Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Year Without Tamir

This morning LB woke up next to me, "Mama, it's morning, it's morning." "Why don't you get up and play, I'll be up in a minute." And she did, I got up a half hour later, and she was dressed, waiting expectantly with a stuffed unicorn under her arm-only five hours early for our playdate.  I made breakfast.  I argued about the number of shows a child should watch.

What didn't I do this morning? I didn't wonder if she would be safe on our playground.  I live in the world of white mothers.

In another world, Samaria Rice should be arguing with her son about church clothes, or telling him not to eat so fast.

In this world, she is mourning a child she will never hold again.

Tamir Rice, a black child murdered on a playground by a police officer.  A family mourning.  A child buried.  But no charges. No trial.

If we don't disrupt this world, we perpetuate it.  We raise our white children to perpetuate the structures of racism, and to make the choices that leave a black child dead on a playground.

Petition: Justice for Tamir Rice

"A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns the Bacon."

Showing Up For Racial Jusice

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


No time to compose, so I'm just going for it.

Providence doesn't really seem to celebrate Veterans' Day in any big public way.  That seems like a shame.  I thought there would be a parade I could take LB to.

I figured out to check out e-books from the library to my phone, which means I've been reading much more.  Best so far, A Little Life. I'm not sure I can exactly recommend it, because it really is devastating and has graphic scenes of horrible abuse.  But it's also an amazing story of friendship, which I feel like gets short shrift compared to romantic love.

Locally, a school resource officer took down a student at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, a few weeks before the SRO took down the student in South Caroline.  And then, protesters in Pawtucket, mostly students, were pepper sprayed by police.  Even locally, the issue doesn't seem to have gotten much traction.  The ACLU has complained, and I guess that and $2.00 will by you a coffee at Dunkin Donuts (which will not say #blacklivesmatter). I don't really know what to do, but I guess I'll settle for writing a letter to our new interim Superintendent of Providence about student discipline and cops in schools.

LB went for her annual check up today.  3ft 5in and 33.5lbs. And I got a referral to a child psychologist (although maybe a parenting coach is what we need) because, yes, it's that bad.  And, she seems to have stopped eating fruits and vegetables.  I got her to eat 5 frozen blueberries tonight.  And she wouldn't have anything to do with the shrimp I made a special stop to get.

It was a long wet slog to the doctor, and for some reason I thought it would be better to just take LB to work with me (officially I had the day off) than slog her back to school and then me in the opposite direction to work.  But then all my co-workers came to work, and it was a long round trip walk.

My parents visited and left their usual odd assortment of foods, including a huge bag of frozen waffles. I was too cheap to buy strawberries, so I sauteed some pie apples in butter, added brown sugar and half/half and vanilla, and I'm planning to do waffles with apples and whipped cream.

I've started writing class again, which is awesome, but we got a vicious assignment this week, involving translating a passage from a novel we love and then writing letters to the (dead) author.

I've been looking for some good coverage of MU.  Too much of what I've seen, reduces the issue to a response to racial slurs on campus, and clearly there is much more going on.  I'm so impressed that Ferguson and #blacklivesmatter has given activists, and the dissatisfied but not yet activists a vocabulary to express what's been wrong for so long, and a path forward.  The kids are alright.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Yesterday was LB's birthday, and I spent a lot of it crying.  Because I didn't wake up with my daughter.  Because 5 is so old.  Because my only child is 5.  Because all of the celebrations I spend with my daughter include the person who treated me so terribly.

The good: LB had a fun party with a tiny bouncy house, and the theme was chaos, and there was a hello kitty ice cream cake, and fun was had.  LB was good at being a five year old and blew out all her candles.

I feel raw. Sad.  So thankful to have a living child.  Everyday I'm thankful. So sad to have a child that I love fulltime, but can only hold half the time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PRONK 2015

I enjoyed a full weekend of marching brass bands this past weekend-visiting friends in Boston (Somerville really) for HONK, and then taking LB to PRONK in Providence on Monday.  Both HONK and PRONK are alternatives to Columbus Day-without the denial of Columbus's legacy of mass death.  Both are joyous.  HONK is bigger and great, but I do love our little PRONK.  This year it started in Burnside Park with performances, and then the parade marched across the river and down South Water to the hurricane barrier.  It was lovely, marching with the sun setting over the power plant-which doesn't sound lovely but it was.

LB had a great time dancing, and then cried because her friends didn't want to dance, and then rallied, and then face planted.  But all in all it was a great time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 minutes of heaven

That is, the 5 minutes between now and when I start getting ready for work.  The small child is off-site. After I complained about too many perfect sunny days in a row, today is lovely and misty.

B and I have been negotiating over holidays, and my future reality sucks.  Has a psychologist described this cycle: I want to be with my baby, I'm going to miss half the years, how did this happen to me, my ex wife's lover will spend as many holidays with my child as I will, why, why, why.

I'm trying to channel the fatalism and acceptance of many faith and cultural traditions: life isn't fair, life is suffering, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, sinners in the hands of an angry God-and all that.  I was joking with my lady friend that I should offer LB's room that she never sleeps in to a Syrian refugee family, and then every day I could look across the kitchen table and realize how good I have it.

And life is good, but it's hard to turn around that cruise ship of expectation on which I spent every holiday with my child and my spouse.  It's hard to accept without anger that we are all flawed and selfish and stupid, and that just is, and all my anger and sadness won't change what is.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Lb and I went camping! Mostly thanks to the kindness of friends who drove us and provided all our gear. Despite our inexperience, our basicness saw us through.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Well of Loneliness

A. Is that dramatic enough for you?
B. I've never read that book, but I hear it's really depressing.

Never having gotten divorced before, I had ideas about this process that were not quite accurate.  A year out from the suffering of living in the same house with a cheating spouse and hoping we might reconcile, life is better.  And a year ago, I remember telling myself everyday, "by this time next year it will be better."  Since then I've done a lot of pushups, run a lot of miles, written a lot of words, got my own place, went to divorce court, went on probably more actual dates than I've ever been on in my life.  I don't wake up in the morning with a sense of dread.  I don't feel like I'm going to puke.  But my sadness, my sense that everything I thought was true has been upended, that I have been betrayed is only stronger.  In that first survival stage, I didn't let myself feel all the emotions.  Even now, I guess I could shut it down, but I have some instinctive sense that the only way for this experience to mean something is to let myself feel what I need to feel.  And it sucks.

When I was first thinking about dating, everyone was somewhere on the spectrum between mildly encouraging and insistent that it was a good idea.  I thought that it would feel like a healing process.  And, in the first stage it was.  There are, apparently, a lot of people who will date a middle aged lady.  But, dating a little more seriously makes me realize how broken I feel.  How distrusting of my own feelings, desires, and emotions.  And it sucks.

But in better news LB and I are headed out with friends for our first-ever camping trip.  I'll have to put together a tent, but what could go wrong, right?  Two little girls are currently tearing up my torn up house, work is out of control, life is life.  I was writing a letter the other day to someone I hate, a letter that was honest, but not kind.  And then the lyrics to Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" got inexplicably stuck in my head.  And it didn't make the words I needed to write in the letter any more kind, but I felt some of my anger dissipating with each word.