Inoculation

Monday, Anne went behind my back and got Owen the H1N1 flu mist at the clinic at school. Not only does this breach the terms of the parenting agreement we only recently filed with the court, it was a complete breach of faith between the two of us, since I had explicitly told her I didn’t want to boys vaccinated at this time.

 

Poor Owen – the look on my face when he told me he’d been vaccinated must have been pretty alarming. Seth immediately went for the jugular, “Didn’t you and Mommy agree?” For the first time, I let them in on more than what I usually do when it comes to talking about me and Anne: I told them that I hadn’t known Mommy was going to do that, that we didn’t agree on Owen getting vaccinated, and that I’m really shocked that it happened. Owen kind of shrugged it off, in his Dr. Love fashion – yesterday when I sent him off to school, I said, “Honey, I want to apologize again for the mix-up with the vaccine,” and he patted me on the arm and said cheerfully, “No need!” and went skipping on his merry way. Seth, on the other hand, is obviously freaked out: if me and Anne aren’t going to get back together, we’re at least supposed to be a solid unit taking care of them.

 

After a night from hell Monday (on the couch, crying, up at 3am watching Season 2 of “Big Love”, filled with rage against Anne and her insanity, etc.), I got up, got the boys off to school, and called my lawyer. In his mild, don’t-be-asking-me-to-hold-your-hand-honey way, he told me that I could file for contempt but it might or might not go my way, or he could write a stern letter to Anne’s lawyer. I chose stern letter, and that was sent, and thanks to modern technology, she got it the very same day. Much later in the day, I remembered my lawyer had said, too, that it often takes about a year to get agreements like this running smoothly.

 

With much deep breathing and concentrating on the blessings of my family, I managed to let the rage dissipate, and me, my Beau, Seth and Owen had a gorgeous day yesterday, celebrating Thanksgiving early (they’re at Anne’s for the actual day this year), and enjoying being together. A fire, the puppy, a few rounds of Boggle after a simply amazing meal if I do say so myself, and bedtime stories. When they went to Anne’s today, I was able to let them go without tears, with joy, because they have another family, and that family is also incredibly important to them and that is ok. Gorgeous days like the one we had yesterday are like an inoculation against separation. We connect and love each other so deeply, that it’s ok to be apart for a while. Won’t be no skin off our noses.

 

Today, I am even calmer. I am so grateful to have this agreement in place – hey! we swore in front of the very grumpy judge that we would abide by it! – and to have recourse when Anne goes cracker jack after reading yet one more incendiary news article about how we’d better all panic to the nth degree about this flu. As unforgivable and crazy as it was for her to lie, go behind my back, undermine my credibility with the boys, and expose Owen’s precious body to god knows what in that stupid vaccine, at least this agreement has my back and I can come down on her with my lawyer’s help to give her a reality check. “Agreement” doesn’t mean whatever Anne wants. “Agreement” means we have to agree, and if one person says no, then we don’t agree and it doesn’t happen, whatever it is. And if she keeps acting like she can do whatever she wants, then she will be in contempt, and I will definitely take her back to court. There are two of us parenting here, and we are very different from each other and that is one reason why we got a divorce and that is why we hammered out this parenting agreement.

 

She wrote me an email yesterday saying she knows we’re having “significant vaccine issues” and she would like to “discuss what happened” with me after she talks to her lawyer again. Here’s the beauty of my post-agreement world: I don’t have to discuss shit with her. No means no.

 

Owen may or may not be immune to the swine flu now, but I feel pretty confident that my Beau and I are doing our job giving him and his brother the biggest and best dose of love that we possibly can, and that that will set them up for a life in which people are loose cannons, even people close to them like their other mom, and where there is a lot of disappointment, transition, loss, and confusion to navigate. There are also hugs, puppies splayed out in front of the fire, purple cauliflower and homemade gravy, raucous games of Boggle, and bedtime stories. Now that is a shot in the arm.

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 3:30 PM  Comments (1)  

The Slayer’s Hanger On, The Pool Shark, Miss Hollibaugh, The Man About Town and Me

Recently, due perhaps to some kind of deep, personal flaw, I have been watching a lot of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” I didn’t catch it the first time around, but I am certainly enjoying it now. I’m a little more than halfway through the second season, and if you haven’t seen it and think you might, then stop reading now because I’m going to be talking plot.

 

I read somewhere that Willow discovers she’s a lesbian, and it’s just so exciting waiting to see how that’s going to go down. Right now, she just caught Xander kissing Cordelia and she’s super upset. She’s also been flirting with that Oz guy. It got me thinking about how complicated the coming out process is, how long it can take, how confusing it is. In her book, My Dangerous Desires; A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home, Amber Hollibaugh discusses a propensity she had before she knew she was queer:

 

After high school and still straight, I nurtured my addiction to jealous dramas. I was bored with heterosexuality; heartbreak and jealous betrayal made it a hell of a lot more impressive [and Willow has the extra added impressiveness of getting to watch her good friend make it with a vampire! ttf]. It also kept alive my hope that there was still a chance for me; I wasn’t quite the freak I thought myself to be. My explosive emotional life covered the genuine drama I was avoiding.

 

This propensity, I also had. In college, (still straight), I was also nurturing my addiction to jealous dramas with a long, drawn out saga involving 2 of my best friends who eventually got together, leaving me to play the role of mascot, unable to face my own genuine drama. I suppose any queer girl could get caught up in this crazy stuff, but I think femmes in particular are susceptible because with guys, I mean, there’s something there that’s interesting. The masculinity part is good, it’s just not the right packaging.

 

I don’t know if Willow is really a lesbian and she’s probably not going to be a femme (although she would make a totally adorable geeky one, for sure), but I’m rooting for her. I also don’t know if the main character of Haven Kimmel’s novel, Something Rising (Light and Swift) is queer because she’s pretty secretive about herself (a clue, perhaps), but she sure acts like a butch. (Stop now if you don’t want to hear about the story!) From the time she’s ten and working hard to improve a shack out by the river to right now in the book (I’m a little over halfway through) when she’s consumed with anger, not hooked up with anyone, taking care of her agoraphobic and anorexic older sister after having had to be the breadwinner and caretaker of all the rest of her family as well, she acts like a butch who has to shore up the world because no one else is stepping up. She’s also a carpenter and most of all, an extremely gifted pool player. She appears to have no sexuality at all, and when someone asks her if she’s gay, she says, “Are you trying to piss me off?” Mm hm.

 

In “Innocence” (Season 2, Episode 14), Cordelia asks Xander if looking at guns really makes people think about sex,  and do they make Xander think about sex? Xander says, “Cordelia, I’m 17 – looking at linoleum makes me think about sex!” Good one! And so true. But what about those of us who, also 17 or however old we were, also with hormones in overdrive, didn’t get turned on by thinking about sex with the proscribed gender and were, for whatever reason, unable to realize what gender or what gender flavor, would turn us on? All our thoughts about sex got turned elsewhere, often in incredibly destructive directions. The other day, I was just remembering when I lived in Tokyo in my early 20s and the object of my delusional affection came to visit, still not in love with me, still only in love with my friend, but I hung out with him anyway, gave him my all. I wrote a song about being his dogsbody, I would ride back to my lonely apartment at rush hour after having seen him, tears running down my face, anguish personified, for all the tired salary men and office ladies going home to admire and wonder over.

 

Joel, the main character in Mark Merlis’s novel Man About Town realizes at midlife that “[b]eing gay had taken up his whole life. He had devoted the whole of his youth to it, had studied it year after year as intensively as if he had been training to be a neurosurgeon. There hadn’t been time for anything else.” Part of his being gay (and mine) was first not to know or to deny that he was gay – that took a long time. Then it took a long time and a lot of devotion to being gay, and then – for me, for many femmes – a long time figuring out that I wasn’t a regulah lesbian. And here we are, me and Joel, heading rapidly towards fifty and just coming into ourselves – who we really are, with a sexuality integrated into our whole selves.

 

No wonder I’ve been sitting around watching Buffy!

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 4:33 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is that Seth joined the rest of us for a few rounds of Boggle this evening, completely uncomplainingly and with  gusto — pretty good for Mr. “I Don’t Want To” 13-year old.

The bad news is that he was completely amped and sang (with gusto) snippets of “White Wedding” the entire time. Loudly.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 2:10 PM  Leave a Comment