Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day: I Won't Back Down

My oldest son Chaz turned twenty today. He was born the day after the LA Riots. I remember having my world turned upside down when he was born, only to turn on the news and keep asking, "That's happening here? In my country? Here?" Two kinds of innocence/naivete down the drain in one day was pretty heavy. Thank God for morphine or whatever they gave me after the c-section.

He's had this song on heavy rotation for the last few months, so I thought I'd post for him and me, too. It's a good reminder, especially with everything he has had to face and is yet to face as adult with a mental and physical disability.

It's not easy to be mom to a man who still needs so much help. But I know it's not easy to be a man who still needs so much help from his mom. I am learning to be more respectful and to back down so he can have room to make mistakes. He is learning to be humble and ask for help without getting angry.

The stand your ground line is especially poignant in the wake of recent events. I took a picture with a hoodie on a week after the Trayvon Martin incident, not because I believed Trayvon Martin to be innocent, but because with the information given at the time, I believed that there needed to be an investigation. Possibly an arrest. I was mostly left shaking my head.

-Zimmerman follows Trayvon who still has not been accused of doing ANYTHING suspicious. Trayvon sees that he's being followed, so Zimmerman's behavior IS suspicious--to Trayvon at least. He gets scared calls his girlfriend, puts his hoodie up and starts walking faster. Zimmerman gets out of his SUV and confronts Trayvon who has reason to be afraid by now. No one see's the beginning of the altercation, only the middle and the end-
So, it seems the real question here, is who was standing their ground first?
And since Trayvon is dead, I'm afraid we'll never really know.  

You may ask, what does this have to do with Chaz? What mom in this country didn't start looking at how their kid was dressed when they left the house, or thought about other's perceptions of their children based on appearance? Me, I have to worry about Chaz's reaction time. His response time is slow. He smirks when he is nervous. He doesn't want to wear a medical id bracelet. He's handsome and stocky and doesn't look like he has a developmental delay. He wants to stand up for himself and his friends when they are bullied. He wants to stand his ground. I want him to, as well. Just not with a costly price. 

Here's to hoping we can learn a mass lesson and to wishing many more birthdays for my boy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Those who can't, TEACH.

I heard this quote while I was studying theatre in high school and somehow it became a truth in my brain. As an immature college student in the early nineties, I promised myself I would never teach theatre. After I had Chaz and realized how much time his therapies, doctor visits and general care would consume, I decided to get a degree in interdisciplinary studies and teach Reading- some weird pride issue.

I managed to keep a little pinky toe in the theatre world by doing a show here and there, offering after school classes and directing scenes for church, but I never wanted to be an official theatre/drama teacher.

Twenty years later, I have been offered a job by a colleague/friend doing just that-teaching drama to K-6th grade. I took the state test last Saturday and I  PASSED.

So I decided this quote should be revised.

Those who can and don't want to starve, teach.
Those who can and want to clothe their children, teach.
Those who can and want to have an extra dollar and seven cents to buy the homeless man at 7/11 a Big Bite, teach.
Those who can and want to fund some projects teach.
Those who can and like kids and acting and writing and making costumes and creating sets, teach.
Those who can and love the process of getting a group of thinking people together and seeing what kind of story we all can tell and what we end up learning about ourselves and others, teach. Even when that group of people will be twenty kindergarteners at 7:30 in the morning,  (You think the idea of twenty kindergarteners at 7:30 in the morning is daunting, try twenty kindergarteners after lunch. I subbed in a kinder class yesterday and even I had a hard time staying on task after one o'clock:)

Teaching anything is not for the faint of heart. Teaching while trying to maintain and protect a semblance of creative writing and performing space of your own is even harder. Doing this while trying to usher three teenagers into adulthood, might just do me in. But I am looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day: A Simple Song by The Shins

I wasn't crazy about this song at first, but the lyrics sound like something I might say:

"When I was just nine years old
I swear that I dreamt
Your face on a football field
And a kiss that I kept
Under my vest"

Or this part:

"My life in an upturned boat, marooned on a cliff
You brought me a great big flood
And you gave me a lift
To care, what a gift
You tell me with your tongue
And your breath was in my lungs
And you float over the rift
Apart from everything, but the heart in my chest"

Okay, well, maybe I might not say it quite as cool as that:)

Then I looked up the video-awesomeness. How often the people that wanna get you back, also got your back in the end. Strange love is.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Panic Attack

I have never had one before.
I am sure.
I am driving west.
The sun is bright.
My eyes more sensitive to this now.
My face tingles.
My right under eyelid quivers but there is no tear.
Why am I doing this?
I am gripping the wheel too hard.
I have forgotten the lines already.
I am most assuredly late.
A bottle of hot water rolls around on the floorboard.
My lips are tingling.
My face is hot.
My tongue sizzles like a gentler form of pop rocks.
Why did I say yes?
Sliding off the side of my face, is my face.
Salvador Dali appears in the passenger seat and cups his hand under my chin.
Shaved and young,
I am embarrassed because I wish it were Adrian Brody instead.
His mother appears in the back seat.
Her mouth is open and laughing.
"How did I miss that? 'Who the F I is?'" she squeals, "Who the F I is!"
We celebrate the deciphering of a line from a pop song.
My face is in his hands now, my eyeball a yolk.

Mama Dali puts her hand on my back.
My skin cools underneath her touch.
My body aches in a good way.
"Isn't that what you always wanted to be?" she asks. 
She likes me. I can tell.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day: When I Get Where I'm Going Brad Paisley and Dolly

When I get where I am going, I am gonna play football with my cousin, Bobby. And maybe, just maybe, my touchdown dance will be better than his. But I doubt it.
( His response to this would be: "You really think I'm gonna let you score a touchdown just cuz we're in heaven?")

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Anti-Reversary

Last weekend we performed at an art show before we headed to Grapevine and The Gaylord Texan to celebrate our twenty years of marriage. Another guys at the art show said, "Yeah I made it twelve years, only to get down the road with someone else and realize I was dealing with the same #$%# with someone else. Congrats!" When we told our friend Aurelia, she squealed, "Congratulations on fourteen happy years!" And we laughed, for real.

Fourteen out of twenty isn't bad. At least to my knowledge.
I was crazy and controlling after we had Chaz and Chris was pretty clueless  and selfish. It was a rough start.
It took us an evening at the Gaylord to stop the spinning from our everyday world. Our second day there, we lounged professionally, and stared at each other, and were a bit gluttonous on all levels, and enjoyed being one flesh. It is not always easy to cherish the iron who is sharpening you. Opening your eyes to your short-falls just by existing in the same house with you.

We always used to think we were opposites, but our eyes are being opened a bit on that subject. We seem to be very different personality-wise, but as we get older we see more of a variation of similarity.

We both love parties, but only for awhile, before we are overwhelmed and find a quiet place to talk to just one or two people or take a nap:)

We both have store anxiety, but mine is grocery stores and his any other store besides the grocery store.

I am opinionated and will tell you my opinions. He is opinionated and keeps it to himself. We find out his opinions on the car ride home, sometimes in the form of a long lecture.

We both like really good stories, but he exaggerates to make his better, and is GREAT at telling them and I write fiction AND I let you know it is fiction and want you to read it:)

We both like to fish. Period. He's better at it.

We both like to play pool. I'm better at it.

We both love to create things. Chris makes music and art. I write poems and stories.

We both really love our kids.  He likes to feed their belly. I like to feed their brain. We both make our best attempts to feed their hearts.

We have never NOT been attracted to each other, even when we were attracted to other people. (Don't kid yourself into thinking this doesn't happen.)

We are both insanely jealous. This has lent itself to the high-school quality of the first ten years of our marriage.

We are both very physical.

We both love God and have a messed up way of showing it.

We don't give up and the benefit of that has increased ten-fold.

Even though we have both tried really hard to STOP loving each other, so we could move on to what the world would call, BETTER things, we were unsuccessful.

You know that Marilyn Monroe quote- "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate when things go right, you believe in lies, so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."

We have changed. AND we did let go of many things, and we have moved on. AND things did go wrong.  AND we have been untrustworthy. Things have fallen apart for us, more, than once, twice, three times even. AND better things did fall together. AND we just kept loving each other all the way through to twenty years and counting.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday's Much Needed Song of the Day: Rocky Ground

I've heard this a few times on our local station, 91.7. At first it made me sad, until he sings, "A new day is coming" then, not so much. Like I forgot he was going to sing that part.
Just like I forget sometimes that that new day is coming.
Like on Easter morning, when you find a two-ton truck parked so close to your car you can barely squeeze in.  And when you drive off, you find your driver's side mirror dangling. And then you remember you just had the car inspected the day before.
So when you get to church, and compose the note you will leave on the windshield during the break, all the words have a hopeful tone. Even if it hadn't been inspected already, the New Day is the Good News.