"Love Child... Never meant to be...
Love Child... Take a look at me"
~ Songwriters: Peiken, Shelly M / Gorgoni, Adam / Martin, Rebecca
With all the hubbub about the Gov-a-nator and his fall from grace.
( I am sorry but who in their right mind would cheat on Maria Shriver. Who?)
Dumb Orange Austrian Ponce!
So this is all tooo dejavu-ee for me.
My son turned 15 last November and logically I knew I was not the only one in my boat...I just had no idea my boat had gotten so lae and glitzy.
My fall from grace was on location.
That in itself says it all.
Going on location is like taking a village of orphans on vacation..to Disneyland with all E tickets,lots of Penicillin and lots of money!
I was the production secretary and an assistant coordinator. This role is what they call "below the line" and we below the line "serve" those "above the line."
Above the line being the producers,line producer and director.
We were on location in Savannah Georgia. Savannah was still spinning from an enticingly delicious depiction in the novel "Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil." I myself had rented the "parlor level" in a terraced house catty-corner to the notorious Mercer House.
Savannah is an extraordinary place. Like no place on earth. A bit of New Orleans, a bit of Miami and a lot of spanish moss,moonlight and madness. The minute I got there I knew I was in for trouble!
I had just broken up with the recent "love of my life".I was fragile and I needed everything...love,admiration and the most important thing...I needed a reason to live. And boy did I find it.
He was a producer on the film. A Zen fella who everyone loved and admired. He oozed charisma and I fell in love the first time I heard his voice on the phone calling from LA while we were in pre-pro. I was smitten. But it was a secret crush. Only I knew about it and I relished every moment of my sweet torture.
It was all going great. Just a snow-globe love affair in my head. In the mornings before everybody went to set, the director and he would come to the office and plan their day. I would bring them coffee and they would ask for my blessing for the days shoot. I was always burning inscents and candles to drown out the Savannah smell and they teated my desk as a sort of alter for the film.
It was a rough schedule.
An old saying in show business:
Never work with kids or animals and we had both and not just little animals...oh no...lions,fawns,owls,chickens...and many children.
Maybe that is why what happened happened. I think stress was a mitigating factor. Stress and the absolutely tempting way location work effects people. Here we all are far away from home and we are with a bunch of people who are also far away from home. We are under insane amounts of pressure and pressure demands release.
This piece is not going to be about shame or morality. That is for me and my God. But what I will say is that humans on the best of days are just human.
It was a warm March evening and the "above the line" guys decided to treat the cast and crew to w night on the town. And boy was it ever.
So if you have read "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil" you know about a character named Lady Chablis and brothers and sisters she is real. Check her out:
Club One isn't high end but it is high on somethin'...high heels,high hair and pretty highly intoxicated. We all landed there at the end of the night to catch the last show. Long story short, one of our sweet,young Canadian actors had too much of everything and decided to hop on stage and dance with the "Lady" and that is when all hell broke loose.
One question: Are there no drag bars in Canada? Because what happened next just blew my mind.
Our "cute as hell and with such a nice package" (per The Lady) decided to kiss the Lady onstage and when he clasped his little hands onto her cheeks (the ones on her face) he gasped and then shouted ...
"Your a dude!"
Yep! No word of a lie.
Onstage with the Lady herself and this young guy splits the gender-flopping atom and announces that the Lady Chablis is actually a guy.
(How does this happen I ask? Every 5 year old in Savannah knew the Lady's "T")
By the time the Lady slapped the boy off the stage there were two huge bouncers,bouncing up to the stage.
I jumped onto the stage with them and with the help of my producer, we hauled the kid out of the emergency exit before the house tore him a part.
After we delivered the adorable drunk soul to his hotel room at the Hilton (the only production grade hotel in Savannah) my producer offered to walk me home or...to come to his room.
"Hmmm.." I thought. Should I just go on back to my lonely little parlor flat or...or...and this was a big OR...go to his room. I know it was silly in so many ways. But the guys was smart. And my fatal weakness with men is smart. You can have all the Rob Lowe pretty face boys.
Give me a geeky guy with a sizzling wit, a rockin brain and I am cooked!
And cooked I was. Fried, over easy, scrambled,baked,poached,sauteed and flambéed...I was smitten from the words:
" I worked with Robert Altman...a few times."
The affair was not a one night stand.
It had bends and turns like any relationship.
My roommate was my only confidant.
She would tell me how his eyes followed me when we had wrap drinks. We always sat apart and went up to the room separately. We were discreet.And in our meticulous discretion came a sort of verve. A sizzle. It was a hot relationship. We were like pirates! Excited-Crazed-Wild and breakin every rule that got in front of us!
He had a brain for the film industry and I had a bod for sin..and some brains too. Despite my lapse in judgement I had a brain for the job. And all of this wrapped around a very stressful prooduction was like love napalm!
So when I found out I was pregnant life suddenly got intense and complicated and very real. Funny thing about babies,they don't get smaller. It is the gift that keeps on giving. And it does! It is the most glorious gift if you treat it right. But you have to accept it first.
The truth is I accepted it, he did not.
So my life, while complicated was simple and his life... simply became a lie.
Now while what I am writing here may sound a little on the glib side... I LOVE my son beyond words. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. But that does not mean that this wondrous gift has not come without it's difficulties and sacrifice. Women who say motherhood is all sweetness and light, either have a really great nanny,lots of money for weekends away that include drinks and dancing or are just insane! MOTHERHOOD IS HARD
When I first decided to have the baby. And yes it was a long thought out decision. I was on my high white horse proclaiming I could do it all by myself. Hogwash! The one thing I have learned fast and hard about motherhood is that there is no room for ego. The child comes first. Period.
It took me a couple of years to muster up the nerve to ask the father for help. The father who I might note has produced some major blockbusters and has more scratch in his sock drawer than I have ever had...ever. This man has made the last fourteen years a constant battle for any support. He has tried to make me the bad guy at every turn. Called me the "ruination of his family and the death of his wife." He begged me to have an abortion and when that didn't work he begged me to give the baby away and take $50,000.00 hush money. Neat huh?
Nothing about this man has ever been right or fair toward me as his sons mother. It has all been nasty mudslinging. As if he had been drugged and forced to be lover for almost a year. Clearly who ever I was to him then was based on how well I could be manipulated. And once the "glamour" wore off and I came to my senses...I was of no use.
Now we come to present day.
I have never asked for a raise in child support until now. he pays a paltry $300 a month because of a brilliant lawyer that widdled me down and shamed me to take the deal. I and my son were subjected to not one but TWO paternity tests. Later I found out this is illegal and can be called abusive.
So now I am asking for a raise and a college fund. My son has decided on a very good school (USC) and it costs a bundle. But he is worth it.
My sons father responded to my request for a raise with a threat to move the case to Oregon. Seems and take note there is a federal law that says the non custodial parent can move the case to the state of their residence. Thereby making it necessary to go to that state to make any modifications.
He seems to have lots of money to spend on lawyers in both states and none to give to the child.
We are at a stand still.
I am too nice...or so says..EVERYBODY.
I need an lawyer that knows this kind of law and who gets results.
I need them to work pro-bono and I need them to be brilliant!
My son deserves every possible advantage I can muster for him, don't you think?
So the "Love Child" situation needs some light shed on it. For those of us who have been forced into the shadows. My sons father went so far as to have me sign a contract that basically said I won't go on Oprah or expose the story. He had a vey nice very intimidating lawyer stand over me and make me sign it.
Come to find out many years later that this isn't exactly legal.
We have this neat thing called the constitution and we cannot really limit another persons speech or expression about their own life.
And let me tell you, this is my life.
I have shared my situation with a few friends. And my sons father swears he has now told his family about his son by me,but I have serious doubts because when we mention coming to visit him on his ranch in Oregon he "bristles."
You see I don't know why we can't all be a family for all of our sakes. His other kids need to meet their half-brother. And I think it quite simply an awful burden for the father to carry around. He should trust his wife and his children. They have good sense and wouldn't it be better to face the situation head on? I would.
Okay. You may not agree.
But can you see my point?
It has happened and shouldn't we be forward thinking and just make the best of it. Making the child the priority...not the protection of an ego. Not the protection of a lie. Why do we need to create an untruth from a life?
I believe there are no accidents and the proof of our humanity lies within our ability to hold onto our soul,our love and our compassion while still breathing. To withstand the test of hard choices made for the right reason.
For a lot of people what I did was wrong and has born harsh judgement for myself and my son. But I think that is a little simplistic. To decide about another human without ever talking to them? Life has a huge color wheel and we have to find the shading, the hues in all of our choices that make us better and brighter humans. The choice I made gave me a better life...in fact I think it saved my life. It gave my parents name a legacy,lost when my brother died. But it cost a great deal for the fathers family.
So is it about right or wrong or good or bad? Do we need to waste time as humans in judging? How about just accepting and living.
Wouldn't life be better?
So I have a love child and Gov. Arnold has a love child.
And in that phrase, "Love Child" is a whole lot of possibility.
The possibility that always comes about when we take hold of the life before us.
The child is not to blame no matter what.
My folly gave me a whole new life and new possibility.
My son became my focus and as long as I stay faithful to my role as Mother, the rest just falls into place. Focus on making myself a better person so I could be a better Mother became paramount. When I lose my way, I right myself and my thinking by remembering my first job as...Mother.