Monday, August 10, 2015

Mother, Mother

I’m at the beach where I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past three years, thanks to Maggie May Etheridge. No, not through her dollars or mad hook-ups, but for pointing me to a blog where I eventually met the blogger’s sister and then her friends and then, well, aren’t we all in this crazy thing together in our little blog-land? I’ve known some of you for longer than I’ve known very close friends in my day to day life.
Anyway. It’s become a tradition, and very much of a step-out of my real life since I meet friends that are in different states as we converge on this place. My friend Denise is generous beyond belief, and none of this would be possible without her. She grew up coming to this beach in Avalon New Jersey, and has passed this along to us and now it’s a part of our own histories and in our bones in the same way. Children have grown up here, and they’re not the only ones.

Avalon has become a safe place; a place where we can lay it all on the line. Our catch-up’s often cut close to the bone, and that’s taken some getting used to on my part. Now I come with the expectation that I’ll be asked “to the core” questions within minutes and as the week goes on and beach yoga is done and the conversations will deepen.

We have a yogi who comes to do beach yoga in the mornings, and yesterday she mentioned that she had an astrologist friend and the next thing I know I’m texting my date and time of birth and then this morning, the three of us gathered on the bed while a star chart is projected on the wall. Alexander stated “so everyone here is family, correct?” None of us are family except chosen and we gave permission to “go deep.” He began with me, and I was basically engaged only on a “this is interesting” level. I do but I don’t believe in this kind of thing. The yoga instructor doesn't really know me at all -I am sporadic at best in my yoga attendance. So I assumed that if he were able to peg me, it would be genuine and nothing that she could have "fed" him.
He nailed it. He pinned me against the wall with my character and past, and proceeded to the do the same with the rest of us. My star chart reflected that my parents were very loving when I came into the world. But that something happened in my third year, a financial crisis, and they were driven apart. I'm not sure what this was, but they were divorced by the time I was five. There were several other things he stated about my personality, my work demeanor, my ...well, my core.

It was casual, and we all felt free to ask the hard things.
The Hard Things.

Having a baby has been a thing for me for so many years. I’ve always wanted to mother and nurture and I do on a daily basis for the people (little, big and furry) in my life. I’m 34. 34 is young! Yes, I know this. But I have been building with the reality that if I’m going to go down this road of parenthood, it’s time to think about it. Adoption? Birth? Single parenting, or is there a spouse around the corner? Should I wait for that? Let go and let God? WWJD? And here comes the spiral.
On the bed, in the safe space, I wanted to ask. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer. But then Alexander said - unprovoked - that beginning last summer, a deep deep aura of fertility was surrounding me. Beginning June/July and it was still very strong.
There’s a soul hovering.
I, stunned, said – yes, I can feel it. He said very seriously – of course you can. It is there. There’s free will involved, which he kept emphasizing. I said should I do this now? He demurred, and said that was something he could explore with me further if we wanted to go down that road. But he saw a partner for me in the future. I asked when? He got quiet and said “December 2016; no, Summer 2017.” And nodded a few times and I didn’t push this more. I had enough.

I don’t know what I believe sometimes.
But I do know that several weeks ago, I heard on the radio that someone had mentioned that she’d wished for her daughter her whole life. And that once she’d asked her daughter how she got to be her little girl. The little girl answered “I heard you call for me and I came to you.” Since then, I’ve noticed myself whispering…'baby girl, baby girl' and projecting this into the universe very quietly, and almost without notice by me.

Two nights ago, I stood at the beach, looked into the water and whispered “baby girl..." into the swirling wind.

We had a late afternoon of processing, napping and thinking. The three of us went to yoga tonight and in hour two, I was feeling almost transcendent and I thought about the day. I said in my mind, to the soul hovering….baby, Mommy will get you here. Our lives, they will be extraordinary. I’ll see you soon.

I have no idea how and when and I ... I don't feel like I have to know. For the first time in a very long time. In my whole life?

This has certainly been a Monday. I feel very at peace.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Winter 2010

"Do you want to go home?" I whispered into his fur as we looked out the window at the winter snow coming down.

I remember feeling a little lonely, and he was my solid thing. Something that I could hug, even if he was reluctant about that whole deal. It was a scene that would repeat a handful of times throughout January and February, as I looked out of my basement apartment window at the worst winter DC would have on record in decades.

I moved New Years Eve 2009, and brought my kitten long for the ride. It was a rough adjustment. I'd come back, after four years, to a city where I didn't have intentions of returning--not because I didn't love it, but because it's hard.

Living in Washington, D.C. is no cakewalk. Nor is any major city, I imagine, but DC seems to expend a special brand of hell on its residents in the form of non-voting rights, impossible traffic and almost no ability to have a car without hundreds of dollars in fees and fines, and the reality of thousands of people living in a ten mile wide city that can't govern itself without Congress looking over its shoulder.

And god, I love it.

My second five years there were not without difficulty. That could be the biggest understatement I've uttered since 2015 began. But, it was mine. It became home because I kicked a home out of the rotting wood and packed ice, and started to root.

But, it was time for our life to change. The roots were not enough. I packed him up again, and off we went.

Winter 2015

Here we are. A bigger home, a new job, a new life. Close to home, but not home. The worst winter on the books in decades, just as the winter I made my last transition was. I begin kicking out a home in the rotting wood and the packed ice.

We are here.

Tonight, after they surveyed the falling snow, I picked Charlie up and walked around closing blinds. We stopped in front of the patio door and looked out. I was just a little bit lonely.
I hugged him close and we watched the snow fall. I whispered into his fur. "Do you want to go home?"

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I read once that seeing your birthday numbers on the clock was like God saying, "Hey there." I've always liked that idea, and every time I see them, I've smiled.

Then it started happening. A lot.

Ever since I posted that lost blog, life grabbed me by the hand and dragged me down the road. Metaphorically and literally. I got the offer on November 4 (11/4). A few weeks later, I quit. (11/11/14). As silly as it sounds, seeing the numbers seemingly everywhere made me---and still does---have a certain peace about it all. I have said several times....yes, this is hard. Yes, this is an unbelievable change I'm making. But it's right. I don't know why it's right, but it is. It's absolutely the closest thing I've attributed to any kind of divine intervention in years and years.

I've shared this w/ only my best friend, and she's been the lucky recipient of all my screen shots of the most STRANGE appearances of the numbers. For example...I posted on Facebook my announcement that I was moving back home after five years. I posted this picture on 11/14 at 11:11am without realizing it. 

"I never met a Kentuckian who wasn't either thinking about going home, or actually going home." -Happy Chandler.

So here I am, about a week and a half after settling into a brand new apartment (with two bedrooms! And cable! Movin' on up). Day 4 of my new job just wrapped, and I'm breathing underwater again.

I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone. As I've done many times before, but this is the first time I've taken myself away from a high-level place. I'm working for an old friend, an amazingly smart woman that's impressing the HELL out of me. And only a month ago, she was me. I was at the top of my game, but I'd hit the highest I could go there. I needed to step away while I was on top. 

I've got so much to learn. It's so hard to sit in meetings and not understand things. To not know the players, the jokes, the material. But I'm pretty darn lucky that they're willing to let me try to learn.

On we grow.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More months than I thought it's been

Since I sat down to update this space. I can't seem to walk away from this small corner of the internet that's mine, although I can't help but wonder if its shelf life has expired. I like having the archives that chronicle the last several years of my life, knowing all that I'm not writing between the lines, although it's often painful for me to go back and read them.

Five years ago this month, I got job offers coming at me in all directions--all in the middle of the recession, and the worst financial time that my generation has experienced. I worked in a niche area of healthcare policy, and that niche area had been embedded into Obama's stimulus package of 2009. Everyone who knew anything about this was suddenly highly marketable. It was a flash in the pan moment for me and my fledgling "career" --only 6 years out of college at that time --and the likes of which I will likely ever see again my lifetime.

Five years ago this month, I took a deep breath and made the difficult decision to move back to Washington, D.C.


I've lived in my little apartment in my vibrant bustling city for longer than I've ever lived anywhere in my life. My career has skyrocketed to a level I could never have envisioned--I don't regret that decision for a minute. I am well-known in my field, and we're winding down. Mission accomplished, so to speak, in a lot of ways. It's changing, pulling me down into the depths of which I'm not sure I want to go.

I've grown more than I ever have (in more than ways than one, and I should look very seriously at Weight Watchers in my future!). I am a different person than I was--and that's life as it should be.

"And the walls came tumbling down in the city that we love." 

I'm typing this sitting on an airport floor, outside gate 38, waiting to board a plane to Louisville so that I can have a four-hour long job interview tomorrow. I think there's a good chance I'll get it (I know the woman I'd be working for, or else I wouldn't be nearly this sure), and thus a good chance my life will turn on its head and a new chapter will begin.

Or it won't. And that's ok too, but I am ready to get home. I think I am destined, as a child of divorce, to always feel torn between two homes. DC has been my home for many, many years and I will cry a lot over the next month as I pack up my life again to journey back to my Kentucky home. There is no guarantee, but I've been asking the universe (quite literally, out loud) to bring me something good. Please, let something good happen.

In an attempt to control things I can control, I decided to dye my hair brown, as it finally became clear it was turning under those blonde highlights I kept putting in. Embracing the physical changes, the emotional ones, for what's next.

Cross your fingers.

"And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you've been here before?"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mothers and Daughters

She stares at my pictures and my hands and my face like she's searching for something.

My mother was just here for a week, and she comes here fairly frequently--maybe 2-3 times a year, and stays for several days. We are together non-stop when she is here, and she enmeshes into my day to day patterns for a moment. When we are apart, we rarely talk except via text messages. It's an ebb and flow, as are most relationships I suppose. She knows me in a way only a mother can, and is kept at arm's length in a way that you only keep your mother.

Mom grew up very poor in deep rural Kentucky. This wasn't your average poor...Mom actually just told me this last time she was here that she didn't taste meat until she was about 7 or 8--old enough to remember her mother cutting the head off a chicken. Only vegetables from the garden (funny how poverty has flipped from vegetables only to processed, terrible foods only as accessible to the poor.) Running water didn't enter her home until she was 16. She and her sisters grew up, in her words "as poor as church mice," but she graduated high school and then went to technical school to be a secretary.

She moved to Frankfort, our Kentucky state capitol, which was several hours away from her home, to work for the state. To be very clear, my mother moving in the early 1970's to Frankfort to work all by herself at the age of about 20 is almost an exact parallel to her own daughter fleeing to Washington DC, another capitol city all by herself. I joke that if I am to have my own daughter, she will probably flee to NATO headquarters to work.

But that is where the parallel's end. My mother didn't have the help I did -- she didn't have a father's help to springboard from, as I did. She ate the free crackers from fast food restaurants, and put the free ketchup on them, and those were her meals. My father, when he met her, said she kept all her belongings in a cardboard box. Money was sent back home to her own family, and she still kept enough out to live.

I know her and my dad were happy for a little while. She then gave birth to his clone (in personality, and looks). I am her only child, and the very replica of her former mother-in-law.

My mother loves me. So much that I know it brings her to tears if she thinks about it for too long. But, she is also baffled by me -- me, and my quick humor and liberal tendencies and career that she doesn't understand. But what means the world to that she tries. I telework when I can when she visits, so she hears me on conference calls and meetings. She'll always ask alot of questions when they're over and sometimes I catch her watching me with this mix of disbelief and fondness and...something I can't put my finger on.

We were watching TV one night and I showed her a cut on my hand. She caught my hand in hers, and absentmindedly studied and prodded each finger, each nail, for several minutes, like she was trying to find her baby's hands in there somewhere. I let her.

I know she is proud of me. I know she would probably prefer if I were about 25 pounds lighter, and maybe given her a grandchild by now (or if she had any hope of ever getting one). But, she ended up with me, her baffling daughter. She says frequently that I "raised myself." I did have to do a fair amount of solo trudging through the divorce and subsequent stepparents and stepsiblings and all their accompanying drama. But, I was always cared for and loved.

I just wish she would give herself more credit for the extraordinary life she has lived, simply by wanting more and making that 'more' happen. I wish she could realize what I know --that from the ashes of poverty, she rose to scrape out a better life. And I stand on her shoulders, scraping out mine.

Mom looks out the window at her childhood home, being torn down; 2013

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Night walks

Even in angst, even in wonder (shall I wander?), even when I doubt -I still look at this when I walk at night, on a Tuesday, and I think "Fucking lucky. So fucking lucky."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cups of tea I forget to drink

View of my desk, from the viewpoint of someone with their head in their arms. I am buried, deep down, in work. And at the same time, stagnant. There are decisions to be made, even if they lead to me staying at the status quo for awhile. To avoid being overly cryptic, I have another job offer on the table. No relocation, so I'd stay here. But it would involve leaving the industry I've been in for 8 years. Is it time? I also have a very tentative "offer" from another place that would come with relocation.

I'm so tired of having the same arguments in my head, with myself. I'm so tired of having to make every single decision by myself, with no one truly understanding exactly what is at stake for me, career or personal-life wise. I can see why people marry into ho-hum relationships or stay married even if it's shitty. It sucks, sometimes, having to do everything on your own. This isn't a pity party, but just a statement. I am at once jealous and dismissive of women who never had to do anything on their own.

Decisions will be made, and the world won't end. Lives won't be affected--only mine. And what does that matter?

I talked to my dad for a long time yesterday about all the decisions. I love that I have a father that wants to hear about my life. That offers to pay for things even if we make the same amount of money, and I haven't asked for a dime since college. That offers to drive up for my birthday. At the same time, it can be maddening talking to him (or to anyone in my family) because there is so little understanding and comprehension about what I do for a living. Not because they are dumb or that I am doing anything exotic, but life just simply has zoomed on and we've lost that day-to-day "oh this is my bitch coworker Debbie; I'm working on this project; I'm running this meeting tomorrow on the Hill." 

We were going back and forth, and I mentioned about how my sister's first reaction is "but won't you be bored if you move away from DC??" That seems to be so many's reaction--that I'm living in some glamorous place (ok. I kind of am. 50% amazing, 50% parking tickets). I said "I don't want to have to defend constantly my decision to leave if and when that ever comes. This is just where I live to me, not "Washington, DC." Would all of you be moaning about all my lost opportunities for entertainment if I said "Hey fam, I think I'm really ready to leave Raleigh?" For some reason, this cracked him up and made him see exactly what I mean. I said I was going to start posting more pictures of my electric bill and the city rats on Facebook, to make it seem less amazing. Deal, he said.

I had to go to the doctor this morning for some follow-up bloodwork. She was filling the vials, and I talked about how I'm having anxiety pop up again. It's been a long, long time since that happened. My doctor is remarkably un-hysterical and was pretty calm about it like, oh well, don't let it get out of control. Let me know. Which is exactly what I needed--no medicine or anything, just a stated fact. It's out there. We'll watch it.

Cabin fever! I need winter to be over. I have signed up for two softball leagues (both co-ed, same league I was in last year.) I'll get to play twice a week games and practices. I can't wait to get outside and shake off winter.

On the way to the doctor for my 730am appointment, I noticed the moon still out over the rising sun. I snapped this photo and grinned. And put it on Facebook.

I think Dad put his head in his arms, buried on his desk, and thought about his dramatic daughter living the dream she always wanted.