Important decision: I am going to do my best not to feel guilty any more about my many mistakes as a mother. My ex-husband has been here for a few days, and mostly it has been a wonderful visit. The baby turns us all to mush, a unifying force like no other – if only the Israelis and the Palestinians had a few babies in between, things would be different. Not that Edgar and I were embattled any more, not at all. But there is nothing but love left now, as I watch him dandle his grandson, as he and I pass that lucky boy back and forth.
We got a chance to do some troubleshooting with our own kids – what a tremendous relief, to have someone else around for once when a minor crisis hit, someone invested in the situation. At night, afterwards, I fell into the usual giant sleepless pit of remorse and regret – about all the things I did wrong when the kids were young, and about the separation and divorce which was at my instigation. Murderous guilt.
But tonight, I’ve decided to focus instead on what I did, and am doing, right. Which includes hosting the father of my children for three days, a giant Oscar feast, and tonight, a dinner party for a couple who were our close friends for most of our marriage, a friendship which disappeared after the divorce. I emailed to reconnect us and to invite them for dinner, and here they were. A grand reunion, hearing about their now-grown kids, and them meeting ours.
These three days were, to tell the truth, a lot of work. I do not begrudge it, not for one second, but I made myself take note of the work I’ve done through the years to keep us together as a family. And here we are, close, in some ways, closer than ever. A rich reward. Time to stop beating myself up over all the many, many flaws of my parenting.
Okay, now to important things: the Oscars. As always, when it’s finally over, I say to myself, “Well, there’s 4 hours of my life I won’t get back.” Why oh why put in the time, what the @#$ does it matter? And yet there we all were, the four of us and baby after a giant roast beef dinner ($108 worth of prime rib) with our extended family Holly and Wayson, stuck to the TV, hour after turgid hour. The main highlights, I thought, were classy Daniel Day Lewis and Michelle Obama, and a few funny moments. He’s cute and talented, Seth McFarlane, and my kids liked him a lot, but to me, he was disturbingly callow.
We watched “Beasts of the Southern Wild” on Pay per view that afternoon, as the beef and veggies cooked – what an extraordinary film, and what a performer is that little girl. Quite amazing. I got lost at the end, but am very glad I saw it, particularly then to see her in her Oscar best, flexing her muscles.
My ex goes back home to Washington, D.C. tomorrow. When I visit Washington in April, I hope to meet his daughter, my children’s sister, who’s 3. My grandson has a 3-year old aunt. The modern family.