THE LIE OF CATS IN THE CRADLE

 

Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash

“My child arrived just the other day

He came to the world in the usual way

But there were planes to catch and bills to pay

He learned to walk while I was away

And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew

He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad

You know I’m gonna be like you…”

* * *

 

This song, released at the end of 1974, has touched the hearts of millions. I first heard Cats in the Cradle at the tender age of fourteen. Being a young girl, I wondered about the Mom. She would be the ‘usual way’ referenced so dismissively in the second line. That the mother is there during the father’s disconnection is implied, right? I mean, the boy didn’t learn to walk and talk from apes.

 

Later in life I married, had two sons, divorced, and then married again. You know, “the usual way” in today’s terms. Rather than whine about the now-divorced relationship, I’ll sum it up with a quick (quasi-funny) story from before the divorce.

 

My boys and I had been a part of the local Cub Scout troop. After a few years of being Den Mother, I ‘attained’ the rank of Pack Leader, all while still holding a full-time job, and being a mom and wife. So, one day in the early 90’s, the two sons and I were at the Cub Scouts Pine Wood Derby Race. Their father had participated in this particular activity and was there as well. Suddenly, one den mother from my Pack yanked me aside. She pointed across the room and with true concern in her voice asked me who that man was with my boys. When I told her that was my husband she exclaimed, “I thought you were a widow!”

 

True story. So, I kind of empathize with that barely acknowledged mother from the song, and feel I can speak for her.

 

I believe the lie of Cats in the Cradle is the unspoken impression left of the other parent. By the lyrics, you would be led to believe that mom, or whoever it was that did teach him to play Cats in the Cradle, to walk and talk, who read Little Boy Blue and sang him to sleep, might have some type of precedence. You’d be wrong. The son who dealt his father such casual callousness most likely treats the mother in the same manner.

 

As parents, we slowly become marginalized from their lives, until the grave claims us.

 

There are some who will not go quietly. Those who clutch their sons to their breasts, tendrils of emotion (guilt) fixed inside the mind, to the point of being brain-washed that the man-child cannot live without Mama.

 

I’m told there are sons who are willingly attentive, visiting without prompting. They come with or without their family, just to spend time and share with the parents. I’m also told there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But I haven’t seen that either.

 

Then there are boys who are raised to be independent thinkers, by parents who know those boys will leave, just as they left their parents. It is the natural progression. In the meantime, they do their best to build a man that will become a self-sufficient, productive member of society.

 

My children are now grown men. Not only do they have planes to catch, and bills to pay, they are also wonderful fathers to their children and are great husbands to loving wives. I know because I hear about it during the occasional phone call. If I get lonely, I can look at the pictures of their families on social media.

 

I do understand that generations of parents have suffered this conundrum, as proven by the oldest of Biblical scriptures “… a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh…” (Genesis 2:24).

 

You know what’s really heartbreaking, but true? The mothers of daughters are omitted from this passage, much to the chagrin to the mothers of sons.

 

Just sayin…

 

~ | ~ | ~

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

 

La La Land in 2016

A 5 (of five) Star Review

 

I’d heard about this movie from a few sources and really wanted to see it. I didn’t follow those sources, because of (what?) SPOILERS. So I avoided reading anything on it up to this point.

 

What? I’m still inside the six week curfew.

From what I did know, it was a musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. (OMG, they sing, too?) I truly couldn’t imagine what a musical released in 2016 would look like. Does Spiderman Cha Cha with Mary Jane? Will Superman Tango with Lois?

 

Alright, alright. But while this film did not take itself too seriously, I became seriously involved. Don’t get me wrong. I do mean “chick-flick” seriously involved. You know, “I laughed, I cried, I woke my husband up once.”

 

LaLa Land
Featuring Sebastian played by Fred Astaire, played by Ryan Gosling.
With Mia as played by Ginger Rogers played by Emma Stone.

 

In case you don’t know who those people are, check out this clip from YouTube of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in Too Hot to Handle.
I used to watch those movies as re-runs on TV with my mom, and I thought they were boring. Of course, I was a tweener at the time. As a grown-up, I can now understand my mother when she said it was pure magic to see Fred and Ginger dance. I do believe I’ve seen it now between Ryan and Emma. All the way from their first dance to the closing number.

 

 

The premise brings us Sebastian, a down on his luck jazz piano player, and Mia, a struggling starlet who dreams of big screen movie success. By the way, she doesn’t like jazz. In fact, she tells Sebastian she hates it. He pulls her from the stereotype jazz she’s been fed all of her life (Smooth Jazz 101, Elevator music) and introduces her to the true roots of jazz (Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson) which is what he specializes in. The chemistry ignites.

 

When John Legend appeared, my heart skipped a beat.

 

And the closing is not the expected, hoped for, “happily ever after” either (even if it has been more than six weeks, I’m not totally giving away the ending. I’m not heartless).

 

Go see this tribute to song and dance movies. If you’re anything like me, you won’t stop smiling through the whole thing. Until the end.

 

 

Video Game History (Pt 2)

As a geek from way back, I enjoy being challenged on my knowledge base. The post “How well do you know your video game history?” challenged readers to test their own level of geekdom.

A website has been brought to my attention that offers some really cool information, in a retro-cool format.

Check it out here: History of Online Games

On a side note, the site referenced above has been a pleasant diversion, because eight days ago a surgeon took a bone from my left hand. I think my hand just realized it was missing.

JCHFGDMFOMG!!! It HURTS!!

Thanks to Brianna and her team at InternetProviders.com for making me forget that for a while.

 

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her

Amazon Author Page.

 

Surgery, Here I Come

 

 

Warning! This article is not for the weak-kneed. Or, weak wrist-ed. It’s the closest thing I’ll come to openly whining, and if you know me, that’s saying something. I hate whining.

Anyway…

I have rheumatoid arthritis, predominant in both wrists at the base of the thumbs. Yes, typing is a bitch. I had the surgery on my right hand for the condition two years ago. During this procedure, the doctor *removes* the offending bone, then pulls the tendon (still attached on one end) up, lassos, then ties it to the bone which it was once connected. No, it doesn’t hurt as bad as it seems. It hurts much, much worse.

Still, the surgery is a better option than continuing to live with the daily pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

This is one of the most excruciatingly painful experiences I have ever suffered. But then, I was sent to a physical therapist who was the nicest, sweetest sadist I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing. She made me inflict pain on myself, then cheered when I finally performed her sickening feat of touching the tip of my thumb to the tip of my pinkie. I hated her so much.

Two years later, the pain has diminished (in my mind) sufficiently enough that I am ready for the surgeon to operate on the left hand. My right hand has healed, and I have 75% of the strength I had before the RA.

The surgery is scheduled for January 3, 2017. I’ll be out of commission for a couple of days, then tortured by the same sadist therapist for a few months after that.

Pray for me, please. See you on the other side.

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

JL Mo is a mother of two full grown geeks, and Nana to their geeks-in-training. She is also the author of the McShane Mini-Mystery series, and has had a number of stories published in various anthologies which can be accessed on her Amazon Author Page.

(Note: Should you have any need, there is a website that has been brought to my attention for RA sufferers. Check them out at https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ )