Monday, 26 October 2009

Little Pink houses

I should take a step back, maybe a few.

How many children do I have now?

Freedom, I had her at 16. Than I meet Ian.

I married Ian at 19. Ah what a beautiful wedding. An old Scottish church made of bricks, men in kilts as far as the eye can see. Ah, good times. SO young so blissfully blinded by love. Everyone should try it once. And once you tried it you want another taste.

The next year I gave birth to Sòlas, a girl with Ian. It is a Scottish man's name, in fact it was his granddad's name. He promised him before he passed, while I was pregnant, that he would name the child after him. On his death bed this promise was made. There was no getting out of it when she was a girl. In a way it went with Freedom's name. It meant Solace. She was born on our first anniversary. I never ever got a night out on my anniversary. Solas came birthday came first. As any mother would do.

I still went on the road with two babies. Or should I say: Emma loved watching them. Most of my gigs were no more than two day trips. Never too much of a burden. She got her fill of little kid time then gave them back. Meanwhile Ian and I partied with the boys, played with the boys, made friendships of people who later became much much bigger than I ever would.

2 years later I had Charisma. And she was full of it. Laughing eyes and gleaming smile. She always got away with murder.

On my 23rd birthday Emma and Ian's mum , Rose, sat me down and had a talking to me about making babies than spending so much time away from them. Tough love. They decided not to watch the girls any more. It was either hire an au pair or start roping in my music carrier for a while. Honestly we tried to go on the road hiring baby sitters for the few hours I was on stage. That was until she lost one of them and than Sòlas ended up on stage with us. Children have away of letting you know it is time to throw in the towel.

This meant Mama and Papa could not go on stage together. We had our times on stage alone while the other stayed home. It was about the time Chaz ,Charisma, was 2 that Ian felt America would be a better place for us. Land of opportunities and we could get an au pair he said. We could tour again. Make our way.

It turned out better for him then me. The idea that it was the woman's duty to give up her career was more a fundamental institution in America than it was were there was a Queen and a female PM. I stayed at home with the girls and he played all over the country. I told myself I was happy. I loved my children. What woman wouldn't love to spend all her time with her children. What kind of woman chooses her happiness over her children? Oh lord I tired.

And Ian? He wanted a son so bad he could taste it.

Three years later I had Mercy. That was one month before I told him to leave. I am sure all the hormones helped. They had not calmed down. I found myself in the dead silence of the old farm house. No help. No money. And than the baby cried. I have no clue have we have survived since. I am sure if I stopped and thought real hard I could. But when ever I stop I have a panic attack. It is like a shark, if you stop swimming you die. But damn you know I want to float for a while.

Two months later his girlfriend bore him a son.

Where did that leave me?

Defiantly it closed that door. More like it got slammed shut in my face and bolted many times over from the other side. Funny how one son outweighed 3 daughters and one stepdaughter you raised as your own.

When I received the birth announcement out it was my 27Th birthday.

I never opened another thing he sent to the house for me or the girls. I have a draw in my dresser I put them all in. They slowed after the first 6 months. I put them behind my vibrator. The girls NEVER get past big Bob. It is strategically placed. My sister in law sent it from home after she heard Ian left.

All my girls had a small butterfly birthmark somewhere on their bodies. A little piece of me they will carry on. I told them all this was me always watching over them. At first they all thought it was neat. Their mother always there to care. Later not so much fun thinking of your mother always watching.

Now at 32, I find I have lost the chutzpah of my youth. I looked for it everywhere, even under the couch where the killer dust bunnies dwell.

I'm 32, Freedom is 16. The same age I was when I had her. I am glad to say she has no intention of getting pregnant and has a pocket in her purse for condoms. 'Just in case'. I told her I would rather her be responsible if she was to have sex than bring me home a baby because she couldn't talk to me about it. I thought I was being hip, hell I partied with the boys in England. It was the place to be for music in the 80's. Androgyny was the fashion and anything goes was the code. Not to mention the stories of the friends I lost to AIDS. No Glove No Love. I drilled it into her head.

No mater how hip your mom is she is still your mom handing you condoms and talking about penis and respect. Freedom ran from the room. She screamed first . Said she hated her name, so I didn't have to worry about her ever getting a boyfriend since I cursed her with a freak's name.

I live in a small town here in New England.

All the women are expected to act the same. Stepford women. Was Stepford in New England? That would explain a lot. Than again, I do believe that it happens everywhere. I was just not used to it.

All who don't will be punished. By the pink sweater ladies. The Soccer Mom Brigade. They demand you follow their lead. You will be assimilated. Borg women. Well you get the point.

These women must of been those girls in high school. You know the ones, they set the fashion if you didn't follow you were ridiculed. I don't think the archetypes from school ever go away. I wonder if we ever really change that much from that time. I am still very much the freak.

It all started when I was trying so hard to fit in with those other moms. I even put on pancake makeup and a pink sweater. In kindergarten and first grade all the kids go to each other's birthday parties. It is obligation. The parents size each other up.

One day this very preppy couple with smiles and perfect hair tell me "We you know the children have to go to soccer no matter how much we hate it." And the smiled and nodded at each other and they looked at me in to agree.

I smiled and nodded.

"What team is Charisma on?" The quarried.

" Have sign up started?" I smiled hoping to end the subject.

" They were last week. But the coach is over there, he can get her on the team now. They called the coach over, and the next thing I knew I was 50$ lighter.

I sat on a football field and cheered. They saw right through my disguise. They called me silly when I called it football. That's why they are the soccer moms, they have no clue how rough the stadium seats are in football. There are no prim and proper women looking down on you. Though I would love to have the money to take them all to a football match in England and watch them try. I wonder how they would get the blood stains out of their lovely pink cardigans?

I am evil sometimes.

These women never left New England, some not even the state.

I decided to pity them and ban "soccer" for my girls.

It was better this way. Even if I was out $50 and had a sweater I would never wear again.

The down side was that when our party came no-one came. Later a few people came, but those were the kids labeled freaks as well.

I always considered we had more fun. Freedom felt herself outcast for who she had as a mother. The thought has had me weep from time to time. Those times usually around the birthday parties. She wants so much to be part of what everyone else is. Past the initial shock of having no friends at the parties the other girls Flowed in colours of their own personalities. Content in who they were. Freedom desired the bonds of social conformity. I have to say I could not understand this. This must be her father's DNA. At least musicians crave the freedom of their music.

I wish I could teach her this.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The years of wine and no roses.... a butterfly story.

The years seem to fly.

Here I am. I am. The shortest sentence in the world. It is a statement and a questions.

The flowing hills hue of faint blues in the morning fog seems ethereal in it's beauty. I love my back deck in the early morning hours. I am wrapped in a pendleton blanket of fiery autumn colours. It is chilly this morning as summer has crept away in the middle of the night like a lover good at that one thing but nothing else that lingers on your mind. Well maybe two or three. But you get the point. New England Summers go by all too quickly.

This big old adirondack chair used to be bigger when we moved her eight years ago.

This is my time. The few hours I have before the children wake and start demanding my time. It seems I have no time left for me. I felt this way back when I was touring, but looking back, that was all me time.

My mug is filled with a good stiff coffee, Irish coffee. I place it on the table. All the while thinking it is almost time to put this furniture in the barn for storage.

I pick up my old steel guitar. You know this hour or so by myself makes me think too much of what I don't have and what has been left in the past. Here in the morning mist I feel so lonely. My children cure that, when they wake and the world comes alive with the force of a hurricane. But this time. The time I can't help but think I should be sharing the morning coffee and mist with. Knowing looks and caring eyes from the opposite chair. But there's no-one there.

There hasn't been anyone there for 5 years. In my mind I can see him sitting there. Sometimes enjoying the peace with me. Sometimes playing a song to me. Sometimes playing a song with me.

Now I play alone. When the mood strikes.

I play the all too familiar notes. Old friends them now.

You know sometimes you get to a point in life when you feel all the best times are yesterday. When you can not come up with one reason to look forward to tomorrow. You know that yesterday will be the same toil as tomorrow as will be the next day. In other words: WELCOME TO SINGLE MOTHERHOOD.

As I sit here and play the song I think about what brought me here.

I told him to leave. I wore it as a badge of honour. I TOLD HIM TO LEAVE. What I didn't say is that I was saying it to him as he was leaving out the door anyway. He was walking out on me and the children and walking to that groupie with sky high boobs. Ones that had not nursed four children. She had a vacancy in the head as well.

Yes, I allow myself bitterness. Especially when his words about her being so much more agreeable than me and that I really let myself go over the years. He said he was still was young and deserved better.

After 4 children I had gained 80 pounds. Some how it crept up on me one every child after Freedom. With Freedom food was scarce. That makes it easy to keep your girlish figure. After Freedom food was plentiful. I had means. I had a career. A modest one in Europe. I never did much in my home country of America. Where U2 and Frankie Goes to Hollywood came over in the 80's my sound smacked too much of the old blues and what happened in the 60's. I remember Robert Smith and I talking over coffee with his wife. Oh how they loved those old songs. Funny how you can not be appreciated until you are walking in a foreign land.

The royalties did allowed me to buy this old farm house on 30 acres here. Not much else. I actually have a a small farm. Didn't I run away from that life so many years ago?

Funny sometimes you run away from things and than you become a mother. You remember all the healthy things that the boring sticks and country life can offer. I wanted my children to know what it was to sneak up to a frog and chase a chicken. There are some simple pleasures of childhood that are missed in city life. Here, though in a semi country life the city and ocean are not that far away so I could keep my balance.

England was home for so long. Ian, he wanted to make a go of making it here. So we moved here. He became a studio and back up player to other front men when I was not going over well.

That made me.. well a house wife. That was all fine and well... Oh who the hell do I think I am kidding? I am not housewife material. I am adventure girl and take my family along for the ride kind of woman.

In my new chained life, Ian looked at me differently. I was told "Hon, why don't ya make some food for us, you wouldn't understand this music stuff." He actually said that more than once. The others would laugh. They didn't know me. They didn't know that was my guitar on the wall, not his. They were Americans. Living the life I was more than aware that woman were not worth anything, especially when the word "Mum" got called out.

I was not some groupie. I was not some hanger on. I was his wife and now I had all his buddies in our marriage as well. Some would say even in front of me they had a tart they wanted him to meet. They talked of these woman as meat. They traded them around like woman borrow shirts from each other.

After all that I still knew he was different when he sat in that that other chair. I would have my Ian back for a brief moment in the days he was home. But those days were less and less. And the last few weeks he did sit there he was not there. It was not him. He had already gone.


"Out here, little one."

My youngest child comes out and cuddles in my blanket. She looks up at me with her bright blue eyes and freckly face " When are you going start making pancakes? It's Sunday." She smiles.

" I guess right now."

" Can I have chocolate in mine?"

"I think I have some chocolate chips around here, but you have to have Apple pancakes, too."

"Oh, Mum!"

I am about to walk back into the house when I hear a car come up my gravel driveway. I look over the deck as the red sports car comes to a halt.

"Bloody HELL" I say as Ian climbs out of the car.

"Who is he?"

"No-one, Mercy, go inside. Get warm. Get all the things I need for the pancakes out. " I push her through the sliding door and shut it behind her.

"Hey Butterfly! No-one! I'm the damn father! You let Charisma know that!" Ian seemed upset at my dismissal of Mercy.

" That is MS SMITH to you! And any one who can not tell which child is which does NOT get to call himself the "DAMN FATHER". You haven't seen them in 5 years. You have no right..."

Before I could finished "Same old Butterfly, still a bitch." Came out of his mouth.

I turned and walked back into the house.

Friday, 16 October 2009

That which is in the past....

She remembers everything.

It can play like a movie in her mind or on a blank white wall if she is creatively bored enough. This happened a lot in school. Her teachers could be less than inspiring. Now it is Supervisors and trainers and corporate types at work brings out the creative boredom of her childhood. Isn't always seem the most uninspiring people tell other what to do and how to do it. Intelligence is her friend and half being in the present and half in the past.

This ability to relive the past with the recall of the DVD you have watched over and over again would have been great if her life was filled with more good times.

She wonders how others deal with the walking past, for quite honestly it was starting to bring her down.

So she goes to a preacher to find the answer. He told her to pray for an answer. She does not believe he really understood the query. She prayed when she was a child about it and the cosmic voicemail told her god was away on business.

She went to one of those New Age gurus. They sold her a whole bunch of stones some represented male and female parts. When that didn't work, she was told she was not ready for the answer but if she wanted to get there she could buy his book. When the book enlightened her not, he said she had to take his seminars in the woods were Indians used to do their sacred ceremonies. That was before he bought the land and kicked them out. His new age retreat center was far more profitable . And as she was told that no-one reaches enlightenment unless you paid for it otherwise it doesn't mean anything. She ran out of her entertainment fund and did not feel every entertained.

She ended up in this therapist office full of fake plants and magazines of Pop Psychology. She suspects you can find new neurosis in the waiting room, job security. He sat her down and explained how other people deal with living with the past and present merged together: they don't. He explained they simply don't see the past that clearly. It fades over time. He said she was special and offered the suggestion just to watch the good ones.

After a month she got tired of all the repeats.

She just let's the past come as it will now. Strange little turn of a phrase from a conversation as she walks by strangers waiting for the bus or the odd look her co workers would give would set the past replay again. Old lovers waifing back into the present like the the man on the train who passed wind and blamed the blind girl's dog. She wonders if they ever think about her like this. She shakes her head each time that thought crosses and remembers what shrink said. They don't.

Can you walk or even wake in multiple worlds at once. She was proof time was only how you perceive it. She hates the people who say things like : keep the past in the past or any of the many other says that said the same sentiment. She , more than most, saw that the past effected who we are today. Or in other words that she prefers : they who forgets their past are doomed to repeat it.

She has had the good judgement not to fall into that trap. Unless she wanted to, that usually didn't last long. As if if we know how it will turn out that we would try it from another way. When she saw the same pattern emerge she would walk away. No need to have remakes of the same story.

One of her past lovers was a past walker, too. Their fights were glorious. Each one recalling their side and transgressions against them so perfectly. Ah but time and transgressions are unfortunately all about prospective. This union, no great sex could save.

Yet another lover remember almost nothing clearly. Yet was determined that she lied about the events constinly. He drove her to the brink of madness. The Part about how he knew his memory was faulty and hers was not is what really drove her crazy during those times.

She finally met a person who thought about the future only. With this one she would stay with. It was good. The processes of bringing him to her was nothing but looking forward. He was her child. The child balanced her out. She taught him to remember the past. He taught her to look towards the future. Together they lived happy .