my dilemma

Someone I know and respect just posted something about the atrocities imposed on bulls as part of the bullfighting culture in Portugal.

Things we don’t like to think about.

But then there’s this…

When I was 13 and was still an innocent child and yet also a budding bleeding hearted liberal, my family went to Spain.

We travelled all over the country going to castles and vineyards and eating tapas.

My mother who was the most incredible tour guide ever, always wanting us to experience the true culture of wherever we were, announced that Bullfights were on the agenda.

She’d never had a bad idea before so we all said yes.

My parents were concerned that their daughter, Elly May Clampett, wouldn’t be able to handle the murders, that they had a plan for extricating me from the arena if it looked like I might run into the ring to throw myself in front of the matador’s sword.

I surprised everyone, mostly myself.

I fucking loved every second of it. A good bullfight is a glorious thing.

It’s insane. You are hanging on the edge of your seat from the second the bull is released into the arena.

Six matadors. Six bulls.

It’s horrible when you think about it – truly cruel.

And yet, I was cheering them on.

Then, just to add to the experience, my mom found out about an artist who had been a bullfighter and lived in a tiny old stone home within the walled city and he painted using bulls’ blood.

And he had taken in a young orphan boy named Frederico and raised him and we came home with a portrait of the boy painted with blood.

So when I read that bit on Facebook, I felt a little defensive.

Does that make me a bad person?

family

I just want to say that I am one of the lucky ones.

I am spending this week with my parents and two of my kiddos. We are together 24/7. I am even sharing a bed with my mom. The boys and I had an adventure today then came home and spent the evening with the grandparents.

There has been laughter and quality conversation and sharing and honesty and openness and sincerity and love.

What there hasn’t been…

Strife

Family “dynamics”

Stress

Disagreement

Arguing

Traumatic triggering

Anger

Resentment

Passive aggression

Disgruntlement

A desire to be anywhere else

I dig my parents.

I fucking adore my kids.

There is no where that I would rather be this week. Any week. Any time.

There are absolutely no people with whom I would rather be.

I have the most amazing family in the world.

I know that this is rare – that so many families have undercurrents of shit.

Not us.

And I do NOT take that for granted in any way.

I say that we are lucky but the reality is, when you put this many fantastic people in the same place at the same time, you can’t help but love every second.

#sayingaprayerofthanks, #lovemymommyanddaddy, #mykidsarebadass, #mydadisafuckingriot, #momsmybestfriend, #howdmykidsturnoutsowell?

Vacation?

The boys and I are headed to Florida in a couple of days – for a couple of days.

It started with “I need to get back to Florida.”

Then, “I really need to get the boys to Florida.”

Then, trying to find dates that work for all three work schedules, which included contacting one boss and working out a schedule with him while the child was on the river.

Then, the next one, trying to figure out schedule and getting permission from the parole officer to leave the state.

Because that’s our new normal.

Then, trying to schedule a trip over a weekend so that someone doesn’t have to cover me for a full work week. But that didn’t happen.

Flights?

$2300 to go to Florida for 5 days.

Plus a rental car.

Then I had to find a house sitter – someone with whom Elvis will bond not bite.

All of that taken care of and suddenly I realize…

I’m going on vacation with my children.

Holy shit, it’s been years.

It’s also been eons since I’ve gone to see my folks when no one is in the hospital.

Vacation.

VACATION.

Granted, August in Florida might sound a little torturous, but it’s the beach and the ocean and snorkeling and my mommy and daddy and my amazing boys, and their birthdays, and dune grass and palm trees and sea glass and chocolate milkshakes.

And no smoke.

After all of that squeezing in and finagling and coordinating I get to sit still, do something fun, relax, read a book, and hang out with my favorite people in the whole world.

Yay Florida in August.