Tag Archives: divorce

For a Moment

It had been several weeks since we walked the beach, crossing side streets and passing intimately-lit cafes and restaurants along the way. The distant downtown lights dotted the southern horizon. Street performers echoed among the hum of engines and the quiet lap of gulf crest. This is our beach– or at least feels that way as we’ve been coming here for sunsets since 2001. Only everything about it is etched in change.

Our now teenage son, who obligingly strolled beside us, was once a tiny mewing thing carried in a pack at my breast. Then onto toddler years when he danced with abandon to steel drums and folk guitarists on the pavilion stage where now only a speaker pumping out rock favorites exists. There was the running-through-the-sand-dunes phase, the must-have-ice-cream phase, the I’m-terrified-of-the-water phase.

I’m trying hard to embrace these new teenage years. But everyone knows I’m mourning the past. My co-parent seems to be handling this new phase better than me. Perhaps it’s a motherhood thing, that we become emotionally consumed and overwhelmed by all the constant transitioning. The buzz of daily life shadows some of this agony but when nighttime unveils sometimes it is downright unbearable.

He was in a quiet but kind mood as we made a stop for drinks at the tiki hut which used to be nothing but the hut and a few picnic tables. Now a sprawl of neatly placed umbrella-covered tables and Adirondack chairs, some outdoor beach games, and a small stage where a talented solo guitarist happily strummed. The two of us sat and chatted as his dad went to get our drinks and the cool January wind whipped at our hair.

“Do you and Dad think there’s something off about me?” he asked.

“Off?” I replied. “Why do you ask that?”

“Because it seems you and Dad are always worried about me, or think I’m acting like something is wrong.” He looked at me with serious eyes, his phone retired to his lap. 

“Well I think you’re just a normal teenage boy. And of course we worry. Do you think you’re ‘off’?”


“Good.” Pause. “You aren’t depressed, are you?”

“No,” he answered assuredly.

“Well if you ever do become depressed I hope you know you can talk to me.  And your dad. Please just don’t shut us out, ok? We need to be open with each other, ok? You know I’ve had my bouts with depression so I know how it feels so don’t ever be afraid to talk to me, ok?” I wasn’t so much trying to lecture him but just make sure, for the thousandth time, that he could always come to me. 

“Yes, Mom.” He gave a nod and a reassuring closed-lip smile.

His dad came back with our drinks and we chatted about happy things, funny school incidents, music, talents we wish we had, until hunger started to invade and it was time to make our way to get dinner.

As we passed the old trampolines (which actually had been replaced by newer, smaller ones) a pang of sorrow shuddered through me. That had been another phase, a long one. We’d stand there with our heads bobbing up and down as we watched his little buoyant body jump higher and higher until his grin was as big as the ocean behind him.

I focused back to what was right in front of me. I have to live in the moment even more so now than ever. Here is my altering but beautiful son beside me. On the other side his dad. And although we are divorced (such an ugly word) we are still a united front when it comes to the most amazing thing we ever did or will ever do.

We commented on the new, wider sidewalks by the pavilion and the now sparseness of the vendors on the pier. Then up ahead we saw him. The odd fella with the rolling podium and the microphone, sending signals to perhaps outer-space, who has been strolling the pier since the days before our son was even a growing light in the depth of the womb.

“So many changes but some things never do,” I commented as we passed the alien.

We arrived at the restaurant, requested an outside table, and waited. I noticed a table of older women, all Golden-Girls style and laughing as they exchanged stories and clinked cocktails. I wondered how these ladies endured the sadness that surely came over them when their children had left their houses and the quiet inside the walls was too much to endure. I hope I’m as happy as they seem now, when I get to that point, I said to myself.

The early winter sky gave a dark but peaceful cast on the streets and dunes and gulf beyond.

“Your table is ready,” the hostess announced. The three of us walked in unison. More of a carefree evening just before us, casting off the fret of time, for a moment.






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Filed under Yep I'm Becoming My Mother

A Thanksgiving Feast, Intimate

We stood next to the dining room table, a 1920’s Art Deco antique passed down from my great-grandmother Nanny. Decades-old scratches laced its corners but a fresh coat of furniture polish and a sprinkling of orange and brown Thanksgiving-themed decor, carefully placed earlier before they arrived, brought it into modern festivity.

“How many meals have been eaten at this table over the generations?” my dad observed with a hint of nostalgia as he scanned the room, his grey-white hair neatly combed and a crisp flannel button-up clothing his smallish frame.

I eyed the antique buffet cupboard next to the table. “I thought about taking all that stuff off and putting the desserts on top,” I replied. It was strategically covered with recipe books and photographs and trinkets and candles. It was always covered with coconut pies and chocolate cakes during holidays at Nanny’s house.

This Thanksgiving it was just the four of us- my mom, dad, and teenage son. It still feels weird to say that, ‘teenage’. In so many ways he is still just a boy. His dark-blond hair tousled and his imagination still intact. Although his appetite is one of a teenager. His meat-eating is making up for all the mammals he did not consume the first several years of his life.

I’d also set the table before my parents arrived, arranging the crystal glasses and beautiful black and silver bone china plates on the brown and gold place-mats. The plates were as flawless as they’d been when they arrived in packages at the doorstep as wedding gifts for me and my soon-to-be husband. He did not ask for any of the china when we separated or officially divorced. I would have shared it with him, of course. It took a year or so afterwards for me to even look at the china. Now I wash and dry them carefully after holiday meals, tracing the raised etchings with my fingers.

My mom and I shared a bottle of wine, perfectly chilled and light and brisk, just as I imagine the vines in Washington, from where it came. Back in the small and warmly-lit kitchen our appetizer spread was a gorgeous mingling of banana bread, fine cheeses, fresh fruit, honey, and my mom’s amazing deviled eggs, sprinkled with paprika. We ate and drank and chatted while the teenager napped peacefully on the couch. The main course just an hour from ready to devour.

When the yeast rolls were browned and the salad tossed with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, it was time. We filled our stately plates with an assortment of both mine and my parent’s favorite holiday dishes. The light and crunchy salad paired well with the warm green bean casserole and fluffy potatoes. Tart and sweet cranberry sauce made the perfect coupling with the savory, chicken casserole (we do that instead of the traditional turkey, it is a hundred times better). Baked sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon and a touch of butter is good any time of year.

We enjoyed the dinner back at the dining room table, my dad at the head and my son on the other end, my mom across from me. We filled our bellies and mused and laughed. The pumpkin-scented candles flickered on the dark wood. The open window left a cool breeze to gently cascade in as the squirrels played around the big oak tree. Frank Sinatra and the like serenaded through the stereo speakers. No phones buzzing or ringing.

The table was cleared and an engaging game of “Heads Up” began. Then we slipped into a family traditional card game of “Oh Heck” which brings out the competitive nature in even me and my mom. I finally won! After all these years!

Dessert followed, still on bone china, although these plates smaller and more delicate. Home-made creamy, spiced pumpkin pie from my mom, and Coke-cola chocolate cake made by me and my son. A perfectly sweet ending.

There were times when we had sort of a house full on Thanksgiving. Various friends and family over the years and in several different dining rooms or lanais. Although this one not a house full, it felt full in the way it does when company has encased you with good energy and love and you are left smiling and dancing as you clean the remnants of a Thanksgiving feast, intimate.

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Filed under Observations, Yep I'm Becoming My Mother

The Fallen Leaves (the passing of time)

Trudging knee-high in leaves
discarded shelter now food for soil

The passing of time long arduous
and fleeting all at once

We wish for high winds
to carry all away

And when they do come
blow our hearts out of our chests

Maddening deafness except
the blind chatter of our minds

and the crunch swish crunch
of fallen foliage at our feet

Trek on still
with our eyes set forward

Lest we cackle like mad men
in the unforgiving forest of


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Filed under Sunday Night Sonnet

Fadeaway Friend

Your subtle entry encased in smallish chit-chat
similar musical interests and a love of photography
my chilled white wine next to your pink Cosmopolitan
The infancy of a grave friendship
Oh, the concerts we attended!
The lush green park that day when we photographed
the crooked wooden fence and the giant knot on the oak
You were never ready when I picked you up
You asked which shoes looked best
the tall leather boots or the black strappy heels?
No longer matronly
Oh, the dance floors we graced!
I still have those dancing shoes
the ones tossed on your living room floor
on lazy days by the karaoke machine
I remember that conversation on the phone
tracing the rough edges of a stone wall
while you cried for the twentieth time
All the times I talked you down from the edge of darkness
All the times you did the same
The divorce, the deaths, the foreclosures, job losses
My hands acquainted with your belongings in boxes
more than once
Your car full of my office supplies 
transporting them when the business failed
Oh, the parties we hosted!
Your famous macaroni
you made sure to include a vegetarian dish
I made sure there were no nuts in my famous slaw
You never ran out of wine
Afternoon movies sitting in the back row
Five times we strolled the beach
You never liked yourself in a bathing suit
My confidant
Then the wine became sour
the Cosmo tainted
I winced when the phone rang
I couldn't talk you down anymore
You didn't like who I'd become 
all of a sudden
Jealousy, competition, disgust
miscommunication, anger, judgement
control, betrayal
These are the wicked that turned it toxic
Senility came to our friendship
and it exited with harsh words and sobbing
The waiter gave me a look 
as I was making a scene
The dying plant you gave me is green as spring
its vines entrenched in the ground
and crawling up the slats of the picked fence
Your photographs are still in my frames
But I cannot listen to Blondie anymore.
End of frienship

–Some friends are meant to stay and some are meant to fly away.
I believe we are here to connect with each other.
But some connections are better off severed.
We can mourn this loss but we can also learn from it.


Filed under Sunday Night Sonnet