Here’s what I got so far:
Job Title: MOTHER
Job Description (courtesy of my good friends Miriam & Webster): a female parent.
Wow, fellas. How… descriptive. I sure hope you didn’t hurt yourselves on that one. Also, have I mentioned it’s pretty clear you two CAN SEE INTO MY SOUL?
I mean, I AM female, after all. AND a parent! And apparently…well…
that about sums it up.
Now before I go too far down the garden path here, let me say Motherhood is a badge I wear proudly. Well, most of the time. There are, of course, those days I forget to brush my daughter’s teeth until 5pm, those moments I’ve pretended that “obnoxious kid in the grocery store” isn’t mine and… if I’m to be perfectly honest? I was kind of an annoying “gestator” the first time around. (That said, I should probably take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who might still be suffering PTSD-like flashbacks after finding themselves inadvertently located anywhere between me and a sandwich during my 9th month of pregnancy).
With all that said, I hope my pals Miriam and Webster won’t mind if I take the liberty of crafting my own definition of motherhood. Or as I like to refer to it: that full-time, unpaid, all-consuming job that keeps on giving.
I am a mother.
Which means I am a gourmet grilled cheese maker, a professional attention-diverter and a record-holding escape artist. I can accomplish more now behind a single closed bathroom door than I did during a full eight hour work day in my former life (even amid desperate shrieks for my attention as chubby toddler fingers try to steal my soul through the inch of daylight beneath the door). I am a tamer of bed head, a killer of imaginary spiders and a drinker of wine… lots and lots of wine.
(Side note: Baby #2 is officially due at the end of March. In lieu of flowers, please send Pinot.)
I’m a believer in the hard stuff: Peroxide on an open wound. Consistent discipline. Talking– even about the difficult things. Especially about the difficult things. Eating vegetables. Striving to be a beneficial presence in the world each and every day.
I’ve made more mistakes than I can count but I don’t believe in Mommy Guilt (even though my child drank her own urine once). I am an overthinker. An oversharer. An overachiever. And I like my eggs (and my kid’s bedtime routine) over easy.
I’ve also been known to fight crime after hours.
You know, in between knitting projects.
No big deal, guys. Just typical “female parent” stuff, really.Read More
I did not vote for you, but I sincerely hope you give me many reasons over the next four years to wish I had.
This and every Election Day, each of us cast our ballot knowing only of our own experiences, beliefs and struggles. This makes it easy–too easy–to judge our friends on the other side who just don’t “get it,” to lash out in frustration on that highly anticipated “morning after,” or perhaps even gloat in victory. It’s easy to get mired down in all that Monday Morning Quarterbacking, the “Coulda Woulda Shoulda’s “and the “I told you so’s,” but my friends? We are better than this.
The most amazing thing about this exceptional nation is not that we all agree. In fact, our most tremendous asset happens to be the one very thing powerful enough to unite even our country’s bitterly divided electorate: the democracy our Founding Fathers fought for, and other nations long for. The idea that each of us is entitled to our own journey, filled with very personal experiences, beliefs and opinions. And because we each receive only one vote– none of them count more than any other.
Which means neither do we.
As long as we can accept this (and each other), it will never matter whether we find ourselves on the winning or losing side of that first Tuesday in November (and believe me, we will all find ourselves on the wrong side of history at some point). But no matter how disappointed, frustrated, or hurt we may feel along the way–our country can’t help but survive and thrive as long as we are committed to standing together. To reserving judgment. To accepting both victory and defeat with the grace and dignity our Founding Fathers intended. If we can do this, friends, it is my most sincere belief that no matter who may be taking up temporary residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, our country will forever remain the hope of the earth.
So please be gentle with each other today.
It’s the best example we can set for our children, it’s the best way to honor this great nation and now that the election is over, it is the best thing we can do for our President.
ME: Okay, let’s say grace before we start eating.
JON: Put your hands together, Erin.
ME: Are you ready?
ME: “Bless us O Lord for these Thy gifts
Which we are about to receive
From Thy bounty,
through Christ our Lord…
ERIN: Gay men.
Another reason I’ve been so busy of late?
I’ve been spending hours on end playing with Photoshop!
Oh yeah, and CREATING ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE. No big deal.
In related news, Erin’s top name picks for the new bundle of joy are “Skippy” and “Basketball.” True story.
I’ll admit, I was a little worried I might actually lack the energy, creativity and mental capacity to effectively screw up a SECOND child. Don’t forget, these past two years Erin has been the sole beneficiary of all my “New Mom Missteps” (and there have been many). I think it would be universally acknowledged that to repeat those same mistakes would be asinine, even for me. But to come up with an entire arsenal of new ones? Enh. Now that NBC’s fall lineup is back in full swing, who has the time?
I spent a lot of time worrying that Baby #2 would get some kind of free pass at the expense of the copious issues I’ve undoubtedly inflicted upon my first born. That this new baby would be guaranteed the easy ride that Erin just never got. That somehow this kid would emerge from his or her childhood virtually scott free, while Erin was destined to spend her future Saturday talking to herself and rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere.
I know. Scary, right?
But would you believe in all my 3AM tossing and turning over this very important matter, I actually FORGOT about my Ace in the hole? (That’s pregnancy brain for ya!)
So, all I can say is welcome, Basketball.
I hope you’ve got a good sense of humor because this time?
Mommy’s got herself a minion.Read More
My two year old keeps claiming she is “stuck” even though she’s currently sitting all alone. On the floor. In the middle of an open room.
Now, I am admittedly the world’s WORST baby book filler-outer, so I’m counting on all you good mothers out there to set me straight: Does a standard baby book come with a page for “Baby’s First Existential Crisis,” or is that more of a special order refill? You know, like “Baby’s First Chinese Symbol Tattoo” or “Baby’s First Simon and Garfunkel Reunion Tour?”
I need to know pronto, because in case you didn’t hear me the first time–my child is STUCK. This is serious business, folks. And rather complicated to handle, considering I have no idea how to extricate my child from the vast sea of NOTHINGNESS around her. And yet, as I sit here, staring at the blank page in front of me, I think I know exactly how she feels.
So, let’s say we all get it out in the open and address the elephant in the room, shall we?
Why yes, it has been months since I’ve written! Thank you for noticing!
Truth is, we moved into an awesome new house and things got really busy. Then, after all that time spent being busy, I just couldn’t figure out how to get started back up again. (And would you believe spending my free time browsing the Facebook photo albums of a girl I think I remember from high school and watching viral videos of dancing animals didn’t help me get my groove back?)
Whenever I feel stuck, I can’t help but think of the book Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. The story’s main character, Billy Pilgrim, becomes “unstuck” in time and through a satirical exploration of free will versus fatalism, begins experiencing his past and future life events out of sequence. Over and over again. He knows when and how he will die, but his life goes on rewinding and fast-forwarding even after his “death.” Pretty trippy, right?
Yes. But hey, at least no bad surprises for ol’ Billy Boy.
For some crazy reason Billy’s story always makes me reflect on just how comforting it is to know there are certain absolutes in life. After all, isn’t it really the restrictions that challenge us to think big and work creatively within their constrains? To carve out a space for ourselves in the world that is so different from any other, just by recognizing its potential and pushing it to shine? Basically, this is pretty much why I love writing prompts but hate staring down a blank page.
It seems counterintuitive, but I’m finding that sometimes it is when we are the most available, the most exposed, the most open to possibilities that we also feel the most “stuck.” Funny how that works. When the world isn’t telling us what to do or who to be, we impose restrictions on ourselves because it feels safer that way: “I can’t possibly apply for that job… move that far away… pursue that career.” The list goes on and on.
And yet, in those moments we’re rendered no choice in the matter? That’s right, we’re all stepping on each other to be the first one out of the box.
A fickle bunch we are, no?
So I decided to test myself and make a date with the blank page today.
Guess what? I showed up!
Which means I’ll be back sharing my silly stories and ridiculous experiences as frequently as my two year old (and busy Facebook stalking schedule) will allow. So, please join me on this next step of my journey, affectionately referred to as: Stop Being A Baby Already and Write Something. Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Blank Page.
I hope you find your stay most comfortable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to unwedge my toddler from the abyss.
“It’s amazing the power we have to unlock a person.”
I read this line over and over– my eyes darting back and forth across the words. Each time, their meaning resonating with me a little more deeply.
When approached by BlogHer to read and review Claire Bidwell Smith’s newly released memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, I had no idea how profoundly the experience would affect me. After all, how could I relate to a woman with whom I had practically nothing in common? Smith, an only child, lost both of her parents to cancer and was orphaned by the age of 21. Her 20′s were spent struggling to find her voice, searching for an advocate in a sea of blank faces and slipping, virtually unnoticed, down a rabbit hole of grief, denial and dependence.
As I gave the first few pages of her memoir a cursory glance, I imagined I might not be able to relate to this author’s experiences. Here I was, on the precipice of 30, with the support and encouragement of an unquestionably present family behind me. I grew up with siblings who have always been so much more than siblings. I was blessed with two amazing parents, who to this day, I still call on when everything in my life goes wrong … or right. Thankfully, I cannot imagine an existence as lonely as the one Smith describes in her story.
She managed to unlock me.
Through her perfectly poignant prose, Smith made me realize we did, in fact, have something in common. Something uniquely human that tethers all of us to each other, often without our even realizing it.
The feeling of Loss.
That state of emptiness we experience when we realize we have to let go of something we love. Otherwise known as the gaping hole. The pain that needs numbing. The baggage we carry, despite how much we may buckle under the weight. The grief that we let define us.
The feeling of Loss can take on many forms. And yet, somehow we all seem to know it when we see it. Even if we don’t all come to accept it in the same way. Or on the same timetable.
So, for anyone who’s ever lost someone (or something) they’ve loved– this book is for you. In her inspiring and, at times, heartrending tale of healing, Smith’s story reminds us all just how connected we are. Yes, even when we’re at our darkest. Especially when we’re at our darkest. Through her beautifully-woven story of conquering grief, Smith teaches us that sometimes, moving through the pain of our own loss, requires us to free someone else from theirs.
And it is in the act of doing so, we are finally able to unlock ourselves.
This is a sponsored review. BlogHer supplied me with a copy of ”The Rules of Inheritance” as well as compensation for my time, but the interpretations and opinions expressed in this post are my own.