Another Perspective

I can continue to be tunnel-visioned, or I can take the long view, and the long view is that my friends didn’t seek to harm me with their votes or their perspective, regardless of the actuality.

Yeah, I have to fight harder to keep equilibrium and try to keep our Democratic Republic, but their ignorance is just that – not malice.

They see all things from their religious perspective, and that blinds them to the long view, but the long view is still wrapped in their dogma, whether they choose to see it or not.

The fabled Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers, saying: “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Matthew 21:12-13 NIV

So the long view shouldn’t be on whether their elected officials will vote to try to stop abortion, but on who they are – on their fruits – and their fruits are rotten.

There is separation of Church and State in our country, and I realize they are working to end that, but it shouldn’t be eroded. We have a unique position in the world that we are not forced to anything, but come to choose freely. If they make our nation a theocracy, we become subjugated, regardless of our beliefs, and often forced to live a lie.

Religious people are free to practice their faiths, but not to demand anyone else do so, and if they could see the beauty of this system of checks and balances, they’d want the corruption out of our nation.

They’d fight to end Citizen’s United – to get money, that root of all evil, out of politics. Then we could have true stewards of our nation again. We could vote in actual public servants rather than the current corruption we’re witness to.

Yeah, there will always be those seeking power, and ways to game the system, but there won’t be so many, and disallowing corporations as ‘people’, and foreign money from campaigns, will help greatly in getting back to sanity.

This didn’t start with how any of us voted this past election. This started when money became king, when banks started writing the rules, when the Supreme Court decided Citizen’s United vs. the FEC.

Meanwhile, love surpasses all things.

My struggle is about acceptance vs. approval. I need to accept the loss of solidarity I thought I had with those friends and focus on our commonalities – on what made us friends, or like each other to begin with. We support each other in every day struggles. We laugh, cry, and enjoy each others’ company. We trust that underneath conflict is kindness and care, and our connection contains more healing than hurt.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Impass-ibilities

I have friendships that have been harmed because of their role in placing the mobster occupying the White House. Many claim to be ‘pro-life’, but are really just ‘pro-fetus’ because they don’t give a fuck what happens to birthed humans. My friends knew the kind of person drumph was and they still voted for him.  Now, those of us of conscience and concern for humanity and our earth are fighting for our lives – even theirs, the irony is.

We’re at an impasse. I didn’t want our relationships to suffer, but all I see is their loss of decency and humanity, and I don’t know how to compartmentalize that anymore. I really wanted to be above the fray, but for them it’s a meaningless game, and for me, it’s who we are as a people – as a society.

Maybe they want America to change to a theocracy, but our country was founded on freedom and democratic ideals, and the current administration and republicans are autocrats who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and middle class, and wouldn’t know true religion and spirituality if every prophet and spiritual leader who ever existed showed up at their door.

I’m reminded that I don’t have to hate my abusers anymore, and I don’t have to protect them. I can forgive them. I can do my best to have compassion for them, but I don’t have to give them my energy or time.

It’s hard trying to value what we had and realize that belongs to the past, and we’re no longer the people we once were to each other.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Gratitude & Happy New Year

Happy 2016 WordPress!!!!

(and all you fabulous WordPressers)

 

Happy 2016!

I am very thankful for all who have read my blog, have become friends – regardless of how often we make contact – I know I have your support, and I hope you know you have mine!

Many new readers have stopped by this year, and some of you have subscribed, and I appreciate that so much.

Depression sometimes absorbs so much time, so I don’t respond as often as I read your, and others’, blogs, but I appreciate the wealth of viewpoints and creativity here on WordPress, and other sites as well.

I have learned so much from so many bloggers, and I appreciate the different perspectives and topics you bring.

You never know how much a random thought, a poem, a fictional work, personal challenge posts, songs, other art, and especially humor, have helped me throughout the year, and will continue to.

Thank you all so much!  Your interest means a great deal to me.  Your comments are precious, and I hope you all find what you need and hope for in 2016!

Rock on, WordPressers!!

Cheers!

Jerri  aka Abstractly Distracted & seekingsearchingmeaning blog.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Changing Leaves, Changing Attitudes

I practically needed a crowbar to get myself out of bed this morning.

Way over-doing brush cutting and hauling scraps out to a pile at my mother’s place left me with contracting pain down my right arm, making it impossible to sleep, so I took a muscle relaxer, which; while it helped, also relaxed everything – and I still feel like my head weighs a ton.

We’re at another end of October, the summer’s retreat depressing, but autumn’s offerings somewhat eases the transition.  The turning leaves have been spectacular, and it’s been lovely to witness.

Montague, MA
Montague, MA

Our local Pumpkinfest took place this past Saturday, October 24th.  One of my girlfriends invited two of us to sing back-ups with her for, Curly Fingers DuPree, a great local band, so we debuted as the ‘Curly Q’s’.  It was so much fun, and as with most shows or events I’ve been involved in, there’s the anti-climax feeling when it’s over – like, ‘that’s it?’  Heavy sigh.

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

I broke up with the best guy I’ve ever dated, and I started listening to suicide’s siren call again.  If I go that route, I know I’ll cause irreparable harm to my son, my S.O., and many friends and family.

I actually opened my virtual ‘coping toolbox’, and found a reason to hang on another day.  I’m doing what I can to stay positive as the darkness and cold increases.  I’m using all the attitude adjusters I know to not slip down.

Sometimes keeping that guttering candle of hope burning is as easy as lighting a new candle with the old flame, but other times a bonfire is needed, and as many others before me have said, it’s better to have a full ‘coping toolbox’ when times are easier than trying to fill it when I’m desperate, and not in my right, or wise, mind.

I am where I am, and much like the late, great, Yogi Berra, said: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Oh, and my S. O. told me he’ll only break-up when I’m not depressed, then he’ll know it’s real and not from ‘the dark side’.  Amazing man, that one.  He is either an idiot, or he sees what I can’t.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Marie and Me

Stepping out onto the front porch, I visualize Marie sitting on the old wood-slatted metal glider.

She came back East to see some family, and help her brother struggling with issues Marie had dealt with before.  I had moved in with her and her husband in California when my son was a toddler, spending two years in San Diego, and when I knew I couldn’t make it out there, I came home to Massachusetts, where I’ve been ever since.

Marie spent an overnight with me up here – us falling into the easy friendship we’ve had since the fifth grade – but I also saw us with fresh eyes too.  She and I went through so much together, and we’ll always be soul-sisters, but I saw our differences, and somewhat prefer my idealized version of her.

Those differences haven’t ruined our bond, but I see how much I’ve changed from the inexperienced young woman I was to who I am now.  It shouldn’t have affected me so much – it’s simply that we’ve matured differently, even if our essential selves are intact – but I felt a loss – of innocence perhaps? – of youth?

Maybe her presence emphasized time’s passage, and what we can never get back, or never attain, but also, that I like who I am, that I’m comfortable with my beliefs, or lack thereof, and mostly of where life has led me.  I can’t do anything about what I didn’t accomplish; I can only do the best with whatever time I have left.

Remembering the sweetest times of our visit, driving to the old farmhouse where she lived when we first met, as well as the house I lived in by the railroad tracks, both laughing and tearing up as we pondered the past.

I didn’t know that my dearest memory would be of her sitting on the porch glider that bright summer morning, the humid air sticking exposed skin to the seat, us breathing in the heady scent of honeysuckle wafting on the scant breezes, saying how nice it was at the same time, with me winning the first to tap her arm and say ‘owe me a Coke’.

 

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

Two friends and I went to the White Mountains two summers ago.  We found this big uprooted tree.  Not only does the tree represent ‘big’, but the life cycle is big too, as the root system is now supporting other life – and on it goes!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

December 21, 2011

Ice is forming on the river that separates my town from the next town over.  Winter is truly here.  I drove by the river early this morning on my way to an appointment and I thought about years past, and ice skating with one of my best friends back then on that stretch of river.  She lived with her brother and father in a cabin at the end of the cove.  I think about her nearly every time I drive by, but especially in the winter, and I wonder about her life now.

I vaguely remember my daily life growing up, or even young adulthood, but some specific people, places, and/or events have never receded that far in my mind, and certain times of the year bring them clearly back to me.  I’ll open a particular hair conditioner every once in a while when I shop at the store that carries it, and the scent places me back to my seventeenth year, with my best friend at the time, and the situation we were in.  It’s an immersion experience, but only lasts a second, if that.  Like a dream, I try to remain in the moment, but it’s gone.  Smelling the conditioner again will not bring the experience back, even an hour later.  I guess it takes my brain, or psyche, or whatever, more time to reset its visceral memory capacity.

Most of the time, my memories simply detail times past with whatever emotions were attached to any particular one, as well as my current feeling about it.  I might miss friends who were part of that memory, or maybe feel grateful that I’m not there anymore, or regretful for having acted badly, or having missed chances never given again.

I hope that I’ve gained more than I’ve lost, and, that I’ll not only recognize, but have the courage to take advantage of any worthwhile opportunities presented to me, and treat the people in my life in ways that won’t have me looking back in regret.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

New Year’s Eve, 2010:

The restaurant becomes a club after 10pm on the weekend, and while I usually feel like a chaperone amongst all the 20-somethings when I go out dancing with my friends, it was very fun last New Year’s Eve because it was a truly diverse group with many older folks as well as the typical club-goers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Cape Cod!

I drove to Boston to take my son out for a post-birthday lunch, and gave him some other little presents, that he loved, and one of my sisters was able to be there too, and she brought him some fun gifts too, and we had a really nice day spending time together.  My son wasn’t feeling well, but he seemed to enjoy our company regardless.

After the visit with him I drove to stay with a friend at her cottage in Eastham, MA, at the Cape.  It was a gorgeous warm and muggy day after the torrential rains we’d had the night before and through the early morning.

My friend’s place is right next to the ocean and is a lovely retreat.  Another friend of hers is there for the weekend too, and we had a great night talking and laughing, eating pizza and having a beer while we watched a beautiful sunset from her deck.  There is another cottage in front of hers that partially blocks the ocean view, but you can see enough to enjoy.

Today started out rainy and chilly, so I headed out earlier than I might have if it had been sunny when I woke up. 

I’m going to spend some time with one of my brothers in Hyannis before I head back home.  I stopped at a gas station and asked the totally cute attendant if he knew of a place I could get coffee that also had wi-fi.  He directed me to, The Hot Chocolate Sparrow, where I am posting this from, an off-the-main-drag, quirky and hip coffee and chocolate shop that also serves sandwiches, pastries, and other food and beverages, as well as a few ‘gift shop’ type items, like greeting cards and some locally made goods.

When I first arrived it was quite busy but it’s slowed down significantly since I got here about forty-five minutes ago.  My egg and cheese sandwich was one of the best I’ve ever eaten – and I’ve been hungry before and had such food – so it wasn’t just my hunger that made it taste so good!  Their coffee is sensational, and I just might have to purchase some chocolate on the way out…

The sun came out, and I can see enough blue sky to make a dress (which my Grandmother always said meant it would be a nice day) from the shop’s A-frame windows since I’ve been sitting here, so I might also go down to the shore and search for shells when I leave.

This is how the day looked once I got outside:

I could be happy living here on Cape Cod; I just have to figure out how to afford it.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Evocation

I’m evoking the indomitable spirit that I came into this world with.  I was a handful as a toddler, my mother told me.  I was not someone to be trifled with, even at two.  I learned how to be cowed because of the violence I lived with, but staying oppressed has never been my nature.  My mother says that I was always vocal about what I liked and didn’t like.  I told her I was sorry for being a complainer, and she was quick to correct me that I never complained, I just let everyone know how I felt.  I appreciate my mother making that distinction.  I have never lost that quality, but I know it’s not always a strength.

I do pretty well in keeping quiet and trying to accept how things are rather than how I wish they were, but I can forgive myself more knowing that it’s a personality trait and not just dissatisfaction with life.  If I have a purpose, and that quirk has never left me, I imagine that I am one of those people who provides an irritant until things change.  Maintaining the status quo doesn’t allow creativity to flourish.

I can’t see myself as others see me, but I know that I’ve changed over the years, and I do the best I can in my life.  I probably have less anger than fear at this point in my life, but the fear that remains sometimes stops me from pursuing my dreams.  Anger is often useful to replace fear or procrastination.  Unfortunately, the kind of anger my father had is usually sparked to memory when I’m angry, so it can also hurt more than help me.

Fortunately, I have an easy sense of humor which can trump both anger and fear.  I have also found friends everywhere I’ve lived or gone, which has helped me through this life, and I enjoy the variety of personalities in this world.  When I stayed at the hostel in Israel, the owners, Rachel and Rahmin, were wonderful hosts, and I was usually in the breakfast room before anyone else (or perhaps after everyone else!), but I got a chance to have conversations with Rachel on everything from religion and politics to the many people she has seen come and go through the years of running the hostel, and I was flattered that she felt I was one of the better ones.  One of Rachel’s friends came to Haifa to stay for a week a few days after I arrived and we shared the women’s dorm for the rest of the week.  She was a lovely, personable woman and we also talked a lot about life and humanity’s follies.

I was on a spiritual quest, and ironically found out that the path I was on was not the path for me in a traditional sense, but I still love aspects of the religion I was following at the time.  I found out that I cannot tolerate having my life micro-managed by some unseen, unknowable essence, and while religions aren’t usually horrible, the followers can be.

I’m grateful that my early experiences made it nearly impossible for me to be a faithful follower or believer in anything.  As a result, I’m forced to believe in myself, and trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be.  It’s somewhat ‘Zen’-like that it’s the right path for me because I’m on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy walk.

I remember when I first got into a recovery group I learned that we were ‘trudging the road to happy destiny’, not skipping it.  The recovery community has its own dysfunction through its followers, but I always defaulted to the founders who stated they ‘knew but a little’, that more would ‘constantly be revealed’.  I began understanding that whenever you concretize a fluid principle, it starts to lose its meaning and value.

I especially appreciate Grandma Moses’ statement that: “Life is what you make it.  Always has been, always will be.”

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

I Was In The Right Place, But It Must Have Been The Wrong Time

Right Place, Wrong Time, Dr. John (modified) lyrics

I went to karaoke last night and hung out with my fake boyfriend for a little while, which was great, but also put somewhat of a barrier between me and my regular crowd.  The bartender who’s usually there wasn’t because he and his wife just had a baby, and it altered the club’s dynamics.

He’s a somewhat gruff guy, but also a super sweetheart.  It’s interesting how I didn’t realize how fond I am of him, or how much he adds to club’s ambiance until he wasn’t there.  We’ve established more than a patron/bartender friendship from nights where I had my friends who run the karaoke drive me home, so we’d be the last ones there, and the bartender put me to work clearing tables on several occasions, and just hearing stories about every day events and observing personality quirks.

I played pool with my fake boyfriend, and danced a bit, and later we went to a nearby river that I was planning on going swimming in, but the bottom was mucky where it’s usually sand, so I ditched that idea and we just talked for a while.

He’s in that world-of-hurt place, and while I might provide an ego-boost because he knows how much I like him, it’s a ‘right fight, wrong arena’ deal.  I’m not going to be part of the fall-out.  I’ve seen pretty much all the dog and pony shows, and have no desire to be anyone’s re-bound.

And that’s what’s good about being older.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

White Mountains Trip

Two of my best women friends and I headed out to hike in the Franconia Notch State Park, located in Lincoln, New Hampshire.  We hiked the Cannon Mountain, Kinsman Ridge Trail very leisurely.  The temperature was around 80°F, but we were in shade most of the day, and the trail followed along the Pemigewasset River stream.  The water level was low so the falls along the way were not as dramatic as they must have been this spring after such a snowy winter.  The bridge that leads to Lonesome Lake was washed out this winter, and we saw other testaments to the power of the river in trees that had been uprooted or broken off, and even a large metal beam torn from the bridge and deposited nearly a half-mile downstream.

We could have trekked up the river bed for the whole hike, but it would have been more challenging than we wished to tackle yesterday because the entire way is strewn with boulders and rocks of various size.  There were many people swimming and wading in the glacial pothole pools and other places where the river water pooled deep enough to swim in – and even jump off the rocks into – all the way up the trail.  Unfortunately, I have a wound on my wrist that I couldn’t get wet, so I only waded in the water.  Otherwise, I’d have been jumping off the rocks into the wonderfully cool water with everyone else.

We arrived around Noon, ate our lunch out on one of the rock faces (smoothed over by the last ice age’s receding glacier and by water action), and we finished our hike around 5pm.  Then we drove down into the town center and had dinner.  On our drive back through Deliverance country, we rode through a small town with a big sense of humor.  There were more ramshackle houses that looked like something out of The Beverly Hillbillies (before they got rich) than there were houses that increased the property values.  There was “Red-Neck Mini Golf” and a ‘mall’ that was one building with the word ‘Mall’ painted in large block letters across the side of the building – which could have had a few shops inside – but it looked more like a joke painted on someone’s barn, and if it wasn’t a joke, I’m very glad I don’t live there…

The disparity between those with and those without money, or as former President Bush so humorously called the former: “the haves, and the have mores” was alarmingly clear.  I could feel the need for a soap-box coming up, but I quelled my desire and remained silent.  An acquaintance recently remarked how it’s not the fault of the wealthy that they’re smarter, harder workers, and I couldn’t hold back then on such an ignorant remark.

The rest of our drive back home brought us through areas of gorgeous landscape that reminded me how beautiful and varied this part of the country is.  I was glad to get a shot of the lovely pinks, purple, and orange tinges of the clouds as the sun set.

It was a perfect frame to a mostly perfect day.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Long Ago Summer Night

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, by, Meatloaf, is playing on a humid July night. I’m reading Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Eyeball, by Paul Zindel, on the hood of a friend’s Chevy Cavalier, waiting for a few of my other friends to show up and decide what we’re going to do with the rest of the night.

It’s quiet on the Avenue, but I hear the strains of Meatloaf out of the jukebox coming from the bar next door, and I look up from my reading to watch the moths and other night bugs swirl around, looking like aberrant snowflakes in the street light above the car I’m perched on.

My shorts and top cling to me in the sticky humidity, and I hope we decide to go swimming in the Green River, or at the Leyden Glen.  We had been removed from there by police officers the week before, but they couldn’t be there all the time, so we took our chances going back on hot, humid nights.

I had worked at, Zapmia Pizza (baby), earlier that evening, and was glad to be done with my shift on such a hot day. I was anxious to meet up with my friends, and hoped they would show up soon.  Debbie was the first to arrive. I was so absorbed in my book that I didn’t notice her until she hopped up onto the car hood, causing it to buckle a little as she plunked down, but the hood popped back up as she shifted her weight toward the center next to me.

We exchanged greetings and then chatted about the book for a few minutes, and finally other friends started arriving so we made our evening plans.

I remembered this so strongly tonight that I could feel the night air around me as I did back then, and hear how the music sounded muffled until a patron went in or out of the bar and the music would blast out from the entrance for a few moments until the door was shut once again.

While I don’t miss that time of my life, and especially what was happening to me, I dearly miss my friends and the closeness we shared.  A part of my soul is back there with them – maybe it’s even trapped in some odd space/time continuum – or perhaps less trapped than enshrined.  I get to visit the museum exhibit in my mind, but it’s an empty picture of the vibrant life that was actually there.

They were the people who knew and understood me on a level that no one else will ever come close to, but they live on in my heart and soul, and I hope I live on in theirs.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

May The Fourth Be With You

I’m sure that will be the title of quite a few blog entries today, but I couldn’t resist!

My son would get upset with me when he would eat with his hands when he was little and I’d say “use the fork, Luke!”  He’d yell at me that his name wasn’t Luke!  Now he just rolls his eyes if I ever say it.  I love Star Wars.  I vacillated between wanting to be Princess Leia, and wanting to marry Luke Skywalker.  Then I wanted to reincarnate as Princess Leia and marry Han Solo.  I wasn’t really up on the whole reincarnation concept.

I don’t believe in reincarnation – and even if it’s real regardless of my belief, I don’t ever want to come back here anyway.  A sincere fantasy of mine is wondering what it would have been like to grow up in a good-enough family.  Maybe I would have turned out exactly the same with all the same issues, but I doubt it.  I would have been braver, and I would have had tangible support.  My parents would have brought me to music lessons, or helped me learn how to pursue my dreams.  I do my best now – and I also have a large network of people who care – some I’ve never even met, and that’s what matters, but it would be nice if it wasn’t so taxing.  I am proud that I was a mostly good parent for my son, and presented him with many opportunities and supported his choices when he took the initiative to try new things.  I think that being present with him was my best gift to him, and regardless of my mistakes, he knows I did the best I could.

When my son was a sophomore in high school, starting the college process, he was being courted by dozens of colleges.  I cried when all the college applications and information starting pouring into our mailbox because it was so outside of my experience.  Those colleges wanted him, or at least wanted him to apply.  I applied at the only college I imagined would take me – our local community college – and then only because of my friend’s prodding.  Once there, it was one of my professors who suggested I apply to Smith College to finish my degree.  I looked at him and told him I wasn’t smart enough to go to a school like that.  He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “Just apply”.

I was accepted that summer, on a full scholarship, and I was terrified.  I moved on campus and began what has become one of the most important experiences of my life.  I didn’t get a terrific job when I graduated, because I was still me, with all my untreated trauma issues, and there was a glut of English majors on the market then.  I was told by one potential employer to ‘go back and get a science or math degree’.  That’s what was really needed at that time.  I sent out a hundred applications and got two job interviews, neither of which hired me.

I finally found work as an office assistant, and was dreadfully unhappy.  Then I found work at a daycare, but only lasted there eight months.  I liked kids, but it was an overwhelming job, and was too close to home with some of the abused kids we worked with.  Then I was told of a band audition coming up and I went.  I was hired as a singer, and sang with them for a year, meeting my son’s father, the keyboardist.  We had a whirlwind romance and I was pregnant in two months.  He wanted me to not have the baby, but I felt differently, so I told him I’d leave and never bother him again, but I wasn’t giving up the baby.  A few days later he told me he thought about it and he wanted to stay with me, so he was resigned to my having the baby.  We tried to make our relationship work, but I think it was doomed from that day.

Our son is now in college, a bright young man who is very much his own person.  I wish he had a relationship with his father now that he’s older, and I talk about his dad with him on occasion.  Our son feels that it was his father’s job to keep in touch with him no matter what.  Maybe I should tell him it could be worse; his father could have turned out to be Darth Vader.  Of course, Darth Vader did redeem himself at the end.  I know life doesn’t often end on a positive note – it usually just ends.  I hope my son reconciles with his father because even if they don’t go on to enjoy a close relationship, he won’t be left with the regret of a wasted chance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.