All These Relationships

06.17.13

Sunday morning Mr. G left the house at 5.30am to go to work. Yes, it was Father’s Day. Yes, it was Sunday. Yes, he went to work. A better wife would have woken up early with him and made him some coffee and eggs but that’s just not who I am and mercifully it’s not what he wants.

When I woke up at 8am there was a text from him saying, “You’ll never believe who is here. Call me right away.”

My husband’s script supervisor was the woman who introduced us to each other in 1995. She had been one of my closest friends since I was 17 years old and we sort of fell out of touch when I became a mother and she was busy traveling the world making movies. Nothing bad happened, our lives just sort of wound away from each other. We’ve dropped in and out of each other’s worlds long enough for her to meet my kids, but never long enough for her to have an impact on them or vice versa.

So when I took the kids to visit the location (we’d been planning on visiting Mr. G anyhow) I saw my friend Hilary before I even saw my husband and it was like we’d seen each other last week. We’d grown up together, and I’m not convinced that either of us are done growing. We chatted and caught up but realized that there really isn’t much catching up to do because those are just events and we sort of are who we are. We hadn’t changed in measurable ways. Our families are good, our choices are good, our travels have continued and our loves of good food and bad music are firmly in place.

Mr. G and Alexander played catch on the field and then explored the Coliseum while Jane napped in the car (three parties in two days) and my heart swelled. Because there’s nothing like a friend who really knows you. The friends who know everything.

USC coliseum

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Sometimes Marriage Matters

08.2.12

Last week I had breakfast with a girlfriend who was explaining her back and forth issues with a boyfriend of six years. She wasn’t sure if they belonged together because they were so different.

When Mr. G and I had been together six years we celebrated our fourth anniversary and if I’m doing the math correctly I’d have been about 9 months pregnant with Alexander (our second). Mr. G and I are very different but I think we were often too busy to notice.

For a time, a very short time, having kids will hold a marriage together. I’ve rarely seen parents splitting up when kids are in diapers, but in second grade they dropped like flies. Maybe it’s because things get easier with the kids and they finally have time to address their broken marriages?

Mr. G and I have had some challenges. Nothing Earth shattering, certainly nothing that would make me expert on healing your troubled marriage. I guess I’d recommend keeping out of harms way. Maybe I’d even recommend not overthinking things.

My friend said that she and her beau were just too different. He likes to stay in, she likes to go out. “Oh, that sounds just like Mr. G and me!” I declared. She looked confused and I got excited. “It’s the perfect marriage. You can’t spend ALL your time together. Someone has to be on terra firma. It’s so good because he’s showed me how to enjoy different parts of my life.” And then she asked me what I did when he wanted to stay home. “I go out. I go out with my girlfriends and my gays. You have gays don’t you?” I started to worry that she didn’t have a man to date. One simply cannot be happily married to straight man without another man to “date”.

We chatted for a while about it and I thought that if they’d have been married this would be easier. Not because marriage is so grand (my brother’s been with his girlfriend for almost 20 years and they’ll never want to marry), but because when you give up everything that makes you single you work out solutions to these things without separating because you can’t. I mean you can… but do you really want to figure out who gets the sofa and who has to take the fucking cat just because you don’t want to have dinner together every night of the week?

My marriage isn’t about having the same life as my husband. It’s about having the same home base and staying on the same highway. If there was a roadmap to our marriage we’d have started out on the same interstate but we veer off, each of us, to explore different roadside attractions. He plays poker, I go out with the girls, he wants to be home every night, sometimes I fling dinner at them and run out the door. We always end up together and the joys we have on our journey are mostly shared experiences but the ones that aren’t don’t have less value. I love that he has relationships and projects that don’t involve me, I love hearing about them and it brings flavor to our lives.

If we’d have dated and maintained separate homes for four, six or ten years I’m quite certain we’d never have married.  Had we waited for things to be perfect, whatever perfect may be, we’d have missed growing together and enjoying the imperfect years. We’d both have missed the security of marriage, the shared highway if you will.

So basically darlin’. Just marry him. Don’t expect your husband to be your girlfriend and enjoy the journey with a great guy.

 

Also, for the final word on Chick-Fil-A and gay marriage read this. It’s the best post you’ll read all week.

Sometimes Having Kids in School Only Makes You Lonelier

06.12.12

A few girlfriends are experiencing the same Mommy Loneliness that many of us have, had or will experience. It’s universal and it’s awful but maybe knowing that everyone experiences it at least a little bit will take some of the sting off.

If you think tweenage girls are cliquey try getting into a conversation in the parking lot after drop off. Every school has it. These aren’t mean women, they aren’t trying to leave you out, but they do. They just have the same interests and have worked on the same projects or committees forever and you haven’t. And for my Asian girlfriend who married a caucasian man, you’re right, you are different and they just don’t like you. They don’t really have the words for it but your Asian-ness is very not okay and your instincts are right. Find nicer women. That little group IS bitchy.

To be fair there are some really great women you’ll meet just by virtue of being a mom at the same school. I’ve made some fabulous friends at the kids’ schools but I’ve also experienced overwhelming loneliness when people talk about the school being a community.

Whose community is the school? Is it for the adults? I mean the adults are a community of sorts, but unlike kids (who are grouped by age and then subgrouped by skill) the adults aren’t a homogenous group. The only thing they may have in common is having a child the same age. Expecting the mother of every 4th grader to be interesting is just unrealistic.

Three girlfriends in the past four days have talked about how lonely they feel at their child’s school. I guess I want to tell y’all that it’s normal. What is also normal is to make acquaintances with the moms and to still feel lonely.

The women at my kids’ school (particularly in Jane’s class) are absolutely lovely. I enjoy the time I spend with them but the time is quite often brief. When we get to talking about anything that’s not child related I realize I have little in common with many of them. If they read my blog I probably don’t have any funny stories left to tell them and folks who don’t really use the internet think I’m odd. To be fair I think they’re odd. We just sort of bore each other to tears and I sometimes leave feeling lonelier.

I guess I just wanted to say that it’s normal and that if your girlfriends don’t come from your child’s school that’s also really normal. They don’t mean to be cliquish, they’re just defaulting to comfortable behaviors…. except those ladies that hate the Asian brides. All I can do is apologize on their behalf, because they never will be self aware.

Photocredit Flickr. 

 

I Forgot the Safe Word

09.28.11

 

Black Eye, Day Six

 

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Thanks to G+ I have the best response ever. When someone asks me what happened to my eye I simply reply, “I forgot the safe word.”

Last night it was met with immediate laughter from two girlfriends and confusion from a third. That third girlfriend really isn’t all that sweet, she’d just had more to drink. She got it after a while.

Another friend is in some pretty serious trouble. Actually she’s not a friend. She lied to me for a number of years. She’s a person I thought was a friend and I feel terrible for her children but I don’t feel badly for her. I feel badly that I don’t have any sympathy. Have you ever experienced this? It’s thrown me for a loop so much so that I’m just out of words.

Tony Called and Delayed My Duck Confit

06.16.11

So I’m standing around at the cheese shop waiting for my Duck Confit sandwich to be ready and I’m grumpy as can be because no matter how many times I say please and thank you the folks who work at the cheese shop never say please or thank you. They have the most beautiful food but the most hideous manners, and I want both good food and good manners but I can’t seem to find it anywhere but the Beverly Hills Cheese Store, and I married for love so I don’t live in Beverly Hills.

Had I been anywhere where the help says things like Please and Thank You I never would have answered my phone when it rang, but it rang and it was a 415 number that ended in 00 which can only be someone from San Francisco calling me from their office, which can only mean a paying client.

So I answered the phone with, “This is Jessica.” And an unfamiliar man’s voice said, “Jessica, did you work in a tanning salon in West Hollywood?” As I gasped he said his name was Tony and I might have screeched a little. Tony kept talking but I was busy watching a movie in my mind. In the movie I was 22 or maybe 23 and Tony and I were driving down Sunset Blvd in my little red convertible and we were both probably too tan, wearing too much makeup and not enough clothes. We were both at the height of our beauty and completely surrounded by people who loved us.

My Tony Circa 1993

Tony was part of my early 20’s and one of the men who taught me how to love. He taught me how to love the people around me, to love my town, to love the moment, to love the opportunities around me and to love myself. When I think of Tony I think of Springtime.

I gathered myself together and asked all the questions you’d ask someone after a long separation. Where are you living? Are you married? Work? Friends? Do you have an above ground pool and drag queen friends? And the answers were San Francisco, happily married, photographer, many friends, yes to the pool, and more yeses to the drag queens. I really have to research this whole Imperial Court thing.

And my heart soared a little more. I gave Tony the Cliff Notes version of my 30’s, husband, two kids, dog, cat, a career that doesn’t really have a name, grad school, love, heartbreak and Steven died. He said, “I know, I heard, but I couldn’t come down for the funeral.” And then I told him that there really wasn’t much of one here, that it was all in Mississippi and it wouldn’t have offered closure anyhow. And I felt that familiar stabbing pain of missing Steven. I told Tony that Steven and Robert loved my kids, and that my kids loved them back. For some reason it was really important to let him know that.

So now I’m poring through photos of Tony and his husband Brian and I’m thinking of making Brian’s Piroshkis, but I’m much more likely to invite myself up there for a weekend and demand beg that he cooks for me.

We’ve connected in all the usual ways that people connect online, except I think it’s unusual because so many of those people we lost and left behind were people we needed to move away from, and Tony wasn’t one of those. I’m excited to have Springtime come back to me.