Sunday, 6 December 2015

12.5.15 Being a Mom

I did a recent post about being a dad. Nows my chance to talk about being a mom.

I never thought much about the opportunity I have of being a mom, but yesterday Aaron, our smart and witty one, looked at me after I admonished him about showering or something similar and he looked at me and said, "Even though I have gay dads there always has to be a mom somewhere".

I never thought I was the mom but on reflection I guess I am. I tell the kids to shower, brush their teeth, not eat cookies too close to dinner, be a peace maker with squabbles. I'm not saying these tasks are all on my shoulders. Joseph is a major player as well. He cooks all their meals. Gives tenderness or discipline where it's needed. Takes them to movies.

The reality is, and I think gay parents exemplify this, there is less of a boundary when it comes to the mom versus dad thing. At that time and place I just happened to be the mom.

 But being the mom! I'm indignant! (But Joseph just pointed out to me that the kids would never dare call him the mom. That made me feel better.)

12.4.15 Breath

I met a beautiful man on Little Beach last year. He was Haitian and a wise man. He lived there on the beach and gave massages for a living. He was there for a number of months and we saw him on 3 separate occasions. He even got to meet Nathan on one of those trips.

His life was simple. He ate fruits and vegetables and did yoga every morning before doing a massage or 2 in the afternoon. We became Facebook friends and he posted this this morning. 

It's words like these that are great support and comfort me.

i'am an old bird that never flew ...when i will spread my wings ill be an angel infinitly ...are you cosmic powered or worldly powered ? the latter is a free training for insanity ...the former a manual hidden in your breath...BREATHE!

Aloe Antinous Aquila

Thursday, 3 December 2015

12.3.15 Making Room For Joy

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place. Rumi

12.3.15 Sisters

Left Rebecca, Deb middle, Sarah right
My Thanksgiving weekend was a sister blessing. I have 3 sisters. Rebecca, the youngest in the family  lives in Kansas City with her husband Rick and their teenage son John. They have 3 children out of the home. Sarah lives in Hillsboro outside of Portland and is a school teacher and has 2 grown children. Deb is the oldest sibling better known affectionately as Nama - a name her first grandchild Tyler gave her over 20 years ago - lives with her husband Neil in Gresham another Portland suburb.

There was a lot of great food. My sister Deb and her husband Neil are pros in the kitchen and on the grill. But the real thanks goes to how much love was released by everyone. Politics and religion were left at the door although on occasion Neil couldn't help himself.

There was laughter, reminiscing, playing with grand nieces and nephews, and showing love and concern for each other and for gently discovering truths about our mother who recently moved from independent living to assisted living.

My siblings and I haven't spend much of our adult lives being very close to each other physically or emotionally. Everyone was busy with family and careers and we all lived far apart in our own worlds.  Being together wasn't a priority and it seemed when we were together there was an underlying uneasiness propagated by differing opinions.

We are close now. There is a respect for each other born from a fresh acceptance. Not one of obligation because we are family but one from resting our differences.  It opens a huge space for love that feels joyful.

Our next visit will be for Christmas. We will arrive bright and early on Christmas morning. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

12.2.15 Hey Where Did My Gin and Tonic Go?

I would guess it's been roughly 2 to 3 weeks since I started losing my gin and tonic.

What I first noticed was having some indigestion after meals - some nausea and generalized discomfort. Mild. Nothing horrendous. I chalked it up to the amount of Ibuprofen I've been taking - mind you I'm not exceeding 800mg in 24 hours. So I did all the precautionary things. Took them with food. Took an acid reducer. And in the last 4 days switched to Tylenol. Nothing.

The big blow is how profoundly not only the taste but the smell gin has on creating nausea. I just can't drink it anymore.

On the tragedy scale this is huge for me. I've been a gin and tonic guy for decades. At first, as would any connoisseur would do, I resorted to forcing myself to drink it but it's became like getting medicine down a 2 year old.

I had planned that up until I leave I'd at least get to enjoy my evening cocktail sitting in my easy chair by the fire. Every day it seems like something that I thought I'd be able to hang onto gets lost.

This is really unfair.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

11.12.15 What do you say to a dying person?

We had lunch with our son Adam the other day. He is a very sweet and gentle person. Joseph tells me he's always been like that. A heightened sense of care for others and rarely if ever speaking in negative terms about anybody or anything.

He was uncomfortable asking me if it was okay to ask me about the cancer. I said sure you can. I don't get very emotional about it anymore. It's probably because I write about how I'm doing in my journal everyday and discuss it with Joseph when we check in with each other as to how we are doing physically and emotionally. Now I have this blog that I get to chronicle my story. So I talk or write about it with regularity.

It's only lately - since my visit with my oncologist - that the idea that this is really happening is coming into focus for me. It means I'll be getting more and more people interested in being around me and seeing what they can do for me.

There is no protocol or guide book for this kind of thing. Everybody who goes through this is different. I like my alone time, and being the center of attention, small talk, or reminiscing is not something I'm good at. It feels like an obligation for me to go out and accept invitations to "be" with people. However I do understand that I need to talk about it and that people need to talk to me about it and I'm okay with that.

And of course some people are much better at talking about weighty things then others. They are good listeners: able to intuit what makes someone comfortable and what doesn't, how long to stay or linger on a topic, to understand that because I don't accept invitations it doesn't mean that I don't feel close to them or love them.

It's another part of the path.

11.20.15 Being a Dad

Never would I have dreamt I'd ever be a dad. Throughout my life I've had the chance to be Uncle Mark but never dad. I'm able to connect to children fairly well. I give them my undivided attention when they tell me stories. I don't necessarily know what they are talking about half the time - some TV series on Netflix or a game on Xbox - but I listen and throw in the occasional "wow" or "really and then what happens".  I'm also a cuddler and I give back rubs. Kids love to have their backs rubbed.

Now I have kids (not biologic) of my own and it feels good. When I went to pick them up for the weekend, Esther was in the driveway waiting for me and ran into the house yelling "Dad's here". It was a simple and natural thing for her. For me it was huge and reassuring that I'm doing the right thing.

Being a dad is not an easy thing to do. It comes with a lot of worry - am I approaching this the right way, how to keep them out of trouble as they go through there teenage years, how much freedom versus discipline do they need, are they getting enough love and attention - the list goes on and on.

Somehow it feels right for me this privilege of co-parenting with Joseph. We are a good team.