Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Wedding Reading

It was a glorious day, a little girl dressed in white, a boy in black.
This is what I wrote to read at the wedding ceremony.

March 23, 2012
Becky and Patrick’s Wedding Day

Becky asked if I would speak today and of course I agreed. Not being one who is shy about giving advice I wondered what could I say to these two very special people who already know so much about each other? And then I realized that even when you have lived together, and have known each other a long time, discovery can take you by surprise. Sometimes it’s like a startling balloon burst of air, raising your eyebrows and lifting you off your seat, and sometimes discovery takes the wind out of your argument, leaving you speechless. These momentous revelations feed a long and happy marriage.

Becky…when you least expect it, you will discover a simplicity of thought or emotion which will bring Patrick to tears. He will be moved by a sentiment or action which runs deeper in him than you ever imagined. Like the day I discovered that flags make your father cry. They unfurl in honor of loyalty and sacrifice, why would they not move the patriotic man I married. This kind of emotional undressing will endear Patrick to you beyond words.

Patrick, from Becky’s disheveled landscape, and complicated road map to goal, you will discover a sense of order and focus, that will take your breath away. Her tenacity and ambition, masked by disarray, will surprise you. While contemplating what I was going to say today, I asked Bob; in all the time we’ve been together what discoveries have you made about me which you found surprising? His presumptive answer…he knows everything there is to know about me.

Patrick, honey…from someone who’s been married almost 32 years…assume nothing.

From this day onward, throw out your suppositions about each other. You have a lifetime together to learn that which is mysterious about your partner. Some of these discoveries will break your heart and some will fill it to overflowing.

There will be times, when in your darkest moments a light will shine from one of you, to show the other, a path through. There will be times when laughter, so hard to come by, will rise to the surface and wash away a difficult moment. There will be times you cannot stand to be in the same room with the person you have married and a time when nothing will dissuade you from your riveted stance beside your partner. And there will be times when you will look at each other and wonder; who is this wing-nut I am married to?

You both come from a line of long-married parents and grand-parents. This example of hanging-in and holding-on illustrates the importance of communication, respect and always a sense of humor. This day, this special day is a new beginning for you both, a new beginning for all of us. We know you as individuals, now we get to discover who you are as a married couple and you get to discover the future together.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Countdown in white

In five days my oldest daughter is getting married. Six months after that my youngest is tying the sheep shank. Two weddings in six months, a practical joke by God because my husband and I eloped.

It has been an act befitting any plate spinner, balancing the hearts of two daughters getting married. To their credit, they, and their prospectives, have planned just about everything, but as a mother wanting to respect and be fair I have walked a tightrope. I cannot even explain the tears that have been shed over the different needs of two children who love each other dearly but differ so profoundly on how they approach things.

Guest list, white dress, shoes, meeting parents and extended family, showers, centerpieces, music, flowers, seating arrangements and check writing, times 2. Whew. If I don’t see you at the after-party it’s because...that’s snoring you hear from behind the fake ficus.

But really girls, what's wrong with a bottle of wine and a Justice of the Peace?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Carrot Sticks

I had a normal childhood, whatever that is. Drying silverware by bundling it in a dishtowel and massaging the soggy, and encrusted with egg package of metal, until the towel got wet or tore was normal for a kid my age. Tossing, yes tossing the bale into the pantry drawer and stirring them until they sort-of made it into the slots my father built in the drawer, so my working mother could be organized, was standard behavior. It was what I did every day after school from first ‘til third grade; breakfast dishes, floor sweeping and dusting. That’s probably why now I never dust, sweep only when dog hair is knee deep, and dishwashers, whether flesh and blood or mechanical, are my friends.

My mother worked as a secretary for the head of a grocery company. I was a mid-century latch-key kid; this was before the term was invented. Though I had a big brother who never came home until mom started dinner, my mother needed to know where I was after school. She paid me to sweep, dust and wash breakfast dishes for .25 cents a day. My employment allowed her the comfort of knowing I wasn’t annoying Mrs. Wiser, our upstairs neighbor, or getting into trouble around town like my brother did. My employment allowed me $1.25 a week to spend on whatever I wanted. The only independently wealthy first grader, I was the envy of the after school cookie and milk set. They had mothers who baked for them, mine was my boss. Even after I married, and had children of my own, it wasn’t until after she died at the age of eighty-three, that I didn’t have her to look to anymore as an immediate supervisor. I’m the boss now, and like they say, it’s lonely at the top.

But, back then, after I did my job, I did annoy Mrs. Wiser. When my chores were done, I’d creep upstairs and knock on her door because she had peeled carrot sticks in her fridge and her daughter Nanette loved Mickey Mouse Club. Because my big brother said I was too old for such baby TV I, more often than not, would watch Jimmie and the rest of the musketeers with Nanette because I was lonely.

When my own daughters were the age I was when I was a latch-key kid, I stayed home. As they got older I worked mother’s hours because it was important to be there when the big yellow bus pulled up. I did that not because I didn’t want them to relive the lonely childhood I had but because it is a different world now. Actually, back then, the world was just as twisted, we just didn’t hear about it as much. The man in the park who exposed himself to me is proof.

Until then ‘write on’.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The wonder of returning home

Now that I am back to writing essays I feel as if I am home.

The roads are familiar, the buildings right where they should be, but they are improved, looking spiffier. There are changes to this so-recognizable landscape because there are changes in the way I write. Journeying away to fiction, for a few years, has taught me the importance of showing with words that which we want to tell.
I’ve learned that simply writing about the magnificence of the mountains pales. Now I write of the night spice of pine, mixed with campfire smoke, and describe the spongy bed of needles beneath my sleeping bag, and how the breathing of the wind in the pines lulls me to sleep in the shadow of the Grand Tetons.

Instead of writing about how much fun we had at the beach, I know to notice the reflection of the little boy in a red bathing suit, two of them now, in the shallows searching for snails and hermit crabs. Without a camera, it is a winning photograph I see, clicked forever in my mind as Long Island Sound, from his ankles to his little-boy knees, flows to shore.

Ah, I love the essay, it is so wonderful to be home again.

Where is your writing home?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Visitor, Justin Case

My horoscope said that a new person was going to come into my life today AND that person would be very important regarding my career AND the person might even come to my home AND because of this 'new friend/contact' I might even be contemplating 'a move'.

I'm going to clean the downstairs toilet now just-in-case.