November 26, 1999
Thanking God


God and I had a brief conversation last night.

It was the first time the two of us have talked, really, since The Unfortunate *Leaving My Family and Running Off To Oregano* Incident, a couple of years back. I'd kept Him on my Buddy List, and I saw Him online occasionally.  But we didn't hang out in the same chat rooms, like we used to. And we never exchanged e-mail anymore. I'm not sure, but I think He even had me blocked for a while. 

So when He sent me the instant message last night, out of the blue, it was a total surprise.

It was awkward at first. We exchanged stilted pleasantries ... about the weather, about the new AOL 5.0, about Celine Dion's Much-Ballyhooed Retirement ("If she tries to *come back* before 2002, I'm gonna turn her into a pillar of Morton's," He growled).  We chatted about our health. "How the heckya been?" I asked Him, and he said, "Fine, fine ... I get a little touch of arthritis in my left wrist on foggy mornings, but otherwise everything seems to be OK. How've you been?"

I told Him that for the most part things were great, and that I'd had a very nice, low-key Thanksgiving. I missed being with my family in TicTac, of course, but I'd had a pleasant dinner with David's family (even though I feel like my smile muscles are permanently locked in place now).   

"I have a lot of stuff to be thankful for this year," I told Him sincerely.

"Such as?" He asked ... ever the Fisher of Compliments.

"Well," I said, "I've been sober for a year now. That's something I'm really proud of."

"That's great!," He said. "And I've gotta tell you, you look 100% better than you did the last time I saw you. Your face isn't all yellow and puffy anymore.  And I notice that you've got fingernails again!"

I smiled modestly. "Yep. Nine of 'em. And there's more: I've got the love of a good man. We've been together for a year now, we live in one of the most beautiful spots on earth, and our life together is happy, silly and filled with an underlying sense of committment. It makes all the bad relationships that came before seem somehow irrelevant. Y'know?"

"You're not still mad about the Balding Aluminum Sales Guy thing, are you?," He said.

I shrugged.  "Stuff happens," I typed. "Water under the bridge. We learn from our mistakes, and we go on."

"Good," He said. "And the job? How's THAT going?"

:(, I typed.

 "Uh-oh. Sore subject?" God asked.

"Let's just say that I feel like I've been in boot camp, the past six months," I said, "and that my days of doing push-ups in the mud are almost over." And I sighed wearily.

There was a moment of cyber silence ... and then He thoughtfully changed the subject. "Hey -- the grapevine has it that a couple of The Tots came to visit you this month," He said. 

I smiled hugely and quickly uploaded two .jpgs to his e-mail address. "Daughter #1 loves Berkeley," I explained. "Last time she visited, we went to Berkeley on a weeknight, when most of the interesting stores were closed. So this time we took her on a sunny, busy Saturday, and we spent the whole afternoon wandering up and down Telegraph Avenue."

Terri & Jaymi ~ Berkeley, November 1999htt

"This is a great picture of the two of you," God wrote, after he'd looked at the Berkeley .jpg.

"Yeah? You think so?" I said. "Believe it or not, it was taken about eleven seconds after I told surly Bumper-Sticker Vendor Guy to fudk off."

"So much for showing Daughter #1 how well *Mom* is getting a handle on her anger-management problems, huh?" God LOL'd.

"Yeah, well ... I'm working on it," I said. "I don't throw plates of spaghetti at people anymore. I almost never hang up on anyone. And it's been more than a year since I constructed a voodoo doll. I'd say I'm making progress."

Kyle & Mom ~ San Francisco, 1999

God downloaded the second .jpg.  "Wow!" He said. "Son #Only is turning into quite the handsome young dude, isn't he?"

I beamed with fond maternal pride at the photo. "Yes he is. He's got his father's last name, and his mother's everything-else. Thank God."

"Now, now," He said a bit sternly. "I thought you and the Anti-Husband had managed to strike a tentative peace since the divorce?"

"Oh, we have," I said quickly. "In fact, I don't even call him 'The Anti-Husband' anymore ... these days, he's 'The Ex-Hub.' We get along just fine. I just meant that there are a lot of qualities I see in Son #Only that remind me of myself as a kid."

"Right. Like getting straight A's?" asked God teasingly.

"OK. Bad example," I said. "But for your information, that D+ I got in eighth grade Algebra should have been a C minus. Mr. Bartholick HATED the girls in our class."

I could "see" God smiling indulgently. "Uh huh," He said. "And you *should* have beaten out Kelly Cartwright and Lori Prince for cheerleader, but the office ladies tampered with the ballot box  ... is that it?"

"Something like that," I said sullenly.

"Well," said God, once again skillfully manipulating the conversation back to more pleasant topics. "Son #Only had a great time in the Bay Area, from what I hear. He loved Metreon, he loved hanging out with you in The Castle, he loved driving around downtown San Francisco with you and David ... "

("He 'loved' seeing bums throwing up on the sidewalk in the Tenderloin," I added ruefully)

"... and I know that he's gonna remember that visit with his mom fondly, for the rest of his life," He concluded. "You should feel very good about that."

I didn't know what to say for a moment. "Parts of me do feel good about it," I admitted. "I'm glad that I can afford to fly the Tots down here for visits every few weeks. I'm glad that we all feel at ease with each other, and that we have fun, and that I manage to cram as much fun, food and *parental wisdom* into the visits as possible. I'm glad that they like David. I'm glad that they get the chance to see what a healthy, committed adult relationship looks like. I'm glad they get to see how much more reliable and stable Sober Mom is, compared to Let's-Get-Drunk-And-Drive-Around-Listening-To-Metallica Mom. I'm glad about all of that stuff."

"But ... ?" asked God, tenderly inquisitive.

"But it's always so wrenching when they go home," I said quietly. "I feel like my guts have been ripped right out. When we put Son #O on the airplane last weekend, for instance: his plane took off just as David and I were hitting the freeway towards home, and it 'followed' above us for a few minutes. I watched the plane as it flew away, growing smaller and smaller until it disappeared altogether ... and I cried like an abandoned baby, the whole time."

"Now you know how they must have felt," God said.

I felt like I'd been slapped. "Hey!" I said resentfully. "That was a low blow ... even from you."

"You're right," He said. "I'm sorry. I don't imagine there's anything that I could say to you that you haven't already said to yourself a bazillion times in the the last two years. It's like you said: water under the bridge. We learn from our mistakes and we go on."

A few minutes later I could feel the conversation -- and my attention span/energy level/typing speed -- beginning to wind down.  So I told Him that it had been really great chatting with Him, but that it was time for me to climb into bed with The Other 50% of the Population and watch a little Must-See TV. "Stop by and check out my website sometime," I told Him, and when He asked for the URL I told him that it was   ("Cool!" He exclaimed. "You finally got your domain name!")  He said that He doesn't really hang out on AOL as much as He used to, but that He would definitely keep my name on the Buddy List and would throw a cyber pebble at my window if He ever saw me online.

"Well ... here's hoping we run into each other before next Thanksgiving," I typed.

"Amen," He replied.

Before we signed off, God had one last question for me.

"What about Daughter #2?" He asked. "How's she doing these days?"

daughter #2 ... temporarily MIA

"Well," I said slowly ... choosing my words carefully, so as not to offend Him ... "I'm still sorta ticked off at You for that car accident stuff, last September. That was a nasty bit of business on Your part."

"Hey!" He said, sounding slightly hurt. "She was the only kid in that car who was wearing a seat belt, wasn't she? Who do you think gets the credit for that?"

I instantly felt remorseful. "You're absolutely right. I'm sorry. I'm extremely thankful that You let her walk away in one piece. Thank you."

God typed a little winky-wink emoticon. "Oh," He said, "she had to walk away from that one. I've got big plans for that girl." 

But before I could ask Him what those "big plans" might be ... or even when I could expect Daughter #2 to come and visit us here in the Bay Area -- December? January? Sometime before the end of civilization as we know it?  ... He suddenly twinkled off my cyber radar.

"God is no longer online," the little AOL message screen solemnly informed me.

I checked my mail one last time, finished downloading my horoscope for tomorrow ... and then I signed off too.


self-important blurb #1 will go HERE:   i've missed you, too, dear readers.

self-important blurb #2 -- probably having something to do with the WEATHER: i have absolutely zero idea what sort of *weather* we're having today, because frankly i haven't even opened the CURTAINS yet [and it's 2:37 PST in the afternoon, forcryingoutloud]. i don't care. this has been my first bona fide ALONE DAY in weeks and weeks ... and so far it's been eight hours of unmitigated blobberly bliss. there could be a hurricane going on outside, and i wouldn't know it until Upstairs Neighbor Guy was sitting on my lap.

special *howdy* to: my old pal mr. spit, who resurfaced this past week with an AOL profile every bit as *intriguing* as his fledgling website. [dare i ask? or is it noneofmybeeswax? and do you have the snail mail address? we would love to hear whut you've been up to, musically.]

a year ago

here's where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
anyone have some leftover turkey i could borrow?
i promise i'll give it back when i'm done

amazingly profound thought of the day: "Should Pimpjaymi stop speaking about herself as a third person?" ~ From Pimpjaymi's Kissass Home Page ... [proving once again that the apple doesn't fall far from the Totem Pole].