Begin again

I find multitasking and code-switching a tad challenging. For this reason, three years ago, when I launched into a non-communications/ non-social media-ish job, I found myself essentially hanging up my bloggy spurs.

I did not, however, melt them down and make lawn art out of them. Fortunately for my neighbors.

Fig. A.

And  yet! I now find myself, much to my delight, in the position of directing communications at this selfsame organization. This job is not only in the right ballpark (I was there already) but at the right position therein.

Hosana and not a moment too soon!  Because in a scant few weeks we’re due for quite a political sea-change, something that – for me, and 65,844,953 others like me – looks to be more challenging than rivers being turned into blood, the dust of the land becoming lice, being strafed by swarms of flies, watching helplessly as livestock fall grievously ill, gaping in horror as festering boils break out on all of us everywhere, fruitlessly seeking shelter from thunderstorms of hail and fire, swatting back boatloads of locusts, enduring three days of darkness, or the tenth – which I can’t even speak of.

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Post Mother’s Day post

De rigueur for Mother's Day. Lest there be any confusion.
De rigueur for Mother’s Day. Lest there be any confusion.

This is how we do Mother’s Day around here. She gets her day in May, and I get mine in June, alongside all the other dudes.*

I know we two female-people parent combos (and two male-people parent combos) have many choices when we approach these binary parental holidays, Mothers’ and Fathers’. In my beloved’s and my case, how we divided it up feels inspired. Each of us gets all the watts we need shone upon us, all day long, on different days. Of course it helps that I do not now, nor have I ever felt like a “mother.”

Fortunately the thought of referring to me as such is just as absurd-sounding to my kids as it is to me, thereby proving, yet again, the casual simplicity of gender non-normativity and the ease with which kids of such folks apprehend it. Parent, sure. More of a dad, even, they both say readily, than a mom.  Knowing also that I am a female person, more or less.  At nine and eleven they have a capacity to perceive, comprehend, and assimilate tones between black and white, and I think this quality will serve them well. 

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Camp It Up!

campitupT
Year-old tie-dye hanging out to dry, Berkeley, CA.

As it turns out, tie-dye shirts which have yet to be “set” and rinsed can indeed sit in a crumpled ball for a year, intimidating and then later forgotten, and be resurrected the weekend before departing for the family camp whence they came the year before! Patience (and neglect) rewarded.

Heading up to Camp It Up! family camp for the week. I sang its praises at VillageQ last year upon return, and don’t mind saying that if you don’t currently squirrel away all your spare pennies for a queer family camp (you queer families), well, you should try. Because it’s worth every one of those pennies.   (Here’s a regionally varied list of them I did back in April at VQ.)

Up at camp there is – ! – no cell phone reception & no cable/ wifi internet access. Schlubs who have internetty work to do make their way into the nearby town for the wifi-enabled cafe. I believe I’ll be among those schlubs, in which case I may also have the opportunity to share a photo or two.  I share this tidbit because I’m working hard at the whole “please keep blogging” thing with which I ended my talk the other night. It’s almost as good for the mental health as a nice, long, family vacation.

 


Sharing the table

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

My beloved and I distinctly remember the moment.  We were sitting at our dinner table in our first wee home. We locked eyes, and said to each other: “We’re ready.”  Ready, finally, to take the leap from where we were – a family of two committed people – into the inky unknown of two-plus.  If we were the luckiest people in the world, we would be led into that unknown by a few small people we could call our children.

Turns out we were indeed the luckiest people in the world.  My beloved’s will and bodily fortitude coupled not just with my own love and dedication, but with the courage and generosity of two old friends. One of them had a great idea (use my husband as your donor!), and the other of them (said husband) had great genes and an open heart.

Plenty of talking followed at each others’ dinner tables over the course of several months: we were proposing, after all, that we join our two families together with a uniquely powerful bond: children, our own and each other’s. There could be no knowing what that would feel like, yet also no going back.

#ShareTheTable

Of all the things that define our family, this non-nuclear beginning will always be one of the things I cherish most. Our children are quite literally the products of the best of what humans can do with and for each other.  They are precious harvest not just of love and will,  but also courage and generosity, and trust on all four of our parts. Without all these ingredients together, my beloved’s and my children simply wouldn’t exist.

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Home, lost and found

lastThanksgivingLast Thanksgiving with Dad, 2012, Berkeley, CA.

 

Twenty years ago last month, I was in the daze of my first weeks without my mother. I had been attending San Francisco Lesbian Avenger meetings during the summer, and then dropped off during the weeks before and after her early September death.

Finally I called fellow Avenger Masha Gessen.  I had to acknowledge what had become evident: that I wasn’t going to be able to come through with whatever commitment I had made at the last meeting I attended – back when I knew my mother was mysteriously ailing, but didn’t know it was a terminal metastasis of her breast cancer, in its final stages.

I told Masha what had just happened ­– that my mother had died a week or two back, and that all I could do was struggle each day to remember how to breathe and sip and swallow and walk.  Masha said: “Come over. My mother died less than a year ago. Breast cancer. Come over right now.” I was staying at my parents’ place in the East Bay, and Masha was in San Francisco.  It was late in the evening already, but something in her tone told me I needed to go.  I was spinning in an abyss, and her voice was the first thing I had encountered that sounded like it might arrest the spinning, maybe even establish a marker by which I could begin to navigate deep space.

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