Saturday, July 10, 2010

oh the fun we will have

Family Night July 2010 After work we meet at home. Gather the kids. Listen to Lola be sad that the friend she spent the day with was catty for a few hours when another friend joined in. Lock dogs in kitchen where they might or might not urinate and defecate all over the tiles we just paid someone an exorbitant amount we could not afford but it must be taken into account we have never paid for this in six years of living here and have three children two large dogs and an assortment of cats to clean before Dakota's birthday. Make sure cats have food and water in sunroom. Head to Round Table, eat, talk and play numerous rounds of air hockey. I'm present. I'm there. I'm happy. We are all happy, from what I can tell of flashing teeth and open armed laughing. Within five minutes of leaving, I am crying, Lola is worried, Dakota is pissed off, Ian is whatever and I could not speak for Mr. Curry, who held his temper and his tongue. Instead of feeling upset, I felt devastated. Crushed. Doomed to live in a family that cannot spend a weekly night happily together without the glow of tv and computer or the ego boosting and life is exciting ring ring of cell. Also angry at Mr. Curry. We headed home, silently. I got home and began weeping and vacuuming, which now I realize is creepily similar to the behavior of the mad housewife in American Beauty and also reminded me of The Dishwasher's Tears. I served it's purpose, which was to hide my sobbing and to clean all the goddamn hair off the carpet from those goddamn fucking dogs- my thoughts at the time. Mr. Curry comforted Lola and then came in the sunroom to talk to me. By then I was sitting on a chair, defeated by the smoking vacuum. I sobbed, we talked, and then he listened for almost ten minutes. We gathered the kids and the dogs and went to the local park and played soccer. Twilight set in and we kicked on the enormous grass field with only the minor mishap of Lola's ongoing sulking, something she has taken to doing since she saw Ever on the ultrasound. Oh shit, there's a real baby coming to live with my parents. At one point I said to Lola in admittedly a slightly threatening tone: We are going to spend Family Night together miserable or happy- but we will be together. Dakota laughed in the distainful and mocking tone that teenagers perfect for honing in on their parent's faultlines- That is a terrible idea Mom. Well, I said, summing up what must be the reply of hundreds and thousands of parents on Friday nights around the world, When you have your own family, you can do it however you want.
Maggie May said...

i accidentally wrote, after the Dishwasher link- ' I served it's purpose' instead it 'it' but i'm leaving it that way for it's poetic justice

anymommy said...

I love you and your wonderful, loving, real family, MM. XO.

Claire Beynon said...


There’s nothing predictable
about mealtimes these days
our kitchen table is surprising
as rainwater, dependent
on the local air for colour.

Yesterday, it was a loud square
lake, five figures and a high blue sky
whooping; no one stuck around the edges.
We cart-wheeled through air
and water, sprinkled red and yellow language
across the white of night-cold milk
and leftover potato salad.

There are times around the same table
when simplest conversation is a metal clod
clamped by its weight to a pond-bottom
refusing to dislodge, obstinate as an old tooth.

And once in while, the kitchen barometer
sends out a red alert. We are to expect
thorns and static in the air, be prepared
for the growl of thunder, lightning lurking
below the shade of the smooth blue cloth.

When the crash comes, we grab
our shoes, press our feet
into the mock safety net
of rubber soles. Cumulus clouds lean
over the table. Their smug shadows
dent our flat brown puddle.

Some nights we drift around the table
a loose reef-knot, a little at sea. But
when warmer weather comes, we know the trick
of how to haul fish from each others’ mouths.

In case of a storm, we keep
a lifeboat, oars and an anchor
in the third drawer down.

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Maggie - I noticed your 'I' instead of 'it' (having read Scott's latest entry en-route to you) and thought "ah yes, how just and right and how 'just right'"...

I can so identify with your Family Night. Remarkably, my three children are in their twenties now but I can return to the emotion of those times in an instant and know exactly how you feel. I hope you won't mind my sending you a poem I wrote after what felt like 'yet another' devastating and un-called for drama that - as yours does - ends with a note of determination and hope!

Blessings, Claire x

Ms. Moon said...

Oh honey. You're doing it right. I was watching some old movie- oh yeah- "David Copperfield" a few days ago and I thought maybe your family would like it for Family Night. Or maybe not. It was the REALLY old one with WC Fields in it. At least the kids could be exposed to how good they have it compared to poor little Davie.

Rebecca said...

My word verification was curingl.....which I think is a message that means God is curing Joeys "L"eg.

Rebecca said...

I am so not looking forward to when the kids have a stronger opinion of what's fun and cool and what's unjust and unappealing. Right now, they are content to go out to eat with us at various restaurants, and walk around the mall not buying a thing at all....just for the sheer enjoyment of getting out of the house is fun...

Brigindo said...

Ouch. Sorry.

Marion said...

The important thing is that you did it. I applaud your tenacity. I do my crying in the shower every day. It was beginning to drive my husband crazy and we don't need two insane members of this cathouse. (My tears are due to a lack of estrogen---MENopause issue, among others.) Tears are cleansing. I like this quote by Isak Dinesen: "The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." Hang in there. Blessings!

Ellen said...

Dear Maggie,
I just want to let you know that having had teens and trying, trying to have those family times seems so hard....down the road of life they will remember them. In odd, confusing ways they will bring them up and all will be well years from now when they are in their twenties. It doesn't feel like that could ever happen but it will.
Though I still have a teen at home who can say some sarcastic (he thinks funny) stuff...I now can wince at first and then smile..because I will do what I can to keep our family priority one...yes I will.
Be kind to are hormone driven with your pregnancy! So much going on with your body, mind and mix that with kids/teens...yikes! Be glad Lola is young and not PMSing....I had that with 2 of my daughters while pregnant with my son. Also...I think your family seeing your emotions of love is not are human and have needs...ask for a hug, a kiss...ask them if you can give them one...a big hug is such a great boost in feeling their care to you.

Maggie May said...

Aw man. I could not have asked for better replies. You guys are awesome and thank you. Every time I get these kind of personal responses I feel encouraged and less alone in the world. XO

Claire- I truly love your poem- it's so very perfect and well written. Thank you!

Drax said...

I... ah! (Reaching) I just... want to say...ack! (Reaching for the the right words! But somebody already wrote them!) Ms Moon wrote them. "You're doing it right."

Elizabeth said...

I wish that you were with me at the movie today, too. Then we could have run away together, maybe, at least for a day or so.

Elisabeth said...

A good friend, a psychotherapist, once told me, when I complained of something similar to what you describe here with my family of six, whenever his clan had a family meeting it was impossible to keep all five in the room at once. Someone, at least one always huffed off.

And so it was with us, until the girls grew up and even now we still have the odd ruckus.

Have you read Ann Tyler's 'Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant'? She describes it all so beautifully.

Good to hear you're sounding well trhough all the conflict.

Mwa said...

Well, you have inspired me to start family night over here, and I'm not put off by this in the slightest. If it's always easy, it's probably not worth doing, right?

Kate Moore said...

Damn dog hair. I know how you feel. Kids being shitty. Reckon they've got better ideas about parenting, working, running a household, maintaing a relationship, and on and on. I'm plying their kids with sugar and giving them scary DVDs - and damn it, I'm feeding their dog laxatives. That should do it.

Jeanne Estridge said...

They force you to say those things. You don't want to, but they make you. (And I second what Ellen said -- despite all the complaining, they'll later remember these as the good times.)

mosey (kim) said...

My hubby always says "it's hard to manufacture a good time". (if not impossible) But it's in the trying, right?

You and you family sound real and loving and fabulous.

Unknown said...

I'll be honest and say that whenever I try to force stuff it never works.
And because of the kids schedules and work we never have , well a schedule.
But as we are slowly over bonding and rubbing each other the wrong way here as summer continues, there are moments of grace and pure joy that help me believe in my core , through the tears and rants and doubt, that everything is as beautiful as it it. Rising from the broken even.
Trust yourself. As difficult as that may seem.
My oldest daughter told me the other day that one of the things she loves about me the best is that she can trust me with her feelings. Good or bad.
That's unconditional love.
The stuff I always dreamed of.

okay, now I'm in tears.
love to you in all of this.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Nothing EVER turns out like you plan, goddammit.

Love you!

Johanna said...

I love that you have family night, whether they like it or not. ;) I agree, in the long run, everyone will be better for it. I endured many a grueling night as a teenager with my family, and now I wish I had appreciated them more. But the important thing is that they existed at all. I feel lucky for that.

Anonymous said...

I get so jealous... (Tegan and Sara said it, I just happen to agree). love this Mag.

Shana said...

Crack that whip, momma.

Maggie May said...


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