Chit chat

Posted: February 23, 2007 in Journal

In my last entry I sent a request for readers to suggest topics that they would like to know about. Long-time reader Jean responded asking how personal the questions could be. I told her to fire away, and she wrote back:

“Well, for instance….I wonder how the whole Lily/Michael divorce thing came about. I’m curious to know if you have any struggle with the decision to not have children. I want to know if you’re still friends with Heather. I’m curious about your sister and how her life goes. See? Personal stuff that you would share with a good friend over coffee (or adult beverage, if you weren’t so conscientious about your figure…..).”

I really appreciate the interest, so I am going to respond to each question.

I don’t think it came as a shock to anyone when Lilly and Michael decided to separate. We were certainly hoping that things would work out, but a lot of factors were working against them – marrying so soon after meeting (they met in November and married in January), being married so young (she was 18 and he was 19), having a military marriage (which statistically do not last long, though there are some fantastic relationships out there that defy that particular statistic), having so many kids so young and so close together (Robert came in September of their first year together, Devlin came 14 months after that, Roman arrived 16 months after that). Plus, they just plain ol’ didn’t get along. They were abrasive to one another, kind of fought like brother and sister, and played relationship games that are best left behind in high school. Like I said, too young for marriage and kids.

We tried to offer the best advice and help that we could, and we were all hoping things would get better once they left the military (June of ’06) and moved back home. But things didn’t get better, and Lilly left with the boys back in October to move back to her parents’ home in Texas. Which of course upsets us here in AZ, since we never see the boys and repeated requests for pictures from Lilly of the boys have thus far yielded no results. Hmm. I’m going to have to call her today and get on her about that.

Which kind of leads into the next question of, how goes my decision not to have children. I will say that having the grandsons around nurtured that maternal part of me that wanted to have babies. I was knee-deep in babies there for a while (see this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry, and this entry). It was mostly heavenly, occasionally frustrating, and certainly a good dose of babyness. Plus, I’ve had the raising of Marie and Michael since they were young, so I thwarted my maternal instincts with them as well.

At this moment in time, I am very okay with not having kids of my own with Calvin. I’m fond of saying, “If people had to raise teenagers first, nobody would be having babies.” And I really think that’s true. I would say that years 0 through 5 are the best years to experience parenthood, and it goes steadily downhill from there. Which isn’t to say that parenting stops being rewarding and nice and dandy after the child turns five… you just have to try harder to “look for the jewels”, as my former mother-in-law would say it. You have to try harder to see the good, to be positive, and to enjoy the parenting ordeal process. I’m very cynical about my kids right now (I’ve never been one to attach the “step” moniker onto how I address Michael and Marie – they’re as much mine as they are their biological mom’s, if not more). I’m sure as they become less frustrating, my pleasure in parenting them will return.

I would like at this point to make very clear that I am NOT a child hater, and I do not in any way share the feelings of that weirdo group of “Child-Free” people that have bothered Rob on occasion. Really, I just feel like I’ve had kids and I am now in the stage in which I am eagerly anticipating comfortable with them leaving the nest.

Let’s see, what’s next? Ah, yes, Heather. Yes, she and I are still really good friends, and I miss her all the time. BUT! She’s coming to Arizona for a mutual friend’s wedding in March and so I’ll get to hang out with her and knock back a couple of ciders at Rula Bula. She doesn’t update often enough to make me happy (grr… arrg…), and she’s gone through a rough couple of months with the details of her life, but for the most part she’s good and I CAN’T WAIT to see her and get caught up.

I’m curious about my sister and how her life goes, too. We don’t talk very often, but when we do it’s a whirlwind conversation of what mischief she’s been up to, what mischief her kids have been up to, and how crazy their life is at that particular moment in time. She’s on the Board of Selectmen in her town, and she’s usually the lone voice voting against the majority. I’ll say one thing about my sister, she’s got a STRONG moral compass and the stuff she’s been up to is all Erin Brockovich in epic-ness. Some of her opinions and actions have made her rather unpopular with the other members of the Board and other town officials. She’s very popular with the town’s residents, though – the last conversation I had with her, she was considering running for re-election this spring. Originally she was going to stop at the end of this term, but so many people asked her to run again that she thinks she will. It’s amusing to read the meeting minutes of the board meetings – it’s not too hard to read between the lines and see that my sister (and sometimes her husband, who regularly attends the selectmen meetings to support her) is pissing people off. And that makes me proud. She’s pissing the right people off about the right kinds of things. Maybe she’ll run for Mayor next. That would be cool.

Calvin and I are really looking forward to seeing my sister and her family when we go to Maine in May. Though in order to get completely caught up with them, I should have scheduled an extra week of vacation. Still, a short visit is better than no visit at all.

This was fun! Thanks to Jean for asking such great questions. I hope more readers will e-mail me or leave comments with more topic suggestions.

Gee, that wasn’t a very subtle hint, was it?

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