Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today was a rough day. I spent it doing household stuff after being told by my advisor that she wasn't sure that we could get my IRB (Institutional Review Board) application through in time to get to Camp Casey and interview Cindy Sheehan. I really want to speak with her and hear what she has to say. I can feel the tendrils of my thesis intertwining with the constantly growing strands of my worry about TB, leaving me with a constant song playing in my head - it's all about Iraq, all about military, all about where he/they are going, where they have been.

I headed out to go to Walmart for some groceries and could feel a growing sense of pissed-offedness that wouldn't go away. Traffic pissed me off. The radio pissed me off. Hun pissed me off. I was simply pissed. I wept as I drove down the highway, thinking of the times I had taken TB with me to the grocery store, before our football team played on Sunday, and I would ask him to make notes on our grocery list - "Oh yeah! We need TP! Put TP on the list!" and I would hand him my list, where he would add his own wants as well as the TP or whatever I had requested. I can still see him, balancing the list on his knee, making notes. I still have some of those lists, because I have always felt him moving away from me.

I wept on the way home as well, with my car full of groceries. I swung into the Sonic and ordered a giant cold soda to drink on the way home - it is so hot here, so hot, incredibly hot - and I had to pause to collect myself before I pushed the button to order my gynormous cherry limeade, because TB worked at Sonic for a while, and he and I went to Sonic together a lot, and then the girl comes out with my gynormous cherry limeade, and I notice the sign on the speaker - how did I miss this before? - a local high school team is raising money through their tips, and I paw through the money in my purse for some bills, and no, I don't need change, I need my son to be what I want him to be and to be safe, as I want him to be, and to be near me and to be who I need him to be, but thanks, yeah, you can keep the buck, and I threw the car into reverse, and I drove out, seeing the sonic where TB worked, superimposed over the Sonic where I got my gynormous cherry limeade. My throat closed up, and my eyes leaked, and I pointed the car to the highway. I dug out my cell phone, only to see that I had a message from my pop.

I had called my dad, and told him just how important it was that he not make himself sick over this. "Dad," I said, to his answering machine, "TB made this choice himself, and he's done it for one reason - for his dad. He hears nothing but the siren call of his father, and he wants nothing other than the approval of his dad. If he gets through basic, then his AIT, then winds up overseas, and then manages to come home - he will have done something his father never did. This will put TB on a footing that he has never been with his father, and I think this could be a real good thing for TB. Please don't feel bad."

Dad called me while I was out, and apparently the unpleasantness that is Walmart drowned out my phone's ringing AND vibration, and I didn't hear it. But I listened to his message as I drove home:

"Honey - I've been thinking about what you said - what you said was so true, and it's caused me to think about things too, and I've just been focusing on what could go wrong for TB, not what could go right. I'm going to think about the things that can go well for him, and think about how he can go to college on the GI bill, and how he will be so much better off...."

I worry about my dad, just like I worry about my son - I worry, with no opportunity to hug or hold, and no way to reach out really and feel better, other than what I can gather up into my own arms, alone, here, in this disgustingly hot state, where I see only the danger for my son, and the others going with him, and the possibility that I will face a horror I cannot imagine.

Friday, July 28, 2006

In Which I Get All Freudian

TB has been spending the last little bit of time before he embarks on his odessey to basic training with his father. This is good, because TB has long had dad-issues. He can go for months - years even - and not see his dad, but let his dad pop back into his life, and TB is happer than a pig in cool mud. That's sad, to me, because TB wouldn't have this issue had he not been ignored by his dad for so long. Kids, they're hard to really piss off, if you're a parent. Sure, there's the ever popular, "I HATE YOU!" accompanied by the slamming of various doors. Always fun, that one. TB was never one really to do that with me. The cold shoulder? Sure. Driving a car through the wall? Yep. Punching holes in the wall? Check. But none of the typical (and, I would argue, less damaging of the above angsty behaviors). When he was young, TB's dad began the ongoing pattern which continues to this day of never reaching out to him, never making one attempt to stay in his life. TB of course, reacted by withdrawing from his father, while also striking out at those of us remaining around him.

He's reconnecting with his dad, and his dad's family, which really is where he belongs, I think. They just have always treated him like he was gum on the bottom of someone's shoe, and that makes me sad. Sad for my boy, and sad for what could have been for him and his dad. I looked at TB's Myspace profile not long ago, and it's totally pimped out with American flags, military motifs and rather than a picture of himself, he has the picture of the soldier peeing on Hussein's picture. It makes me sad. So sad. Listed as his hero? Various characters - none of them real...except for his father.

So now he's joined up, for something to bond with his dad over, I believe. He's willing to put himself into danger, just so that he can have something to talk with his dad about? The pull of parental love and approval is so strong, and this is something I really can't understand very well, because I have always had parental love and complete approval...well, not complete approval, maybe, but I at least knew at the time that what I was doing was stupid. What TB is doing is stupid beyond stupid - it is life threatening.

But I had a thought this morning that soothed me a bit (along with the fact that I actually got a good night's sleep for a change). *If* TB actually makes it through basic training, and *if* he gets sent overseas, then he will have done something his father has not, and he will have lived the pinnacle of the soldierly life. Not to say that that is what I want for him, but it is to say that I think it is what he is striving for - the possibility of impressing his father.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In which I channel Harriet the Spy

I no longer have to look at what I do here at this blog, or my writing in my journals, as taking away from the "legitimate" work that I am doing towards my classwork or towards my thesis. Funny, that. I just realized - again - how circular life can be.

When I began writing my original blog, the ill fated, now deleted blog that I loved, I began it as a class project during my last semester in my undergraduate career. It was for a creative writing class, and it grew from a creative writing assignment (it wasn't assigned, per se, but we had to journal about a book we were reading, and I was itching to begin to blog after reading Flea's blog, and so I took it upon myself to make it into a blog). After I passed the blog around to some friends when it became obvious that we were going to be moving away, it became a "how to keep in touch with me" type thing. That, of course, by it's very nature, made it impossible for me to blog about certain things that were just TOO private (hello, not gonna blog about those wild and crazy evenings of monkeysex with Hun! Not with Mother and Othermother reading, thanks!), but that wasn't what that blog was about. Then, it outgrew its usefulness, I think, and to be honest, I said some stuff that I really should not have - Hun was right (and ps, Hun will likely get a new name, eventually, when I come up with a good one. I just don't have a good one yet. AR maybe) about being more anonymous online, and not sharing so much stuff about myself. And my family. Specifically, I said some stuff about my stepdaughter (DQ) and her mother that just really would have been better handwritten in my *real* journal. I just let 'er fly, though, and said what I thought, and what I felt, and forgot the difference between the online and the journal that goes in the nightstand. That was, ultimately, the reason for deletion of the blog. I love DQ, and I don't want to make her feel bad. And yes, it is not above the Ex (or his current wife) to have printed off things and sent them to DQ or even her mother. The only reason I'm not terribly worried? Ex and Wife-'o-Ex aren't too bright. But they are mean, so they really could have, and may have, thought to do that. But I wanted to avoid that, if possible. So I hit the big delete button, and the project I began in my senior year, as I was deciding not to focus on women's studies (ha! that worked out well, huh??) disappeared.

As you can see, by my constant blathering about it, I was troubled about the loss of my blog. It traced the most difficult time of my life - leaving my children, who I love and miss terribly, but who no longer needed me, and who had their own lives and plans, without me in them, to chase after what I and Hun was another journal that I tossed on the fire, because Ex could twist and abuse it, and hurt others with it. It was, after nearly 12 years apart, another way that Ex could infect himself into my life, and the life of those important to me, and that pissed me off.

Tonight in class, my professor (who is also on my committee) told me that perhaps I should journal about the experiences I am having in the writing of my thesis on the topic of Cindy Sheehan and media representations of her while also struggling with the issues arising from TB's decision to enlist, and how his enlistment plays out.

Could I be happier about this? Oh hellno! This is great! Now, I can blog to my heart's content, and pour out all that's been rounding through my head, even in a way I couldn't before, and it's legitimate! It's not a waste of time, like the 20 minutes last night when I stared in horror at the tv screen while "Dr. 90210" discussed women's breasts/stomachs/etc. while wearing an astoundingly horrible bestrip'ed suit that made me wonder if he had just escaped from Surgeon Jail (Dr. 90210 is hawt, but I am not letting me suck me into his show, oh no, even tho he does work the hotness, I am still in rehab from my Lost addiction, and I still am debating whether or not I can socially Lost, as opposed to being in a 12 step program from Lost - but hello, Sayid hotness! Oh, the hotness that is Sayid! My goodness, that was a long parenthetical distraction!)

Yes, I amuse myself with the blogging, and I am excited, beyond words, that I can continue to do so, and it can return to being something I do with pleasure, with joy, with relief. Because I am conflicted, I am upset, I am sad, I am worried. I have days when I try to do research for this, and all I can envision is the horror that would be my life if I were in Cindy Sheehan's shoes. I love my son, and I miss him already, and I cannot understand how I will function when he is in harm's way. I looked at My Military Friend tonight in class tonight as she was speaking (and she is fucking brilliant) and all I could think was, "How can she think? How can she sit? How can she move through her day? Is she not consumed with the worry that with each knock on the door, there will be grim faced military men on her step? What is the secret?" And, of course, I constantly wonder - what is the magic spell, incantation, blessing, letting of my own blood, whatever it needs be, to keep those grim faced men away? I am always - always - one single breath away from a crying jag. The evening news with Jim Lehrer is no longer the same for me. There it is, on the screen in the evenings, the parade of young, and not so young, men and women, who are all missed by their mothers. Each of those people on the screen symbolizes at least one - probably more - weeping, screaming mothers (birth mothers, othermothers, mothers in law - the list goes on, and we are all mothers, all bearers), and all I can think is when will this stop? Please, please, let it end before I am one of those invisible, screaming mothers, before I hear the knock on my door, before I learn what it's like. Please.

Yo! Adrianne! Could you get my cane?

This tells me two things: One, that they ran out of numbers and two, that Hollywood has also run out of new ideas.

An email discussion

From Classmate L, whose husband is stationed in Iraq, with the group that TB will be joining (and I don't recall the military terms used for various groups, and I really don't care. It's a bunch of military people):

This is the answer that I got from Husband:

"They are called "Fisters" for fire support. They are the eyes of the artillery, look at the target and let the brains, the fire direction center, know where it is. However, it ain't that easy for them, they are usually attached to either the armor or infantry and move where they move, do what they do and when they need a FA (field artillery) firemission call up the request."

So to translate. They will be wandering around looking for targets. When they see something that needs to be taken out, they will radio that in to the fire direction center who will then radio the coordinates to the cannons to fire at this target. Now, with that said, I would not worry too much about him doing this anytime soon in a combat situation. There is little to no artillery in Iraq right now. All of the artillery units from here at *** are doing either transportation missions or support (desk jobs). Hope this helps and doesn't make you too upset. Let me know if you need anything else (even just someone to listen). I do a great deal of complaining about the Army myself so I will understand.
My reply to my Excellent friend:

Marvelous. Just what I've always wanted him to grow up to be. A wandering fister.

Thanks - I have such mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, TB is pretty much a (pardon the term) fuck up and has exhausted the possibilities for mooching off people and sleeping on their sofas. I don't know why he thinks this is a better idea than school. But he's over the age of consent, so what can I do? Not a thing. TB has no interest in actually working for a living, and I can't understand how he sees this as not being work or difficult. I hope that he gets some sense knocked into him in basic, but at the same time, I'm afraid that he'll get enough sense knocked into him that he makes it through basic and then actually winds up in Iraq. See? I told you I was conflicted. I want him to succeed in basic, because I hope that it will make him a better person and give him what he needs and is obviously lacking. Then again, success in basic leads to active duty, which I am not happy about. Good god. No wonder TB is messed up. Look at me - I'm a wreck! :-)

Thanks a bunch for the info - here's hoping for a desk job, or at least a job driving a school bus or something (ha!)

See you in class tonite!
Peacemonger Mom

I'm less than thrilled about this.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Countdown to Basic

In light of my newfound addiction to online anonymity, I won't, unfortunately be able to do a REAL countdown (as in, a countdown which gives TB's real date for shipping out). I can, however, give a general idea. Two weeks? Ten days? Yeah - somewhere in the month of August. Trust me when I say that the date is, currently, hammered onto, into and all around my heart.

TB is making an attempt to engage various members of the Insane Side of his family - i.e., those related by blood to his father. Oh, and his father. He is the king of the Insane Side of the family. You know that old bumper sticker, All men are idiots and I married their king? Yeah. That's it in a nutshell. If I believed in generalizations (I don't) I'd go for that. And the ex is stupid enough to be flattered at the idea of being king of anything, even a bunch of...well, idiots.

TB has distanced himself from my people, much to the pain of some of the smaller people in question. My sister's daughter, The Princess, is young and really wants to see TB before he leaves. This likely will not happen, as when TB enters the gates of The Compound, all is forgotten except that which is Crazy.

I am worried about TB, but I know that right now he is exactly where he wants - needs - to be.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Learning lessons the hard way

When I was a kid, my mother had a table with leaves that folded down by way of a hinge - a hinge which was easily accessible to small hands beneath the table. I had a habit of playing with the hinge, to Mom's dismay and constant reminder that if I didn't stop, I was liable to flip my food directly into my lap. One day, she presented me with a lovely lunch, for which I was very hungry. I even remember what it was: tomato soup, crackers and Cheerwine. I began the ritualistic flipping of the little lever, and Mom said, as usual, "Don't do that. You might make your food spill." Lo and behold, for the first (and last) time ever, my childish playing with the hinge resulted in a very quick, decisive folding down of the leaf, dumping my lunch, beverage and all, into my lap. Coated from top to bottom in my lunch, I looked at Mom and asked plaintively, "Why do I always have to learn the hard way?"

My nearly 40 year old self answers my ten year old self the same way that my Mom answered me then: Because that's the way that we learn best, and sometimes it just takes that sort of lesson for us to learn what we need to know.

It would appear that sometimes I still just don't learn.

Those of you who know me IRL (and you know who you are!) are here because I sent you a link. You won't find this blog by googling my name, where I live or any other specific reference about me - because I am now committed to online anonymity. Not because I am going to be blogging about my kinky sexual pecadillos, or because I outed Bob Novak as Dracula, but because I had a nice little blog before, and my ex-husband and his family decided to take up camp there. Any sort of reintroduction of my ex into my life in any way leads to unhappy nightmares of the worst sort (or just the weird sort - neither are pleasant). I begin to feel as if I am constantly in need of a shower. A shower with very hot water, brillo pads and a good flossing out between the ears. Not to put too fine a point on it, but he's a scary, bad man. I don't like who I am around him, and I sure don't like who he is around anyone. Or alone, for that matter.

So I have abandoned my old blog (all 200 pages of writing of it) and deleted it to the ether of the internet. Not without some sadness, but also not without some relief. Anything that Ex touches develops the pungent, clinging odor of turpentine, or perhaps sulfur, and I couldn't enjoy my blog anymore. But it's gone, and I'm not, but I miss writing. I enjoy blogging, dammit, and I enjoy creativity. I don't enjoy other people treating my work like it's a cat box and they're a very old tabby with incontenence issues, so I'm now Peacemonger Mom.

I will likely struggle to keep my posts as anonymous as possible - I was very much unconcerned about being who I was online, but all it took was once, and there we have it. If you know me, you'll know who the players are as I assign them pseudonyms. I won't be posting pictures as much, and there will likely be no pictures of Harry McSheddypants either. That makes me sad. I resent having to censor myself, I resent it terribly. But that might just be the narcissist in me. I'm not sure.

Why Peacemonger Mom? Because The Boy has joined the military, and is beginning bootcamp/basic training/hell in a few weeks. I'm still a mom, and I'm even more of a peacemonger now than before, as a result of TB's actions. As Lloyd Bridges said in "Airplane," "I picked a hell of a week to stop sniffing glue." I picked a hell of a time to delete my blog. It served for me as a real safety valve - once I was able to write it down, I was much better off. So rather than grit my teeth and shush my inner drive to write (even something as self involved as a blog), I am now P.M.

I fully expect TB to be sent overseas. Anyone enlisting at this time in history would have to have a serious case of cranial rectitis if they enlisted to begin with, I think, but to enlist and not expect to go somewhere sandy? Very stupid. So, I am doing my best to cope with this, but as is usually the case in situations like this, my best is not nearly good enough. I have had a few real beauties of crying spells, and can't seem to concentrate well. It's difficult to concentrate when there's a sound loop running through your head, like a terrorized hamster on a wheel, declaring in various stages of hysteria: Military! Fighting! Danger! He's put himself in danger! You can do nothing! Helpless! Danger to child! Must save child from himself! Can't save child from himself! Child not child! Child adult now! Child still child! Must save child!

See? Concentration with that sort of unhelpful dialogue running through my head is just impossible.