Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bourgeois Bleak House

If it weren't for Marcello Mastroianni, waiting for me on the leopard skin couch in my mind, you might not hear from me, again. On Friday night, Henry's dreams of playing on his high school baseball team were dashed when he didn't make it. You know he's perfect in every way -- my Henry -- don't you? All the cliches of broken hearts and your children as your heart walking around wouldn't do justice to the baseball broken heart. Parenting is not for the faint of heart is not a crock of shit.The man-child lay on my bed and told me that he had wanted to buy me a beach house when he went pro. I might have murmured something, but I watched his words float up to the ceiling, the beach, the house, the pro, a dream, and I turned away so he wouldn't see my heart fly through a broken window and into the arms of the man laying concrete over the dirt on the side of my house. Saturday was a day to get through, and we did. Today was the day that Oliver and his father were to leave for Switzerland, and Oliver's passport didn't come in the mail on Saturday. We hoped that the old passport and the receipt and tracking number would suffice, but at the airport it didn't, and we made the frenzied decision that The Husband would go to Switzerland to see his very aged mother and Oliver would climb back into the car and come home. We ate Pringles in the car and opened the Swedish Fish and ate them, too. We pulled up into the driveway and walked into the house, joined the baseball-disappointed, and the girl sleeping off seizures (two days now with none!), pulled a nice, black bourgeois cover over the roof and down the sides and here we sit, baseball-travestied, disappointed, medical-marijuanaed and matriarch-heavy.


  1. Do you still have that bottle of vodka in the freezer? If there were ever a time to pour a thick syrupy shot or three, this would be it.
    Trust me, dahling. I am older than you and have experience.

  2. Oh Elizabeth. You have your hands full and your heart in shreds. This will mean absolutely nothing to Henry now but I promise you he will recover. And you may yet get that beach house though maybe not from baseball. Then again he might own the team. I have nothing adequate. But at least you are together in your sorrow. And what Mary said.

  3. oh lord not much better at my house older but better i am so sorry these fucking troubled times poor henry my heart breaks for him too many try outs and auditions in my life not to know that stingxoxoxox

  4. Well that sucks. But as a parent who has sat through many a youth league baseball game--the agony and total lack of ecstasy--I have to say that baseball is one of the most impossible sports out there. Everything's gotten so specialized. Plus there's a lot of standing around. Waiting. If he's got good hand-to-eye, I'd get him into golf pronto. It's a different swing, but you get to hit the ball every time. Why play a sport where at best 70% of the at-bats will end in failure? And if defense is your thing--except for a few key positions there's more standing around. Take him to a driving range and get the free lesson and let him pound some balls a few hundred yards. Putt a little bit. If he can make the JV golf team, he plays for free on some of the best courses in town.

    Now's a perfect time to start since his frame is mostly developed.

    Glad Ollie missed Helvetia. I'm suspicious that the document got "lost" in mail. {:/}

  5. Oh, my god. I have this incredible urge to bake you a cake.
    I hope that makes you laugh.

  6. That is sad for Henry and for you to experience with him. And to top it off, the visa situation. I AM glad for Sophie's seizure free days. I imagine being a parent is both the most gratifying and sometimes heartbreaking journey of one's life. The question, "how do you do it" always comes to my mind despite the fact that you share how you do it and you do it because you are you and you wouldn't think of not doing what you need to do. Regardless of the ups and downs of life (even if some of the downs stick with them for a long while), I feel your children will always be okay because they will know their mom's strong love and support will always be there - not just in words but in actions. And I believe with all my heart that that is really all they need to have a good life. I wish I could do something special for you. I would not dare to offer to bake you a cake, I promise. Sweet Jo

  7. I like Ms. Moon's idea. And maybe the golf suggestion is a good one, too. I never aspired to do much in sports, so I can't really share in Henry's disappointment beyond a general sense, but still...and poor Oliver!

  8. That both sucks and blows.

    Thirding golf.

  9. So sorry! For you, I suggest getting in close proximity with the grape. A nice vintage red if possible.


  10. Well that just stinks! But remind Henry (once his spirits are lifted) that high-school baseball isn't the only route to going pro, and if it's baseball and beach houses he wants, he should keep pushing until he's exhausted all options. Just because he didn't make the HS team doesn't mean he should stop playing, practicing, following the game.... Hug Oliver and Sophie. With all the heaviness under your roof, hunker down with your babies until the storm passes, and it will.

  11. Oh, oh, oh. I can only hope that Oliver and Henry can provide balm for each other's wounds, that Sophie continues to stay seizure-free, and that you have plenty of time to visit the leopard skin couch in your mind. Sending love and light and wishes for safe travels for the Husband.

  12. Please forgive me….I am a baseball fan.
    To know baseball is to know disappointment.
    I can relate to Henry’s pain, I am a Red Sox fan.
    To me, baseball mirrors the joys and vicissitudes of the lives we all lead.
    We learn that tragedy, defeat and disappointment are all an inevitable part of the game.
    What we learn by playing ball is how to cope.
    The best teams in baseball lose many, many games.
    The best hitters are often the ones to strike out…often.
    This year’s World Series champion team finished at the very bottom of the league last year.
    What we do as good ball players is persevere.
    As a parent, our job is to teach our children this skill, to become a coach, if you will.
    It is important to the development of a healthy self-esteem for our child.
    What you have here dear friend is a valuable opportunity.
    Teach Henry the importance of letting out his sad emotion and feeling the pain of disappointment. Knowing that anger, sadness, regret and a host of other volatile emotions are all normal responses to it.
    Help him to gain some perspective…..what’s important is having fun now, enjoying the experience of playing ball, and being young, living in the moment, seizing the day. He has a freedom to enjoy life with no worries about the future.
    Assist him in “knowing his heart”….what is it about baseball that he enjoys “does he like being on a team, working together, striving to be better? Who is the real Henry?
    Help him to practice acceptance…Ok, so I cannot play on the varsity team but I can play on the JV/freshman or travel teams. What skills can I improve by practicing with these teams? Can I continue to work hard at baseball? Can I learn these skills and feel happy? Can I play ball just to enjoy playing ball?
    And most importantly teach him perseverance. Continuing on when your heart is broken, this pain he knows, this experience he has acquired at home living with Sophie. Help him to make this connection and use this unique experience he has learned by being the brother of a sister who never gives up.
    Put on your baseball cap dear Elizabeth and give Henry a pep talk in your “dugout” (perhaps an appropriate term given the state of your home repairs!)

  13. Oh, Elizabeth. Hugs coming for all!!

  14. having now met you and your family i ache even harder when i hear most of this, but i jump for joy for sophie and at the thought of you with your little chicks that you keep so warm and tender under your wings.

  15. as i was discussing with another friend, some days you just look in the mirror at your tired, oh my do people do this thing called life...
    pain for one's kids is the hardest thing. i'd cut off my own body parts rather than see my son disappointed. i remember when he was a freshman in college and didnt make the college baseball team--and his roommate did. i was seriously afraid he would commit suicide (projection), but he didnt. he was upset but tough inside. he handled it. but i was a basket case. he teases me about it now--remember when you thought i was gonna kill myself in college, mom--cause i didnt make the baseball team?
    we go on. your kids are 9 million times tougher than mine--as are you.

  16. that's supposed to say 'your tired face and say, oh my god....'

  17. How does it happen ?? Sometimes we're in the sun, sometimes under a rain cloud that just won't quit. I'm aching for you and your babes. But if there's one thing I know, it's that friends and their love can make it a little bit better - at least enough to give you a second breath (after the vodka and a good cuddle with Marcello).

    Sending you a ton of love from Oregon !!

  18. I am sorry Elizabeth. Sorry for all of it. I understand all too well that helpless feeling as we watch those parts of our hearts, walking outside our very own bodies, as they navigate some of life's most difficult and devastating moments. I truly understand.

  19. Oh my. Indeed a day to get through. I am sorry for both boys.

    I can honestly tell you when my son was cut from the baseball team his second year, he changed. He lost his self esteem and it took a long long time to get it back. I don't thnk I realized that at the time, but looking back, it's definitely when things changed for him. He too thought he was going to go pro. Obviously it wasn't realistic, but it was a dream and dreams are crucial. Having dreams dashed is a terrible thing. I gnash my teeth when I look back at all of the bs of High school sports.

    Get him involved in something else as quickly as you can. Drama, soccer, rugby anything that makes him feel whole and lets him contribute.

    How was Oliver with the missed trip?

  20. What a sucky turn of events; suck-suck-sucky.
    I love the fact that Henry's dreams are so generous, so not-just-about-himself. What a guy!
    (Between you and me, we know that just because baseball is not an open door today, doesn't mean that his dream won't find its wings and fly. Perhaps a different vehicle - his talents are bigger than just one sport - but for now, we sit with you and with his disappointment. We can just be with you in the suckiness of that disappointment, and of Oliver's no-show passport.) May tomorrow's dawn herald a better day.

  21. I remember having fantasies like Henry's. It was a long time until I realized they were just that. Sometimes I'm still not sure. I am sorry for Henry, but more for your mother's heart. Ayla recently was certain she would win a ribbon for a science fair, and was devastated when she didn't. We'd been bracing for it all week, but it didn't make the letdown any easier. Send our love to you, to Oliver, to Sophie and Henry. I hope it shores you up.

  22. Sigh. I don't have the right words. Just wanting to say I read this, I'm here reading this, and thinking of you all.

  23. Oh, no! My eldest has dreams of applying to a US college and getting a scholarship to play on their tennis team - because, you know, from here in Europe the United States is the country where everything is possible! That doesn't include slow passport formalities, though. What happened there? Maybe there isn't all that difference between our countries and dreams get shattered everywhere. How are you managing on your own?



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