Happy New Year 2013

I long ago dispensed with New Year’s resolutions and instead follow one of my mother’s premium bits of advice in our loving and tumultuous relationship.

During  an ongoing argument, decades ago, when I was clamped onto the notion that my mother had to see life through my particular lens, she stopped me dead in my tracks. Armida Alicia Raptis reminded me who’d given birth to whom, then declared how fed up she’d been that I relentlessly steered the conversation into my lane, so that maybe, just maybe she’d recognize where she’d wronged me in the past.

Enough.

We will never agree on the past. I will not apologize for doing what I thought was right at that time.

Enough, Elizabeth Ann.

The silence threatened to pull us further apart until she said two words. “Borron, borron.” Spanish for a clean slate. Mother speak for I’m sorry.

Those two words made it possible for us to move forward into a much richer and deeper relationship. We still disagreed, unintentionally hurt each other, and locked horns, but a “Borron, boron always gave us a graceful way out.

This bit of Armida’s advice helps me start each year afresh, reminding me to let go of the past and look forward to a New Year with unfettered optimism.

When writing life and “This Time Of Year!” collide…

the holidays almost always win, hands down. Writing a novel, an essay, a blog, most anything can’t compete with “This Time Of Year!”.

As it is, each ordinary Monday to Friday, week in and week out, I ants-in-my-pants squirm almost every minute of every hour while I pound the keyboard until I settle  deep within a flurry of sentences and write like a savage beast. So, I don’t need an excuse not to write. I have a built-in ejection handle on my chair that can catapult me on to every other thing in my life including sorrow, celebration, fear, and guilt.

But “This Time Of Year!” gives me carte blanche to push away from the keyboard and ignore what’s grappling to get out.

Until I read tiny beautiful things Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. This collection of columns is a gem, but the response to a whiney aspiring writer slapped me wide awake. Among the erudite and gentle advice she spoon fed this ailing woman, three sentences stood out. I now live by the last sentence..

“Don’t write like a boy.

Don’t write like a girl.

Write like a motherfucker.”

No words, this time…

 

 

 

 

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Holidays suck for infertile women!

I still recoil when I spot holiday decorations and remember how I circumvented shopping altogether after I became a bona fide member of the infertility club.

Christmas festivities felt caustic and I felt invisible.

Chapter IV – January 1994 to May 1995

“By early December, as promised, I called a longtime friend from Santa Cruz that now lived in Cuernavaca, an hour or so away from México City, and who found us an apartment in her neighborhood. Marty played with her young son, as her husband was away on business a lot of the time, and Evy and I talked for hours on end. Watching my man inventing games and rough housing with her little guy was painful at times, but he seemed more at peace at the end of the day.

We explored the labyrinth of a city and walked everywhere until exhaustion led us back to the tranquil garden surrounding our temporary home and the company of good friends.

The festivities leading up to Christmas were mercifully low-key: no Frosty the Snowman or Silent Night on the radio or in stores, no Christmas tree farms or decorations, no holiday list or gift buying. Instead neighbors opened their homes for evenings of conversation, games, and served a hot fruit punch and crescent-shaped cookies. Some folks gave out small paper bags filled with oranges, nuts, and hard candy shared by all.

While we cooked Christmas dinner, I stood over my dear friend while she disinfected and picked out miniscule slugs from a head of romaine lettuce, a leaf at a time.

She leaned in and said, “You were meant to be a mother, you know. Marty and you are so good with kids.” I rested my head on her shoulder while tears streamed down my dress.

Was I? Meant to be a mother? I no longer believed that.”