Monday, December 20, 2010


Sat around for the most part and listened to WUOM. On ‘This American Life’, they did a Christmas show, featuring comedians doing a bit about their holiday’s pasts. One story from ‘The Fight Before Christmas’ from Julian McCullogh. His story about how his Mother living off on some other frequency (though it was not too much off par from the family norm), ended up leaving her family and settling in Tennessee, with an aggressive and abusive man she met on the internet. While this was not known until this particular Christmas, when he realized what his Mom had ‘left’ and what she ‘had’, he no longer felt the same obligation to maintain (as) a strong connection with his Mom. He had spent summer’s visiting his Mom in what was for him, a big sacrifice, to visit her and her new partner, an undersized biker type who wore tee-shirts that said, “If you can read this, the b*tch fell off”. Of course this was slightly distressing to him as the ‘b*tch’ who would have fallen off to reveal those words would have been HIS MOM.

In the story he told, he was able to drag his sister along with him to see their Mother. But as often happens when two different cultures and insecurities mixed with in the pressure cooker that is the Christmas season, a small joke sparked the gases of animosity and anger that Mom’s new boyfriend had seeping from him and he exploded. During this holiday rage, the comedian’s Mom would say things during the incident that led him to believe the violent outburst was not singular and that some of the physical violence that had her beau trashing things around them had been directed at her.

After he, his sister and Mother were able to escape and return home, Gabe said that he felt relived. Relived that he did not get hurt and relived of his ‘obligation’ to keep the connection with his Mother, to let her know she was still a ‘member of the pack’. He realized that his Mother had made her choice and that while the love and ties of family would always been there, he had come to the understanding that she had made a choice to leave one life behind for a new life… and while he could not pass judgment on her choice, he also no longer needed to feel the obligated to maintain the semblance a relationship that his Mother no longer gave the same amount of value to as he did.

I felt like both the comedian and the Mother. From assuming responsibility to maintain a relationship unilaterally as he tried to do with his wayward Mom, to the Mother’s going off into her own world, off on some ‘other stuff’, to find where ‘the turtle took to water’. He did not elaborate on the state of his Mom and I thought that understandable. There was enough information to make an educated guess that she was not enjoying her decision but was living through it. As to the son… the huge sigh at finally having to shrug off this burden that he alone carried and all the associated baggage that was ‘checked in’ when he took on the job of maintaining a connection between his Mother and the family she left behind. When I walked my sister down the aisle I had a similar epiphany regarding the act. That mine came under a different kind of duress did not alter its importance one bit. In some way I think that makes my shedding of my chains even more emphatic. It is easy to move after the house has burned to the ground. But what about after you have tended the lawn and done over the basement and put a new roof on, and the new neighbors are friendly and helpful… and you STILL feel the unease that had you thinking about moving and starting somewhere new?

If there was ever a time I thought that moving to Omaha was the right thing for me to do it was during the time between my scouting trip and my actual permanent relocation. I was growing fond of the Motor and it would have been less stressful riding with the Detroit contingent to the wedding… not to mention I could have done ‘this’ and would have been able to ‘that’ had I remained there…

I know that my life makes you nervous

But I tell you that I can't live in service

Like the doctor who was born for a purpose***

Rudie can't fail


Sheria posted her holiday videos on her blog recently and I sat and watched them all the (except for the Celine Dion video) she had posted. One in particular by Dan Fogleberg, was able to move me past my ‘block’ regarding my feelings for my SFC. For the most part I have let the ‘best friend from the service’ connotation be the end all that defines my feelings for her. But since she has come back into my life, I wonder how close we will actually be?

What I do know is that if there is to be another intimate relationship in my life that the person would have to accept ‘my girl’ as my friend. I don’t think that we are going to let the same thing that happened to us before happen again… at least I hope not. This means that whoever was to become a part of my life would have to understand our relationship. It would always be a

How you deal with the ‘what if’ when it comes to love? On my designed excursion through my past relationships, I have not really become or learned anything about me… if anything, I have confirmed that what I am doing with my life does make sense, as well as how I choose to think and feel.

Having time melt away and I am back in our office when I think about her.  I can see her with her bright and sparkling eyes and her grin on her face. I don’t think I was shy or anything… maybe it was not meant for us to be more than what we are…

... I do miss her.  Just like I missed her before.


Toon said...

Maintaining solid family relationships is damn near impossible even under the best circumstances. I don't have the fortitude or strength or desire to keep up a bond with my sisters -- so we don't have one. They must have found it too hard also.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Mark, I know my blog focuses on the relationship I have with my mother today. Not yesterday or tomorrow. My history with my mom is not all happy (and I'm talking way back) but I decided when I accepted the responsibility of taking care of her care that we were no longer on a level playing field. I gave up a lot of anger, sadness, and apathy to "man up" or "woman up". You did the same by realizing that participating in your sister's wedding didn't have to change the way you feel about your past. I think we all regret the unhappy relationships whether they are with parents or partners but it need not determine who we are, no?

Mark said...

I am lucky to have a very good relationship with a loving family. However, as a gay man, I have seen friends many many families of choice that were far more meaningful and supportive than families of birth.
Blood ties only go so far. Then love has to maintained and even earned.

Mizrepresent said...

Sometimes when i read your posts, i find myself having to reread, always trying to make sure i got it before commenting. But this post was not only read, it was felt and understood. I don't go outside of the norm very often...i am for most part a creature of habit. I drive the same way to the store, to work, i do the same things all over again, bc it gives me comfort. Whenever i am pushed out of my norm it makes me very uncomfortable, suffice it to say the day i left my marriage. I had to go out own my own...find me a house, maintain said house, cut grass or hire someone, do chores i've never done, deal with things breaking, bills, etc...i had to grow up...and i did. I faced my challenge, not with courage but with fortitude. I'm still facing. I live with my ghosts too! But u know what we've made peace an all is well in the hood.

Miss.Stefanie said...

I really loved this. You know my drama...I think I am coming to accept my relationships for what they are...

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I agree with Mark, and like him, I have a very supportive, loving family. I must say I also have many friends who I consider my "chosen" family. I love them just like blood family. It is good to be able to choose a part of your family.

Love you. Happy holidays!


Anonymous said...

Uhm, I like cats.
That's all I'm sayin'. ~Mary

Sheria said...

It's interesting how this time of the year makes so many of us engage in an introspective look at life and the relationships in our lives. The Fogleberg song always gets to me too.

You really should check out Celine. She has an exquisite voice. :)

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Knowing you, there will be no problem with the SFC being in your life. When you find the next chapter, there will be no doubt about how your feel about the person you are with, your smile says it all.