Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture


Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Sometimes you need a jumpstart; never know where it's gonna come from and it's very hard to be patient. Wait for it. Any kind of experience tripping on the sidewalk getting an annoying voice mail from a blocked number in Texas for the 15th time in a row—I have no idea how to make that stop—but anyway, you see that could jumpstart...what? Mortal annoyance?

The old man and I were having a discussion yesterday about our aging bodies—he's 12 years older than me so more aging body than I have—nonetheless, he's getting a new doctor; time to acquaint himself with this new person, and this new person as well needs to make the circuit of questions that would involve both physical and mental status. And then on the way back we're saying what is going on, is this the new era? Or, we thought we would go quietly and we're not going quietly at all we're fighting and struggling, and we're stressed and we can't really put our fingers on what it is. It's not technically a diagnosis of any particular disease it's simply overarching distress.

And since it was Mother's Day very recently, I brought up the question of what's happening with my youngest son—which I feel came up at originally at Thanksgiving when we were at his house where he had kindly, he and his wife that is, offered to host Thanksgiving. I thought that was great except that when we were in his kitchen on his turf it felt like he turned on me—the old man doesn't see it that way—but I'm the mother so I'll look at this from my perspective: I gave birth to this guy, he's now coming up on 40 he's got 10 year old son, 10 year marriage—which is pretty much the same length of time I spent married to his deceased father. And I was shocked I tell you shocked to discover that my son has an actual adult opinion about the way he was reared, with me as the Mother. Oh my God I don't even remember how we got into the subject but standing in the kitchen, both of us with cooking utensils in our hands, and people in other parts of the house engaging in conversations and other activities getting out the beer munching on appetizers. I hear my son say this may sound harsh but you never really wanted to be a mother that was clear.

You can likely tell I'm still upset because it's now May and Thanksgiving was last November. This is how things are working themselves out: so much global angst to digest maybe it's that the family stuff doesn't get dealt with? superseded by the latest from some far-flung part in the world. It's not like the old days it's not like having custodial care minor children around your feet on a constant basis. Now these are adults—even though one of them is temporarily in the living room and another one is pretty much permanently in the basement apartment—doesn't matter we're still talking about adults who used to be minors for whom I had utter and complete responsibility.

So after coming back from the doctor's office yesterday we came into the house chatting about this uncomfortable relationship since that Thanksgiving dinner—the old man doesn't think it's anything, I still do—and who should I run into but my basement middle-son in the kitchen, and I just said here's who I need to talk to and crazy as it seems this is the guy who was bane of my existence through his teenage years, sitting across from me and having the most loving and thoughtful conversation about how he feels at this quaint remove from his childhood, being a responsible working adult faced with all of the horrible shit that the rest of us are facing housing crisis so forth, and feeling as though his younger brother is being a selfish prick. I mean after all it's Mother's Day week, he doesn't say anything he sends his son back to the house as they were leaving since we pick him up from school on Friday, and it's pretty clear that what happened was they went out to the car and his wife was sitting there with the MDay bouquets delivered by husband & son, & that she was bringing home from work, and she plucked out three or four blossoms tied them up with a piece of yellow exercise elastic from her workplace since she's an occupational hand therapist, and my grandson had a picture that he had previously drawn so yeah they come back ring the doorbell because I've locked the porch already I come back out and my grandson is standing there with a big smile on his face a picture and a little clutch of flowers and he says happy Grandmother's Day nammy!  I got my big hug from my grandson of course and sent them on their way.

But what the hell is that about and why am I upset since it's a no-win situation as far as I'm concerned. We are set up with a holiday that we cannot avoid just like freaking Valentine's Day, and somebody somewhere is going to be disappointed and I set myself deliberately on a path which says I will not be provoked I will not be sucked in two predigested holidays for the selling of flowers and chocolates. So on my end I don't get upset if it's not a big deal nobody makes a big fuss although I did get breakfast in bed a few times when they were really little. The upshot is you decide as a personal policy that the way you operate in the world does not depend on someone giving you something on a predetermined day otherwise you're not going to love them and or feel loved by them. So I feel as though if my children operate that way that means they got the lesson from me and it's all good because I am a deeply political person.

No, what upsets me is that I feel as though somehow there's been as my second son says a judgment on the part of my youngest. He decided that he knows what it was like for me and I am deficient. One of the aspects here that we touched on—that is my second son and myself—is what I would call an feature of Parenthood that's maybe the hardest for somebody for my age group: realizing that I did what I did, and having babies without full disclosure I want to say I didn't disclose to myself what it means at the end of the day. Cuz I had no idea I was seriously Clueless, and when it came down to it and one day opportunity to do some theater dropped in my lap and I felt that familiar tug that I hadn't experienced since I left High School to be on stage—I can look back and forth between audition and kid in the stroller the other one barely out of diapers—back and forth back and forth—and which one do I choose? Damn straight, you don't audition unless you can commit, so yeah I think my adult son now gets that when something pulls you in that strongly you can just straight up call it what it is man it is an addiction.

And I like to say that it's a benign addiction but I'm supposing that from the Viewpoint of my youngest, it's possible that he sees that as an pattern of abdication to a higher obligation, which would be funny if it were not so tragic because I swear to God as I told #2 in the kitchen I didn't have three kids I had four. Yes I did. I had a brat who was getting up in the morning going to work and coming back, depositing his paycheck in the bank, paying mortgage supplying us with food... and acting like a brat. Had the brass balls to tell me that if I want to do something outside of the home I can wait till the kids were grown. Well fuck that shit. But okay enough of that you shouldn't speak ill of the Dead. I can look back on all of this and I can say truthfully because of some of the choices I made and because of some of the things that were out of my control such as for example accidental death by car I had to, in completely inappropriate non politically correct phraseology put on my big boy pants and take care of three children under 7 years old, until it came time again for me to seriously give way to my addiction. And I didn't do it in Saskatchewan I did it within a half an hour's Drive consistently always home at night, true doing a lot of homework, but...

Wait a minute I don't have to justify this this is been my lifelong dream... I live this.  Where I am alive on stage Cuttin Up getting foolish making mistakes knocking things out of parks getting cheap thrills feeding the audience and feeding myself.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in
Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2018 Claudine Jones
©2018 Publication Scene4 Magazine




June 2018

Volume 19 Issue 1

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