Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's my turn! My life! My way! Mine! Me!

Although my job requires that I be a "people person," I am not generally an "open book" kind of person. And this whole interview meme had me a little freaked out, like what would my interviewer ask me? Would my answers make me look like a total geek? Even so, I have secretly dreamed of being interviewed ever since my childhood, when I would come home from school and watch Merv Griffin on TV with my mom. (Geek!) So I finally stepped up, or actually more like crept up, and asked Jill over at NotSoSage to interview me. She sent me 5 excellent questions and she was even gracious enough to say that if there were any questions I did not want to answer she would gladly change them. I will now happily indulge you with her original 5 questions along with my lengthy answers. 1. What is the best thing about living in the Northwest? What is the worst? Ah, sneaky, that's actually two questions in one. The best thing about living here is the geography of this region. I don't have to choose between ocean, mountains, desert etc. Washington has got it all. There's even a rain forest - the Quinault Rain Forest in Olympic National Park - where my husband and I spent a very wet and chilly (though nevertheless romantic) post-baby Valentine's weekend sans Ben, thanks to my folks. I hear the skiing is pretty good in the Cascades and Olympics, though I've never been myself. But when the weather warms up I would enjoy hiking in either range. When I was a kid, our family spent a lot of weekends trout fishing in many of western Washington's streams, and occasionally drove down to Westport for some deep sea fishing. I caught my fair share of deep sea bass, but wasn't too lucky with the salmon. Ooo, the fresh seafood, that's another thing I love! That said, the really best thing is that my family lives here. I will always want to be near my family. The worst thing about living here? I guess I'd have to say the weather. I got mighty depressed one winter when the clouds shrouded the sky for literally months, but produced very little precipitation. See, it's not the rain, really, that people don't like, it's never seeing the sky, or sun up there - just solid gray. Depressing. Once I was hired by The Airline, that wasn't a problem anymore, and it became clear why so many people who live here take their vacations in the winter. Hawaii in January is (or used to be...) a popular destination. My advice if you live here: get out of town for a week every winter. Then, there's really nothing bad about this place. It's perfect. 2. How do you think you parent differently as a result of your job taking you away for days at a time? Hmmm, "differently": I think we all have our different styles of parenting. I'm not sure if I really parent very differently from other moms I know, the difference is what my job does for me. I experienced pangs of guilt and anxiety when I first went back to work after Ben was born, but I also soon realized how lucky I am: my job allows me to get away, really away, and check in with myself. For most moms this is a rare occurrence, for me it's semi-weekly occurrence and I am completely grateful for it. Being able to step away from home life and view it from a quite literal distance allows me to acknowledge my good fortune to have this family, which I sometimes forget when I am involved in the day-to day routines. 3.How is getting to know your brother now, after so many years apart, different from getting to know a stranger? I think I said a while back that getting to know my brother since his return was like getting to know a stranger, but clearly our shared history makes this statement false. However, he has changed a lot over the years and so have I. Neither of us are the same people we were 13 years ago, and that has added a new dimension to our relationship, one that allows me to actually feel closer to him. Honestly, if he had never left, I don't think I could say that. He has opened the door, allowing us all into his life, and I am so drawn to his openness and his willingness to talk about his experiences, mistakes, failures and triumphs. There is a tendency, when someone has been through the wringer, to shy away from that topic in conversation. I suppose we don't want to bring a loved one down by asking them prying questions about "what it was like for them." My brother, on the other hand, lights up like a birthday candle when you ask him about the food bank, or tends to get a little nostalgic when he talks about his shack in the woods. He is not ashamed or afraid to talk about things and I am more than a little in awe of that. 4. What 5 words would your husband use to describe how he imagines you will be in 20 years? This question caused some controversy tonight, because I told my husband that I needed his help and read him the question. He went away, thought about it for a bit and them came back to me, announcing that he had a few words, but that he thought this was cheating. "Cheating?" I asked. "Yes." he said, because he believes that this is supposed to be answered by me. "No, the question is what 5 words would your husband use..." I said "Well, I think you're supposed to say what you think I'd say..." he said "No, that's not what the question says..." I said. "OK, can argumentative #1?" He asked. here are his 5 words describing how he imagines I'll be in 20 years, but he wants me to stress that he does this under duress, and still believes it's cheating: 1. content, or incontinent. 2. organized 3. committed 4. fulfilled 5. involved I'm a little afraid about #3, because it can have two different meanings and he really didn't expound on it... And just in case it was cheating, and because I have great faith that he will experience exponential personal growth over the next 20 years, here are 5 words describing how I think he imagines I'll be in 20 years: 1. beautiful 2. amazingly physically fit for a 63-year-old woman 3. adoring of her several stunning and intelligent grandchildren 4. exhaustingly energetic 5. more in love with him every day I know him There. 5. You have said that Ben is likely to be your only child. Under different circumstances, would you want to have another kid? Why or why not? My mom had me when she was 34. Way back then, it was really unusual to have a child much beyond your 20's - I was an "oops." She likes to tell the story of how, when I was about 6 or 7, I said "I love you, Mom, and I love Daddy too, but sometimes I wish you were younger." to which I believe she replied, "So do I, honey, so do I." Naturally, I wanted to start MY family young - I would be a young, fun mom with lots of kids, or at least the requisite 2=boy+girl combo. So imagine my surprise? Dismay? When there were no suitors lining up to sow seeds in my fertile 20 year old fields. My still fertile 25 year old fields. 27? 28? Aw, c'mon, 29?! Finally, at 30 I met the future Mr. TheFlyingMum and a few weeks before my 31st birthday we got hitched. We had known each other all of 13 months and I do believe that we both felt like we needed time to really get to know each other before introducing a child into the mix. Then there were the years when he was rotating on and off the submarine for 3 months at a stretch and I was flying full time. When he finally cycled back on to shore duty (and after a particularly harrowing Christmas at his parents' with all of his brothers and their wives and their children - 5 of them, all under the age of 6 and with the volume turned up to 11 - and all under one roof for 4 days straight!) We decided that we didn't want to have any children. Ever. But, yes, now that we have Ben, we are very, very happy to be parents, and are quite content to have just one. Except for those times... you know those times, like when I see a new mom cuddling her baby and I think, Oh, that'll never be me again. Or when I see a woman, radiant with a swollen belly and a smile on her face. God, I loved being pregnant. But when I really and honestly think about being pregnant again, and having another infant in my house, I do honestly feel quite content with just one. I wish I wanted more, you know what I mean? I just don't. Whew! Oh, man, I apologize for the length of my answers, but since Merv is no longer in the interview business, and Sage did such an fabulous job with her questions, I thought I'd better take advantage of this opportunity to crack open the book (more like an epic novel...) and give you all a little peek. If anyone out there is still interested in doing an interview, let me know by emailing me at theflyingmum at comcast dot net and I'll get to work on your 5 questions, which I promise will not be as long as my answers. Thanks again, Jill - it was fun!

13 comments:

NotSoSage said...

This was excellent! I have so much to say.

I went through a terrible bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder when I spent a year in Victoria that was just like the one you described: little rain but grey skies EVERY day. It was my first year of Uni and I would go to my morning classes, go home and then just SLEEP...until evening...I did not do so well that second term.

I like your answer to number 2. Well said.

I think it's wonderful that your brother is so open to talking about his life the past 13 years...and now I get the age difference between you and him. The oops factor. Ah, yes.

I'm so sorry to have caused a controversy at the flyingmum household! I like leaving questions open to interpretation (and there are no "no help" rules, so whatever you gotta do, sister).

Oh, and I so know that feeling of watching other moms. We will have another (I hope) but it'll be a while as right now doesn't make financial sense, but I sometimes get these intense pangs when I see a newborn or a pregnant woman and I want to do it RIGHT NOW.

And this: When there were no suitors lining up to sow seeds in my fertile 20 year old fields. My still fertile 25 year old fields. 27? 28? Aw, c'mon, 29?!

You're so funny! Welcome home!

theflyingmum said...

notsosage: This was really fun, thanks, and it made me delve into things that I haven't really given a lot of thought to, except for #1...
Ugh! The gray, the gray... I was working in 2 school districts as a substitute teacher the winter I referred to. I didn't like my job, and to this day being awakened by the phone sets my heart pounding.
Mr. TFM has been enjoying reading my blog, and I think he secretly liked being involved in this post. He hasn't read the finished product yet though...
As for the more kids question, I forgot to say that I do sometimes wish that Ben had a sibling to play with and keep him company. But when I've asked him if he'd like a brother or sister (PURELY a rhetorical question) he has said NO! I leave for work again tomorrow. I really screwed myself this month, but I'm trying to get my hours up to offset insurance costs. Only 4 years til I can retire with full benefits...

c4cara said...

You interview so well! I loved reading this, and I especially identified with the bit about 'more children'. I have 2, and still people ask, 'are you sure you don't want to have more?'. I met my husband at around the same age as you met yours, and I was not a cheerful pregnant person, and yet, I will jump through hoops to hold someone elses tiny baby, and I so miss those totally helpless little sprouts. My girls are enormous now, and full of words and opinions and angst! Already! Sigh. I hope your time away went well.
I can only imagine the grey thing.
Thanks for visiting and leaving me your words. I really appreciate it.

nowheymama said...

What a great post! Ah, the gray. We have that here in Western PA for sure. There's some statistic about how the sky is 100% clear only 30 days out of the year or something. My southern-born-and-raised husband just loooves it.
"the requisite 2=boy+girl combo" Yeah, now that we have that, people keep telling us we can stop. Oh, "can" we? Gee, thanks!
And, um, clearly I need to read up on older posts about your brother.
Thanks for taking the time to answer all these great questions!

jen said...

great questions and great answers. the PNW is amazing, you pointed out the great spots. and i love the controversy bit.

theflyingmum said...

Sarah, I'll get to work on your questions
jen, the Bay area is not too shabby either!
Thanks 'guys. I'm at work til Tuesday, then work again next weekend, then things should slow down a bit as I have spread my trips out more. Yes, I am standing at the 15 minute time limit crew computer... again.

Sara said...

I LOVE this!!! notsosage asked great questions and you gave great answers. About the requisite boy/girl combo---I get all the time "oh, you have the perfetfamily now..." What would they say if I didn't have Eddie and Cait? Maybe we as a society should stop commenting on the family structure of others.

Hope you have a great week, even though you;ll be busy. I am on vacation this week, and have big plans for finally tackling that music meme you sent me (can't do the music at work where I do the rest of my bloggng).....and if you decided you wanted to interview me, that would be cool too.

Sara said...

oh, and on he grey weather.....it has to be better than cold and snow from October through May.... We get depressed here when the fresh snow turns black ans sluchy after a day. Blech.

Misty said...

So glad you are back! So sad you are going away again. I like checking in with you once in a while. So, tell me, where did your brother go for all of those years? Is it any of my business? Nope. I am just really curious!

Mad Hatter said...

I'll bet you any money that your 63-yr-old butt will be able to kick my 61-yr-old butt to kingdom come. That is unless you're committed.

Great answers. I especially liked the last one, what with having mused on that topic recently myself.

theflyingmum said...

Mad Hatter: well, I've got the next 20 years to get myself into ass-kicking shape...
MamaLang: I don't know where your comment went! I published it, but I don't see it here now. Anyway, you are most welcome for the link-love.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

This was fascinating to read! I like your husband's involvement : )

Beck said...

Great answers!
I get SO depressed every winter in the long white northern winters. But I also hate the too hot summers. I should just move to a mall.