What I learned this week

Here’s what I learned this week
as I was walking my feet to nubs
back and forth and forth and back:

Stark white walls can be a canvas
inviting to the artist
as they consider
layering color over dreams
if only in their mind’s eye
and not actually on the walls …

Or white walls can be barriers
implicit “don’t”
explicit “don’t”

Clean and tidy is welcoming
but perfect is a myth

We are all in this together
except for those who aren’t
who distance themselves
by work
by study
by importance
or by

We are all in this together
and still
we walk, wheel, scoot, or crawl alone

What I learned this week as I
in and out of
public and private spaces

is the importance
of a baseline understanding
neat and clean takes work

from everyone

I also learned, as I tried
to throw away cut flowers
who insisted on losing their
petals all over

Shedding them willy nilly
like the clumps of fur that show up on IMG_1529
the floor each morning from
nocturnal cat play

when I am trying to clean them up!

I learned that sometimes
in the process of cleaning up
you make BIG MESSES

Know what else I learned?

(that I wish I knew when my kids were littler
and when I was little to medium-sized?)

Here it is:

Messes are okay

They indicate that people and beloved pets
and even beautiful cut flowers that die
slowly for our pleasure
have been here and
experienced something with us

And that something is     life.

And guess what else I learned this week
as people needed and pulled me
with them to places
I hadn’t been in some time?

I learned that I’d rather live in the smudgy-walled
of my tidy life

than to have the perfect blank canvas
that holds but does not
the work of living
with others.

Flying a Kite

After writing last week’s post about my own self-induced slothfulness, youngest daughter and I got dressed and left the house long enough to gather less-than-healthy movie food and came back to watch “Saving Mr. Banks.”

I knew the base premise of the movie, but not much more. I figured if it had Emma Thompson in it, it had to be good. I knew that it had something to do with fathers and daughters and, you know, imperfections. What I didn’t know was how much I needed to watch that movie.

The sixth anniversary of my own father’s death went by not unnoticed, but unregarded. I called my mom a day or two after and apologized, saying that something was niggling me about that date, but that I couldn’t put my finger on it until much later.  She said that none of the four of us had called–for the first time–and she figured it was because we had all moved on.  I can’t answer for my siblings, but for me, it was less about moving on and more about being consumed by other things that seemed more dire and present. More about that in another 6 years or so.

My daughter and I were chin-deep in chocolate-y goodness when the scene came on where the writers sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” to “Mrs.” for the first time and about 3/5ths into the scene, I found myself weeping silently into my chocolate. In that moment, I knew I was being taken somewhere else and the movie in my head overtook the one on the screen. In that moment, I saw my dad singing that song and I saw his silliness and his expressiveness that years of being an adult had robbed of me–and of him. I saw him singing that song, I saw him telling stories to my daughters, I saw him playing pirates on our deck with them, I saw him wearing my great-nephews hat with that look that always reminds me of “Dopey” of dwarf-fame. I saw him eating home-made ice cream in his hospital bed in the corner of my mother’s family-room, surrounded by my mother and one of his dearest friends–the one who had brought the ice cream. I saw my dad not in the images I’d held to strongly over the last many, many years–of his judgement, of his disappointment, of his … imperfections.

I got to say goodbye to some images in that moment. I got to say goodbye to my own anger and disappointment in my father’s imperfections. I got to see the way he did try to create fun for those around him, that he had a singular view of the world that brought us all joy–sometimes, I admit, at his expense.

In that moment, I saw my father smiling and I felt myself love him undeniably and I realized that I hadn’t allowed either of those things in many years. So, metaphorically and without my knowing it, in that moment that I wept the chocolate from my chin, I was tying a tail to that kite. It was a tail knotted with disappointment, bitterness, pain, and distance. And I let them all go. At least for that moment.

And this week was better than any week I remember in a long, long time. There was still work; there was still disappointment; there was still moments that could only be answered with chocolate, but I was better prepared to meet those moments because I wasn’t holding on to something invisible and unknown that was dragging me down, and down. And down.

The movie is, I think, probably pretty good on it’s own. For me, though, it was stunning catharsis… much as it appeared to be for “Mrs.” It allowed me to remember my father more fully–not through a lens of missed opportunities, but through a lens of missed understandings. They are different, those two things. And as I remember my father dancing around our living room, leading his merry band of misfits in a round of “Let’s go fly a kite,” I remember him with the love I know he felt in that moment.

Just like the song, that feeling was contagious and infected me fully. At least for this week.

Lost and Found

A common theme for my dreams is lost things. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who spends her nights searching for lost items and sometimes lost people. Last night was one of those nights, when I was searching and searching for something (I can’t remember what, now), and suddenly my dad was there. He drove up in a pristine classic car (wish I could tell you what kind it was, I want to say Impala, but I’ve had a day to reflect and so I see him in his old El Camino). He pulled up beside me and said, “come on,” which was not, as you might think, an invitation to get in the car with him, but an invitation to follow.  And so I did.  On foot. I raced after him and he led me into a parking garage under a shopping mall, and then sped off, leaving me standing there, panting, yelling “Dad?” in a real “WTF?” tone. It was only after he was out of sight that I remembered he is dead.

And then I woke up.

And the dad-feeling I had in that dream spirited away like a birthday balloon in a Santa Ana wind.

You go ahead and analyze the dream for me because I’m done trying.

But I will say that the dream has come back to me in strange moments today and as much as I yearn for restful sleep, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have glimpsed my dad again–even if it was in the bleary-eyed recesses of my brain.

I can explain this, maybe. I’m listening to Gilead by Marilynne Robinson as I drive to and from work these days. It is the story of an older father who is dying who writes a letter to his 7 year old son. It is the story of three generations of ministers and it is quite beautiful. I’ll listen to the end of the book tomorrow, but as the government shutdown has lingered on, it has been a real comfort to be able to settle into this story of hard times and strong faith and …. love. Love of family, love of community, but mostly love of God. Yes, it has been strange comfort. In fact, tonight I heard a line that made me stop the CD and just roll it over in my brain for a while. The narrator was talking about his father and grandfather who had a history of difference, anger, and distance, but he describes them sitting on the porch shelling black walnuts (that his mother said tasted like furniture) and remarks that they enjoyed each other’s company best of all–when they were silent. I’m not doing it justice. It’s a beautiful line that paints a picture of love beyond reason, of the familiarity that is usually strained, of the need to sometimes just be with people, shelling walnuts. It sketched silence as a gentle buffer that actually envelopes and connects.

The dream of my dad came back to me in that moment. My dad liked to talk about ideas and theory and sometimes his thoughts weren’t in league with mine. But there were times when he would be watching tennis or football and I’d go in the room regardless of my interest in the sport. I’d go in the room just to sit. I’d read the paper or a book or pretend to watch the television. In listening to Gilead tonight, it became clear to me what my motive actually was.  Just to be with my dad, to be in his presence, especially when we weren’t talking to each other.

That last makes it seem like my dad and I were at odds. We weren’t. But sometimes you need to have that person in your life who will sit quietly with you and not ask your motives, your desires, or even if you want a snack. Someone who provides that buffer of silent comfort.

Tonight, as I lay me down to sleep, I’ll pray my father comes again. And maybe he’ll have a basket of black walnuts and take a seat on the porch instead of speeding off in his El Camino.

And then maybe I’ll sleep deeply and well, as he watches.

Jumbled brains–not a breakfast recipe for hungry Zombies, sorry :(

The vertigo seems to have subsided, but in its wake (or the wake of the medicines), I’ve been left with dreams that wake, shake and haunt me. Nothing terrifying, and many I can’t remember once I am awake more than 30 seconds. Last night, though, I made myself remember, and the dream was of trying to get my father to the hospital from my house in Indiana to Hyde Park in Chicago. My mother drove and I rode shotgun, but my dad was propped up on a low-lying bed on a plywood trailer–being pulled by about 9 guys in a Suburban who were headed to the Lake to jet ski. “There a tremendous group of guys, Linda recommended them,” my mom said. And it did not seem to bother her or my dad that he was driving down the highway on a trailer. In fact, in the dream, we passed him and he held two thumbs up at me.  The absurdity woke me. I shifted the cat on my feet and went back to sleep and we were at the hospital but we could not find him. The rest of the morning passed with me jumping in and out of sleep, bothered by the dream, wondering how to make the dreams stop so I could just sleep.

I don’t remember the dreams of the last few days, but I know they are dreams of lost people; lost things. One was a friend’s daughter in my charge and then missing. That is the most I can recall of the dreams that kept waking me, except this: they kept me frantic and searching.

So now I’m sitting in the living room where it is quiet and begging God for some stillness–some peace in my heart that might radiate to my brain and let it know that yes, my brain was shaken this week with the vertigo, but all is well, all will be well, but it really has to settle down and let me get some good sleep or nothing will be well again.

The brain is so dainty, and I didn’t think of vertigo as such an invasive creature but that, it is. I think of my daughter’s head trauma this summer and how I have watched for signs of personality change, but it is so hard when she is also going through puberty. Is she more angry or is she just hormonal?  Maybe these dreams are my brain’s response to the equivalent of having my head tossed around in the dryer for a few days. Maybe this is the price I pay, the recovery, if you will.  And if I am this anxious about this, I begin to wonder about all the troops with brain injuries coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. What are they left with? What interrupts their sleep and leaves them begging for peace?

I often say I am ruled more by my heart and emotions than by my head, but I think that is because I don’t notice how connected they all are. When I am inarticulate with emotion, it is not because I am not smart enough to form the rational sentence, it is because my head has to catch up with where my heart has already gone and back.  I don’t pay enough attention to how hard my brain works–or didn’t. I make jokes about being dizzy and ditzy in general, about not being smart enough (mostly because I’m surrounded by people who are way smarter than the average bear), about my circular thinking, but the truth is I recognize that my brain works hard in other ways–is smart in other really important ways. While some brains are memorizing data, or pondering deep thoughts, my brain is one of those that searches for connections and continuity. It searches and puzzles on how to make large and small things work–how to make pieces fit together. And sometimes it just doesn’t keep time with the rest of the brains around it.  And sometimes, my words can’t keep up with the thoughts that it generates–that REALLY frustrates people.

So, I’m giving my brain a break today, I think.  I’m going to give it a few other challenges to puzzle through today.  I’ll let it search for tangible lost things: like the Christmas decorations.  And all will be well.  And here’s hoping to a good night’s sleep.

All the Difference

So, I need to state something very clearly: To Claus or Not to Claus is not the parenting hill I want to die defending. 

Parents do different things for different reasons. Sometimes parents are inconsistent and irrational. Sometimes parents are just plain human. Sometimes they like to play along; sometimes they feel they need to bust myths.

And guess what? Sometimes parents act differently with one of their children than they do with any of the others–because that child is older or younger, or because that child interacts with the world kinesthetically rather than intellectually, or just because that kid prefers fact to fiction or vice versa.

This is a complex and interesting world we live in, and each of us creatures is complex and interesting in our own right. How I parent my children is different than how my husband does, even though we parent the same children in the same house. When I see my actions causing or potentially causing damage, I alter course. Similarly, as my children age and grow and read and experience, I alter my interaction with them.  

My way is my way as yours is yours. What works for you and your family is the best thing that you can do–because I believe that you know your child best and know how they respond to the world and to you best. What I’m asking is that what works for me and mine, well, should be afforded the same gentle understanding.

Here’s the hill I would like to die defending: not all of us experience the world the same–and that is more than okay. It’s why we have Myers Briggs tests; it’s why educators learn to teach to multiple intelligences; it’s why good ministers learn to preach to the head, the heart, and invoke the hands. It is why Santa is a lie to some, a story to others; harmful to some; magical to others. It is why some people need to define “spirituality” in order to speak of it and others regard the definition and discussion, itself, irrelevant–superfluous, even.

And I know that this last paragraph is mumbo jumbo to some and crystal clear to others. And I’m okay with that. 

Just as it makes some of you crazy for things not to be definable with delineated edges, it makes me crazy to think that things MUST be, in order for me to be able to communicate to the masses. 

I am not a scholar. I am not an expert on raising children. I’m just a mom who lives a decent life and loves her kids more than she loves her stories–but loves her stories very, very much.

Families are like perennial social science projects. When I was 13, my mother went back to school to get her Masters in Early Childhood Education. My sister and I (the last two still reachable at our home who were well beyond her target range), were constantly subjected to new theories of parenting and child-rearing, to the point of us saying to her one day “Can you show us which chapter in the book you’re in so we know what to expect next?” or some such.  And you know what? I trust my mother. I love her. And I think she was doing the best that she could whenever she learned something new. I think she still does.

If, at the end of this crazy life my children say the same thing about me, I’ll feel I’ve done well.  Perfect?  Not hardly. But well. And I can’t ask for much more than that.

If, on the other hand, it comes about that lying about Santa has stymied their growth and created social miscreants, I’ll take responsbility for that, as well.

But for now, the early evidence indicates a healthy sense of understanding of the difference between story, tradition, lies, and that different people will always, always, experience life differently. Even those who were raised by the same set of well-meaning parents with the same dysfunctional set of parameters. And, to me, that difference makes all the difference in the world.

So, please, please, please: enjoy your holidays in whatever way is authentic and wholesome to you and yours. And I, I shall do the same, while minding the difference.

Giving what we want

I’m really grateful for all the attention my last blog post, “The Big Lie? Not hardly” has generated and the comments left there and on Facebook are thoughtful and kind. I haven’t commented back, yet, and I haven’t done so on purpose. As I cleaned and cooked on Wedesday and Thursday, I kept checking back to see if there were comments and at one point started to comment back and decided to hold off. Because at some point in the midst of reading it, I remembered something a friend once said to me about a hundred years ago.

She was very near at the end of her marriage, I realize now, in hindsight, and had already laid the groundwork for leaving it. We were having a cup of coffe and she was ruminating on the work she had done to celebrate her then husband’s birthday each year and each year he had been fine with the party and celebration, but not exactly happy about it. And for her birthday, it would be dinner, wine, a gift and then sex. “We give the gift,” she said, wistfully, thoughtfully and fully sadly, “that we wish to be given. We throw the party that we wish to have thrown for ourselves.” In other words, had she shown up naked with a plate of tacos and a six pack of Dos Equis on his birthday, he would have been thrilled. She, on the other hand, needed/wanted/yearned for the party with a room full of people who love her.

I think I may be the first person to talk about Santa Claus by invoking a naked woman with a plate of tacos, but then again, maybe not. But I hope you get what I’m saying, here: Very often, we give to our children what we wanted for ourselves. In reading the responses to my last blog post, I felt it keenly.

I remember saying, more than once, that as the fourth child in the family, I never had the option TO believe in Santa Claus. I don’t know what my siblings were told. I know that we opened a present on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas and there’s this one really adorable photo of all of us in them one year (this isn’t the one I thought I had–this looks like my siblings got bathrobes and I got feety-pajamas this year (yes, I’m the bald one in the middle).

It’s hard for me to think of what my parents must have told us way back then. I am flooded with who they were and what they did as I was older, and having those three older siblings who always wanted to be the first to know anything and then tell it, I can’t remember being told that Santa wasn’t real. Though, I do have one vague memory of an older sister and me in the back of a station wagon, rolling around in the flat part (yes, Santa Claus didn’t exist and neither did seatbelts!), and her whispering something to me that ended with something akin to –“so you’ll know and won’t look stupid like I did.” It was the same sister who years later whispered secrets to me about other things she had learned about as she grew up, all in the same spirit of generosity, so that I wouldn’t look stupid like she did.

I never felt lied to about Santa because I never really had the opportunity to believe it in the first place. I wish my dad had lied to me about other things.  I mean, when he told me Mike Brady was gay (when I hadn’t yet a clue as to what sex between a man and a woman was let alone between two men–because that older sister hadn’t yet whispered THAT bit of information to me), was probably my moment of great existential despair. Of course, my real despair came when we found that my father had NOT quit smoking as he had said he had for years. I would classify THAT as a big lie, way more so than the existence of Santa Claus. And one that ended up shaving years off his life and did, in fact, make me doubt much of everything else he told me after that.

If my parents had raised me to believe that homosexuality was wrong (they didn’t, my father just wanted people to be honest about who they were, strangely enough, in order that they COULD be who they were), or that God would save us without any work on our own, or that people of different races were inferior, well, then I would have felt lied to when I encountered the world and found out they had been telling me a load of hooey. But they didn’t. They raised me with a sense of understanding that there is wrong in the world and our job is to find ways to right it. Even if it is through storytelling. And I never felt lied to about anything of substance, until, of course, the smoking thing–and I was not alone in that.

So, maybe we give our kids the Christmas that we would have liked to have had–the childhoods that we would like to have had. And maybe we make mistakes in doing so. And maybe there are rational parents who don’t lie who end up having children who crave the story–and vice versa. Maybe we are just all a bunch of human beings who don’t have all the answers, and so make up the things we want to happen to us and for us. And maybe that is a fat man in a red and white fur (faux, of course) coat; or maybe its a naked lady with a plate of tacos.

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t know it all. Maybe, just maybe, whatever we give in love can be received in love and that, itself, is enough to override the not-so-literal-capital-T-truth of it all. That’s where I cast my lot in all this. But it is my lot, and I trust that there are many paths to trod on this one and we all get to choose which one or at least to cut the brush on a new path. And I wish you peace, love and magic on your journey.

P.S. to the DREs out there: No, don’t bring Santa into Sunday School–especially if you love the story, because my experience with UU kids is that they will do with Santa what they do with God. And it isn’t very pretty. I cannot erase the image of the condescending look on the face of one of my favorite kids when she said “some people believe that” to another kid.  And yet, even without Santa, she and her family have a lovely holiday each year, complete with decorations and gifts and company and food.

The Big Lie? Not hardly

On Facebook, Paul Oakely asked why parents tell children the Santa story and reveals that he was one of the kids on the playground who insisted there was no Santa. “Why would we ever choose to decieve our children?” he asks, in part. To which I responded: “Paul, you have met the enemy and she is me.” I promised to find a column I once wrote on this very issue and when I went looking for it, my eldest daughter asked what I was doing. I didn’t want to tell her, and then I did. “Did you ever feel,” I asked her tentatively, “that we lied to you about this?”

“Oh,” she said, “I’m so glad you did.”

As a Unitarian Universalist parent, there is a sense that what I should be telling my children is the imperical truth–that if it cannot be proved then it does not exist. I should not be propagating the lie of the dominant culture that there IS a Santa Clause when there so clearly is not. Clearly?  Hmmm. I guess I’m not convinced about that, because, well, I do propagate the myth.

I do it for the fun; I do it for the magic; I do it for the story and the lesson at the end. And I do it because, as a Unitarian Universalist, I don’t believe that there is a single truth about much of anything.

I wanted my children to believe in Santa not because I wanted to willingly deceive them, but because I wanted them to believe that if there is any one person in the world who loves so much as to want to deliver a gift to every child that one day that person could possibly even be them. Like I want my children to believe that Jesus was a man first, a man who chose to live a hard life of trying to provide comfort to “the least of these.” Because I want my children to believe that they, too, can provide comfort to those who need it–that the choice to live thusly is no more god-like than the choice to provide gifts is “mythic.”

Ah, but those are my larger goals–ones I had not even formulated 17 years ago when my eldest had her first Christmas as a baby of less than three months. I just wanted Santa Claus to come to our house. If you asked me then why I would have had no bold reasons. I would have just answered as truthfully as I could: Santa is fun.

Did we tell our kids that Santa exists?  Maybe. Did we imply it? You betcha. Did we go to great pains to assist in the belief?  Let me just say there were pans of water and carrots left for reindeer and tepid cups of chocolate and fudge galore (tip to kids who may be reading this: Santa LOVES fudge).

There are so many pitfalls to the Santa story: some kids get lots from Santa, some (like our kids) get the majority of their gifts from their parents and one or two things from Santa. And, as Paul points out, rich kids get better gifts from Santa than poor kids who may not get anything at all. Which makes the belief so much harder for kids who believe in justice. But to say outright that there is no Santa is something I can’t bring myself to do. Am I lying? Am I ruining my children?

I look at my kids and I think that the best answers I’ve ever given them is this: “What do YOU think?” And you listen to your kids wrangle with the idea of it and come up with either a definitive or an unsure answer. Most kids CAN and righteously do live in a world cascaded by both certainty and ambiguity. And some kids are like me and mine, who would rather wallow in a good story than twist on a literal string.

Truth? It is in the heart of the beholder, and some hearts can hold more than one truth at a time: i.e., that there is no way that there CAN be a Santa AND there is no way that there CANNOT be one.

And as for those kids on the playground who insist that there is only one truth and it is theirs (whether it be about God, Santa or the Solstice Gnome–another myth busted by truthers!), I’m not sure they haven’t also been raised by people who are sure they are doing the best and right thing for their children. Just like those of us who choose a generous understanding of truth are sure we are providing a multi-layered yet still-firm ground upon which our children can stand.

I’m not saying there is a better way. There is your way and there is mine–and a myriad of others between the two of us. It’s just my way is dressed up in red velvet and white (faux) fur.

The truth is: I can justify why I do what I do, but it won’t matter. I remember interviewing a Lutheran minister who had been excommunicated because of a book he wrote that basically denied the trinity. (Yes, he is a Unitarian!) But what really shocked me about this story was when I read his book and right up front was an entire chapter on metaphor. Metaphor! In order to make others understand why he came to the conclustion that he came to, he had to explain to his audience what a metaphor is and how it works.

This is how I stand on the Santa issue–if you can’t grasp the importance and necessity of imagination and metaphor, if the only options are truth and deception, I chose the latter. I choose fiction and fancy because more often than not, there is more human truth in the story of a fat man with flying reindeer and what can be known with the heart without proof than can be garnered by the eyes, ears, mind, and hands, alone.

I don’t ask you to do what I do, I only ask you to widen your stance and accept that truth is not always fully true and deception is not always evil.

I gave my children the Santa experience, but I also gave them much, much more. They’ve heard stories from other countries and other religious traditions that are steeped in the understanding that the gift of the season is giving, itself, and that giving and sharing love is much more important than giving things.

This, Paul, is only a part of the reason why this person willingly “deceived” her children about Santa and why I don’t think it has ruined our relationship in any fundamental way–because human relationships are much more complex than can be distilled through the telling of one story.  And, besides, we all have had a lot of fun in the “deception.”

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Magically Manageable

We leave for church in just over an hour. The community Thanksgiving feast is today and I have two pumpkin pies ready to go and there are sweet potatoes roasting in the oven. And they smell delicious.  I wish I’d had the foresight to take the rest of this week off. I would spend it cleaning and baking and trying the recipies I hope will work out. Like the batch of carmel I made last night which is hard and mean and I would never force on a friend. But would gladly let a piece rest on my tongue while I sip my coffee this morning.

Last night, while rolling out pie crust, we put in “Love Actually” and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. And I don’t mind that, even though we haven’t finished with Thanksgiving yet. I saw a few people moan on the book of face about people getting all Christmasy before Thanksgiving (before Halloween, even), and to them I say “Sorry.”

The best and sometimes worst of us comes out with the holidays. We have anticipation galore and sometimes the day lives up to it, and sometimes not. But the doing of the holidays is worth it, regardless of what we who like to think we are non-consumerists feel. The cooking and the gifting–whether done glitzy and large or homey and small–are done with the purpose of making others feel loved and cared for and about. We take this time each year to do so because it is so easy in the “busy-ness” of the rest of  the year to do so.

I do not bemoan the coming of the holidays nor do I, any longer, bemoan the going of them. I enjoy them fully while they are here and then I enjoy them fully as memory. If I bemoan anything, it is that our society tends to be all about the anticipation and angst and never really in that moment around the table, when everyone is fed, the wine bottle has been passed around, there’s is no room (yet) for pie, and we can sit, talk, laugh and share the quiet rites of family and community. 

Sometimes the carmel is hard and tacky. Yet, as my 15 year old said last night, it still tastes “delicious.”  I’ll be remembering that as we travel into this holiday season, my eyes and heart wide open to the wonderful mistakes as well as the well-crafted “wins.” In the meantime, those sweet potatoes taste yummy and the church community awaits.

My wish for you this holiday season is that you enjoy it as it unfolds and have room to breathe when it gets over-taxing. Moreso, my wish is that you make it manageably magical. As most everything is, with love.

Happy Holidays

Just asking

I don’t know that I have the answers, but I’ve been pondering some questions since my last post: what CAN we give our children so that they are able to be brave, creative and steadfast in the face of adversity? Is love enough? How do we foster open, curious minds? What thinking and coping skills really will help them through the tough things, the really, really tough things, like loss. heartache, embarassment, disappointment and betrayal, and just plain miscalculating?

I haven’t quite learned all this (any of this?), how can I help my children navigate these storms and realize, as Jon Stewart said, we live in hard times, not END times.

Not answering tonight. Just askin’. Thoughts?

Dreaming in Genres?

There is a long post waiting to be written about health care reform in response to my anxiety from last week, but for now, I offer you a view to how my anxiety manifests itself:  I have not dreamed much in the last few years. Too tired to dream–or at least remember them.  Last night I awoke from two very different dreams and I wish to ask: does anyone else dream in genre?  Because the first dream that woke me was a neo-horror movie of which I was the star, a young mother of two children whose oldest child is threatened by a demon who has taken over the body of my husband. Then I woke up.  And went to sleep and began dreaming a musical–I think it is the New Recession Musical.  What I remember were three groups of people taking turns at singing. The first group was all male and I don’t remember what they were singing. The second group was of small business owners (as portrayed by aprons and other costume markers) and I don’t remember what they were singing about.  But then there was a group of mothers, looking wistfully off to the distance as they drank coffee and made bread and sang of the days when they built bridges (that’s the one that I remember), and the refrain was “This is only Temporary, THIS is only temporary.”

Then I woke up.  Discuss.