Jennifer Dulos

Long time, no post

I feel like it’s been ages since I posted. When really it’s been just a few days. I keep writing and then rewriting the same post basically, and then deciding not to post it. It’s too revealing, or too personal, or not general enough. Or I don’t know what I really want to say about what’s on my mind, in that saying something, writing and posting it, makes the “it” even more so. Do I sound like Bill Clinton yet saying “That depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is?”

The main gist, not to be annoyingly vague, has something to do with the title of the un-posted post: Home (alone) with kids. Something about the fact that I calculated that Fotis now spends 1/3 of his time away from home base. That home is also his office, thus the need to get away from “work” proper. That work and home being one can be pretty huge, and a pressing reason to have an office away from your dwelling. So that you leave work to get away from work. You don’t leave home to get away from work. Unless, of course, you’re an active mom, in which case, you might.

Have I confused you as much as I’ve confused myself?

It has something to do with a personally cherished line from Mad Men that stood out during its Season 5 premier episode, downloaded onto my iPad, and savored over whilst Fotis was away in Greece. (See, his being away allows for such lovely downtimes as to float in bed, at 8.30 p.m., after putting the kids down to sleep.)

Oh, yes — the line! 

“It’s home, but it’s not everything.”

And I thought that for most men, and for many women, that is the case. Whereas home is my everything: my solace, my peace, my reward, my quiet down time, my active time with the kids, my domain even, so to speak. Others do not share in this. Fotis, for instance, is someone who needs to be on the move, out-of-doors, doing, interacting, out there in the world. Having an impact — out there.

I crave quieter impacts. The smile on Christiane’s face when I give in and let her wear what she really wants to wear. Even her hot pink, Foamtreads “indoor shoes” outside. Watching Toonces the Driving Cat on my iPhone with Constantine, who has the nickname Toonces, from me first calling him Constantoonces… The baby is Tuffy. Christiane, Theodore has labeled Zsa Zsa.

Okay. Ya. So I am a homebody. It’s official. I am a card-carrying member of their pretty rocking party.

The kids are my everything — right now. If I were the Joan character on the show to whom this line is said, I would just scoop up the precious newborn boy that’s hers and wallow in the total awesomeness that is his infancy. But not for Joan, working woman that she is. Effective one who makes a real difference while at the office. Everything about her is larger than life. Her frame, her flaming-red hair color, her entire aura just burns.

I try to remain dull. Prefer an ashy hue to my hair. I tried to explain this to a confused colorist once. He kept saying, Ashy, you want ashy? As if I were asking to be cremated and put in an urn.

Anyway, where was I? The unposted post. I dunno. I really don’t know. I crave time alone. When Fotis is away I do get it. And how am I supposed to feel about this? What if what I feel is mixed? Happy to have that time and to really rule my supposed domain? Sad to be missing him and missing out on our connection, union, or just in sharing the day-to-day silly and small things with him, that sound rather inane and bottled if relayed during a phone call or scribbled as a text. Angry, I’ll admit, that he is away (even if I am always welcome and invited — but cannot go: kids.)

Maybe I’ll end this cryptic post-for-the-sake-of-posting by adding something that I wrote in the last paragraph of the unposted entry. It goes like this: Even the fact that the woman lies in her hospital bed with her newborn after birth while the man is not bedridden, but rather mobile. It’s a harkening of things to come. And you cannot do everything anymore, not together at least. And a new union starts forming. One you’d never considered or paid much attention to possibly existing. Of parallel play, ike toddlers do, they play in the same room, but separate games, whilst being together. And the mothers of these “playmates” are happy, They played so well together! They congratulate. But really, each child had some vague sense of company, while playing, ultimately, alone.

This was how it ended. And that sounded rather harrowing, and lethal.

How to connect, and reconnect, and stay connected. And keep on playing together, even when there is a staggering reduction in (play)time together. How to pass the ball back and forth and back again between you endlessly, the game never getting tired, but rather the perpetual ongoing-ness of it giving life to something called union, marriage, commitment, ties to one another.

That the fact you wake up and keep passing that ball back and forth and back again, day after day, near or far, midday or the middle of the night. A constant living, sometimes threadbare, but ever spinning, connection.

Trust.

I think you either have a marriage or you don’t. And if you do, well, the ebb and flow, the tightness and the loose. The intimacy and the coldness. It’s some rocking boat up and down and up again.

Perpetual movement.

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