Friday, March 20, 2009

The family I don't have

The family I do have is a wonderful family. A handsome and engaged husband, creative and active children who are fearlessly pursuing their dreams.

The family I do not have is the family of a former boss and dear friend. She and her husband are the parents I should have had; in fact they are the parents I did have, except that Jack and Lynn made choices that honored their artistic natures and unconventional attitudes. My own parents bought into the whole postwar 50s domestic nonsense, which fit them not at all.

I live my life in an unconventional way far more because of Lynn and Jack than because of my own parents. They showed me that artists could be artists, that you can raise your children according to your own rhythm and values. They let me understand that you can live a rich and even a consumerist life with no money. These are people who changed my life profoundly.

Yesterday I saw their entire family together. The grown son and daughter with their spouses and children. They are close knit, nice, welcoming and warm. I want intensely to be part of that circle. They all accept me; Lynn thinks of me nearly as a daughter. She loves me. But in fact it's an empty shibboleth. I know the stories and can say the words, but the clan is a closed one and I am not a part of it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Around the world

I managed to connect, at a remove, my daughter with a "cyber" friend, Joyce, in Singapore. Joyce went and saw Nga Jee skate a show, and I've been trying to wrap my brain around a world where I can meet someone on line, and then connect them on line with another person, who they can then meet. At 9 p.m. last night, when Nora was skating the show that Joyce was watching, I closed my eyes and imagined them in real time.

A generation ago, heck two decades ago, there would have been nearly no point in the exercise. Even telephoning internationally was expensive from the U.S. end and absurdly complex from Europe or Asia. If your loved one was across an ocean there was no point in thinking of them in "real time."

This makes me both more and less homesick for Nga. I know that she can reach me easily, so I wait by the phone so to speak; I'm afraid not to be sitting in front of the computer in case she looks for me. It makes it hard to let go in the way that I was able to let Seng Lim go when he was on the boat, because I knew I couldn't reach him, or now, when he's completely accessible.