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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twelve times forever

“I’m too straight, mama. I’m too straight.”

My son assuredly meant something by this, but it’s doubtful he meant what it sounded like to me.

I couldn’t help but laugh, but I couldn’t stop thinking about his words, either. And when we drove away from a bookstore with a new Cat in the Hat book in our possession, I found myself imagining a Seuss-style conversation with his older self.

Li’l D, just so’s you know, I’ll love you . . .

twelve times forever

Mommy, mommy, you love me, right?
I love you, silly, bigger than the sun is bright!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lex & Angel take a stand against grief. Kinda.

On February 23, 2010, comfort was hard for me to find.

I was taking care of my then five-month-old son solo while working remotely from my mom’s home in Oregon, all the while trying to prepare for the inevitability of soon saying my final farewell to my mom.

Monday’s post helped me remember my mom’s life instead of the days leading up to the end of it, but that only goes so far. Today, for example, my heart believes very much that it is living February 23, 2010 and February 23, 2012 simultaneously.

As written on TMiYC’s Facebook page this morning:

Yesterday I wrote about how the Mayan calendar was cyclical, not linear and conclusively ending.

So, too, with grief. There isn’t a set amount of grief that becomes gradually and predictably lesser day by day. Rather, there are ebbs and flows.

As this Gregorian calendar year’s cycle nears March 4, I’m in a flow of mourning, remembering these days two years ago.

And yet, looking through the source document for a book I might someday write–with my sisters–about my mom, I was startled and pleased to remember that there was some comfort in unexpected places.

Let’s step in a time machine back to my law school days, shall we?

A die-hard Joss Whedon fan, I celebrated and supported all things Whedon-related during my law school days. I seized every opportunity I could to be an extra on Whedon’s shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and even (once) Firefly. When I learned Angel‘s David Boreanaz would be playing at a charity hockey event, I was in. So in.

Except, when I got to the event, I realized I wasn’t much of a hockey fan. In fact, the only thing that kept my attention on the game at all was this guy named Michael Rosenbaum, known to many as Smallville’s Lex Luthor.

It wasn’t him, exactly; rather, it was his impact on the menfolk who’d clearly been dragged to the game by their wives.

Watching Rosenbaum play with skill even I could appreciate, I saw many of the men go from half-asleep and disengaged to actually being present. Something good was happening! Real sport was being played!

Men’s enthusiastic voices began to punctuate the silence. “Rosenbaum!” “Rosey!” “Go, Rosey!”

I didn’t expect to think about that game or Michael Rosenbaum ever again, but the thing about going to school at UCLA was that lots of movie premieres happened right off campus. One such premiere was of Rosenbaum’s film Sorority Boys. I nabbed a free pass to the premiere on a trip into Westwood for ice cream.

When the stars of the movies came into the “civilian” theater to say hello, I yelled “Rosey!” in my attempt at a booming, masculine hockey fan voice before bursting into a fit of giggles. Rosenbaum looked around with a question on his face as I sank into my seat.

A few moments later, I found myself unable to resist a repeat. “Rosey!” I boomed.

Rosenbaum looked around again and said something like, “Seriously, who’s saying that?”

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wanted to Buy: Takebacks

I was barely sixteen when I first moved out of my mom’s house.

I stayed with a girlfriend, S, from the local community college, where I’d just begun my third term of studies in what would prove a successful bid to get out of high school a year early.

I managed six weeks of living with S before I decided home wasn’t such a bad place to be. As I wrote in my online journal:

I don’t want to go “home,” but I don’t want to live with S. She drives me crazy. Not even the siblings make me nuts in the same way does S.

Eventually I’d discover that shared lodging often breeds resentment, but at the time, I was sure S was the problem. Well, her and her rabbit. Also her 3 a.m. phone calls from her mom, who’d demand S awaken me so she could tell us how very, very much she loved both of us.

Life at my mom’s house seemed oh so sweet by comparison. For a couple of weeks. I let her know how grateful I was by saying things like, “I hate you! I’ll hate you forever!” and–because I knew it got under her skin like nothing else I could say–”I wish I’d never been born!”

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Friday, February 17, 2012

FTIAT: Two ships

Renee (Life in the Boomer Lane) writes mirthful, subversive critiques of the media that make me wish she were responsible for all news, everywhere. I said as much the first time I read her blog, and wish it even more strongly now.

I was anxious when I invited her to guest post. I didn’t dare dream she’d actually say “yes,” but rejoiced when she did.

Beneath her wit runs compassion that is so much more than words. I am thankful she uses her words in all the ways she does: to speak out against injustice, to poke good-hearted fun, to encourage. It was at Renee’s urging that I wrote about my experiences testifying in court as a child; through that writing, I not only learned but increased my strength. For this I am and will ever be thankful to Renee.

Recommended post: The Day I Shook Hands with the Dalai Lama

Two ships

In the midst of the riches that surround me, of family and friends and health and purpose, I am thankful for two moments in time that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with my life.

Years before I was born, two children, one in Poland and one in Russia, each stepped onto a different ship. One was a girl, eight years old. The other a boy, thirteen. The eight year old was alone. There was no family to hold her hand. There was no family to stand at the dock and wish her well as she departed. She probably had a card either pinned to her clothing, or hung on a cord or rope from her neck. The card would have had her name and little else. She would have been surrounded by other children, all duly identified. She wouldn’t have known where she was going, and she wouldn’t have known what would happen to her after she arrived.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'll love you more if you blog.

Dear sister,

OK, so the title’s a lie. You know I love you times infinity.

Still, as your big sister, I feel compelled to share with you some actual benefits of blogging as an author. This is because:

(1) You are about to finish writing your first novel, handily meeting the “author” requirement,

(2) I still know better than you* and can’t let you forget it, and

(3) I am just that helpful.

The list that follows is by no means comprehensive, but that’s only because there’s not enough time to share all my expertise. Also, my fingers would get really tired from typing that much.

In descending order of importance, these are the reasons you should start your very own blog:

(1) Because I said so.

Don't make the unicorns cry. Photo by Mackenzie Kincaid

(2) Chipmunks told my friend Julie that the unicorns will cry if you don’t start a blog.

(3) Your words consistently move me; blogging will enable those words to reach the hearts of many others. You’ll do some of this by your book**, but blogging will allow you to express different facets of yourself.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

A glorious mess of hope and wonder

“Do I need to buy a TV so you kids will stop reading?”

My mom was usually joking when she asked her children this question, but the humor was often tinged with desperation. “It’s good that you’re reading, but should you read this much?”

Despite our poverty, my childhood home never lacked for books. My mom saw these garage sale finds as an investment in her children’s futures. Indeed, books proved a vital link from the sadness of our circumstances to the hope that many adventures might yet await us. (Ontormonto!)

Between our home collection and the thousands of books available at the public library, no part of the world was beyond our reach. Neither was the “otherworld” unreachable. Between me and my just-younger sister, every book on the supernatural made its way to our home at some point!

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