than the other. The harshness of the way some older Asians (my mother, hello) communicate interests me the most. It’s something that both cracks me up into convulsive seizures and makes me feel like someone just handled me with a hot poker.
The Korean Tooth Fairy had this similar quality. When the boy twin was in the hospital, she said she knew a woman my age with twins, but the boy died. Part of me went, Really? Really? I mostly found it funny (probably b/c he was in the clear at that point.) (She was still awesome, btw, very caring with the babies, but she is Korean, therefore blunt. We had moments during the health stress points, where she would fret and I would point and scold “Think positive! Think positive!” This would make her flee. I felt like I was Harry Potter and I just said Expecto Patronum or something.)
The matter-of-factness — I don’t know, I don’t think it comes from being mean. No demographic really owns the corner market on that quality. But it’s there, and I wonder where it comes from, but what weirds me out is that as I get older, I realize I have that Korean bluntness, as well as the American sensitivity thing, too. I am so confused.
When it comes to dressing babies, I’m pragmatic. I see onesies as vehicles to receive spit-up, barf, and poop, I don’t really notice or care about design. The designs for boys are pretty basic anyway, while girl clothing is over-the-top drag-queeny. I’ve seen faux-fur shrugs, leopard print jeggings, bedazzled cardigans, all of which struck me as impossibly frivolous and I was never interested. But then this week, I put the girl twin in an AC/DC pink mini-dress and I got excited… The baby girl was disinterested. She looked at me with the same look of mild disdain or tolerance, but she did look decidedly more feminine, more ready for a movie premiere, etc.
Now I’m thinking, why not embrace the frivolity? Bring on the platforms and wigs, people. Wait, she’s not a drag queen. Revise: bring on the ruffled, multi-tiered skirts, faux fur shrugs and garter belts-for-baby-heads.
When Husband yawns, he sounds exactly like his father. I find it mega-weird. But today, I heard myself yawn, and I sounded exactly like my mother. Creepy.
The night is young. So many dishes to wash, babies to feed/burp/hold before sleep…
If you have to contend with the early baby days, don’t feel badly about meltdowns. That’s what I tell Husband and that’s what I tell myself. What’s nice about our relationship is we never have nervous breakdowns at the same time, so we can take turns coaching the other back to normalcy. What I told him after one particularly rough night was that sleep deprivation and loud noises are patented torture techniques that they use in Guantanomo Bay. tThe only thing missing is country music. If we could say, “Babies, please stop! I’ll tell you whatever you want, I’ll sign any confession!” we would have folded oh-so-long ago.