First let me say this post will say alot or refer to Rosie and her new book.. so if you are sick of me talking or typing about her.. close the browser don’t bother.
I find that I do some of my best thinking in the tub late at night, while reading. As our family sits in the hollywood roosevelt with the GQ 50yr party going on downstairs.. and promises of “stars” being down stairs, here I am alone with my thoughts and my book – my choice tonight – my second reading of celebrity detox by RO.
Not sure why I need to re read it I just read it yesterday but Katie always wanting to know.. I think she is so much like how RO must have been at 10, loosing a mother but also being told “you can do anything”. She’s ready to pack it in for brdway already at 10yrs old. you go girl I tell her you can do anything you want.
So I listen to the sounds now that i’m out of the tub, david, my scooter, my sweet little boy, snoring next to me – interestingly he only started snoring once lisa died, as if taking up that silence at night that she used to fill with her LOUD snoring.. so bad, that I’d end up the couch often just to hope for a few hours of sleep. Katie and Danielle, silently sleeping in the next bed. Katie crashed after coming in from Disney, David right behind, Danielle put on her ipod to listen to music like she does every night – the comforts of home.
So back to the post title. Katie asked reading over my shoulder on the plane down.. mom what does Rosie mean by “her Yellow” I explained or rather read what Rosie wrote about being her inner self, truth and beauty. Katie cocked her head as we were getting on Autopia tonight (many hours after this initial talk) and said I think our family is orange – out of the blue – orange. I said I like that sweetie. We can be orange – that can be our truth and beauty as a family – but I said as you grow and change you can find your own way and own color and she said I have one.. it’s silvery white.. but our family is orange. So sitting in the tub I replay the widsom of my 10yr old and think and we are a bright green.. the Green of Danielle’s “peace” shirt from Rosie.com. Yep we are green and orange – it’s all of us – michael, danielle, david and katie – me and lisa. So we have defined our yellow. Thank you Rosie.
Now as i post this and listen to my own ipod, my lisa playlist – is her, ours – it starts with pachabel’s cannon – the song that ushered us in to the tiny lodge at Pt. Defiance Park in Tacoma 16 years ago today as we were ready to say our vows. How Don McGill, the pastor from MCC who had us attend couples counseling, said over the months he had learned I was loud, plaid and blue, lisa was soft, pink and pastel. He was so right, may he rest in peace. Then “If” by Bread comes on – Lisa’s favorite – Marilyn sang it for us at our Holy Union 16yrs ago today after our vows to be there in sickness and in health. I can’t tell you how much lisa was there for me all the years since my MS diagnosis and how I feel like a failure for not being there to hold her hand when she died. it haunts me even tonight – and tomorrow I will have to tell a room full of people how I failed Lisa, how the”sytem” fails many families every day.
Oh that’s right this was suppose to be a “happy post” but finding your orange/green means truth and that is where I am right at this very moment minutes before midnight.
So thank you RO once again for sharing even just a little bit of yourself for others, unscripted and raw, very difficult I am sure. Thank you for talking to my 10yr old about losing your mom at 10 on the cruise this summer. She carries that with her, thank you for writing to me every so often to just say “hey you aren’t alone”. your fragmented emails, i keep to myself, they are my orange/green (i no longer will post them or give them away on my public blog) saved for me and at times for the kids when appropriate. Just when I seem to be losing my way.. there will be an email from you or my sister Marilyn or Uncle Kelly or even Gary – reminding me “i am not alone” though it feels like that so intensely one moment when I know lisa is gone and will never answer my call “hi sweetie”. I still keep her last voice mail from that fateful sunday on Rfamily right after boarding. She always no matter what said “hi sweetie”. So I save that voicemail and share it with no one. it would be the last time I would hear her voice.. after that just her signing “i love you” and “water” to me and the kids.
so the langbehn-pond’s will continue to find our orange/green. i read my speech and still start to choke up at point, that is so unintentional, it’s like back in high school debating .. your mind is going so fast and then you finally hear what you have said and you digest it. That is what happens at one part of my speech, it happened when I talked to john ireland on Rfamily for the Advocate article – i started crying once my brain caught to what I had just said 2 minutes before or so.. that lisa was gone. i won’t say more now, you can read the speech late tomorrow once I get back from the dinner, after i let the kids experience in a tiny way being “known”, we are not famous by any stretch, though Danielle said why not, we were in the magazine. I said honey, people are already on to bigger things, that is why I have to every so often step out of my comfort area of this blog and nameless people who drop in and say it out loud – we were treated like shit at Jackson Memorial. Others may want to forget that but I never will, it is carved in my soul, it is branded on my ankle with lisa’s colors in my tattoo. As our housecleaner said in an email so bravely months ago – she never met Lisa, she was hired after I fired merry maids for not getting along w/ the dogs and always locking them out – michelle said – you are like rosa parks. taking your place at the front of the bus. I think that is too bold to compare me to such a ground breaking woman – but then i think – that is all it takes, just standing up and coming forward – lisa and i lived in our catholic, middle class caccoon in a community that welcomed us.. and when asked at michaels first conference if we were”co parenting him” we said NO we are BOTH his moms. Fix your records.. our school district never made that mistake again – with our other 3 we were known. you know who said to fix the record – not me, Lisa – so instinctual – we are MOMS, united to raise 4 adopted special needs foster children. We were united in raising many foster children over 15yrs some for a few days, some for several months.. and 4 for a life time. So no, while i may have been the obvious gay in our community it was lisa with her looks, and silence when people would ask her what her “husband did for a living” so she could be a stay at home mom.. when she didn’t answer.. she was being like rosa parks, and stepping closer to the front. now i’ll will move forward for US and take that seat at the front of the bus. Not everyday, but when I can, I will sit in that seat and be proud of who were as MOMS, as a committed loving family and how I will never forget the lessons, lisa taught me – to move forward, slowly, steadily and even silently but be present so we can be counted. She wasn’t in her death, as I explained to Kelly – Florida listed on her death cert.. she was “single”.. the only other choices are married or divorced.. not even a box for “other” – would take that for now, no nothing to count our 18yrs together, it is gone with the swoop of a pen in all official government records that SHE counted, that WE counted.
So we all found some orange and green tonight at disney “where dreams do come true” – not really but for a moment as I rode two rides with the kids I never had b/c of fear and b/c lisa was always up for being thrown around and never got motion sick, my kids, our kids high fived me for making it through my first 2 rollercoasters. That is the beauty of a family, you can push your limits when you are safe and ready – and with our orange and green around us – we did tonight. Thank you uncle kelly – you helped us more than words can say for taking us to disney for those hours, because we could forget if we needed to and laugh that 7 years ago this weekend, Katie only 3 1/2 and michael 10 1/2 we took one of our first real vacations as a family. Pictures of the kids so little, I have only recently re discovered. The orange/green were always there but we didn’t know what to call it or how to quantify it.. but now we do.. and thanks to RO, my little 10yo who looks up to her, understands – so it is passed on. Amen
(not checked for spelling, grammar or dropped words, get over it – it’s late)