I’ve missed writing regularly, missed writing here. I’ve been a bit lost, am attempting to find myself, perhaps in a 1970’s sort of inner child way.When I started this blog, it was with the intention of exploring ideas about alternative education. Gradually, it morphed into writing of a more personal nature, which supported my changing story as I found my way, moving from marriage to separation to divorce, from public school and early childhood advocate to alternative education student and charter school attempted founder, from woman with too many commitments and many connections to a more solo flier.

Here I am near fifty, a bit lost again, trying to find my way. The blog served me well those years I was writing regularly. It gave me a place to shape my voice, to try out ideas, to tap into things that were percolating under the surface, to connect to poets and writers and ideas I was exploring in my state of constant change, even at times, to share photographs I was taking now I had a camera again after many years of seeing life through my husband’s lens.

Yesterday I stopped at my children’s other house, in Cambridge where they live with their stepmom and dad, who were working in the yard with tools and wood, making what my daughter later told me were stands for the rain barrels they are installing around their newly remodeled house to capture water for their ever evolving garden. There were cherries on the tree they planted several years ago, a garden in the small corner behind the house, probably flowers out front, if they weren’t destroyed by the construction of the last two years. Upstairs in the hallway on my way to my daughter’s room, I paused a long while staring at my children in the photos taken by their father, some by me, some after we were parted, many of the day their dad remarried, others of him and his brother as children collected from the home of his grandmother, which I used to admire in the hallway outside her bedroom, taken by his mother and father when they were new parents experimenting with taking and printing black and white photos of their children. My daughter has invited me to come inside and hang out in her room while she gathers her things for the transition to my home after being at her dad’s. I remember this, stop to use the newly remodeled bathroom, head upstairs, where indeed my daughter the decorator has done her thing, her room no longer one of a lost girl finding a new home with her dad, but one of a mature teen who has lived here and made the place her own. The last weekend she was here she and her friends painted the door and hall outside her room. She’s moved the double bed her step mom bought her to a place on a different wall, hung a sheer curtain we bought together behind it to make a backdrop. All around the walls are images she’s collected, many from a calendar of children’s book art of fairies and magical worlds I gave her two Christmases ago, remembering the tradition we had of my giving her an Elsa Beskow book from the Waldorf store for holidays, interspersed with black and white photos of teens from a catalogue, looking fashionable and cool, not so much sexy as demure, lace blouses buttoned to the top, handsome brown-skinned boys and beautiful white skinned girls, side by side, content. There are candles along the window ledge interlaced with small glass dishes of pale green glass, which my daughter tells me are from IKEA, and I wonder as I write this, am I allowed? Am I allowed to find myself in my daughter’s room, in my ex-husband’s house? Is this my story to tell, or have I gone off the rails? If I write this will they read it, and if they do, will they care? This is the problem with midlife and close observing. It gets you into trouble if you dare.

Back here in my kitchen I have a candle lit. Richard my boyfriend got up before six to return to his home, letting me know before he went he is sorry he doesn’t work with me in the garden. We don’t, he doesn’t, though every so often we work on the cursed hedge, me holding the ladder, he trimming the hedge. Yesterday we bought furniture together for the first time, a small blue writing desk and an orange chair, two small round mid-century modern tables for the living room in habanero chili red. I found them at the Somerville Flea, an outdoor market in the parking lot of Harvard Vanguard, outside the offices of my ob/gyn, and my daughter and Richard approved, helped me choose. To get them home, we had to lower the seats of the Subaru, put the pieces in and fit my daughter’s bags from her father’s into the empty places left along the edge. To get us home Richard suggested he drive and Isabel and I share the passenger seat, which we did, my daughter belted in, Richard driving, me balancing one cheek on the corner of the seat, wedging my legs into the space beside my daughters’, one arm on either side of her pressing against some part of the car so as not to squash my daughter or fall into an overly uncomfortable pose. We did it. The furniture is pretty. We used the small round tables later to hold our coffee and the NYTimes while Richard read and I wrote and my daughter unpacked her bags. Richard and I carried the desk up three flights of stairs to the room Isabel and I have been working on, once her father’s office, then her brother’s bedroom, then a place for her dolls and dollhouses and the beloved playmobil castle, then a jumble, taking the room apart and putting things away, imagining what comes next.

This morning when I get up early to say good-bye to Richard, I realize I have time to write. The beauty of getting up in the fives is having hours before anyone else cares where I am. So here I am, not at the new small writing desk upstairs, but at my kitchen table, candles lit here and in the dining room, the one in the kitchen beside me a gift from my previous boyfriend James, moved finally from the bedroom to the kitchen when I was ready to burn it down, and the other a gift from our Ashfield housemates years ago who thought we’d like to decorate candles to put out for family dinners, found in a recent clean out and decorated by my girl, to her teenage dissatisfaction under my older mom of disappearing kids loving gaze. This is my home, ex-boyfriends, ex-husband, one kid left this fall, one boyfriend here part time, one mom here part time, too, all five of us here together for a brief time between my older son arriving near midnight and Richard leaving in the quiet of the morning, a rare moment of togetherness observed in the night when everyone was sleeping, the sort of moment that might have inspired me to write this piece if my boyfriend hadn’t mentioned the garden.

This is what we are doing, coming, going, collecting a rare piece of used and lovely furniture, driving in our cars and van to be where the others are, then back again to get our grounding in our other homes, whether across town in Cambridge, across the state in Framingham or Western Mass, at college or with a girlfriend or in a new apartment in New York, soon in downtown Boston for my younger son. We have many homes, many parts to our family, friends old and new, some with us, many not so much. Lost and found, lost and found, lost and found.

Some days I find myself to be an exceptionally angry person, jealous, sad, let down. I do not wish to stay that way, and hope to write my way out.

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