January 26, 2013

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Greetings from Detroit...the postcard you send when you live in Detroit (or more likely, thereabouts).

I left Detroit after college...after years of reading the New York Times Classified Section every Sunday and wondering about this unbelievable land where there were actually want ads for artists, dancers, musicians...and writers. My brother saw the musician part and he soon followed.

Nothing was wrong with THAT picture. My folks came to visit, I went back for 30,000 mile psychological tune-ups, for weddings and funerals, to show off my babies and to dive into my beautiful fresh water Great Lakes (What is wrong with you ocean people, have you not noticed the salt??)

And life worked for us all.

The wrong part comes now, 37 years later. Because life at age 85 works differently, my parents want to be near me.  The assurance that I will land there as soon as a plane can take me is no longer enough...they feel frail, they are frail.  And so they decided it was time to leave.  Next month, they will be in an apartment near me here in Pennsylvania. They will leave behind everything they know, for although they are well-travelled, Detroit(ish) has been their home for their whole lives.They leave their brothers and sister, their bridge games and Torah study groups, the library where Mom used to work and the high school buddies Dad sees twice a week. 

They leave their son's grave.

Mom says she feels fine about leaving, she is mostly overwhelmed by the Stuff Management of a move and I can ease that for her. Dad moves through all the decisions like the hero he has become to me. When pressed, he tells me, "well, every once in a while, I do wonder what it will be like."

So this is what is heartbreakingly wrong with this picture.  I left home on a wind and a whim in the space between teen and adult and now, they are paying the price.  And they are not alone.  Aging parents around the country are becoming immigrants in a stage when it is oh so difficult to rip down and rebuild. And it is not because their offspring were seeking religious freedom, arable land, or sanctuary from bombs and bullets.

Its because they needed to be who they were. A writer. A musician. Fleeing from suburbia, flyng toward who knows what?

 I know I didn't do anything wrong, I know I am finding Grace in the role I have now taken on. I know I am by their sides in the ways they need it most.

It just seems so damn sad. Doesn't it?

January 21, 2013

Three Things Converge

Three things have converged this month.  First...this photo from last summer, when Jude was making rainbows from things in her path.

with kind permission, Jude Hill 2012
With kind permission, Jude Hill 2012

Second, the words to a song I heard on the radio: "You are where you have been."  (Still can't find the source of it, anyone know?)

And third, cloth weavings that I started after my knee replacement when I couldn't do much of anything besides sit in one place. I just cranked them out, one after another, without knowing why.  All I knew is that I felt so peaceful, so healed in the ripping, weaving, and stitching. (Don't know why this happens but it never fails. Anyone know why, or perhaps who really cares why?)

So that led to this fruit-juicy sandwich.

When you lay out a representative from each color, you get stuff like this:

 So these three things have converged into my Story Cloth.  "I Am Where I Have Been."  

The weavings will dance in some sort of spectrum around a central cloth (not sure what yet)...on each one, I want to stitch a chapter of where I have been.  Maybe a path that wanders through each and walks into the center. 

And where have I been in 58 years that defines me? In the northern Michigan forests, in the wilderness of Israel, in daughterhood, motherhood, in love, in divorce, in infertility and adoption, in the wrong life, in the greatest romance in the world, in Hebrew and the chant of Torah, in intimate giggles with girls, in back seats with boys, in the smell of my horse's snort, in high heels, in dreams of cowgirls and ghost towns...see how it goes?

So its like telling the world you are on a diet (oh yeah, been there, too. Like maybe twice a year). I want to do this.