Sunday, February 5, 2012

Extraordinary Ordinariness

I haven't seen Kate for months. I'm not sure how many. It was before the holidays, before her birthday in October.

Now we sit writing together, separately, in the Starbucks around the corner from my house on a surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon. It seems silly to spend our time together this way maybe, but it's become our thing. 

It has started three summers ago, when I got laid off from my job and had the summer of severance to do what I wanted. Kate had recently sold the music shop, so we both had time. So we would get together to write on our co-memoir - together, but separately. Not reading each other's writing or even talking about it, but just having the practice of getting together writing together, face to face but with the laptops back to back. Like gym buddies, but for writing, and writing on the same project.

I think the most amazing thing about our relationship, the thing I find most interesting, is how extraordinarily ordinary it's become. We have our routines, our shared history. An ability to fall into things as if they were normal.

But, of course, it's not normal because even as I try to write to express it, I can't. Like a...normal mother and daughter? No, that's not quite right. Like old friends? No, that doesn' fit it either. As I've written about before in another post, there's not really a name for it, so just the fact that it can feel ordinthink given the choice ,she would rathI ary when there's not a word for it, is quite extraordinary.

Maybe part of it's me. I have a thing for "unusual" relationships that feel quite right to me - like one of my best friends being my ex-boyfriend that's accepted into our life with my husband and kids like a part of the family. It's just sorting out what feels right.

Part of me wonders if we've been working on the book so long that we've forgotten to how to just be together in who we are - "birthmother and daughter" for whatever it is - without it being about the book - where we are in the writing, next steps, it is a shard project, and our project togther. 

Although we've been a part of each other's lives so long, it's not without discomforts and feeling of awkwardness.

Kate and Steve stayed at our house last night after they had a gig they've done for years, Winterfolk. I was in bed by 11pm, and they didn't roll in until 2am following the show's after-party, which amuses me - being that they are the grandparents. But Kate's always been the more wild one of the two of us, I think. Though, "wild" and "folksinger" don't really go together in my mind either : )

However, I remember as a recent college-graduate feeling hard-pressed to keep up with her when it came to parties and socializing and being out at the bars and shows and such. Most nights I would rather be in, cozied up on the couch with a book than out at a loud, crowded show. Ironically, given the choice, I think she would choose that too. But being a musician, a performer, she doesn't have much choice.

This morning, they were up early and playing with the boys. I rolled out of bed and said the perfunctory morning greetings on my way to the coffeepot. We go out to breakfast, and I know they will insist on picking up the tab. I know that Steve will take the boys for a walk so that Kate and I can have some chatting time alone together.

And, really, it's no more awkward than when anyone else stays at our house. Even when my parents stay for their long stretches over winter or summer, their presence has it's own discomforts and awkwardness - wondering how they're judging me as a parent, thinking they are worried about me or that I'm not doing a good enough job.

So, I think that's part of it - my relationship with Kate feels ordinary. Not perfect, not without flaws, but not dramatically awful either. And that it can be just ordinary is extraordinary.

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