Hello out there.
There is the picture of life, and then there is the life of life. It seems increasingly difficult to distinguish the two.
SonHerisme wants me to sit with him while he is youtubing it up with all of these 20-somethings having “made it” with their muti-million dollar homes/cars/lifestyle etc on the shirttails of Kardashian kookiness. My child sees attainable goals – play games/do kooky dangerous stuff/make science/host crazy games and give away money, record yourself, and violá multimillionaire home on Rich Bitch Avenue! Humans hitting a micro-minutia chance at an unpredictable jackpot where they can maximize their day-to-day humaning commodity into cash(unless it is sex work, then all bets are off, but he cannot access that…yet). Cash is the goal. Strike that, the MOST cash is the goal. SonHerisme talks about how big of a home he is going to purchase one day, what artist he will commission pieces from, how he will balance his work and home life, etc based on these clips, snippets, pics, tik-toking their way into his brainiac. He is at that pivotal age of 14: newly minted freshman in high school, possibilities are endless, mommy is suddenly becoming less everything yet somehow more annoying… oiy
And there I sit, putting cottage cheese and cinnamon or fruit preserves or salmon/capers on my toasted waffles, while drinking very strong deep black espresso in an adorably small white cup. The espresso aroma is inhaled slowly and exhaled along with gratitude for this elixir of the G-ds. The French provincial style faded green cotton tablecloth with its delicate tiny yellow/white/light grey paisly pattern, tops an inherited burled maple octagonal table with a thick oversized scrolled wrought iron base. The tablecloth is faded to the point where it suggests having once been new but now loved and worn instead of trash tattered. My place at the table has a heftier weighted quilted cotton round scalloped-edged placemat on top of the tablecloth. The placemat is a more quiet yellow/green/red floral pattern. The oversized crisply ironed cotton napkin is off-white (from many uses/washings) with an equally off-green hexagonal lattice pattern. Waffle holding plate is restaurant level heaviness, restaurant level white. No utensils required because these waffles are sturdy, toppings are proportioned for waffle-in-handing, and I am awake early at home, eating on my own. All the while pretending that I am eating fancy food in a quaint other place not full of the smell of dead carcasses and urine. Maybe I exaggerate… alas my house reeks of unpleasant odors due to MotherHerisme (open wounds, lack of self care), two dogs, and teen-boy shoes (and sweats and stuffs of teen boys). Grace and space. Grace and space. Grace and space, lovely and not-so-lovely people of the world.
When I mentioned my cottage cheese and cherry preserves on waffles as make-believe fancy pastries to ShewhoisEight, she looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. We were enjoying a cold beverage and treat moment, waiting for a parade to come through the main street of town. The cafe’s air conditioner was also a lure on this sweaty glow humid hawt day. This new cafe had full picture windows to the street for maximum comfort viewing of the parade. SonHerisme was marching, as was ShewhoisEight’s older brother, and other community members we know. ShewhoisEight was sharing two tasty treats with her mother and I enjoyed my glorious cold brew espresso with a dash of oatmilk (bougie bougie time). One of the treats they ordered came with two dollops of whipped cream topped with little pinky sprinkles across the white peaks. ShewhoisEight’s mother asked if SonHerisme ever ate fancy oatmeal anymore. Fancy oatmeal has raisins, whipped cream, a selection of sprinkles to choose and self serve, occasionally chocolate chips, all in a large bottomed crisp white bowl. Does he eat it anymore? Yes, if, “anymore,” refers to 9pm last night because he is a teenager with the massive teenager hungerings all over the place… This is where I shared my version of fancy pastry substitute by waffle/cottage cheese/preserves which received the, “you must have lost your mind because why don’t you just eat the real treat like I am?!!?” look from ShewhoisEight. Yes, it seems that might be easier IF I wasn’t celiac with soy, certain fats, egg, and dairy issues. But that’s too much for a before the parade treat convo. I replied to the look with, “it is really very tasty and I’ll let you try mine sometime if you’d like,” cheeriness – most likely overboard cheery. YES, I KNOW cottage cheese is dairy. I get the high protein lactose free one which seems to work for my system-of-dynamic-mysteries. For now.
Once we stepped out of the cool cafe, into the drippy humid heat, the parade parts with SonHerisme and ShewhoisEight’s brother, marched passed as we cheered, jumped, and waved to them. Then I left ShewhoisEight with her parents (her father arrived just in time to see both boys!), and followed the parade to the end at a park at the edge of town. The parade participants had a picnic with lots and lots of cool water as they cooled down, goofed around like teenagers do, and gathered up their parade accessories to return to their schools. They ended at the little park behind the little city pool. The pool is hidden in an ally across the creek from the back of the courthouse. There is a larger, more prominent city pool in the middle of the multi-blocked large park on the edge of the city center. This smaller hidden away pool where the parade ended, is a remnant of segregation times. This was the colored pool. While I wait for SonHerisme to wrap up his teenagering at the park, I walked across the creek bridge towards the courthouse thinking about how culturally tilted things can turn on a dime, feeling like precarious balancing on a tightrope – or falling off for so many of us. Why is the pool still so very small here? Rhetorical since we all know why while pretending we don’t know why and go about using the pool without regard for what it stands for because we love swimming and shade, and this pool has both.
Behind where I sit on the bench, is the courthouse. I have been inside there too many times and for too sad and frightening reasons. We are okay. It is the memories that are difficult to sit with and digest as reality. Turning around to look at the back of the courthouse, I can see the lower level back doors I would enter through in order to avoid MrexH and go through less of a crowd at the security check. I did not know what would happen if I ran into MrexH, but I was sure it should be avoided (advised by my attorney and the sheriff’s dept). I do not know know if I did the right things through those processes. But we are all alive, so there’s that.
On that note, SonHerisme received a card from MrexH this week, along with a card from MrexH’s parents. MrexH’s handwriting is scratchy and very heartbreaking to see (he is not well). The cards were vetted by our court appointed parenting coordinator and included cash for SonHerisme. SonHerisme is planning on using the cash towards building materials for a music room in the back of the garage. This is the tightrope of keeping connection open while not sugar coating the past to make things smooth and okay. I think that is what it is.
I feel word salady.
While I have been alone for a very long time, and deeply lonely, this transition into High School mode has me suddenly recognizing how alone I really am. I knew I was alone before, but I feel it so much more now. The lonely feeling is about the same, but the knowing of being alone has blossomed exponentially these past few weeks. SonHerisme attended a little Montessori school for his entire school career prior to high school. Almost every day after school, we were at a community park close to the school, or some other activity with different circles of friends from either the school or around the community. While I was alone the entire time, I never realized I was alone because there was always some activity or school thing needing attention. High school is another formative transition to adulthood, which requires more autonomy and much less parent involvement. Yes, yes, yes, Montessori is all about personal responsibility, sacred learning time and space for the child (which in our school meant parents stayed out of child spaces/experiences unless absolutely no other option available – like field trips where parents had to drive themselves, no riding with children on buses…etc otherwise known as militant montessorian, aka a topic for another day). It is appropriate and right that this high school transition happen. I am not questioning that. I am mourning, or grieving the loss of childhood times with SonHerisme and constantly questioning my parenting as he pushes and stretches his boundaries (as he should) to learn about eventual complete autonomy from me. And this grief brings home the reality, my reality, of being entirely alone.
I am keenly aware of the aloneness of me in all aspects of how that translates into this life. Even though I continue to care for my parents’ two little miniature schnauzers (Sugar and Spice, litter sisters), I am looking for a larger dog for SonHerisme and myself. A dog companion for walks and car drives to and from wherever SonHerisme needs to be. The doggy will probably help with feeling safe on my own, and maybe the lonlinesses as well. Sugar and Spice do not travel into other environments very well. They attempted to corner and harrass a giant german shepherd recently at the vet. I also recognized this past week that they have been living with me since Christmas 2016. I am their human at this point and have ordered them travel seats for the car to see how well that goes until we find our big dog. I have been their human for 6 years and I have failed them as well buy not socializing them more or including them more in my routines. They are gifts thrown at me that I have, once again, not taken advantage of.
BTW – being alone is weird. I am going to help with some parent support at the high school to find a new groove as I prepare for what’s coming in 2 years when SonHerisme begins driving, and then in 4 years when takes flight to find the footing for his own life.
I want to see things as they are and not how I imagine or want them to be. Often my brain fails at this task. I am alone. Sometimes I eat waffles with cottage cheese and preserves. It is okay. I am okay. I am starting to think the attentive pursuit of acknowledging and ruminating on inner feelings is mostly unhealthy for me and I would not like to do it as much anymore. Actioning instead may help (?). How does this work? Life-ing life instead of picture-ing life? Cleaning out the things and walking the tightrope of life (wearing pink knee socks natch)? I hope that you are okay.
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo
ps waffles with swiss cheese, capers, and smoked salmon = delish, I kid you not. Try it and report back. If you’re vegan, try egg free waffles topped with spinach and tofu paneer. Waffles are amazing conduits of the yum.
Also, in response to my, “thank you for coming with me to pick up SonHerisme’s dinner, otherwise I’d have to do this alone and it’s more fun with a buddy,” ShewhoisEight tells me not to worry because I should never feel alone or lonely since she (and her lovely family) are always here too. 😉
This unaccompanied cello piece is what I want to feellook like on my prelude-to-the-next-thing tightrope