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Two Days Married

It took only two days to know it was a mistake. It takes years for some people. And then the realization comes only after much analysis and backtracking, bundles of tapes that get spliced and replayed until the boredom of it all chases one or the other out the door. That’s not how it happened for me. We were married on Tuesday. By Thursday, I knew it was a bust. I sat reading the newspaper next to his bed in his upper flat, our not having moved in together despite having gotten married, where he lay thrashing about, begging me to go to the store to find something to relieve…

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I Belong to the Band of Mothers

The world is encircled by the band of mothers. I know each one in every place and each one knows me. I speak each one’s language and understand what she does. And if one handed me her child today, I would listen to her instructions and do my best without question. She would do the same for me. We are the band of mothers. I thought of this a few weeks ago while I listened to Maria Hamilton speak at a Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force meeting. She stood at one end of the room, having waited her turn on the agenda, patient with the other business being conducted, things…

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The Wish

How can you be sure what she said? She speaks another language. I can tell by how she turns her head, Looks in the direction she wants to go. We would do well to listen to her Her child’s heart knows its home.

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One Answer

From the pay phone attached to the coral stucco wall of the La Jolla Resort, I could see the Chinese lanterns lit over the shuffleboard court, a couple sitting in lawn chairs holding hands and looking out on to the Florida Bay, a rented fishing boat with a Bimini top rocking, the sound of its sweet tapping carrying across the yard of sand and palm trees, softened by the bougainvillea draped at every turn, every corner. It was 1988. The trip to Islamorada was to celebrate my 40th birthday and the fact that we were finally out from under the expense and difficulty of having adopted a little boy from…

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To the Long-Time Marrieds

I’d pressed the Buy a Breeze Card button ten times when a hand reached around my shoulders and pressed the button next to where I thought the button was. “Now put your credit card in.” I put in the card. “No, the other way.” She was in uniform, working for Atlanta’s transit system, I finally…

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Stand Down, Mama

First thing this morning I saw a Facebook post by my older daughter in which she expressed how difficult it was to get other parents to volunteer at her daughter’s school. I read the couple of commiserating comments and then jumped in with my remedy. It was as reflexive as when my 30-year old doctor hits my knee with that little rubber hammer she keeps in her doctor coat pocket. I knew just how to motivate those other parents. I was on top of it. So then I went to get dressed for my umpteenth meeting about homelessness and it occurred to me. Really? You’re telling a 41-year old person…

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Chastisement

Why do you come back, apologizing for things we don’t remember, wiping away the winter grime and the moldy leaves, leaving the stones of your small, tardy regret for all to see, you know it’s too late for that, bring us something new.  

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Relax, Sugar

I’m calling a halt to my 100 in 100 because it’s making me crazy having to count up how many posts I am behind because I made so many deals with the devil , also known as Wimpy deals as in I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. This is a mouthful and it…

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Bear With Me, It’s Worth It

I once had a brother-in-law who played for the Chicago Bears. The Bears were in the Super Bowl and it was amazing and wonderful even though we are serious Packer fans, oh wait, live in Packer nation and have his and her Green Bay Packer stock certificates filed somewhere around here. If you have a…

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Commentary

The other night I wrote an essay called Secrets about my mother meeting a boyfriend who was in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt. This is something that happened a very long time ago, nearly 35 years, but is fresh in my mind for a lot of reasons, even though it seems otherworldly, like it’s an old movie that I just saw again last night. Writing it was one of those occasions when, even though I was typing, I felt like I was writing with a fountain pen, every word being the only one that could possibly have been chosen for the purpose it served. When I was done with the…

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