The raft, the shore

The raft is not the shore

This is something that one go my first college professors told us in a class where we were learning about grassroots activism.

You might be better than drowned, but if you hover above yourself, you;d realize your nowhere near where you ought to be. But it is hard to get perspective like that from the raft.  My raft has gotten me here. But I haven’t landed.





Election 2016

is this a dream within a dream,

i wondered at my Twitter-screen.

is this the straw that breaks the back of every girl who, looking back, will give up, stop making a fuss, get back to the laundry and the back of the bus

is this the start of the next holocaust

is this my gender, biting the dust,

judged as women who can’t be trust

The glass has not broken

the people have spoken

but what do they mean?

Is this the start of the new show on screen?

just sit back bite your tongue or scream

searxh through your workplace to locate your team

of women who woke up, but lost the dream



Minecraft Misery

Help! My daughter just “killed” her friend on Minecraft and replaced her “head” with another “head”,  but she didn’t ruin X’s house like X claims she did. Maybe Y did it. Or maybe it was a complete stranger also inhabiting their world, they ARE on there too, you know. Any my daughter can’t type that fast so you probably think she did something awful just because she can’t type fast enough to defend herself……..

No. This is not how it is going to be. My 12 year old daughter, getting into those fights that involve SO many friends (Minecraft and reality) at once, so it turns into a “She said, She said” type-fight which snowballs into a phone call, and texts, and tears. And MOM getting online to say “This isn’t cool guys” in what must read as the most annoying voice ever to invade Minecraft.

But actually, that’s how it is. And even though it got really ugly on the phone, I didn’t lunge into my daughter’s room to break up the phone call. Alright, the door was locked. But still.

As I clearly eavesdropped from the bathroom, my daughter and her friend slowly and suddenly “got over” the “killings and destruction” and their friendship seems to be in-tact. As I listened to the conversation, I wanted to interrupt so much, but breathed a sigh of relief as I heard the conversation take a turn for the better.

Everything is fine.

This is the dawning of the true Middle-School Era. When teenagers, with their temperamental hormones and sensitive feelings, blow things up until they want to teleport themselves out of their real actual friendships…but then puffily take a step back and reclaim their humanity.

Tomorrow is a new day. But today has been a real eye-opener.



Torn from the page

“As long as I live I will be redefining my daughterhood in the light of my motherhood.”

erica jong


ive been thinking of my old childhood trauma and drama lately, and the above quote, from “What do Women Want”, spoke to me. Well-as an offshoot thought it did. Basically as I lurch into middle school with my daughter (age 11), I am forced to recon front and redefine my horrible, bullied, neglected-feeling middling years. I want to protect myself through my protection of her. I want to provide her the things I never felt I had. Cliche?

You bet.

There is still an indignant Tweenager in me who got spitballs in their hair during CCD, and my hands get clammy waiting outside for my daughter when her catechism classes are over.

The clothes. Oh, I protect her with clothes, and if I could afford it, I would bullet-proof her social status with Lululemon and JCrew for kids. I was terribly dressed as a tween and thus never had a chance to make a good impression.

As the years of childhood race by, we are entering the terrifying years of my past. Where, soon, “I” will dissacociate, reading about possible sexual trauma I endured as a toddler. That’s in 9th grade and was a major blow-one that still feels like the beginning of the end. Then comes the alcohol poisoning, every year, often every month, for the rest of high school.  Sometimes I think that alcohol poisoning is subconscious suicide. How long that went on…how I despair that no one took me home from he hospital and said “You. are .worth. living.” And bought me horseback riding lessons (my extreme allegory of what I imagine quality familial love to provide)…

How can I define my adolescence, even face it? Such a powerfully shameful period in my not-THAT-long life. Yet-as mother to a Tweenager,  I am being drawn back, drawn…back.

Self-regret is painful and luxurious.

BlackFriday Tears

Behind every door lies potentialcries on way to work thinking-why, when I am wearing mascara, do I do this?

in car alone, Ben Folds Five inducing tears.

“If you do not want to see me again…”, the old suicide song. It always reminds me of September 2001, waiting for soccer practice to start in college, walking around the track, watching planes take off from Logan, where one went awry and collided with the world trade towers in that recent past…but that song makes me think of my sister, in that time, and how

distant I felt from her. I can’t hear that song without crying.


Sometimes I drive and listen to NPR or classical. Other times I drive and look for songs to cry to. What a woman I am. To sing and cry is utterly me.

I also heard Ben Folds’ “abortion song”, and the line “can’t you see? It’s not me you’re dying for” always makes me think of the small moment when I reconsidered my abortion 13 years ago, but my boyfriend shut the idea down quickly (mercifully? Mercilessly? The memory spins)

I heard, I found-rather, Pearl Jam’s “Don’t call me, Daughter…the picture, it will remind me”…which gave me new tears to cry, as this song does, because it reminds me that I have a father I will never see again, someone who might have a picture of me in his hands or in his heart but will never know me know, and how much I want to be known as a man’s daughter. Thanksgiving being yesterday makes me mourn this noun-less state, this fatherless-ness. I think that being a child of a divorce and not ever being raised with a father is one of the most profound emotional wounds I have. I’d love to come to peace with my paternal orphanage. I’d love to feel “not less than”, and “less loved”. I wish more people loved me. I wish my dad loved me (maybe he does), but I wish I had a dad that could love me and be my cliche…but it’s too late for me to have that. I’ve lived my whole life as a fatherless child.


Just because there are so many of us paternally abandoned, does not mean it’s easier for us by ourselves.

i remember in catholic school as a kid, I’d go to meetings for children of divorce. It was called The Rainbow Club. I’m glad I did. It’s funny how there is no support group for those of us with abandonment issues as adults. Maybe AA, OA? But nothing specific. Our issues are left to bleed into our lifestyles and pop up at unexpected moments of vulnerability,

or when a certain song comes on the radio

and we are all


State of the Uterus Address

My sister just had a baby this week, her 3rd in 7 years.  I have one “baby” who is almost 12. We visited her in the hospital yesterday and held her baby while she slept and rested. Newborns naturally remind me of my own time with my own one. Sadly, that time passes all too quickly. Although I wept a bit when my daughter went to sleep-away camp for 5 days this summer, I will weep for so long when she leaves for college…

I will be 38 when she leaves for college.

I could start over. Again.

You see, there is nothing that staves off my own death like the preoccupation involved in raising children.  They are so alive that it is impossible to dwell on one’s death.  There is no room for it, it is preposterous, these hips are for carrying babies on and these breasts are for convincing men that I am absolutely full…of potential.

But the feeling of supreme femininity that we ride as we float/claw through early motherhood, when we resemble the entirety of the universe to ur children, it fades.  Our children get old enough and soon we wee our replacements entering the door after school, waking up with rosy cheeks and batting longer eyelashes than you will ever have, with no creases on the sides of their eyes or sadness drooped or clenching in the corners of downturned lips.


This sounds so depressing but it IS November and I am in full custody of a seasonal depression and I’m required to write as often as I can about the lament of the mortal.

What I’m getting at is that as your child gets older, the dread of our own deaths becomes more apparent. When you have your child young…you can tend to look at the possibility of having another child as an escape from the inevitable, a reversal in time.

And not just the physical death, but the cultural death that happens when one’s nest is empty. How frightening? I have sheltered my mothering life with my daughter’s friends, my niece and nephew, children-feeding them, tending to them, entertaining them and being entertained. For them to all go, would leave me pathological, with nothing…

I am being glum. I know I can build a new life in 6 years when my daughter leaves the nest…but it would be soon much easier in some ways to add ore twigs, pad up a few more feathers into the walls, and remain safe in a nest, safe in a motherhood, for a few more years. Just one more time?

These are the thoughts I have when surrounded by others’ fertility in a maternity ward. How lucky! How lucky to be so oblivious, protected from death in that special way that being essential imposes.





Paper Trigger

You know what is triggering for me? It’s when my daughter comes home from school with her binder chock full of papers, that “legally” are supposed to be organized into different sections of different binders. And they are crumpled.

The more crumpled the paper, the more likely it is a currently due homework assignment.

The more papers are crammed in there, the more likely I am to hyperventilate and overreact and think “God-damnit. I am practically a Stay At Home Mom…Why Can’t I HANDLE this shit? At least, more better for more longer???”

I am not a very consistently organized person. It’s not one of my best skills. But I have earned a master’s degree so I must be some-what capable of it. But it really flips me out and it takes “us” 20 minutes to sort “the shit from the sheet”.

Today I actually had to give myself a timeout, because my daughter was giving me some teenage sass about the looks of her binder, and I just COULDN”T.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Well…Lying defeatedly on my bed for a few minutes just made me remember my parenting slogan, “Don’t turning your mom”. Because my mom, in my “wacky” as she calls it-memmory, might have stayed depressed in bed the rest of the night. That image-that FEELING of being abandoned really comes to me sometimes.  Sometimes I feel like I am a lonely kid myself.

Like, sometimes, I AM the parent, and I am doing something that then reminds me of how I felt as the CHILD when something similar happened to me.  #parentified.