Swing Away

I've talked before about the craving we as parents have to mold our children into little mini-me's, to see some glimmer of ourselves behind those big, beautiful eyes.  I've talked about how hard we both have strived to avoid doing just that thing, for the sake of our kids' sanity.  We were both pushed and pushed perhaps a bit too hard as children.  We both spent most of our lives trying to live up to some unattainable ideal of perfection that our parents had laid out for us.  We both had an absent parent who we alternately tried to garner the love of and spite with our over-achievement.

We both have parent issues.  We try to not share them with our kids.

For me, not pushing them to be me is simply a matter of not letting them slit their wrists and not pushing them to get straight A's all the time and reading them something other than Douglas Adams.  For The Donor, it's a bit more complicated.  He was that kid.  I have scrapbooks on scrapbooks full to the brim with newspaper clippings and accolades.  I have cases of ribbons and pins and trophies in my basement.  I have a wall full of plaques and a closet full of uniforms waiting for a child who needs them.  For a child who will follow his father's footsteps.  And I have a very tired father here, too, one who never got his childhood because he was too busy being pushed to be the fastest, the hardest, the leanest, the best.

And so I've read them other stories (thank you, Dan Brown) and he's let them dip their foot in a pool with an instructor rather than with him, and he's put them in soccer lessons with any other coach, and he's sat back and waited.  I've seen him dream.  I've seen the hope well up inside of him like a fire and I've seen that flame extinguish time and time again, mostly because he's an athlete and I'm a nerd and nerds don't push their kids to hit balls for a living and athletes don't buy their kids Mensa Mind Challenge books for fun.  Our kids will be neither of us, it seems.  At least not by our doing.

He's actually been trying his hand at their sports of choice a little lately, and let me tell you that a 37 year old man on a Ripstick is damn near the funniest thing you've ever seen in your entire life.  Especially when he does a double-backwards-aerial-somersault and lands flat on his ass.  That man was never a cat, in any life.

Our boys are both athletic in their own rights.  1of3 was born with Perfect. Fucking. Balance. The kid walked at 8 months and rode a 2 wheel bike, without training wheels, at 2.  Not kidding. 2of3 has an arm, oh my god does he ever.  He's buoyant enough to swim well, but not focused enough.  1of3 is like a brick in the water, just like his momma.  They both love to skateboard and ride BMX bikes and I think one of them may be eyeballing motocross, which should make their godfather about explode with pride, but none of that does their father a whole lot of good.

See, I think dads really crave that thing they can share with their kids, maybe more so than moms do.  My bond with them is easy; I can close my eyes and still feel them stir inside of me, I can feel the measure of their brand new bodies wrapped around mine, suckling themselves to sleep, if I just concentrate enough. But it's not so easy for their dad.  He didn't carry them and he didn't nurse them and now that they are growing away from us, now that we're struggling to hold on to the last little bits of them before we are gone and they are complete, I see how he yearns for something of them them, something uniquely theirs, something he can share with them and give to them and be with them.

And then this happened:

Good Form



They've always played golf with him.  They've always had clubs and they've always gone to the range with him and they've always watched the Master's in his lap, but they've never truly learned to play his game before.  And it just turns out that my little 2of3 has found his authentic swing.  He is a golfer.

The Donor was there with them for the first half of their lessons, and I met him at the course for the second half. He kept saying to me, "Honey, just look at him.  Watch this..." and I saw the flame begin to spark in his eyes.  I watched my 2of3 focus, I watched him swing away and I knew that he'd found something that spoke to him.  This is kind of a rare thing in his world.  Before his dad left us to head off to work, he leaned into me and whispered in my ear with stifled excitement, "He's our golfer."After The Donor left, I was busy chasing 3of3 on the other side of the fence, trying to watch my sons and failing miserably.  I mean, really, can you blame me?

Lost



And then I heard it.  I turned and looked through the fence and I saw his teacher, all of his fellow golfers, his brother even, and they were all silent and still. The sound was still resonating through us, and for a moment we were all speechless, helpless against it.

I don't know if you follow golf, if you play or watch or understand it at all, but there's a point in everyone's golf game when you find it.  Yourself.  Your core. There's a point in your game when you let yourself go and trust your own intuition and you swing that club and it hits the ball exactly perfectly and you feel it like lightening running through you.  You feel your center.  The sound the ball makes, the sound the shaft of your club makes, it's not just impact...it's perfect balance.  It is a sound that anyone who is near you when it happens feels, too.  The vibration, the wave, the ping, it comes from inside of you and for one perfect second, time stands still as the ball soars out from you.

If you think I'm overthinking things slightly, you've never hit a ball like that.  Try it.

Seeking



We all stood and watched my son's ball tear though the air.  It was like watching Monet paint, or Beethoven compose, but mostly it was like watching my husband swing his clubs.  And my son, he felt it.  He turned to me with his mouth wide open in awe of himself.  His instructor looked at me, looked at him and just said, "Wow."  And all I could do was smile.  My son, he has it.  He has a piece of his father, a piece unique to them that none of the rest of us truly have just yet.  It's the most beautiful thing in the world, seeing the man you love in the child you love.

The next day, the two of them sat outside together, just the two of them, and they talked as they scrubbed their clubs.  They came upstairs a whole lot later and together they barbecued for our whole family.  My son forgot his DS for the day, my husband forgot his Sunday afternoon Sports Channel shows, and they remembered each other instead.  Later that night, 2of3 came up to me and said, "Mom, me and Dad cleaned our clubs together all day today, just us!"  Even later that night, as The Donor and I sat on the porch in the dark of night, he looked at me and said, "I can't tell you how much I've wanted something of ours, something to share with them."

And what I didn't say is that I couldn't tell him how much more it makes me love him to see that now he has it.

Oh, and yeah. FlickR has the rest of the day's pictures, if you're into that sort of thing.

So I'm Sayin' You Have A Chance

My husband hates tattoos.

Correction: My husband loathes tattoos.

So naturally, one day I left what was at the time our 1of1 with his godmother and scampered off to the tattoo parlor up the street from me, and walked out an hour later with a couple o' fish in the middle of my back. Because I'm a thoughtful and considerate wife.

And it only goes to say that a few years later, when we were officially done having kids because two was plenty for anyone, I'd leave a little early on my way to go see my kids in their Christmas play, at church, and stop at the other tattoo shop up the street and get a big ass arm band with my whole family tree on it. Because it's not like God's going to forgive me at this point anyway.

And just for the record, when you do shit like that, God smites thee and he smites thee hard. By fucking up your whole family tree tattoo with a shiny little new branch two weeks later. Which, ironically enough, turned out to be pretty fucking awesome, so suck on that, God.

But I still can't find anyone who'll add her or her godfather to it. Bygones.

And then, having been glared at and mumbled about under my husband's breath for a few years, I wised up and took the kids out to "run errands" one day and that is when they got the distinct pleasure of passing out when they saw the needle the lady pulled out to stick a hoop through my nose. But at least it wasn't a tattoo.

Turns out, he hates nose-rings even more than tattoos. Who'da thunk it?

A few weeks ago he gave me an extended sigh and a demonstrative eye roll when he asked, "You're getting another fucking tattoo in Chicago, aren't you?" And I told him I wasn't. And I'm not getting a tattoo at BlogHer; I'm getting three. So if you were ever thinking of asking me out, I'd wager that by the first week of August he'll have kicked me to the curb, and your window may just open.

Or he'll still love me just the way I am, and we'll live happily, and doodily, ever after.

Either way, since a whole mess of us have been talking about getting tattoos in Chicago, I made a few phone calls and I sent a few emails and I managed to pull together a little sumpin' sumpin' for those of us who like to tempt fate and there's a little something for the rest of you who would nevereverever or who aren't going to make it to BlogHer in July.

And due to the contract that comes with my ads, you've got to follow this link to my dumb review blog for the juicy details, which involve cheap booze and a whole mess of free stuff....

Housekeeping I'll Actually Do

Because after two weeks, I feel pretty confident that these are just never getting folded and put away.
Yep, all clean.
And my husband would like to note that this has been three weeks in the making.
Starbucks doesn't offer THAT.
In all fairness, he put it there, and there is behind "his" toilet, so I'm not taking the fall for it.  Period.

Anyway, two things:

1) The Partial Feeds.  Here's the thing...people's blogs get scraped all the time, I get that, and for the most part I can roll with it.  Mine isn't so fucking earth-shattering that I can't stomach some stupid pregnancy website that no one reads anyway lifting my content every single goddamn day, but when websites that make mention of boys in ways that Michael Jackson would even be all, "Whoa, dude", the claws come out.  And then, when I get so hyper-sensitive that I send an email to the people at FavorIt or whatever that site is called tearing them an new internet asshole for doing nothing more than Google Reader does, I figure it's time for me to stop the madness.  Hence the partial feeds. I am really sorry; I know they suck.

2) Comments.  The always lovely Judith Shakespeare is currently working on a shiny new template for me and while I wait, I've been thinking about other things that need to give.  I'm a fan of emailing replies to comments so that no one knows when I totally suck ass and don't reply I can leave personal, and possibly risque, responses.  However, after a long talk with my pretend internet boyfriend who espoused the merits of replying in the comments and talked about community building and conversations which is really funny coming from a guy who eats ice cream with Hitler, I thought that maybe I was wrong.

So, you pick.  Do I keep emailing replies or do they go in comment threads?  Reader's choice, yo.

They Say The Sea Is Cold

...but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, and the most urgent.

*ahem*

I almost bought a bikini on Friday.

The weather has taken a turn for the fucking delightful up here in the great white north, and that of course means we spent the weekend submerged.  On Saturday we went to the oh-my-god-my-head-still-hurts brand spanking new indoor pool of pure glee with waterslides and waves pools and hot tubs and baby hot tubs and spray guns that any old kid can use to take your eyes out.  It was fairly epic.  Except that it was fairly epic for all of 30 minutes for the 11 year old and then he was forced to go all emo, and it was total heaven for the three year old who isn't quite big enough just yet to sustain the force of a wave pool, but *just* big enough to want to do it BY MYOWNSELF MAWM so she now has a full grasp of the meaning of the word undertow, and enough chlorine in her tummy to sterilize her pee until she's 32.

The 9 year old was in pure, nothing to complain about heaven.  For once in his life.  So there's that.

We bought these giant blowup ridey thingies that I underestimated both the size and the blowupedyness of, and I also underestimated the amount of charge left in my portable air pump.  I also have greatly underestimated the toll that 10 years of on and off smoking has had on my lungs, and halfway into blowing into a green dragon's special places I am pretty sure I saw God.  But I got those things inflated, dammit.  And then one popped, one kept tipping over and one was crimpin' someones style, so some little 2 year old at the pool had a hayday with our abandoned toys and I think I may need to go to church now.

I think my point was that I didn't have a swimsuit that still allowed circulation to my legs, so I had to go hunt one down.  And I found three.  One of which was not just a two piece but a two piece bikini.  The one and only time I've even been able to get my so-white-you-can-see-through-it fat ass into a bikini was the summer that I met The Donor, and I was good and knocked up within minutes of that day at the pool, thanks to some really awesome abs and Clueless on network tv after.  To each his own, yo.

I have not magically shrunken; in fact, I still have about 50 pounds of baby weight from that pregnancy to lose still and I'm thinking that after 11 years, I can stop waiting for the breastfeeding to burn off the pounds everyone told me it would.  Dirty liars.  What I think I have done is come to terms with these thighs and the abdomen that looks like a vagina and realized that if I can't fight it, I might as well join it.  And then I found a bikini that was cut for a woman. Who's cranked out a colony of children.  And has flipped the gym one choice finger.  And has learned to love truffles. And I do mean love.

So I almost bought it, except that my National Geographic boobs have no interest at all in staying inside something that doesn't come with barbed-under-wire, and so I went with two tankinis.  That I actually looked pretty freaking hot it.  Well, maybe that's a bit extreme.  I certainly thought I looked pretty hot in them.

Sadly Enough, That Is A $300 Haircut.  I Am Clearly A Sucka.



But it turns out that I actually looked like one of those enormous mother whales who lie dreaming suckling their whale-tender young.

Which didn't matter in the least to me, because for some reason *coughmedscough* I thought I looked a bit o' alright, good enough in fact to go to the beach the next day in the other one, and actually walk around in that swimsuit, sans circus tent to cover it up with. And then I came home, edited my pictures and realized why I felt like I looked okay.  Because next to this, who cares what I look like.

Kid Toss



No Match For Me And My 8 Chins
and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin
she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea
she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males
and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.


~With apologizes to DH Lawrence. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be to roll over in that grave.

The rest of the beach pictures are on FlickR.  And they really don't suck.