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postmodernfamilyblog

Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

Until Then

Picture this… Mothers and Daughters

Their procreative powers celebrated and valued

Along with

Their minds and voices, acknowledged and revered

— whether child-bearing, child-rearing, bread-winning, globe-setting or game-changing.

Women, not relegated to house and home, but women, free to regulate themselves.

Free to roam. 

It could happen. It still could.

Picture so many women, Mothers and Daughters, 

set to tell their stories. Mothers and Daughters

with stories like mine and hers and theirs. 

Stories ready to be sung out, loud and proud. 

Ready to upset the maelstrom of men and their spheres of control, 

their spears of control,

manipulating stories.

controlling bodies, 

codifying minds. 

Women set to tell their stories unhobbled by laws, unhanged with stigma, unsacrificed on altars, no longer denigrated and diminished.

Picture Mothers and Daughters unlabeled.

Unlabeled as virgins, ladies, cock-teases, cougars, sluts, spinsters, trophy wives, whores, hags. Frigid or loose. Nasty or pure.

Unlabeled. Unhysterical, Unfat, Unskinny, Unugly, Unhot.

Unused and Unabused. 

But no longer UnSung. Singing so many stories.

It could happen. It will. 

That’s where me and my kind come in. The writers, the poets, the instigators.

The storytellers.

We play a fundamental role in the histories of Her Stories. 

We keep the home fires burning, 

Fostering and fueling far more than fires in hearths.

Feeding fires in hearts.

Encouraging stargazing, fire eating, and drops of Jupiter in our hair. 

It’s in our dna, and has been, since the wheel first whetted the knife. Caves first oxidized hands.

And we’ll keep doing it until the reach of our arms and the span of our hips, and the stride of our steps no longer fits the limits of their boxes.

Until our potential is so great, vibrates so powerfully, wells and swells so phenomenally, that their spheres all burst and new worlds are all birthed, new galaxies unfold…

And we all find a place. 

Our place –

– for ourselves and our daughters. 

Until then.

Featured post

Our Postmodern Family

Our Real Modern Family

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now… I guess ever since we decided to bake up a couple of twins from scratch using borrowed eggs and my forty-seven- year-old oven.  My daughter once called us the “Real Modern Family” – and you know, she’s right.  I’m a Southern woman married to a half-Korean, half-Italian/Slovenian Yankee man twelve years my junior; I have two beautiful twenty-something daughters, an arthritic dappled dachshund and a morbidly obese cat.  And now, after much thought and consideration — and then funding and injections, vaginal suppositories, and appointments — I have started motherhood all over again.  This will be the story of us: our real modern family. Or maybe, more appropriately, our postmodern family.  Postmodern, as in “radical reappraisal.” And our story is, indeed, a radical reappraisal of how to make and nurture a family.

Many things have changed since that summer almost three years ago when we began our in-vitro journey… I will do my best to record current happenings, as well as flashbacks to those glory days of post-modern fertilization, pregnancy pillows, and preeclampsia.  I’m hoping our story will be an inspiration to those battling the frustrations of infertility, to those navigating the beautiful and rugged territory of twindom, and to those who decide to either start a family or do it all over again at a rather ripe age.

Even as I try to type this, I question why I’m doing it. I have nothing special to say. I’m nothing special. I nearly stop before I’ve begun, but then I think… I’m nothing special, true… but I do have something different to offer. I can’t imagine there are too many forty-nine year olds out there lactating. Not too many women out there with twenty-three years difference between their last baby girl and their most recent baby boys, not too many women who, as my father says, “ran the engine and the caboose when it comes to supplying grandchildren.” Not too many women out there who just suffered through a sixteen-month stint of extreme sleep deprivation. If nothing else, I can be a freak show for people to point at and ridicule. Still, I hope I can inspire a few to give postmodern family planning a go.

Family X-Mas 2014

 

 

Featured post

Blessings and Prayer Requests

What a blessing to spend two months with my adult daughter. Two months! 

It’s been years since I’ve had that much time with her — since her college days at UGA. But then, this hiatus between her fellowship graduation and her attending job at Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center happened. And it’s been wonderful.

She’s had two months of just lying low and recovering from the years of studying and training and operating and researching and testing and interviewing and traveling.

Two months to veg out on the sofa with some guilty-pleasure-TV and our sweet cat, Twyla. Two months to spoil her little brothers with coconuts and car-rider pick-ups.

Two months to sip coffee and wine with her mother and watch Friday night football to cheer on her stepdad and the Purple Hurricanes.

Two months to find a week here, a weekend, there to visit extended family or putter around in a boat on the bay.

Two months to catch up with friends for drinks and strolls, to take in a couple of concerts, to watch a parade. Two months to just settle her soul and find her center.

Which is a good thing because now she’s leaving her hometown Hurricanes and driving headlong into two more: the University of Miami Hurricanes and Hurricane Ian.

The first, she’s well equipped to handle. She’s got the skill and experience and know-how under her white coat to handle anything the U’s Hurricanes throw at her.

The second… well, this one’s a bit more daunting. It’s projected to be a category 4 by the time it hits landfall on Tuesday or Wednesday. And there are soooo many questions and concerns involving this one.

Where will the eye hit? Will there be gas available in Florida as she travels? Will phone lines stay up? Power stay on? Will her pod be delivered? Her movers show up? Her other deliveries remain on schedule?

My girl is a strong, independent woman. Absolutely she is. But this is a daunting endeavor, even with an entire support system in place. And she has just herself… so it’s nerve wracking for her.

But if she could also have your prayers — if you would kindly send some up for her — I would be ever-so-thankful. Prayers for her safety and smooth sailing.

And believe it or not, I am calm about this situation. I feel peace about this journey. It’s a peace that passes understanding — because I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe she can do this hard thing – as long as she’s got some assistance from her guardian angel, the Almighty… and you.

So I would appreciate your prayers on her behalf, please and thank you.

Tired and Worn Down

I’m tired. I’m so worn down.

Waking up at 5:30 AM and working nine hours a day at school, then throwing together sandwiches or quesadillas or crackers and pepperoni because it’s all we have time for before burning the rubber off my tires for the boys’ activities…

Monday: football and theater.

Tuesday: piano and football. 

Wednesday: dance. 

Thursday: dance and theater and football. 

Friday: Friday Night football. 

Saturday: any and all random responsibilities of the not regularly scheduled variety. But thankfully, my husband is here. The father of my sons. My go-to guy. He’s here to help on Saturdays.

And then Sundays. Salvation Day. Napping days. Because, y’all. I’m slap worn out.

And I see nothing but years and years and then more years of this insane schedule, multiplied.

Lordy, it makes me want to go curl up in a ball and stay there – which is how I used to cope with overwhelming stress, back before my boys and after my girls. After my girls were grown and my responsibilities were less, I would go to bed at 7 pm and not get up again for at least 12 hours. It gave me a recharge so I could maintain the course.

But I don’t have that luxury anymore. More than 6 hours of sleep is hard to come by.

And I know I’m throwing myself a pity party. I know I’ll be fine after a nice long Sunday afternoon nap and a glass or two of wine.

But I need to know: Am I the only one like me? (Well, probably the only one who’s 56 with twin 8 year-old boys and a football-coaching husband, but still…)

I know I’m not the only one burning candles at both ends and feeling frayed and frazzled with an FU filter threatening to fail.  

So what do y’all do? How do you find inner peace when your energy has melted into a roiling thermonuclear core threatening to collapse and there’s really no end in sight? When doing less is absolutely not an option?

No, like, really.

How do you handle it?

Seasonal Flings

Summer loves hard.

She’s one big blowsy display of shameless desire. 

All torrid days and steamy nights.

Leaving her victims slicked with sweat and stained in fluids,

Aching and flush with fever.

But she’s fickle and fast 

and before long, she’s plotted her leave. 

Toying and trying,

Running hot, throwing shade.

Her lovers blanch and grow sallow.

Vines redden with rage.

And petals, they sag and they sigh.

We’re spent.

And she is too. 

Nothing but a seasonal fling. We’re ditched.

She crushes us like spices —

Nutmeg, paprika, saffron and clove —

Ground to the ground in her wake,

The dusty detritus of a hard ride 

With a hot wench.

Still, we wear our bruises like badges of valor, 

eggplant and oxblood, ochre and rust,

as she rides into the sunset.

And Autumn rolls in, 

tossing gold at our feet

like tokens of affection

Wiser now, we think:

Here’s a cooler kind of love, 

So we climb back in the ring 

To take another swing

Gluttons for a pretty face

and a fast ride. 

At the center of it all— at a distance

I have an aunt I haven’t seen in years. She and my uncle divorced when my girls were small, before my grandmother died (she died when Bethany was four). So my girls don’t really know her. But me, I do. I love her and I miss her.

She was always the quiet, bookish sort. Sort of like me — or I like to think so.

When things got too crazy with our clan, she’d stir up a cup of tea and head to a back bedroom to read. She was steady and calm as a ship moving through the tumultuous seas of our family gatherings.

Now when I say “tumultuous” I mean in a good way. With kids spinning like water spouts in every direction, high-kicking at doorframes to see who could tap the top with their toes, or swirling in a whirlwind of tufted midcentury armchair mechanics as a pump organ clanged thunderously in a corner.

Where physicists gathered like the male version of Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters, heads touching like storm clouds above a coffee table, posturing this and theorizing that, formulas drawn quick as lightning across fragments of paper, igniting frenzied animation on bearded or bespectacled faces.

As high-tinkling laughter drifted in on warm currents of baked pie crusts from the kitchen where my other three aunts gathered, two at the red formica table, one sipping Tab, the other waxing poetic over Mozart or their 20-pound Maine Coon. The third, apron ties flapping in concert with the sticky percussion of her heels on linoleum both tacky in aesthetic and feel, issuing orders to pour this, wash that, to the older of us cousins. Well, to me. Because the second oldest was the one clanging away on the pump organ while the third and fourth were out there spinning like water spouts with the youngest among us.

Meanwhile, my unflappable aunt sailed in and out of the tribal typhoon, warm as a beam of God-light, regal, composed on her way to a back berth with her tea cup and book.

She’s who I longed to be, but have never quite been able to become. I don’t have her genetics. I don’t have that certain je ne sais quoi. I’ll never know what it is, nor know how to posses it, her well-coiffed confidence; her cool, sweet nature. She’s the crem de la crem.

But I do have her love of reading and her desire to disconnect from the chaos. Well, I do and I don’t. Because I secretly harbor a distinct love of the chaos too. I wish to always be in the center of it all, while also maintaining my distance.

Things have changed drastically in the passing years. We cousins are grown and our children are grown (or mostly). So our kids’ kids (along with my mid-life medical miracle additions) are now spinning like water spouts and kicking at doorframes, but not at family gatherings. We haven’t had an extended one in a while. Not since Covid hit. And when we do finally get back together, two of us won’t be here to gather… my father-physicist and one Tab-sipping aunt.

In spirit, though, they hover about me daily, feeding me love and the language to tell their stories. To tell our stories.

Because life is short and limited. That’s the ugly part – but also what makes life so beautiful and precious.

And the older we get, the faster life spins — kind of like that mid-century armchair from my childhood. Only now it’s a mid-century merry-go-round of time’s making and I’m at the center of it all — and at a distance, thanks to Covid.

Which just goes to show you’ve got to always be careful what you wish for.

My Philosophy

Sippin’ on Summertime

I settled on the screened porch to the honking of geese overhead, a whole gaggle, rowdy in the early morning haze of an August sky.

A reminder that summer is drawing closer to its end.

A rustling of leaves at the tree line joined in, a breeze taking flight, joining the uprising… protesting or promoting the closing of the season?

The ensuing rustle, a bit like rain, a bit like the street sweeper that climbs the hill in front of our house collecting grass clippings on summer mornings, leaf droppings in fall.

Collecting fallen reaped things.

Even in this season of plenty — even now — autumn is drawing nigh.

Nobody says that anymore, have you noticed? 

Not the autumn part, though that too… that beautiful word, losing ground to the curt simplicity of Fall… but the growing nigh part?  

Just poets. Maybe. Rarely. 

Those of us who want to hold onto the nostalgia of old words wheezing their last, along with the weedy wistfulness of summertime.  

Both futile undertakings.
Still. They’re not dead yet. 

Not the words, as long as we’re willing to sit with them a while in their magic, and not the summer, while we’re willing to sit with her a while in her moment. 

Summer’s ripe and blowsy, beautifully overgrown, gorgeous and gone-too-soon moment.

Today, I will seize her like a ripe tomato – bright and round and shining with the taste of sunshine.

Today, I will fill my soul with her,

Much like the hummingbird, flitting about to show me he’s here before perching, iridescent, on the red roost against the blue backdrop of the swimming pool. 

He surveys his domain and drinks himself giddy. 

While directly below, a bee ambles its way from leggy petunia to leggy petunia gathering nectar to make honey while the sun shines warm.

A pool float drifts aimlessly in the remnants of the breeze, gone as fast as it came. Gone as fast as summer.

The Season that Eclipses our Seasons

It’s the first week of August

Heat shimmers off asphalt

Tomatoes wither on the vine

And in fields everywhere —

In small towns and big cities alike —

Players are planting their cleats in the turf 

And sewing reps for the upcoming season

And coaches are planting kernels of wisdom 

Pouring their heads and hearts

Into the storehouses of our future

So that soon

Footballs with hang times 

As high as the mercury

Will tee off and inkblot the sun

In half-second oval eclipses

To kickoff the season that eclipses our seasons.

When Friday Nights light up the sky

Scorching skirmishes 

On lines of scrimmages

Linemen brawling

Helmets flashing

Shoulders clashing

Turf pellets scattering like buckshot

Behind the blazing feet of the skills fleet

While the quarterback searches for split-second targets

and sheets of sweat slick everyone’s neck

and the drumlines roll

and the symbols clash 

and the whistles keen

and the fans all dream

Of cooler nights

As they wait for the relief of

Halftimes

Under velvet twilights;

Where fans collect

To dissect

The first two quarters

Hair and skin draped in soggy blankets of sweat 

While moths bash their bodies in cataclysmic ballets 

beneath blazing stadium lights 

and starlings and swallows 

scoop them like popcorn from the sky

While actual popcorn

clutched in white paper bags

perfumes the air below

Butter dripping off dipping fingers

As the dew point drops to

collected condensation, while the crowd’s conversation

turns to playoff runs, and championship sights

and cooler, so much cooler nights.

And the coaches in the locker rooms

Adjust and turn

And the players in the position groups

Listen and learn

grow and glean kernels of wisdom

in victory and defeat

in the season that eclipses our seasons.

It’s not just about what you think it’s all about

I know about stolen rights. I lived them. I write about them. I just completed a novel composed of situations and scenarios from my life when I was deeply entombed in a cult that allowed me no voice and no rights. No anything except somebody else’s opinions and beliefs and actions forced inside me over and over and over.

Not rape, no. Not in a sexual sense. But yes, in a sex sense. Not in a violent sense, no. But yes, in a violated sense.

My bodily autonomy violated every hour of every day. My mind infringed upon. Hobbled. My brain and opinions gutter-stomped in the hopes that all I could regurgitate was an amalgamation of what they were putting inside me. Subservience. Shame. The sin-fueled inheritance of Eve.

I escaped and never looked back. No, not true. I did look back – I do look back. And I thank my lucky stars I escaped. And I write my testimony so others won’t have to live it.

Only sometimes I wonder if any of it makes any difference anyway. Because everywhere around me I see intense brainwashing. Beliefs so warped and controlled that I don’t know if anything that is said, if anything that is done, if anything that is witnessed and testified to and documented makes any sort of difference anyways.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop. That doesn’t mean I won’t do my utmost to part the veil and bring light to the darkness of what I’ve seen happen to women when they are abused and ignored and labeled and sacrificed.

Because women will be sacrificed. They will die. Because doctors – doctors who know and understand the risks are being hobbled too. Their voices are being stolen too. They are unable to sound an alarm loud enough to save the victims. So women will die. And babies will die. They will be brought into this world only to suffer and die. Or to suffer through a broken system that will not save them. Because people who know and understand cannot shout it loud enough to be heard. People will be – are being – entombed. Figuratively and literally.

It’s not just about what you think it’s all about. And while it’s already ugly, it’s gonna get so much uglier. I wish you would believe me.

Because I know.

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