Thorn in Side

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I woke this morning with a lump in my stomach. I hadn't fallen to sleep until around 2:30 a.m., and was awake by 5:30 a.m. For a woman who sleeps a SOLID 8-11 hours per night, this portent bodes no good.

I wandered the house, trying to figure out if the pain was in my stomach...or kidneys, or lower back. I am now of the age when I ponder my individual organs and try to determine if it is they who are flagging me to the side of the road for a little owners manual re-read. I took a bath, hoping that very hot water would soothe whatever was troubling me.

By 7:30 a.m., I had fed the rabbits, who view the appearance of me upright in any hour before 10 a.m. with alarm and trepidation.

As I lay back down in my bed, I wondered if it was missing Emily. She has been gone for three weeks this summer and I am slowly beginning to miss her after first rejoicing so heartily in my Non-Mother status. I allowed myself to be briefly horrified that I had become one of THOSE women, the one who tell you how much they miss their kids when they leave home....because I have been orchestrating her launch into the world since about ten minutes after her arrival, and there was no way in hell I was wandering off of that plan.

Stories and thread of thought move through my brain in these times. I consider another baby. I know, I know, it not only Will Never happen, it would not be good for me TO happen. Not good for Me, for Em, for Terrance or said mythical baby.

I make lists of things I "should" do during the day. I know I won't get a vast majority of them done, but they trickle through my brain.

I can smell the rabbit litter, so I know that will be foremost on jobs to do once I figure out what is causing this pain in my body.

I think back to the previous evening - what I did, what I ate, what could be causing this solid mass of pain in my body.

When it comes to me, I am embarrassed. I should know this feeling.

It is the lump of a nascent panic attack. Since it normally blooms in my chest, it feels unfamiliar in my lower torso. It is the deep fear of being exposed. I am going back to a thing where, by rights, I should be excited and happy. And I am, somewhere in this muddled brain. But I am also worried - will I know anyone? Will I find someone I like? Will people like me? Will I have to face things and people I walked away from in Blog world without an explanation, or perhaps with too clear an explanation as to why I was severing contact? Do we have to talk about it? Are things just water under the bridge? Should I bring it up? Should I just ignore those people/things?

There is much writing about the social anxiety and awkwardness of bloggers. Shit, it is why most of us became bloggers in the FIRST place. I consider writing a sign to put next to me in the Lobby - a sort of Natural History museum sign:

Please Approach with Caution! But Approach! Please!

The genus Dawnus Bloggerus is a fairly gentle creature who is rarely seen outside of her native habitat, the bedroom. Loud noises or excessive touching will send her into hiding. She is however, interested in social contacts and friendships. She wants to be liked. She even likes to know you like her writing, but will experience a moment of fleeing panic when she realizes that this must mean you know THINGS about her - all the THINGS. She wants to have someone to sit with at lunch. Or have drinks with somewhere. Approaching her in a sideways manner is often advised as she has difficulty making first contact. She will be both riotously funny and completely unaware she has said something insensitive...simultaneously. When provided with the right social environs, she will blossom into a fiercely loyal friend.

I wonder if I write this sign and place it in front of me, if I can attract other souls like me until we have enough of us to make a small but powerful gang. I don't have a clever gang name yet. I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to let that filter out.

Mountain Moves

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I am in the library and Morrissey is in my earphones.

Do you find that funny? I certainly do. Before that, it was Beastie Boys. So here I sit, six weeks from my 40th birthday, with my youth in my ears.

I should be researching my methodology comp - but the idea of really finishing this thing is terrifying. With sharp pointy teeth and claws that catch. The theory one is done, awaiting some small revisions. Teresa, my supervisor, told me that it was "Original, Scholarly, Insightful and Clear". Her last comment was that it was "Brilliant, well worth the wait".

Which makes me relieved and frightened of having to repeat some kind of brilliance with a methodology section.

Ah, Amy Winehouse. How nice of you to pop up in the shuffle rotation! I understand your feelings on rehab. I have similar feelings on writing this methodology comp.... No, No, No.

Which is why I flipped my shit at Terrance last week when he asked me when I was going to have it done - then scoffed at the date I produced. His feeling was that I could cobble together things I had already written, but I can't work that way. I have to read and think, digest the material, fit it in with my other work. Nothing stands on it's own. The scaffolding of my brain needs to be joined together in some kind of purposeful way and there is No Easy Way.

There is never an Easy Way.

And now, as I stand on the cusp of the great leap forward in my PhD, I feel oddly detached again. My supervisor ( who may be the only person who can manage me with any success in my whole adult life) finished reading my theory comp and wrote me that it was "Brilliant. Original, Insightful,Scholarly, Clear..." It is time to finish this and allow myself to move to a new level - Expert, Professor. For real. No longer behind my perpetually moving eight ball, but standing alone. Done

The portion above was written in March. I finished the Methodology comp last week and sent it in with the revisions on the theory comp. I successfully dodged and weaved until the beginning of July when the urge came to simply be Done with it. Perhaps it was the interview for an Early Childhood position at a local university that I do not attend. It was, I think, the first time I almost saw myself as a Professor. Of course, I think I vaguely scared half of the search committee, while completely overwhelming one quarter, and inspiring love in the final quarter. A pretty typical spread in any given "First meeting with Dawn" scenario. While I did not get the job, which inspired a very upset Dawn taking to her bed like a Jane Austen Heroine, I recovered.

I needed that. I needed to see the end goal, in a tangible way. I needed to feel the potential pleasure of BEING a professor, of considering which texts I might use and how I might design courses.

Languishing in the ether of your PhD program is, I have found, a tremendously comforting place. For the first time, the cost outweighed the benefits. No amount of Terrance huffing and puffing and yelling at me made me move faster. I resisted him for three years. No, it was Me who decided. It was time to move.

Party Girl

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's funny. I have been so freaking proud of myself for simply GOING to BlogHer that I forgot about the other "stuff" that the conference involves.

Mainly Parties.

Now at my first and most beloved San Jose BlogHer of 2006, there were no "parties". Unless you count the women drinking around the pool until the sun came up the next morning. Cause that was how exclusive it got then. You wandered in, sat, drank, smoked, laughed, and generally did whatever you felt until you either fell into an exhausted heap OR saw Sasquatch.

I know there are a few peeps out there who still remember Sasquatch. Or I entirely imagined him in some alcohol/nicotine infused fugue state, which I can't entirely rule out.

In all honesty, I met most of the women who have remained my tru-luv blogger friends at that conference. There were no brands. No parties, no books to promote. Just chicks around the pool talking and laughing and generally being relieved at finding other women who "Got" them. We had all come from our corners of the globe to SEE each other.

At 2007 BlogHer, I had a fairly extensive Blogger Identity Crisis and Breakdown. True Wife was VERY new and shiny and popular and being syndicated, I was being interviewed extensively about it...I was one of the heralded gang of ClubMom paid MommyBloggers. I had TURNED DOWN Huffington Post. When the event which later inspired the "Stealing isn't Cool" post occurred, I was already fairly fried. That sent me into my hotel bed, under the kind gazes of Izzy, Nancy, Jen and Karen who let me stew and simmer and simply be.

I swore off most things Blogging after that. Sure, I did my "job" as required under contract(s)...but I was sick of it. I sure as hell wasn't going to fight another person over swag or invites or any other damn thing. I didn't want to review jack shit. I didn't want to represent any company or brand. I didn't want to hear about turning my stories into scripts. Screw all of that.

Now, some people grow and thrive on those things. I am not a hater. Truly. I simply CAN NOT do those things, so rather than stand at the window pane looking wistfully at something I never wanted to do in the first place, I simply closed my eyes to all of it.

Ignorance might not be bliss, but it can sure as hell save you an ulcer.

So when I now stumble across blog posting about bloggers begging to go to parties, I think "Really?!"

I was not invited to a thing, outside of the Voices of the Year Gala - which I am planning to bust out a dress of such supreme awesomeness that the angels will weep. I am totally NOT shitting you.

And you know what? I am entirely ALL right with that. This year I am returning to my San Jose 2006 blog feeling. I will sit in common, open to all, areas. I will bond with people I have never heard of and maybe (hopefully) see some long time Blog Loves, with whom I will drink and laugh and talk. I will allow my fragile self to receive the kudos of my peers at the Voices of the Year Gala, and soak in that what I do here in Blog World is Good. And Important. And Recognized.

But exclusivity? And Party Lists? And Invitations?

I'm Sorry, Blog World. It's not you - It's me. You want a commitment and I am a poly amorous kind of gal in this regard. So, look for me in the common areas. Rocking some fabulous dresses. And my tattoo.

You'll know me by my fabulous ankles.

Yet another "Note to Self"

Friday, July 23, 2010

When the under-wire in your bra pops out and pokes you in the tender underside of your bosoms - throw it away as soon as you get home.

Otherwise, you will put it in the wash, then wear it again unwittingly. When the errant wire pops back out and pokes you again, you will swear and curse, as you will be in the car, driving to work. You will then spend the day wishing you had thrown the damn thing away the first time, cause now you have to look all "professional" while the wire of doom pokes you repeatedly.

I'm just sayin' is all.


A few days ago, I was interviewed by a researcher writing an article about Post Partum Depression.

I have written about my experience on I am Doing the Best I can, and she found the post, and wanted to hear more from me what it felt like to be in the midst of those feelings. As Kismet had it, Meghan wrote a fabulous piece on her blog on almost the same day and Julie wrote a little bit about her fears in talking about her post partum depression.

Talking to the researcher brought back the fogginess of the depression for me. The things I noticed after I had begun to return to life. The thin line I walked for three and a half years. The energy I put into hiding my spiraling depression from everyone, until even that effort crumbled at my feet.

And why no one noticed.

When she asked me why no one had diagnosed me, I had to stop and think. Why hadn't they? My disconnect with my babies cues, her failure to gain weight, my mood swings...why hadn't anyone noticed?

Part of the reason, I suspect is that as an educated woman with her degrees in Education, and her jobs as an Infant and Toddler specialist and Director of a child care, they assumed I knew what I was doing. I presented well. I showed up for every doctor's appointment. I could give you Emily's vitals and statistics. Emily was clean and presentable. I was a married woman with a participating spouse. We had two incomes and excellent child care. 

Some people suspected, I think. My midwife got a glimpse when she observed a six week old Emily rooting on my shoulder, and said "Oh, I think she's hungry", to which I snapped "She just emptied both breasts 20 minutes ago - She's NOT HUNGRY!" My primary Doctor got glimpses when she would see me for my continual parade of infections and suggest that I needed to manage my stress differently. "I'll get right on that", I would respond.

I couldn't talk with the other mothers in child care...I was the Director. I was the Boss. They were Paying me for my expertise and knowledge. Announcing that I hated my child would have been less than good PR for the business I was in charge of running.

I couldn't tell my husband that I was fantasizing about killing my baby, killing him, killing myself. He would take her away and leave me. Then everyone would know that I was a bad person, a bad mother, a bad wife and a fraud as a Professional.

So I told no one, and I sank deeper and deeper into my darkness.

It was August of 2001 that I decided to seek help. I had bargained with myself for almost four years, and it never got better. "A few more weeks, and then if I don't feel better...", I would think. It didn't. I found myself screaming uncontrollably at a frightened Toddler one weekend when Terrance had gone away for business and realized that I was dangerous. A rational voice whispered "You are a danger to her....", as I fled her room and locked myself in the bathroom. Her mother. Dangerous. To all of us.

The researcher asked me what I thought was something that wasn't talked about in PPD. My answer was immediate.

"You want to kill your baby. You actually have vivid thoughts of killing your baby."

For some, it is the butchers block filled with knives, or the balcony of the hotel. I thought of drowning her in the lake, or getting into a car accident that would kill her and seem an accident. Some mothers have told me their thoughts of throwing the baby from a window, or bashing their head on the wall. It is the ugly underbelly of what we mean when we talk about PPD. It isn't "baby blues", or "feeling low". It isn't being weepy or exhausted. Shit, you don't need PPD to feel weepy and exhausted after a baby arrives. That's the NORM.

No, it's the ugly things that the books fail to mention. The killing fantasies. The anger. The resentment. The blue black hatred of this child that you carried and dreamed of and birthed, who is devouring you. No, that is never in any of the pamphlets.

"What", she asked,"is the thing you wish other mothers could know about PPD?"

"You don't have to feel this way. Motherhood is hard enough without feeling so hopeless, so alone."
For me, it was medications and therapy and the patience of my child and husband as I returned to them. It is talking openly about my experience with PPD. It is lending my ear to other mothers, or friends who are approaching motherhood for the first or multiple time. I am, I tell them, the mother to whom you can say the ugly things. I won't be shocked. I won't be horrified. I won't call the bad mother police on you.

I will hold your hand, and we will make a plan. Together.

We all knew deep in our hearts, didn't we?

Monday, July 19, 2010

That I am a Geeky/Nerdy kind of gal.

As such, I am pleased and deeply honored to be among the Finalists for this Years BlogHer Voice of the Year: Geeky/Nerdy Category.

AND I found some room mates. Who are ( and I shit you not, none of us knew this prior to arranging room shares) ALSO Finalists in Voice of the Year.

I clearly don't think blogher is ready for the jelly of this much talent crammed into one hotel room.

So, Thank you to Celeste, Kelli, and Kelli for giving me a place to stay and not reducing me to sleeping in the bathroom stalls of the Hilton.

You like me. You really like me.

And if I drink enough, you totally know I am showing my boobs.

Wishy Washy

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So, here is the post that I tell the world that Yes, I think I am going to BlogHer this year. The first time since the fiasco of 07, which has been recorded here in the annals of the blog, not to mention seared into the minds of all who witnessed my spectacular crash, immolation and withdrawal from the world at large for a solid year.

I bought the ticket quite a while ago, but simply never mentioned it. I wasn't so sure I would feel like going, and I didn't know where I would be in my writing - either the blog OR the dissertation. Since I can't handle any kind of external expectation weighing on me as I already have strapped myself to a metric ton of concrete and thrown myself from the highest bridge available, I figured the less said, the better.

So imagine my own surprise when I decided this weekend - Yes. I think I want to go. I think I am ready. The armor is thick enough and I have withdrawn from the things that troubled me so about my last go-round at BlogHer.

I decided a while ago that I don't need to be a brand, and while I love to have my writing validated...being pleased with the act of writing has overwhelmed the need to be the clown. The granite mountain that is my occasional writers block allows me to truly take pleasure when the words come easily.

I may never be published in a non-academic arena. I may never be syndicated, or have articles quote me about the state of the Mommy Blog (which, lets face it, I barely fit into at the best of times). I am, however, a storyteller. I tell my stories to you. All of you out there. And while I have no real way to know if there are hundreds or five of you, I know you like the stories and I like telling them, so there it is. If not for you, the stories would remain written, in my head, zooming and zinging around with the million other bits of fact, trivia and general junk drawer of a brain I possess.

The problem now becomes Where to Stay. I went on the BlogHer Conference room mate board, with no luck to date. One pair might have had a space, but it fell through, so I am back to square one.


This was after I had mentally prepared myself for maybe having to stay with a STRANGER!! (cue the running around flapping) and then worrying that I should Prepare the possible stranger for me...and what did that entail, exactly. I mean, I didn't want someone to have to room with me and think "Jesus Fuck, what did I get myself into here?" So I began to think of myself as a room mate personal ad - something on Craigslist:

Low maintenance smartass needs bed from Thursday to Sunday morning. Incredibly shy and quiet before liquor is introduced...then, oh dear. Quite a potty mouth. May drink a bit too much, especially on the first night ( Mostly because she is so nervous and forcing herself to be in an unknown social situation, but partly cause she is OUT and AWAY from Home). No entertainment required. No coordination of schedules unless both parties are amenable and actively seek out such. May need to sleep past when other people are up and Out. May take naps mid day. Doesn't need to be at any particular parties, since she has done a terrible job of  staying "in touch" with the blog world. Kind (usually), Loyal to her friends. To sum it up, in the words of Britney Spears, the people of world tend to fall into "the ones who can handle me, and the ones that are scared." I am, after all, a put on a show kind of a girl.

A post in which I empathize with Mel Gibson (but not really)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I have to admit that I too have listened to those taped conversations between Mel Gibson and his baby-mama.

I too have had the perfect "O" mouth as I heard him flip his stack - over and over - spewing out hateful, terrible things at her.

And yeah, I have listened to them all as they are "leaked".  It's hard to look away from the train wreck after all.

I was all in the "What a terrible man" camp...until the last tape. Yesterday, as I listened to him Pant and scream and sound like he was amidst a panic and/or  heart attack, I actually felt..... Dare I say this? Empathy?

I know all the reasons I SHOULDN'T feel empathy. How it is Never Ok to put hands on your partner, no matter What the reason. I know the implicit power dynamic that must exist between them - he has money, she does not and is aging with no career and now 2 kids to support in a style in which she has become accustomed. How nobody deserves to have names like whore screamed at them.

I KNOW all this and still I felt for him. It isn't because I don't think he did all of the things he is accused of doing, and clearly he said the things he was recorded saying. It isn't because I have an opinion about her motives ( although I do) or her character.

So why do I feel empathy?

Well, I guess the best way to explain it is that I have Been That person...That person who is involved with someone who makes you so crazy that you do things that normally you would never consider doing and say things you would never consider saying.

And while everyone around you can see that the relationship is making you act in ways you normally wouldn't, you can't walk away. The good times - when they are good - are like a straight shot of seratonin into your adrenal gland.

But the bad times - which it all becomes - involve two people trying to rip each other down to sinew and bare bone by any means necessary.  The scorched earth approach - if you can't be mine, and there is a part of me that hates you to the core - but if you can't be mine, you will be no ones.

And that is when the "I have given you everything and you have given me nothing" martyrdom begins.  The bargaining with sex begins. Because for those minutes, you have their complete attention. Things are good. Really good until the euphoria wears off.

Then, you hate yourself for going back, you hate the person for allowing you to come back. You hate that you are now scratching at the door for any kind of recognition or scrap of love or anything. Even anger is some kind of emotion being shown, which is better than being ignored - which is the default position of the relationship. I  ignore you until I can't anymore and then I we either fight....or f*ck.

Sigh. There were several of my boyfriends before Terrance with whom I had this circle. One of whom I most famously tried to climb into his 2nd story dorm bedroom window after he locked me out during a fight.

That place is a terrible place. And I feel badly for both Mel and Oksana for being in that place. Obviously they can not be together, because I believe that this pattern is unstoppable once it is established between two heroin. You are never Not an addict. You just have to stay clean.

So, yeah. I am really glad I never had a baby with any of those men before Terrance. Yikes. It would have locked me into a pattern with men who were poison to me, and for whom I was poison.

Unlike my Mom ( who LOVES the drama and had one of these relationships with my Father), I decided that love didn't mean being giddy with joy or being angry all the time. Love didn't mean fighting tooth and nail, and then passionately making up to do it all over again.

I hope for their child that at least one of them gets healthy enough to understand that.

Honestly....Why me?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So, we know my daughter asks me questions about the purpose of the penis....

I got another one today.

We were strolling in a bookstore this afternoon. There was a display of stuffed animals made in the shape of common or deadly virus/bacteria.

Emily picks them up one by one and hands them to me to read. She also requests that I tell her What they do to the human body.

I'm doing all right. We've  got the common cold, Sore throat, Bad breath...Hell, we even have Mad Cow.

Then, it comes. This one.

Good old Gonorrhea.

"What's this one do, Mama?" she asks.

I stutter. I hem.

"I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about that one", I reply.

Another mother in the store starts to giggle.

"MAMA! What's it do?", she insists.

"Um, It's a disease that adults get." How much information will satisfy her?

"Yes, but where? Does it make you throw up?"

The other mother is in outright laughter now.

"No, baby, I don't think so. But let's just say that is an adult disease and I hope that I never have to talk about this with you ever again in your life - Now, don't you want some ice cream?"

She is diverted. She drops "The clap" and walks to the door.

Thank you Ben and Jerry's, for you have saved my sorry ass once again.

One Child from being Childless

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I wrote this awhile ago. It wasn't until I read this piece at BlogHer about the new Pew Report regarding being "childless by choice" that I dug this out of the drafts.

As always, I suspect I say what many other women feel, but fear to admit.

I would not chose to NOT be a mother.

Actually, maybe I would.  I said the first thing because I figured I would get hate mail.

My inside joke? "One child from being childless"...Ha-Ha?

Before Emily came into our lives with the fanfare of a thousand volcano's, I assumed that a child would be folded neatly into our existence. I was born to be mother. I mothered other peoples children for a living.

Ours would be a snap.

And there are weekends like this, after Terrance has been away for a week - and then hassles me for some inconsequential detail ( like the fact his bottle of water was right next to his side of the bed where he left it on MONDAY) and Emily has jumped up and down on every last one of my nerves, then taken a hacksaw and electric drill to the others,  and my sleeping hasn't been any better, and Terrance is standing in front of me RIGHT now, yammering about god knows what, but wanting my WHOLE attention ( not unlike Emily)...

That I think...Did I make the right decisions? Was marriage and a child the best idea? Would I have done better as a single girl - enmeshed in my career? What would I trade for silence? For solitude?
How many more years before she moves out?

Then I think..It's gray and cold and rainy. I am sleep deprived. I have school work to do, and no umph to get to it. I must be close to my period. It is all of those things talking, making me regret motherhood and marriage.

And the quiet voice that lives deep in my brain says, "No, sweetie - you do think about it...but all women do too, and that's Ok. People just rarely say it out loud , is all." I shake hands with my single Dawn and wave at her as she walks back out the door.

And I shake myself off and fold the laundry, and pack her backpack for tomorrow.

Storm Front

The storm arrived fast. There had been no tell tale clouds in the sky. No predictions of rain in the forecast. In fact, until the moment the storm arrived, you would never have guessed that there was even the vaguest possibility of foul weather.

It started with some mild howling. She didn't want to do her reading, she said. There was a law against kids having to do homework in the summer, she said. This progressed into precipitation - tears rolling down her cheeks as she is sent to her room, foot steps thundering away as she stomped off, muttering loudly about fairness.

Moments later, like lightening setting a meadow afire, she returned to curse at her mother. She hated her, she said. She wanted to live with her grandmother.

The mother, calm and passive until that moment, is struck by the lightening of her daughters fury. It passes from body to body, the smell of ozone lingering in the air.

The mother gets up and leaves the room for the kitchen, beginning to make dinner. The storm follows
her. Upon opening the freezer, a water bottle falls out and cracks  - the plastic shattering into jagged shards. The second crash follows on the heels of the first, as the glass coffee carafe falls into the sink and breaks.

The mother now storms from spot to spot, trying to clean the glass and plastic and cook at the same time. The daughter returns, rumbling about the choice of dinner as the thunder cloud of her mother moves from mess to mess.

The storm cloud expands, mother and daughter echoing the thunder back and forth...

until , like all storms, it passes. The child is fed. The mother cleans the mess. The quiet is restored. You would almost not know that the storm had rolled through, save for the melting ice bits, slowly melting on the kitchen floor.

Originally posted at Gimlet Eye, July 11, 2007

You should hear the one on the feasibility of cryogenics

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Terrance (From Living Room): I just sent you something

Dawn (In Bedroom): What? I can't hear you the fan is blowing on me.

Terrance (living room): SENT YOUR SOMETHING IN EMAIL

Dawn (Bedroom): I'm not on email, I'm doing something else

Terrance walks from the living room to the bedroom: "Open your email"

Dawn (In bed, with wet washcloth on head, fan blowing on her): "Does it have to be now - it's too hot."

Terrance: Just open the email.

Dawn: Fine. What is it?

Terrance : Just something I sent you

Dawn: Did you just send me the definition of an ethnography? I KNOW what a freaking ethnography is...

Terrance: But look, if you just read through here and answer these questions, you'll have your methodology answers

Dawn: It is 10 o clock at night and 90 degrees. I do not want to discuss research methodologies with you. And I KNOW what an ethnography is - I am doing something in the social constructionist vein....NOT Ethnography. GET out of here.

Terrance: I'm just trying to help. Did you read it?

A Letter to Paul From Sarah

Sunday, July 04, 2010

My dear Paul.

Yes, I see you a few rows over there with a fancy grave marker. People dressed in the attire of our "day" wander in and out of this graveyard all day, pointing you out. Some people leave you flowers. Nearly all of them point small devices at your grave, stopping for a few extra moments.

And where am I? Your beloved wife. Woman who bore you 8 children. Yes, count them. 8.
Nearly four rows over...buried next to your father. Who, forgive me for saying so, is a miserable grave companion.

On this day of days Paul, let me remind you of just who did the work of revolution in this fair city. Was it you and your friends? Oh, perhaps as recorded in the poems and histories of the events. But we both know who it was. The wives. The wives who spun and sewed the clothing. The wives who cooked and served meals for children, friends and co-conspirators until late into the night. While your friend Sam Adams gets a huge statue down the road, we know who the real brewers were, right? Women.

We gardened, we harvested, we preserved and slaughtered the animals. We made soap, washed, quilted, stuffed beds with straw. When you came home at all hours of the night, I made sure you had food to eat, and a warm home in which to enter. I nursed and cared for 8 babies...until I died not long after our youngest was born.

Who stitched wounds, bandaged cuts, and wrapped the dead after the massacre and battles? Women. Who brewed that tea that you all eventually went crazy over for being too expensive? Who then served it to you in the silver mugs that you crafted? Yes. Me and the other wives.

Paul, ,my love, I am not saying that you and the other "founding patriots" of the day don't deserve recognition for your commitment to an idea that a society could be different. I am merely suggesting that the visitors to this grave yard do as Abigail Adams later exhorted her husband John - to "remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."

Yes Paul. I watch you from over here. I watch the stream of people wander by you, struck silent by you - the midnight rider ( by the by, I thought that poem was pure hilarity - I know I was dead when it all occurred, and I felt for your second wife, Rachel...You galloping off into the night, with ten children at home. The poor woman was sure that you would be hanged before the sun came up.)

This woman stops at my grave. She peers at the name engraved on the stone. She brushes mud off the letters, as the damp spring ground sucks at her boots. She walks back over the sign near your grave and reads. She comes back, kneels close and points one of those devices at my stone. She stays awhile. She leans close, and in that terrible accent the people here have acquired, she whispers "Thank you, Sarah".
Yes Paul. She thanked me. She thanked me for weaving the fabric of the country with my body and my work. She thanked me for feeding and cooking and bearing new citizens.
She whispered that it is not an act of heroics, or lofty speeches that make a patriot, but the unending toil that is life.

Indeed, Paul. That is what patriotism is - it is stoicism in the face of endless work. It is doing what is needed, not for acclaim, but because without that labor, life as we know it would halt. It is seeing your giant grave over there, and living with the knowledge that without me, without all of the wives, the American Revolution would have gone nowhere.

Happy Independence Day Paul Revere.

Your Consort,
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