The Introverted Thinker and the Extroverted Feeler Deal with Divorce

When my children were eight and thirteen, their parents were getting divorced. It had been a very long process involving hours of counseling and had officially started when they were five and ten. We paid counselors more than lawyers, which is a good thing. My Ex had pushed me to fire my first lawyer and to switch solo counselors. The final straw was when he decided that we needed to switch couples counselors.

“I don’t agree with anything he’s said.” said my future Ex.

I was flabbergasted but really it had been obvious. “We’ve been going to him for OVER A YEAR.”

“Yeah, but he’s on your side. I don’t agree with anything he says. I don’t want to go back to him.”

I found a new counselor and found that I had a new goal while filling out the paperwork: amicable divorce. We did one session with the children. The counselor introduced herself and talked about divorce and said that children often had questions. My extroverted feeler son went first.

“Why are you going to Grandma’s for Christmas, dad?”

Dad began to say that I was being mean to him, but the counselor intervened. “It’s not appropriate for you to tell your son about your disagreements with your spouse.” Dad argued, but the counselor stood firm.

Dad said, “I want to have Christmas with people who love me.”

The extroverted feeler just looked at him. “But we love you, dad.”

Dad stared back at his children. “Yes, you do. I am sorry. Next time I will talk to you before I decide what to do.”

My introverted thinker daughter went second.

“Mom, if you get divorced and daddy moves away, and if Auntie’s cancer comes back and you go to take care of her, who will take care of us?”

I think all the adults were stunned by the complexity of that question from an eight year old. I had left the children with their dad to go to take care of my sister for the week before her mastectomy over a year before. It was the longest I had ever been away from my children.

I replied. “If Auntie’s cancer comes back then I will not leave you to take care of her. Either she will have to come here to be taken care of or I will take you with me.”

That was it. She had only one question. She was quite clearly satisfied with the answer. I thought the counselor was amazing to make them feel safe enough to ask a big question.

Previously published on some obscure place on the internet 11/2/09.

what I miss

what I miss after 8 years of divorce and 14 years of marriage is sleeping with a warm body not you but anyone after you fill the U-Haul and are surprised because you think that I am the packrat and all the stuff is mine but you have a piano and bicyles and a motorcycle and clothes and music and books and really you are one too, it’s just that I am worse and you drive away and I can’t sleep though really it did start before then we did over a year of couselling and I slept alone some and then kick you out and sleep alone more our daughter moves into the room across the hall up from the basement when you leave and in the middle of the night she comes up with me because you are gone to Colorado and now 6 years later she asks about it and I say you came in with me and she says she didn’t know that and would wonder why I would steal her in the middle of the night and I say I didn’t but as she is older and moves back two flights down to have that distance that one needs from a parent when one is in puberty and growing up and away and I wake at four am and now that same sex marriages are legal I wonder about buying an asian bride and then I would have a body a warm body to sleep with but it wouldn’t work and yes I miss sex too but not in the same way it’s the warm breath and heartbeat and movements and I am the monkey longing for a mother to cling to and I too make do with a pillow I could make a scarecrow for my bed a body not an inflatable too cold but something warm and I could put a watch in its chest an old one that ticked it doesn’t actually help to be in love because I am not sleeping with my love and that makes it all the worse I long for a warm body really no I long for my warm love this particular body and breath and heartbeat and I wake often longing for my warm love

the picture is my sister, who died in 2012 of breast cancer. I made her stuffed animals and puppets for years starting when we were little. I made the red eared puppet and bought her the puppet with legs that year….

Powergirl takes off

The photo yesterday is of my daughter on the beach, but she is in the air. She is not touching the ground at all. And today the picture is my son airborne at the beach. I wrote this poem in 2005. When I found each of those photographs, I thought of this poem.

Why, you say, does this poem leave the articles out? I went to high school in Alexandria, Virginia. Yes, I was a Titan and graduated from there. In Alexandria when we were really angry or really passionate, the articles got dropped. I try not to talk like this in the northwest, because people get scared. I am also influenced by Walt Kelly’s Pogo and all of the messing around with language and spelling. Stephen Fry on language (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY) is a lovely comfort!

Previously published on everything2 August 25, 2009.

Powergirl takes off
Powergirl have wings
to fly
She related to
Superfly
She scared when
baby almost die
She scared and yes’n’she
do cry

Husband say she much
too strong
He say she most allays
wrong
He sing and dance de
same old song
He rather she put on
a thong
He played too much with
that old bong

Now man he working
ooh he big
He have no time for
little kid
Not that he ever
really did

She research kidses
summer camps
She study schedules late
with lamps
Pay de money, lick de
stamps

Husband say she got too
much power
He say it nearly every
hour
He grumpy sullen and really
sour

Powergirl got wings
to fly
She look with longing
at the sky
She look at husband
wonder why

She finally realize he
a pain
She take a saw to
ball and chain
Husband he whine and
complain
She wonder why he
goddamn insane
She learn divorce lawyer
nice name

Husband lie on ground and
moan
He whine and bitch all on
de phone
Powergirl leave him there
alone
He drink and fuck and get
real stoned

Powergirl have wings
to fly
She rising rising
in the sky
Kids light as she is
hollow bones
They scared to leave
familiar home
Ride on her shoulders
in the sky
She hopes that they will
learn to fly