This summer two friends have gifted me private writing space: my dear friend K gave me the gift of membership to the Writer's Dojo, and my dear friend Joyce has allowed me to use her home in Central Oregon. I'm in beautiful Bend, having arrived last night, and I'll be here til Sunday evening. This is the longest stretch of time I've had alone since the birth of my kids--4 nights. Gary's not-working made it possible to leave them. So, thank you, K, Joyce, and Gary.
I also can look forward to another month of full membership at the Dojo. The owner is going to be away for about 10 days later this month. I've agreed to close it up at night, and for that he's converted my reduced membership to full.
The windows and siding were torn off the west side of our house at the end of May. A big hole was dug in early June. The foundation pour was mid-month, and now they're backfilling with gravel, and I suppose the mountains of dirt we've had since the hole was dug.
This has been a hugely attractive nuisance to boys. Once the dirt piles compacted I breathed a little easier, but for a while I had visions of kids buried in their own graves by slides they set off.
Boys finished school in mid-June with Connor tasting the adulation of a rock star. For their school talent show his band played an instrumental version of "An AC-DC song" (they couldn't announce the title: "Highway to Hell"). Connor was the drummer. Perhaps it was because they were nearly last after an interminable 2 hours (the goofy skits and inaudible knock-knock jokes become tedious after a while--thank God I'd had the sense to buy Scott a challenging Transformer toy to occupy himself), but they were rewarded with a great show of enthusiasm. As Connor, flushed with joy, said later, "Before we went on I was going, 'why are we doing this?' but now I know!"
The sound is poor on this video. If you want you can skip to the end where Connor pounds out an ending flourish and raises his sticks in triumph.
Brief aside about Scott here. Rewinding a few days before the talent show, he said something about having new friends. We were walking out to the car after I'd picked him up from school and I was half-listening. I said, "You have new friends? Who are they?" He said, irritably, "Felix, Levi, Ivon!" I said, "But Scott, they're not NEW friends; you've known them for over a year, and Felix longer." I then realized (strike forehead with hand) that he was talking about new in contrast with old--the Skyline friends he realized he was going to see when he went to Connor's talent show. He said, "My old friends might be mad when I tell them I have new friends. But I'm not going to lie to them." He astounds me. He'd been working this issue for some time by himself, before revealing just the tip of the iceberg. I'd had no idea.
School was out a week and then it was time for the Birthday Party Cycle. The boys' birthdays are exactly 3 weeks apart. Connor's came first and he had a slumber party attended by 6 kids. I'd been delusional when I thought at 12 they may have settled some and this would be a quieter party. Instead, they were as active as 5 year olds, only in bigger bodies; jet propelled by the hysteria of pre-puberty.
Didn't I say the construction site was an attractive nuisance? Note the mud on the feet, most of which found its way into the house. No matter how many times they were admonished to "take off your shoes" there was always someone who forgot.
I got to miss some of it though. I'd signed up for a course in bodywork.
An old friend of mine told me about this work, known as Biovalent Systems. She does it exclusively now, and is quietly passionate about it. Talking with her had awakened an interest in things physical therapy that I'd thought was dead. For the longest time the prospect of returning to my profession filled me with vague dread and carried a whiff of soul death. This had complicated any contemplation of leaving this marriage.
I'd expressed an interest in the course to its teacher, then when Gary lost his job wondered if I should reconsider. After some uncomfortable last-minute vacillation I decided to go ahead with it.
In this case, there was definitely a sensation of approaching a door, and having it open further. What was exciting was the sense that what she was saying about the workings of the body in a physical realm seemed metaphoric to the psychological process I've been chronicling here. It's very cool when concepts seem to apply across systems. Maybe there really is some kind of universal organizing principle. I've been inspired to open some of my old anatomy and physiology texts and brush up on my fundamental understandings. The trouble is that everything I relearn seems attached to another thread that when tugged pulls up way more than I can digest. Asking a question about some basic cellular structure or function only yields information that I need a whole other level of expertise to understand the answer.
The biggest mystery though is figuring out how to reconcile my nature, which is private and introverted, with the natures of my sons who are already chafing under the weight of lots of unstructured time. I'm embarrassed that this is such a conundrum for me--balancing their need to find a way to fill their own time with my responsibility to help them do it. Especially when my natural inclination is to wish they had 'off' switches so I could hang them up in the closet for the summer. I'm not proud of that. This shouldn't be so hard, trying to figure out how to be with them in a satisfying way--satisfactory to them, and to me. And having an audience in Gary merely increases the stage fright.
Still, they've found a way to amuse themselves with the materials at hand.