Alone this Summer

At the beach association #huntington #longisla...
I went away to Southampton this weekend with a girlfriend and the weekend before I was in Huntington with my book club. How lucky am i?

I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. And I’ve put Facebook on the back burner.

I’ve been rethinking my confessional writing.  It’s a relief and a release to write honestly about my life – writing helps me with my struggles and shows me that I’ve got resilience. Besides, as I’ve said, the more honest I get, the more readers I get.

But I do wonder if I have gotten what I needed from blogging and personal essay writing. And what is that? Money? Attention?

I have written about:

  • my struggles with marriage to a chronically ill spouse;
  • my desire to not spoil my kids in an age of helicopter parents;
  • my business lift-off and sometimes my business failures;
  • my beautiful New York City places;
  • my advice for writers, bloggers, creatives.

But life’s gotten busy.

For this one week, I’m deliciously alone.

My family’s been blown to the winds. My son is in Botswana. My daughters are at camp in Vermont. My husband and his brother, who also has Parkinson’s (my husband diagnosed 12 years ago and his brother a couple years before that, I believe) are traveling together — on a fishing trip to Canada.

As for work, I’ve had a wonderful client for whom I’m cranking out the work — blogging for them and totally pleased to put in a bit more time now and then.

I’ve had a crazy art handling job. This job would make an excellent sitcom – the curator and fellow art handlers are so funny and fun. Art handling means that I’m the grunt who puts up and takes down art for two art galleries — the treasure room and the lobby of my former office building. So, ya, pretty much lately, the people I used to sit in conference rooms with are the ones who occasionally walk past me as I’m working with the maintenance staff. Of course many stop and chat. And then I’ll feel guilty for not doing the art handling, and instead, schmoozing on the job. (Well what job does not benefit from schmoozing?)

I’ve also really been trying to put in an hour and a half a day (or three pomodoros (25 minute work blocks)) on a sexy, short novel. More about this at a later date. And for this stick-to-it-iveness on the languishing novel, I thank my coworking chum, Patty Golsteijn, over at Minimal Switch

In any case, for this one week, my immediate family is unreachable. And I’ve toyed with the idea of giving up my smart phone entirely. (Or maybe just checking in on it a little bit.)

In July:

  • I want to embrace my solitude;
  • Become more spiritual;
  • Work out;
  • Finish my novel;
  • Ride my bike;
  • Reassess my social media habit.

I want my social media to work for me. And I’m not sure how to recofigure my writing for the web, my websites.

In the meantime, let’s face it, I also just want to have fun. (Thanks, Cyndi Lauper!)

Mother’s Day

I knew the next day was going to be a doozy when Hayden woke me at midnight, fresh from the latest fab Bar Mitzvah to tell me, “Don’t forget to sleep in tomorrow — it’s Mother’s Day!”

I woke at 6:30 like usual to make myself some coffee and write in my journal. Nice. I then returned to bed to wait for three and a half hours for my breakfast in bed. Chris had to run to the store for bagels. I was getting crabby.

When it finally arrived, the breakfast was a bust, because the kids tussled on my lap and on top of the bagels and lox, sending the cream cheese flying all over my dresser and rug.

I couldn’t have eaten much any way because Charlotte was forcing a manicure on me. Catherine replenished my lukewarm coffee. She did affix a Post-It to the mug with the handwritten words, “Best Mom EVER!”

I did not want another fight so I told the kids, “You don’t have to come to church. But I’m going.” I set out alone, which is actually a decent way to spend Mother’s Day. When I got to the back of the sanctuary though I missed the family, so I called and whispered, “Please come to church. Your friends are here.” And they did.

The sermon was about seeing the Bible as poetry and not as a textbook. The day was getting better. I called my Mom. I read the Times. I checked Facebook. I did laundry.

I was thinking about being alone as I made Mother’s Day dinner — pasta primavera and toasted bagels. I told the kids, “I may be cooking, but you’re cleaning up.” They did. They did it badly, but they did it.

As a present to myself that night, I made my reservations to join my book club weekend in San Francisco next month. Every Mom deserves a break, not just that one Sunday in May. And while I do love my kids snuggling me in bed, I also love my aloneness and my friends.

I wrote this during Donna Schaper’s lunch time class offered today at Global Ministries. It was about finding Sabbath at work. I had been to another class of hers on Sacred Chow a couple of months ago http://gettingmyessayspublished.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/sacred-chow/