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, November 18, 2006


Funny how we think that the worst thing that could possibly happen is “X” and then when X happens, well, it’s actually a little easier than we thought. I have spent the better part of The Boy’s training in training myself, training to live with the thought that he might actually be in Iraq, doing terrible things to stay alive, and possibly failing. Training is a good thing - good for me, good for him. Now that we know (or to rephrase, now that I know) for sure that he’s going to go overseas, I feel, oddly enough, a lot better. Not happier, really, but at least a little more settled. Now I know (even though others continue to repeat, at every opportunity, that this isn’t for sure, no one knows what will happen between now and his deployment date, all of which I reply with a “yes, yes you’re right, no telling, things can change” I know in my heart that he is going, and he will be gone for a year, and I will have to live with this) now I know this and can stop hoping (hope is wonderful, but it is dangerous too) that he will stay here, stay nearby, stay where I can enjoy him and he can be safe—now that I know this for sure, I feel more settled. Now I know what I’m up against, I understand it for what it is, and know that it can get worse, it can always get worse, but while I still hope that he stays safe, and does well, I no longer have to listen to that twittering voice of hope that he will stay here. That was a lie, a false hope, and even though seeing myself become more cynical (a task I truly thought was impossible) is disappointing to me, it is also something that is helpful. I sit in my Feminist Activism class and listen to the other students with their platitudes of change, and bridging, and hope, and I smile to myself, because it’s good to be hopeful, when you are young and haven’t had the hope slapped out of your hands, but there are some things that I just know better now than to hope for. Hope is nice, and hope is sweet, but hope is misplaced at times.

When I was married to The Boy’s father, ExH, I spent a lot of time being told of my failures, failings, and lacks. The prayer I prayed most often was that God make me a good wife and a good mother - something that I clearly could have saved my breath in praying, as there were much more complex issues at play than whether or not I was a good wife or mother. My hope was that I would become all the things that ExH wanted me to be, and of course, I failed (do we doubt that was the intended outcome all along? No, we do not. We are entirely too smart and too far through life to think that now). I remember reaching a point, though, where I decided that fighting him was simply no longer worthwhile. He wanted me to be thinner? I’d do everything I needed to do to lose weight. He wanted me to stop being so much smarter than he was? I’d keep my smarty ideas to myself. He wanted me to cook better, be a better wife, take care of things better? Okay. No problem. Tell me what you want, and I’ll do it. I wasn’t really a Stepford Wife, per se, but more a hopeless wife. All desire for self went out the window, and I threw in the towel.

Sound depressing? Yeah, I guess in a way it was pretty sad. That was likely one of the darker periods of my life. But how liberating it is to look down at your hands, clutching something as tightly as you can, clutching it within an inch of your life and its own, and see that no matter what you do, it’s going to slip through your fingers, like trying to hold on to an egg that has slipped from its shell . . . and then just let it go. I looked at my life, and saw that there was no point in continuing my clutch, and I let go. I saw what I perceived as hopelessness and I let all of the energy I had been devoting to fighting for what I wanted go - I just gave in and gave up. I came to understand that it was less hopelessness and more pragmatism, and although that was a time in which I was in pain, lonely and lost, I found that by letting it all go, I was suddenly much less tethered to the bad parts of my life. Letting it all go became one of the more liberating things I have done.

I can do nothing - NOTHING - about what happens to The Boy. When his plane touches down on foreign soil, it will be no different, really, than when he turned 18. I am his mom, and I love him, but the control I have over his life now is nil. (Honestly, it has been that way for some time, and I wish I had done things differently, but this is neither the time nor place for that, because hello, I am in a Starbucks, and no one wants to see weeping women drinking soy lattes on a sunny Saturday) It is impossible not to hope for a good outcome for him, and impossible not to hope that he stays right here in the states, but I am being a pragmatist, and I am not going to clutch that slippery egg so hard.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tampons and Mail

Some of them want tampons. Some want candy. Some just want mail.

Did you see that? There are people in the military, over in Iraq, who Just. Want. A. Letter.

Do you have a spare stamp? A spare DVD, a spare blanket? The soldiers overseas would really love to hear from you. And the females could use some hygiene products. Because, you know, those trillions and trillions of dollars that we are spending on this? Well, it's not being used to help the troops.

What the DIs Giveth, They Can Taketh Awayeth

TB was going to have a pass for this weekend, and I was going to head to Ft. Flat to spend some time with him. After all, it IS Veteran's Day weekend. My good and excellent friend there in town has opened her home to me and to TB, and even on short notice such as this (TB text messaged me last night asking if I wanted to visit, right then. Plan much?). Anyway, now thanks to some folks who were using their cell phones after lights out, and a lovely little stomach virus that has hit TB pretty hard, I now have two extra days for homework. Yay. Not that I don't need them, HELLO, I have so much stuff due that I frequently sit paralyzed before my laptop, with a growing list of things that I can't decide which one should be first. So eventually I give up and watch TV, fretting all the while about all the stuff I really should be doing. So then I really give up and go to bed.

I'm really sad about not getting to see TB this weekend - I am looking at every chance that I get to see him as one that I have to take, whether it is convenient or not, because more likely than not, next semester I won't have this luxury. It's not likely that I'll really be in the neighborhood of where he's going to be stationed then, and plus, I don't think I really have the style of clothing that's required for the women where he'll be.

I'm going to go pick up stuff for a "stay healthy" basket for him - I did that for The Girl when she moved out: vitamins, tea, oranges, hand sanitizer, all that great germ killing crap. With TB living in the barracks, I know there's germs everywhere. Do I really think these guys wash their hands after they go to the latrine? OH HELL NO. I'm naive, but not that naive. Hells bells, he may be hung over, not sick. What do I know? Here I am, crying and worrying about him and he may just have the brown bottle flu.

It's so hard to see him as an adult, not because of the dumb stuff he did (and still does) but because the only way I have seen him, ever, is as my child who needs me to take care of him.

Well, I was hoping that writing this would get me in gear for working on my thesis (Cindy Sheehan isn't going to write it for me, and those Thesis Fairies that I've employed seem to have gone one strike, dammit), but unfortunately, all it's done was make me cry more. Lovely. I think I'll go stare helplessly at my to do list.

Edited to add:
In looking for a suitable graphic to add to this post (a weeping person behind a stack of books, perhaps), I rediscovered the humor that is the comic strip "Piled Higher & Deeper." Thank God for procrastination via the archives. (Click on the strip for a larger, more legible view)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote, Dammit!

All my life I have been a huge vocal cheerleader for voting. Okay, all my adult life. So today, here is the requisite cheer: Go Vote. Go vote now, today, immediately. We have to get those in power who are responsible for all this carnage, for all this greed and corruption and incredibly incompetant behavior out of office. This is what you need to keep in mind before you enter the polling place to pull a lever, or depress a little computer button on a machine that can be hacked with a minibar key:

Katrina Neglegence
Condoning Torture
Leaking Atomic Secrets
Giving Osama Bin Laden a Pass
Protecting Only Republicans
The Teenage Page Scandals
Not Implementing 9/11 Commission's Recommendations
Spying on Americans
Fixing Elections
Cutting and Running from Afghanistan
Tax Cuts in Wartime
Corporate Cronyism
Global Warming
Jack Abramoff
Turning Off America's Beacon of Fairness and Freedom
My Pet Goat

And let's not forget dirty tricks. Don't underestimate those who are in power, and want to stay in power. The republicans are not the party of "family values" anymore, they're not the party of "fiscal responsibility" - they are nothing more than authoritarians. This bodes doubleplusgood for the country, people, if they remain in authority. These people will do anything - ANYTHING - to stay in power.

Finally, I leave you with one more link - please do read it, because this woman writes so well, and she writes as a woman in a country where my son may be spending his 20th birthday next year. For TB's sake, for the sake of all the soldiers, for the sake of the civilians in Iraq and elsewhere, already a victim of Bush's brand of "democracy" - please vote. And please vote with your conscience, your brain, and your heart.