A Road Map
I am probably lost
From my Instagram
Warm-Up Sketch Exercise For My 12 Year Old Son
Draw me as a blind continuous line drawing. Don’t look away.
Cooking Feasts for Friends
Male friend to me: Darling, are you sure?
Husband to me: Andie, you’re burning it!
One night my son and I had the same dream. I don’t remember now what it was.
My daughter and I share the same anxiety dream regularly. In it, we discover a huge number of small, helpless animals that we have been neglecting in cages. My daughter describes it as how did I let it go this far? This is more a description of her than she realises. But, it is a description of her that I love.
Do you have this dream, we asked my husband and son together. No, because we take care of our shit and stay organised1. Or are they responsible for less? Is it just the dream of eldest daughters, then? Or are she and I sharing a subconscious?
My son's dreams are that we, his parents, are ineffectual and passive, and he has to take care of everything. He is a peace maker and does not yet understand the difference between acquiescence and waiting. That this is ‘boundary work’. He tells me about a nightmare he had. What do you think it means, he asks, because he knows I like psychoanalysis. Given current events it's not so hard to decipher, I tell him. Your mother receives terrible news and you are all wanting to save her. He nods.
Recently, I dreamed I could contort my body to see the tattoo on my back, and when I did, I found it did not resemble the pictures that had been shown to me of the tattoo.
I could suddenly see what was going on behind my back, and it was not what I had been told.
My Son Giving Me a Riddle to Solve
“Fester on it”.
My daughter can't find us in MONA2 and sends us an email titled, “I am lost”.
We are on a family walk and my husband and I can smell mint sauce3. Earlier, on the same walk, I could smell the vegetables roasting that I had left behind at home cooking. My teenage daughter wonders why she cannot smell it, too. Must be our ancestors communicating with us, I tell her. (My psychoanalyst friend tells me life is so helpless at the moment that we are all calling upon our ancestors).
My daughter teases me and says they are asking me why I have forsaken them. Where’s the freshly slaughtered lamb to go with the mint, my husband says wryly, because we are all vegetarian. A sacrificial one, I ask.
On another walk we find plenty of snow4. The devil's luck is with us. Might as well use it while he walks among us.
Is this more than you hoped for, my son asks me about the snow. He wants so much for me to be rewarded.
My husband's father astral travels but won't travel anywhere else.
Staying with My Husband’s Parents
My husband's parents think even the mildest drinking is a sign of alcoholism. They anxiously watch us refill our glasses during dinner, even though we only have one bottle of wine between us all. They look for signs of disturbance. It's enough to make you want to get roaring drunk.
The next night my husband sneaks a bottle of wine to our bedroom, so we can have a slow drink on our holiday5 without being watched. Of course, now we really do look like problem drinkers. And then, my husband splashes a couple of drops of red wine on the sheets when we are drinking in bed and fucking. I have a feeling I will be blamed for this.
On the Intimacy of Motherhood
My fascinating friend, Antonella Gambotto-Burke talking about the intimacy of motherhood on Greg Scorzo’s podcast.
(Be warned, Antonella does not pull her punches and she is very critical of contemporary culture, so if you have tender spots about some of these topics - bottle feeding, suicide, sex kink, the myth that all mothers are trying to do their best - then, really don’t jump into this podcast. But, otherwise, she has some useful things to say about attachment. And the podcast is about three hours long, and my favourite bits didn’t happen until in the last hour, so this link is for listening to in multiple sittings).
I read an article about how Charlie Sheen’s sixteen year old daughter, Sami has moved out from her mother’s and in with him. Poor Denise Richards, mad as she is, in her own way6. (Oh, we all are, aren’t we?)
Jesus Christ. That gives you some perspective on your own life. Imagine co-parenting with Charlie Sheen.
I am told by an occasionally reliable source that sixteen year old girls particularly need to rebel against their mothers. Great. And that they can also need to practice a sudden urge for nurturing, and I guess, who better to apply that to than their emotionally immature divorced dads7. What could possibly go wrong8?
Richards and Phypers are said to be troubled by the way Sheen is managing the girls, People reported.
A source told People that “everything (at Sheen’s house) is a big party.”
“There’s no homework — it’s ice cream and movies and staying up late,” the source said. “There isn’t the same structure going on (at Richards’ house). It’s a lot more fun than staying at home and finishing school and doing normal activities with your friends.”
“Denise’s life is those kids and it’s always been those kids,” the source continued.
My son catches my attention and points out of the plane window to what is far below. What city is that, he asks. He is always seeing further than I realise.
More on Flight
One of my best friends is walking to our front door and pauses briefly to admire a pile of toy swords and nerf guns my son and his friends have left in the garden.
Ah I remember that, she says to herself, barely audible. Her own son is now sixteen years old and has outgrown these things. I am touched by her nostalgia. I make a mental note not to scold my son for messing up my garden with his toys. Here is my warning that this time is fleeting.
Another of my best friends has only one child remaining properly at home. Her older children are at university. I see that she is spending luxurious amounts of time with her youngest child these days. She has the wisdom of a mother who has already fledged several chicks before this one.
I decide to follow her lead, given I am already doing the work of letting go of my daughter9. I catch myself. I focus. I sit still. I stop myself from being distracted when my son wants to tell me about something detailed and involved. And when he invites me to play a card game with him after I have had a long day at work, I accept his invitation.
My husband passes me this list written on a post-it note and I put it up on the wall by my desk10. It is to remind me how the parenting role evolves from infancy to adulthood with one’s child.
I like it and it makes sense to me. But, I wonder, what if something terrible happens? Then, you may be returning with a thud back to the protector role with your child. The role you inhabited when they were a tiny helpless baby in your arms. A time when you felt like you had more control. The list is not so clear when movement is more dynamic and less linear. No wonder you both struggle to find your places there, as mother and child 11.
Health is Lower Class
"We have such a class divide in our society that we can’t have one word that covers even a sort of biological or mental condition of both the upper and lower classes. Wellness had to be carved out as something new, something boutiquey, special, and expensive."
A wonderful interview with Barbara Ehrenreich in Jezebel by Stassa Edwards.
Hang Your Pictures Lower
This is a terrific list of home decorating tips by Matt Gibberd in The Guardian.
Hey, That Ain’t No Way to Say Goodbye
Dedicated by me to all the parents struggling with letting go of their teenage children.
They take the dream very literally.
We recently managed a holiday to Tasmania, which is one of my favourite places on earth.
You handmade your family’s mint sauce, my husband asked? Of course, I said. Vinegar, sugar, hot water and lots of freshly grown mint.
Holidaying in Tasmania.
Not all divorced dads. I married a divorced dad, though he also admits there was a bit of ice cream and strawberries for dinner when he was a single dad.
Gosh, don’t read this dribble, but just so you know, I used an actual source: “Daughter's TikTok claims started new Charlie Sheen drama” in mercurynews.com
I wrote an article for The Guardian - “My teenage daughter is done with childhood. Now comes the test of letting go” | Andie Fox |
My husband works in the social work field in the area of youth work.
As Alan Watts would say, I have a dithering mind.