Monday Morning

It’s Monday again. I’ve had a cold all weekend and am feeling a little light-headed and spacey. Toast and water and a quiet morning spent at home is about all I’m up to at the moment.

Although, shortly I’ll need to get ready to go down to the Chicago Public Radio studios to record a political essay that I wrote for the morning news magazine’s Eight-Forty-Eight program. Despite my subdued demeanor I’m really excited to do this. I can’t believe that at some point in the coming weeks I’ll be hearing my own voice on the radio.

I’ve been an NPR junkie since high school and when I moved to Chicago a year ago I began listening to Eight-Forty-Eight regularly. I never really thought much about submitting my writing to the radio but upon completing a recent piece about my father and how his background and values influenced my liberal political stance, I couldn’t think of a better place for it than the tinny car speakers in Greg’s Honda. And surprisingly, after I submitted it, a producer at Eight-Forty-Eight got back to me within a day to say that she wanted the piece. And so off I go today, to record it. I’ll be sure to post a link to the audio clip when it airs.

In other news, the Oprah taping was really fun. It turned out to be a live show with lots of different components. She followed up on some recent shows and then had Ty Pennington from Extreme Home Makeover on to talk about his new book. We had really fantastic seats, up close to the stage, and the audience handlers actually separated Greg’s mom from us girls and put her smack in the front row with literally just a few feet of air between her and Oprah. That was definitely the best part of the whole experience for me: getting to see Greg’s mom who has sacrificed so much in her life for her kids and others, get to sit front and center and enjoy something that she’s always really wanted to do. She was grinning and blushing like a school girl.

Although I don’t really watch Oprah’s show, it was definitely fun to see her in person. She’s such a familiar person, her voice, her hair, her smile, that it was quite surreal to see her close enough to touch. She truly has a lovely and powerful presence. At the end of the show she announced her latest Book Club selection: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and we were all given books. And since I’ve been sick this weekend, I spent almost all of yesterday reading it, and I must say that so far, it’s a seriously good read.

On Saturday morning I led my first grief and loss support group at work. I’ve been trying to get this group up and running for a couple of months and for one reason or another it just hasn’t worked out. But on Saturday I gathered in the conference room at work with four people who have recently lost someone — all of them having lost a spouse and some having also lost children or parents.

Those couple of hours on Saturday morning were truly the highlight of my weekend. I felt so privileged to witness and share in these people’s experience of their grief and loss. And in turn, I think they found it incredibly powerful to share their stories with others who have been through something similar. We’re going to meet again next weekend and I’m already planning how we’ll spend those couple of hours together and how I can better work to help them through this time in their lives.

I feel so grateful to be in a place in my life in which I can do this for someone else.

Greg and I have a new post up on She Wrote, He Wrote:
It Was Easy to Find the Audacity to Attend "The Audacity of Beer"



This Morning

It’s 6AM and I’m up and dressed. In half an hour my mother-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law will be arriving at the house so that we can all carpool downtown and go to a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I’ve never been to see Oprah and I’m excited but I’m more excited about how thrilled my mother-in-law and one of my sisters-in-law are. I think this might just be the best present I could have ever given them. They are really big fans of the show and have been thrilled for weeks.

Strange to say, but I think this might be my first Boose family outing that doesn’t involve Gregory. It’s definitely interesting to be assimilating into this big, new family. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before, if that makes sense. Family is so different than friends and I really just have so little experience being part of one. I’m enjoying it for sure, but sometimes it makes me a little self-conscious and a little nervous.

It’s also a little strange to be joining a group that’s been together for a long time. They have their rules and customs and social graces — lots of things that will take me time to get to know and understand. In the meantime, I find myself stumbling now and then, but I suppose it is impossible not to in a process like this.

Anyway, off to see Oprah!


Thoughts on My Mother

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother lately.

I’ve been missing her, which is a strange feeling. It’s been a long time since I’ve missed her. In the few years following her death I missed her so intensely that I literally thought my heart would break. I was living in New York, a place where she had lived for seventeen years. I was 20 years old and just in the beginning fringes of learning how to be a young woman without a mother.

I thought about her all the time. I imagined her walking down the same streets I was. I pictured her in the same smoky bars I inhabited. I fantasized that my cramped little East Village kitchen looked just like hers when she cooked meals for her friends. Sometimes I daydreamed about going out to lunch with her, about what it would be like to sit across from her, to tell her about my life, to ask for advice or comfort. Sometimes I simply imagined what it would be like to see her turn a corner and walk towards me.

After a few years though, all of that mourning and yearning for my mother simply gave way to my life. I began to adjust to not having her there, to making decisions on my own, to seeking advice and guidance and consoling in other places. I began to find myself as a woman without a mother. It wasn’t so much of a choice as it was an inevitability. In the beginning of this subtle transformation, I even mourned mourning. I was sad to let go of it, if that makes sense.

It’s now been close to twelve years since I’ve had a mother and I’ve long since adjusted to not having that person in my life. It’s rare that I wonder what she would say about me or the way I live my life and when I do go there, it’s almost too hard to imagine. But lately, just lately, I’ve been really thinking about her and very much wondering what it would be like to have her in my life, to have a mother to share things with, to go to for advice or consoling.

My mother and I are alike in so many ways but we are also very different women. She was married twice before she met my father. Her first marriage was in her early twenties, to a guy she went to art school with. They lived in New York together and had a young and passionate relationship that ended with just as much spark as it did when it begun, five years earlier.

She married again in her early thirties but the marriage lasted less than a year. I hardly know anything about that relationship or  its demise. And then at age 37 she met and married my father. Their marriage lasted for 17 years, until her death. I was their only daughter.

I wept on Sunday afternoon thinking about how much I wish I could talk to her about it all. About love and relationships and marriage and being a wife and the looming horizon of motherhood. I have no doubt that she’d be proud of me and be thrilled about my marriage and life. I just wish we could talk about it all. Two women. Mother and daughter.