Their Other Mother

My sons’ stepmom is a wonderful woman. I could be her friend so easily if circumstances were different. Still, through the 25 years we’ve been blended, I’ve enjoyed her company when we’re thrown together by special occasions like Mike & Jessica’s wedding last month.  

After our divorce, my ex and I both remarried, to the proper persons this time. I didn’t meet his new wife for a while, but we talked on the phone, and I told her how much it meant to me that she was so good to my children. She loved them, and they knew it. It could have all been so much worse.

She’s talkative, and her openness makes me feel comfortable, as if I can say anything to her. Through the years, we’ve thoroughly dissected my ex. That was in the early days, when, having already heard his side of the divorce story, I gave her mine. We talked like two sensible women about the puzzle that is the male animal.  

She’s been a beautiful blessing, so kind and generous, not just to my boys, but to me. At the wedding, she pulled my mother aside and said “I don’t know why Cindy and my husband ever broke up. They’re both such nice people.” This from a woman who had two kids of her own with him. How’s that for generous?

My mother related this to me later, and after thinking about it, I realized my children’s stepmom is exactly the woman my ex deserved. She’s somebody who can handle him. She has always been a strong, independent woman. I am too, but it took a divorce to make me that way.

Baby Love

My firstborn son, Michael, got married last weekend to a wonderful young woman. He’s thirty, but I still get stuck in his baby days, back when we were constant companions. We did everything together, had a mutual admiration society. Through the years, I’ve often wished for that enormous, easy bond of love again. 

As a mom to growing boys, I quickly learned to tuck my more effusive emotions out of sight. learned to layer my love into the rest of their lives in appropriate measure. Of course, weddings call for huge heaps of hugs and kisses, and that was fun. And so was the unexpected gift that presented itself  the day after Mike got married.

It was late on Sunday night, after a jammed week of family and friends descending on the happy couple in L.A. from Detroit and other ports on the map. I couldn’t believe our incredible luck. My husband, my parents, and I had somehow scored a laid back dinner at a Mexican restaurant with the newlyweds before they left on their honeymoon. 

Mike looked so happy, but tired. He lifted his fist and rubbed at his eye and there I was, back in the land of baby love. The gesture was one he’d made a million times as a child, fighting sleep, wanting to stay longer at the party. A sweet, sweeping feeling of clean and uncluttered love washed over me. Primal maternal tenderness and concern filled my heart, made me want to say something like “time for your nap” but I held back. He’s a big boy now.

Satisfyingly Complete

Thought that this morning I’d just clean up some of the language in the story I started yesterday, since I had no idea where it was going or how to finish it. So I started working on it and typed in my revisions and then there was a new sentence and another one until the story was satisfyingly complete.

Maybe I’ll post it here eventually. Meanwhile, here’s my latest 50-Something entry.

Twitter, Eating, and Me

This is pretty funny, but I have acquired a following on Twitter. Even though I do not Twitter. It cracks me up. I joined briefly a while ago and then didn’t do anything with it, so I opted out. Or so I thought. So, just in case you decide to follow me, I won’t be going anywhere. But you can friend me on Facebook.

Also, I have been writing again. Have not picked up the WIP but did a longish (for me) post for 50-Something about my fraught relationship with food. I worked on it yesterday, and left it a big mess. But this morning I ironed out all the many issues I had with it and added some sorely needed humor. Now I’m happy with it! And glad to be writing again. Will post link when it goes up.

Sleeping Alone

My husband Al snores. He also talks in his sleep in some intelligible language and steals blankets. He thrashes around like he’s trying to run and once elbowed me in the cheek. Plus his feet when exposed to air are mildly malodorous. And yet, sleeping without him is the way I miss him most when he’s gone.

Earlier this week, Al drove five hours north of Detroit to help out his mom, who has Alzheimer’s, while his dad is in the hospital recovering from some serious surgery. It’s the second time he’s gone up there this month. He’s been laid off from Chrysler, so it’s been lucky that he’s had the time to help out.  

Al’s parents are in their mid-70s and the health breakdowns are quite recent. Just a few years ago, Al’s dad built the house they live in, designing it and doing most of the construction work himself. He still shovels snow (even off the roof, much to everyone’s dismay), plants a huge garden, and mows the lawn on the fifty-plus acres. And when Mom got her diagnosis, Dad took over the cooking and cleaning, too.

I’m happy Al is able to help out, and that he wants to do it, but I miss him. Even though it’s not perfect, I like sleeping with Al better than sleeping without him. In this way, our dreaming life resembles our marriage. Not perfect, but nevertheless essential.