Norma Jean: They Come and They Go

Note to Editors: Reprinting requires artwork, designed at no cost to your publishing specifications. Call Missy Neal, Art Director, at the Weekly Alibi: 505-268-3456.Dear Norma Jean,I like youÑa lot! You are my daughter's age and your love for life, your intelligence and knowledge reminds me of her. I am 54 and a survivor. I raised my daughter by myself in a foreign country . . . your words remind me of my fights to survive. I still have unpaid bills, no "home of my own," maybe no clear future and no security. . . I do have the knowledge, though, that throughout the years men came and left, and women stayed. ... All the love, the support and the caring I needed I got from women friends. We hurdled together, we supported each other in times of need, and we still do. Sex with men is just for fun, but the deep, trusting, loving friendships always come from women. I still look to men for sex ... but those too will come and go.The women in my life will be around forever!Graciela LudmerGraciela,Isn't it amazing how you can feel much more relaxed when in the company of women? I love my men -- I get down and dirty and fall "in love" with them for a while, but it's always the women in my life who stick around for the main meal, the long haul, the thick and thin, the water retention days, the babysitting swaps...Throughout my pregnancy and during the first two years with my baby at my breast, I had endless support and love from my fellow females. I felt less isolated than a lot of pregnant women I know who had husbands or partners at the time. I heard many stories from my women friends about their significant others' "distancing behavior", his sexually rejecting them in pregnancy and then -- one or two years down the line -- talking about separation due partially to the pressures of parenthood. My experience is that women understand each other's difficulties, both in the actual childbirth experience and afterward, thus deepening their camaraderie. My friends and I roar with laughter while telling each other our pregnancy stories; stories about blood, milk, tears and urine that clings to one like a shadow that blurry first year; confessions about recalcitrant fat and the chronic fatigue. My friendships with now divorced/separated friends who have children in tow have only deepened. We plan family vacations together, exchange all sorts of information about parenting and try our best to be there for each other the way we hope our mates will.No matter what fantasies one has about "mommy, daddy and baby," don't get too attached to them -- chances are life will never be what you picture. Like it or not, children force an introspection upon the psyche like nothing else. Having a baby delivers an awareness of mortality, planet Earth, politics, economics, education, health care, your own parents and childhood -- you name it, it's awesome! My women friends rise to this life passage and find an ear and heart in each other for all the exquisite joys and tedium that being "mommy" brings. Men often exhibit bravado that they really "did" something special by making a baby and call themselves fathers, but how many of them actually stay present for the full experience? (I definitely know some do, and my deepest respect to you.)Yes, Graciela, we women couldn't do it without each other. I wholeheartedly agree that the price one pays for choosing to parent responsibly is minute compared to the chiseling of character and the opening of the heart being there for each other bestows upon us.Love,Norma Jean

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