March 13th, 2008

Wednesday Dinner

Last night we had a typical Wednesday dinner for our house. One of us was sent from the table. One left without a word. One slurped noodles before being excused. And one was left sitting there staring at the candle in the center and wondering what the hell happened. That one was me.

That candle in the middle, I put it there as a small act of faith. A couple of jobs ago, when I was facilitating group meetings on a regular basis, I read a lot about circles. About half the time, I thought the things I was reading were just too new age hippy lalala for words; it concerned me that the other half of the time I thought it made perfect sense. Eventually, I remembered that I’m from Berkeley and I’m allowed to be too hippy for words. The idea with the candle is, first, to create a small ritual, to declare a sacred space. The candle also becomes a touchstone to remind me to pay attention. That second part didn’t work as well as it should have yesterday.

If I were truly brilliant, I would be able to convey how a complaint by one kid about the other’s manners suddenly became a referendum on Life with Mom. I think I’d have to be extra double super brilliant to make that chain of events anything but boring. Poe got to describe the workings of chains of thought first and I hesitate to fit my feet into his footsteps. The thing is, last night it went nuclear.

Syd came out and said that he wants to live with his dad.

He almost instantly recanted, but the thing with nuclear bombs is that you can’t call them back. You can reel back in horror of what is coming, or you can jump astride and ride that baby down with a whoop, but it doesn’t undo the damage.

By the miracle of shock, I did what needed to be done next. I told Syd I love him and that I want what is best for him. Like I said, he backed down from that statement. Now if I could just figure out what to do with this crater that used to be me, I’ll be good.