Posts Tagged ‘marriage and relationship issues’


December 7, 2011

Andy and I are walking up Fryman canyon.  It’s a splendid morning, the mountains are clearly wrinkled across the verdant valley, echoing our own slowly aging faces.  This is Sunday in the park sans George in my LA circa 2011.

“This is a perfect moment,” I say, stopping to appreciate the view.  “Our kids haven’t yet left and my parents are still alive, I’m halfway up this hill with you…”

“It is a perfect moment,” she says as we walk on together.  I grow a tiny bit sad, “But it’s not your perfect moment—your parents have already passed and…”

“For me, every moment is a perfect moment,” Andy says, simply.  I take this in.

“Then you’re happy and this truly is a perfect moment.  And I’ve nothing to say.”

(except, perhaps, Namaste)


Quantum Parenting

May 25, 2011

There was a recent piece in The New Yorker, “Dream Machine:  The mind-expanding world of quantum computing,” by Rivka Galchen in which she meets with David Deutsch who she dubs the founding father of quantum computing.

Yet when it comes to quantum anything, I want to know not who’s my daddy, but rather who’s my mommy?

Deutsch, who lives eccentrically on the outskirts of Oxford, applies quantum mechanics to computing; the point being to create computers much more powerful than we have now, and with much less hardware.  The magic turns on creating quantum “bits” which are the basic placeholders for computing—a spot that can either be a one or a zero.  Based on this simple, yes/no or positive/not-positive, construct, one can do all the “magical” things we do with computers (and none of the truly magical things that make life most worth living).  In fact, if they crack the quantum code of computing, they will be able to crack the toughest, nearly impossible, math-questions that create so-called “security.”  Then those with the power will know all the money and weapons secrets, I suppose, but they still won’t have a clue about how to truly live and love.

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First Comes Love

September 15, 2010

Falling in love is a private business—a mystery and a blessing, a fickle arrow that sometimes works out for the best, and sometimes leaves you crawling on all fours and trying to believe that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes it just plain breaks you, but sometimes it transforms you.

Today is Andy and my twenty-year wedding anniversary.  It is not the anniversary of falling in love, as I say, that is a private business narrated by private communiqués, arcane memories of places and shared experiences, trips and tumult and near break-ups and fears and angst-filled sleepless nights and dreamy wanderings through castles and tundras and dreams of rose petals and slow coming to trust that it is okay to trust.

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Paterfamilias’ Progress

June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day.

There were two guys playing golf and a terrible lightning storm came up and the first friend was ready to run for cover when the second friend walked up to his ball, lightning hitting all around them, and prepared to hit his next shot.  His terrified friend shouted, “What are you doing—you’re going to get killed!”  To which the more intrepid golfer of the two calmly replied, “Don’t worry, I’m using my two iron—even God can’t hit a two iron.”

As to whether God can or cannot hit a two iron… it’s just a joke.  But we can now be sure that “God” (or at least random lighting) can, and did, hit a six-story high “touchdown Jesus.” This Father’s Day I miss my father-in-law, Arthur, who in the end of life had Judaism to win and Catholicism to place in the horse race of religion, but I am not privy to that particular betting window and so I do not know if any of his bets paid off.

Meanwhile, a reader comment on that Touchdown Jesus breaking news item caught my eye; peppered between smug quotes from Exodus about not making graven images and counter-comments about the folly of religion was, “If lightning hits a statue of Zeus is it different?  Discuss.”

On this the week of Father’s Day, that comment got me thinking of the archetypal Father and His evolution.  Whether it’s Zeus hurling lightning bolts or Moses going ballistic and smashing the tablets, I wonder how many men suffer under the yoke of internalized paternalism.  In other words, how many hotheaded guys end up acting like dicks mostly because that’s what they’ve been taught—that this is the way that real men, particularly Fathers, behave?

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The Deep

June 17, 2010

This day always holds dread and portent for me as it marks the day in my childhood when my best friend, Jonathan, was killed; yet there is another story of attachment and loss that also clusters around this day in the watery tumult of my psyche.

It all goes back to high school—junior year honors English.  Ellen was in my class and of course I thought she was cute.  I sat one row over and one seat back, and thus my year was spent stealing glances at her as my mind drifted in and out, but mostly away, from Jude the Obscure.

The very last week of class the teacher invited us all to her house and on the way out, with summer stretched endlessly before me, I somehow found the courage to ask Ellen out on a date and was elated and shocked when she said yes.  I had asked out girls before, and had a good long history of “no” (particularly humiliating was my freshman year honors English fail with the girl who sat in front of me as my mind wandered away from the likes of Pride and Prejudice—I could simply not persuade that girl, a full head taller than me, to go on a date where we would ride our bikes).  But in 1977 I had a license to drive, and so Ellen would be picked up in a car.

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Adulthood begins at 27

June 16, 2010

This is a season when the dust is starting to settle around all our recent graduates, ranging from kindergarten to graduate school.

I have long argued in my own writing that adulthood no longer actually occurs in our culture at the point that most of us say that it begins (twenty to twenty-two).  A recent New York Times article by Patricia Cohen, Long Road to Adulthood is Growing Even Longer bears this out with an accruing host of facts and figures.

Social scientists and policy makers are noticing that there is a newly emerging phase in many Americans’ lives in which they are no longer adolescents and not yet adults.  Obama’s shift to allow children up to twenty-six to be on their parents’ health insurance plans, as well as shifts in the average age for marriage now (27 for males, 27 for females) underscore the late blooming trend.

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Eye on the real prize

June 9, 2010

Okay, I just love Derek Fisher.  One of the Lakers’ most senior players, he is my favorite not just because he’s great, but because he plays (and lives) with so much heart, so much love—and you can just see it and feel it.

Wherever the series goes (and obviously I hope it goes to the Lakers), playing away in Boston is a tough place to win a game on the road.  Kobe may be the “star,” but he was cold last night and Fisher won that game for his team.

In the post-game interview, standing on the court, Fisher had tears in his eyes as he expressed how much he loves his team and helping his team win.  We all have our heroes, but I can’t relate to Kobe in his often super-human skills and somewhat remote emotional presence; however, Fisher is a person I can look to and say, “I want to be more like him.”

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Dr. Livingston in my living room, I presume

May 24, 2010

An article in Sunday’s New York Times, “Families’ Every Fuss Archived and Analyzed,” looked at comprehensive research being done on middle class American (Angeleno, to be precise) families.  After hours of tape (in the school of the 1970’s PBS documentary on the Loud family more than the lurid sensationalism of “reality” TV) where families were meticulously filmed and documented for a solid week, researchers are now sharing some initial observations and drawing some preliminary conclusions.

Although I find nobility, sincerity and great humanity in this research and this article, as parents I can hardly imagine anything striking any other parent as “news.”  The study was all about dual earner families with children, and, surprise, moms do more of the domestic work.  Still, dads spend significant time with children, but spouses are together and awake less than ten percent of the time.  Moms experience stress levels drop if their partners take an interest in their day.  Dads decompress more slowly.

The big takeaway:  Overall—parenting is quite stressful.  Stop the presses!

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Please Receive Please Give

May 21, 2010

As much as I acknowledge and value my own feminine side, there are certain realms where I simply cannot tread, not in this incarnation as a man; one is labor and delivery, and the other is Sex and the City.

That being said, and with all respect for the dark and unfathomable bonding that will coalesce around Mr. Big et. al. this opening weekend, I would like to offer an alternative route, one that I can go there with you on: Please Give.

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Love Bravely

March 13, 2010

It’s a simple enough idea to say, but a little harder to live.  We spend a lot of time and effort trying to get people to love us.  We spend a lot of angst ruminating about how to be better, more loveable, more appealing… and we often worry about being found out as imposters and love slipping away.  We fear being used.  We fear being dominated or controlled.  We fear being betrayed.  We fear being abandoned.

But when we fall in love, be it romantic as with a lover or chthonic (I know it’s a pretentious word, but I just like the way it looks, it means relating deeply to spirits below the surface of the earth, in the underworld) as with a child, we are stirred in uncharacteristic ways.

Love can lead to desperation (and the fear of losing what we treasure) and clinging jealousy… which is destructive to that Sting-y “if you love someone let them go” (or is love a tiger that one must catch by the toe?).

In parenting, passionate love can sometimes lead to overprotection, over-control and eventually rebellion and painful rejection reminiscent of broken hearts of the past.  Sometimes individuation includes a child “breaking up” with mom or dad, maybe as teens, maybe quite a bit later down the line.

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