Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kvelling on Pride Weekend

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

GLBT Pride and More

This month's theme and celebration inspires me to list what I'm proud of:
  • Pat and I have a positive, long-lasting relationship -- 18 years next month
  • Two summers ago, I agreed to adopt sister-cats, Phoebe and Toonces, not having grown up with pets, and apparently, they love us and are happy in our home
  • Our nephews and niece are fond of me
  • My mother, sisters and I are close, and mostly, we let one another be ourselves
  • My work and most recent schooling is dedicated to helping people learn
  • I've earned a 4.0 so far, and am two-thirds of the way through a Master's program at Columbia University's Teachers College while working full time...when I didn't even believe I'd be admitted
  • I am relatively athletic and fit
  • I blog and am able to express myself openly
  • Even if it's droll more often than I'd like, I have a good sense of humor
  • You can count on my honesty
  • I have color- and style-sense
  • Healthy eating has been a 20-year commitment so far
  • Even when my opinions or beliefs are not popular, typically, I speak up
  • Creativity, enthusiasm and bravery fuel my sense of possibility, which leads to a willingness to experiment and take risks
  • Pat and I have made a nice home together, which I enjoy living in and walking around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Warning: Self-pity May Ensue

Now, there's a sub-heading to make anyone want to run from this blog, including me. I am sad. Lonely for my father. Nearly a decade ago, I found a book that helped a bit, but I just miss him.

Can't recall my father's voice anymore, not really. Am grateful still to have my mother. How marvelous that she could make it with her walker down the dock at 23rd Street in NYC yesterday and onto the boat for the "Rocks Off Concert Cruise;" how hilarious to watch her wildly-amused reaction to the teenage heavy metal band that preceded our nephews' under-12 rock band during a 3.5-hour boat-ride, and then her delight at her twin grandsons, playing electric guitar and drums to "Come Together" by the Beatles and more.

What would have been my dad's reaction? I think he'd have smiled non-stop. The boys -- especially Sam, the drummer -- are reminiscent of him...gorgeous blue eyes, tall, with big feet and big ears; genes are amazing. Today, their 17-year-old sister Zoe and they are celebrating Father's Day with my brother-in-law and sister Deb while our nephew Zach celebrates with my other brother-in-law and other sister. I'm not celebrating.

If only I'd married a man. If only we had been able to have children. If both if-only's had happened, I'd be serving or buying brunch somewhere and all of us would be presenting suitable gifts. Instead, I'm blogging. I know I'm not the only one who wonders what if about any number of life-scenarios, and I also know that everything happens for a reason. And I don't want to disrespect the extraordinarily great relationship that Pat and I have, but some days, like today, I ask myself why I had to have an uncommon sexual orientation.

Yes, I know, too: I could have married a man and still had no children. Or he could have died, or a million other variations. And now, as if on cue -- though I know cats are not supposed to be empathetic like dogs -- one of our two cat-children Phoebe appears for pets and purring.

What would have been my dad's future if he had lived beyond 56? That's just 11 years from now for me, God willing, and I can't imagine being cut off that soon.

Would he have had one more great invention in him? Would he have adapted his game-designing skills to creating online games? Would his health have declined in some other way or would he have heeded some wake-up call and become fit? Would we have roller-bladed together, since he was a skilled roller-skater from childhood? Would he have kept singing Adir Hu his way at the Passover Seder every year? Would he have fallen asleep, telling bed-time stories to his grandchildren, like he did with his children? Would we have become estranged over my sexual orientation or would he have risen to the occasion ultimately like my mother?

I have such a sense of regret in both directions this Father's Day. Though I knew of my lesbianism by age 11, I was afraid to enable an authentic relationship with my father before his death six years later by sharing my knowledge with him. And then the other regret at this moment is that I did not have any children. Yesterday, while we were on the boat for the boys' concert, I overheard my sister Kayla, reminding my mother of the view of the ships in the river she had while giving birth. "When I gave birth," she said....I was so wistful and envious at once, as I heard her speak. I am lacking that life-experience, plus what comes after of raising a child.

On most days, I'm confirmed that I'd rather not have the full experience of having and raising children than have it -- and at this point, it would be a matter of adoption, rather than an organic birth -- but on days like today, I am sad.

Also, we had dinner and swimming with a couple of friends last night and I watched their affection with the kids with some longing. And enjoyed the affection the kids generously lent to Pat and me, but it was still just a loan....

And then I also recall, hearing that they all woke up at 4:30 that morning, since one of the twins had had a nightmare, and I said to myself, Thank God I don't have all of that responsibility. Feeding the cats daily at 6 am is enough.

My celebration of Father's Day died with my dad (z"l) >27 years ago....Don't say I didn't warn you that this blog-entry would be self-pitying.

Just a final thought: Most of the time, I don't indulge in blogging in this tone, and I keep myself busy enough that I don't spend much time on this sadness in my mind either, but today, as a fatherless daughter on Father's Day, with no children to celebrate the day either, it actually feels refreshing simply to yield to my ambivalent grief.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

If I Had an Artificial Leg...

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Thank You, God, for Not Giving Me That Challenge, K'ayn Eyeen Harah

Last night during a walk beyond my neighborhood, I saw a little boy or little girl -- big curls, striped T-shirt, shorts, no more than six years old, running around in the family's driveway, playing catch with a big rubber ball, throwing it back and forth, perhaps, to her mother and grandmother. They spoke French and wouldn't return my smile and eye-contact. They were intent on one another.

As I walked by, I saw the child's left leg, glinting in the pre-twighlight sun. The leg was made up of silver-colored rods. Before I saw the child, running around with an artificial limb, just being a kid, I wondered whether I could muster the mood to take a walk....

On my walk, I listened to my mom tell me her sorrow at one of her dear friend's recent heart-attack. I've never before spoken on a cell-phone during exercise, but it was so beautiful out and I wanted to share what I was seeing with someone, since Pat wasn't with me.

A child with a metal leg; two octogenarians -- one with a damaged heart and the other, heart-broken over her friend's new infirmity; and me, in the middle, witnessing the:
  • Eager beagle, running alongside, behind his picket-fence as I passed
  • Pink-white rose-bush with enough blooms to bury my face in them without risking thorn-pricks
  • Lithe, high-school girl who nearly smiled at me as she ran by, her blond hair darker on her neck with sweat
  • Shiny, black, Saturn convertible, rounding the corner and piloted by a balding guy older than I, who seemed to enjoy the breeze through the hair he still had
  • Hyperactive Pekingese dog straining at me on his leash and his lovely Indian female walker, younger than I, smiling broadly at me for smiling at the cute dog
  • Professionally-maintained garden of the property next to the also-gorgeous garden maintained by the Master Gardener who lives in the home behind it -- one of Pat's friends
  • Tiny grass-seed, shaped like thin rice, dotting new dirt on the little boulevard above our street
  • Beautiful yard of our property, more visibly so as I approached it on foot than when I typically drove toward it, focused on entering the garage....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Could Have Danced All Night II

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Or Golfed or Swum

Instead, I had restfully full nights' sleeps; serendipitous chats with friends; quality-hours with Pat; surprisingly good chip-shots, putts and drives; dancing in the ranch's saloon to songs I loved and songs I danced to for love, since Pat liked them; NY-state cheddar-cheese omelettes; dinosaur discussions with a six-year-old son of our friends Mia and Deb; conversations while treading water for 30 minutes in an outdoor pool; horse-clopping in the background while finishing Chely Wright's memoir pool-side; a pre-bed "New Yorker" short story; meal-time conversations about what it's like to be a Kate Winslet movie extra....

Wishing the weekend were double its length.