Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Today is my mother's Yahrzeit. She's been dead for seven years. My sister called me early this morning and we said Kaddish together as we have for the past seven years.

I was thinking about Mom yesterday, the fifth anniversary of the current Gulf War. If she were alive, she would have been standing out in the rain protesting the war, as my sister did yesterday. She was ferociously anti-war her whole life, and a poster hung on our front door stating "War is not healthy for Children and other living things" for many years after the conflict in Vietnam was officially declared over.

My mother was fierce and at the same time very vulnerable. She is like a glowing wound inside me.

C and I watched Jarhead last night, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx. Wonderful acting, great script. It showed things about the hell in Iraq that I never wanted to see, but need to.

We'd struggled for a couple of days with continuing adjustment and adaptations--I don't blog much about that part of things, but of course it's there. Two middle-aged people finding each other and moving in together quickly--it's been wonderful but not without its challenges.

Sometimes he calls this place Ma Luterman's Boarding House Shtetl. "Come to me ye huddled masses, pull up a chair and have a chocolate chip cookie, a glass of wine. What, you want to move in? Fine!"

He needs space, order, some degree of predictability and quiet so that he can play and compose music and recover from his intense job. I need community, kids, dinner guests, and yes, a certain amount of chaos sometimes in order to feel fully alive and flowing.

Those needs aren't as totally contradictory as they might seem at first glance because neither of us is 100% stuck on them. I need quiet too; he loves being hospitable and opening our house up for parties (after he's made sure it's sparkling clean and we are well-prepared.)

But sometimes we come up against the differences in our temperaments, cultural backgrounds, and assumptions and it's rough. Our negotiations over the last few days felt akin to the work of Inuit women chewing on a tough piece of buffalo hide. We softened it with our saliva, chewed and gummed and chewed and gummed until our love was a supple garment once more.

5 comments:

Jessica said...

I remember that poster that your family had up on the front door! And I miss Aunt Cari...
Love, your cousin

Carla Zilbersmith said...

I am thinking of you tonight and wondering how you're doing. It's too late to call you so I'll just send you love through cyberspace.

Christy said...


But sometimes we come up against the differences in our temperaments, cultural backgrounds, and assumptions and it's rough. Our negotiations over the last few days felt akin to the work of Inuit women chewing on a tough piece of buffalo hide. We softened it with our saliva, chewed and gummed and chewed and gummed until our love was a supple garment once more.


LOVED this. What an apt description of the conflicts that come up in intimate relationships!

Christy (Bloomington, IN)

Alison said...

Thanks, Jessie and Carla--and Christy, whoever you are. Jessie, I send you a big long-dostance kiss and hug. Carla, I'll see you soon....

xoxo,
A

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