Tuesday, June 3, 2008


When I answered the question about kindness for the book tour last week, I told the story of women who had reached out to me after my miscarriage. The fall-out from that was to to pull out that diary to read.

Gary left on Friday for a business trip; Connor had a 2 night campout with his school. After some hesitation I took a gamble and gave in to Scott's pleas to have his buddy Felix spend the night Saturday.

{It could go either very well, with the two of them thoroughly occupying each other, or it could be a nightmare with my presence required moment-by-moment to negotiate their differences. Felix is a very complex child. He has an unfortunate combination of middle-aged seriousness and age-appropriate egocentrism. It can make him a bit of a prig; when children push back there's a world of hurt feelings to disappear into. And he feels things so strongly.

What was arguing for favorable conditions is that Connor would be away. When Connor gets self-righteous in his big brother way on Scott, Felix is known to pile on. Scott feels ganged up on and the ensuing fireworks are wearying.

The gamble paid off. When it's just Scott and Felix, Scott is quite flexible and Felix largely gets to pursue his vision of How Things Should Be unchallenged.}

While they played well I could occupy myself with my project. The year I was turning 50 what had been a vague idea turned into action: transcribe my diaries from age 14 to present. It was only later that I realized that this was a 'taking stock' project. I'd been working in sequence and had gone from the summer of 1971 through fall of 1980 when I decided to read from the period of my miscarriage. So I jumped out of sequence in the transcribing.

The miscarriage took place in a context, and the context was the deep unhappiness of the marriage I was in. It was 4 years old then, and I was thinking about divorce. In reading my writing from that period, I see that I could be writing it today. In other words, there has been no movement since then, 12 years later.

What's really odd is how thoroughly I'd forgotten I'd written that stuff. I suppose what accounts for that is that we signed up for a couples relationship class (PAIRS) that went for 5 months. It was an effort to enhance, or save our relationship. In the meantime I got pregnant again, with Connor.

I was looking at a type of blindness in my "Fish In the Sea" post. There's the blindness of undifferentiation, the blindness of not knowing what we don't know. And now I see there's also the blindness of distraction, and/or forgetting. Things must have improved with the PAIRS course, or I had reason to believe they were improving. In the meantime pregnancy and then early parenthood shook me from my moorings and in the context of my 'new normal' I didn't recognize the Same Old Problems. Or I didn't experience them the same way. Two years after Connor was born we moved to St. Louis, another distraction.

So when I read this old journal, I see that we've been walking in circles for the past 12 years emotionally. This feels like a dull ache.

Putting myself in my sons' place, I have an inkling what it would feel like to read this...the questions I might have about my very existence to know the 'field' between the male and female poles that created me.

Like fish in the sea.


Lori said...

I found that as long as we had a major "project" (wedding, expatriating, home furnishing, family building), underlying issues remained dormant.

It's only in the last few (calm) years, with only "process," that thing are coming up to be dealt with.

Not sure that's applicable, but it was triggered.

I guess you might want to ask how you'd like this time to look in another 12 years.

I know this is hard...

excavator said...

Yeah, the combination of the PAIRS project, having a baby, and then relocating to St. Louis kept things under wraps for about 12 years.

It's just weird to find myself having come around to full circle and see I've been considering all these options before--and that I'd forgotten that so thoroughly.

I know how I DON'T want things to look in another 12 years--I don't want to be blindsided by surprise that I'm at the same place and realizing I've been there before, yet again.