Monday, May 25, 2009

Gadget Man Defies Gravity!

Jamie's not-so-secrety spy name is Gadget Man. And I'm going to leave it at that, letting you imagine the discourses endured enjoyed discussing shutter aparature, gigabyte capacity, widget blah blah.

Ultimately, if he's happy, I'm happy.

  And, sure, sometimes I learn more about something I will never actually use (cough cough video camera) than I might ever in a zillion years want to ever ever hear about need, but that's just fine. Really.

 However. However, there's one thing I think is worth talking about: gadgets require care. If you take it somewhere, you need to bring it home.

 For example: a couple of years ago, I pulled into my parking space at work (a 17 mile drive), when something loud clunked down the windshield. That something turned out to be Jamie's super special hand-held GPS navigation system. Which had apparently been capable of clinging to the top of the car for at least that drive.

 And then there's yesterday. Burned forever in my mind as The Great iPod Hunt 2009. Yesterday, the Waffles went to:
  • The pool
  • The bank
  • The toystore
  • The bike store
  • The grocery store
  • The river for a picnic
And after the kids were in bed, we ripped the car and house apart searching for Jamie's iPod - last seen at the pool. Guess where it was? That's right. Once again, the top of the car was the culprit. Apparently, I'm no speed freak...or Jamie's gadgets are resistant to things like motion and wind speed. And gravity.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day...Late and later...

It's been sixteen years since I first (as an adult) met my birth mother, J****.

 I can't imagine what she went through as a pregnant fourteen year old, and then as that girl, the one who had a baby, when she went back to High School and then on through the rest of her own young life.

 I may not have mentioned this about her before, but she's really amazingly smart. She got a Ph.D. from a really REALLY prestigious university AND received a really prestigious fellowship.

She took her life story and turned it into one of strength and hope and positivity. When I met her, I was amazed at what a warm, bright, happy person she was.

 Sixteen years ago, I was...oh, not all that awesome in many ways. I was in a series of muddles: married to Big Gay Ex, having lots of problems with my adopted family, dropping in and out of college as I could or could not pay for each semester.

I was articulate, which sometimes made me seem bright and driven and determined, but I wasn't really, just smashing my way through a messy young adulthood. I screwed up a lot.

 J**** is someone with whom I desperately want to have a relationship - for many reasons. Some of which I acknowledge are healthy and some not, in that they are snarled up in my own self-discovery rather than in focusing outward on that relationship. At first, I'd communicate with J**** every few weeks, though all the chaos that was my life in my twenties. That time period stretched until it was just at holidays - and when we did talk, things were a more and more awkward.

Things in her life also got more complicated, and a number of good things, but also a number of sad things, happened to her, which seemed to make the distance between us broader.

 A friend gave me advice to remember that J**** had a baby as a child herself. She went through HUGE difficulties to become the woman she is. Whatever painful stories she has been through, those, along with guilt and anxiety, surface for her every time we communicate. And each time might be as painful as the first time we met.

 I've really tried to take that to heart.

So lately (as in, the past 4-5 years), I've been sending her little e-mail notes 2-3 times a year, with pictures of us and a little summary of where we are and what we're doing.

Usually there is no response, but occasionally I'll get an e-mail and photos back. And even though each time she doesn't respond is privately wrenching, I just keep trying.

 This year, my most recent e-mail, with an update about Jamie's surgery and Mother's Day greetings, bounced.

 That was my last point of contact with her, and I have been finding this devestating. She's not dead, but she's removed the one way I had to reach out to her. 

That's all.

 I had written a longer, more self-absorbed post about all the screw-ups I've made which may have brought her to decide, despite my lack of recent crazy, not to know me, but ultimately, ULTIMATELY, I can only say that I've made mistakes but so does everybody. The mistake I want to NOT make, however, is that of giving up hope completely.

 So, in hope, and with the only method left to me at all, Happy Mother's Day, Janet.

I love you.

And thank you always,


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

God's underpants...

At our house, naked isn't common, but it's also not particularly noticeable. I think Jamie & I are modest by nature, but we're also not overly concerned with hiding ourselves.

Since the kids were born, I always wear pajamas (at least in part to prevent my still-nursing, co-sleeping 2-year-old from latching on in the night without my consent). And in general, I TRY to close the door to the bathroom when I'm using it (largely unsuccessfully - I can't count the number of discussions about WHO gets popsicles after dinner that I've carried on while I'm SO wanting privacy). But I do try...

Comparing nudity at our house to, say, my own upbringing, however, I'd have to say we're a bunch of nudist hippie freak-jobs. 

When I was growing up, we weren't provided words for any underwear-covering body parts aside from "down there" and "bosom". All euphemisms were determined obscene and discussion of bodily function was taboo in the extreme. I was raised to use the words "urinate" and "defecate" unironically; I once got grounded for using the ubiquitous 80's words "pissed off". And (my personal favorite), around age four, when I noticed that I had a mystery "third hole" in my genitals, my mother snapped back quickly "No you don't!" (Because thinking your vagina is aberrant is apparently better than acknowledging it and - god forbid - having to name it). Sigh...

So, I'd venture a guess that my idea of middle ground regarding body privacy, nudity and prudery might be skewed. Probably the Waffles are somewhere on the conservative end of that spectrum between all-out nudists and the completely over-the-top body-phobes I call "family".

When wonderful, lifesaver sister #2 came to visit and help with the kids last month, our free-flowing, laidy-back-nakedy habits got a bit of a system shock. Jamie's first night in the hospital, I came home to find my kids having a bath together, just like normal... ...but wearing their swimsuits. I don't know how she intended to actually WASH them, but I was intrigued by what the point of hiding their genitals was.

Since I was preoccupied with other things that week, though, I let that one go for a while.

Am I crazy to think that covering them up is like a fast-track to fetishizing? Generally, I am interested in the weird correlation between religious prudery and how that so much comes across as sexual preoccupation. Because if there's one thing Mormons are VERY good at, it's pushing young people to get married early and have babies (also multi-level marketing, but that's another discussion). This is such a big deal, they've designed their own mystery underpants to WAY cover all those dirty bits. And, from my armchair, it seems like my upbringing was FRAUGHT with preoccupation with general genital (of the boy/girl variety) business. Getting married was pretty much the #1 game we played as kids. And why? Babies? Sex?? I can't speak for any other person's upbringing, but I can certainly say my own was FAR more focused on sexual attractiveness, arranging pre-marital boy/girl get-togethers, discussions of marriage and having children at an early age, than my own children's is.

So what's the deal? If bodies weren't so taboo (I think they use words like "sacred"), would Mormons have this same preoccupation? Which came first, the prudery or the preoccupation with all things body, sexuality and underpants?