Crazy, Loco Love on MITM

When it comes to loving my teenagers, Crazy Loco Love stretches me just shy of breaking point. At times, the connection between our children almost seems hardwired to snap, split, and break away while they reach for adulthood. They seem like strangers when they’re sheathed in snarky self-absorption. The plausibility of body snatching pods intensifies: I’ve stared into their eyes, just in case.

My mother used to call it amor salvaje, a rough and tumble love. Before becoming a mother, I conjured up Rarotonga, the love goddess of the jungle featured in the weekly fotonovelas we swapped with friends. My mom meant teenagers baring more than just teeth and stomping their way through life, “Just wait and see. Maybe you’ll be lucky.”

Now, I do see. My old-school Latina bag of tricks has a hole in one corner where lectures, ground rules, and pronouncements scatter and fall on deaf ears. The once tried and true approaches to keep conflict from boiling over are tattered from overuse and seldom catch my teenagers’ attention anyway.

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Crazy, Loco Love

When I read Karen Maezen Miller’s declaration of love on Mothering in the Middle, I knew after the first two sentences that the post I’d been writing had become a draft for another day.

Crazy, loco love stretches us in more than just directions when it comes to our children. Ms. Miller’s boldness and vulnerability opens up a space for conflict and love to traverse.

On loving a teenager

“They love us in a different way.

I said that when someone asked what it was like to have a teenager.

I feel like we’ve lost a daughter.

My husband said that after a silent and inconsequential Sunday.

Just shut up.

I said that to her after a ride in the car yesterday.

And yet, there is love, so much love between us and it has gone nowhere! I am standing on the high bluff over death valley, infinite openness in all directions, stunned dumb in the emptiness, but I know the space before me is pure love. Pure love. Life grows here, even when we can’t see it. Refreshed in a cool night, fed by invisible rivulets. A whisper of sea sails five hundred miles across five mountain ranges, and the whisper is this.

They love us in a different way.

They love us in the space, the space that is nothing but love…”

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Reading and writing go hand in hand, but aren’t always…

In step. When I’m writing every day, hours a day, I’ll glance at the photographs in magazines, read bits of news, but rarely escape with a book. The left hand side of my night stand is decorated with a tall stack of books that I won’t fall asleep to or read until my thighs go numb on the toilet seat.

When I write, I pound at the keyboard. I go through keyboards, like truckers go through tires. Every letter and punctuation mark that pushes through the bottleneck in my brain, faces me with a boldness that’s inexplicably satisfying. The only book I can read, while I write, is my own. It’s just my manuscript and me, intertwined twenty-four hours a day until the end. It’s not always a pretty picture!

But, when I’m done, I retreat to my stacks, scout around my shrines–my favorite book stores, and anticipate dog-eared recommendations. When I completed the final revision of Stretch Marks, these books were waiting for me… 

  • Michael Sims, The Story of Charlotte’s Web 
  • Diana Souhami’s, Gertrude & Alice
  • Claire Dederer’s, Poser
  • Reread Lilian Hellman’s, Pentimento
  • Kevin Wilson’s, The Family Fang
  • Victor Villaseñor’s, Crazy Loco Love