I started this blog over a year ago now. For a lot of different reason initially. I’ve always loved words. I love to read them, I love to play with them, I love their power but I also love their beauty. To use them to spin a story that inspired laughter brought the same kind of fulfillment I imagine artists feel when a painting pulls a smile out of the dark, or a musical instrument moves someone to tears. To create something that then creates something else; an emotion, a conversation or an idea? Well, it’s a heady feeling.
Of course originally, before I had any readers it was just me, scribbling stories all alone. Then again, as parents, we’re never really alone, are we? My thoughts are forever filled with these other phenomenal pieces of art that I created, that absolutely will go on to create something else, something wonderful. The three people that embody the best parts of myself. A beautiful legacy. My way of leaving the world a little brighter than I found it.
My posts became the tangible evidence of something accomplished in a job where personal milestones and value are hard to hold onto. Something measurable when all the rooms that I’ve cleaned inevitably fall back into disrepair. Something that remained after the meals I’ve cooked are consumed and forgotten. Something that would last when the injuries I’ve kissed have long since healed and the scars faded.
When I first started writing my memoirs I worried if people would like them. I sent them out into the world like I was throwing them off a cliff. Closed eyes, deep breath and a little push without really knowing what I was getting into. With practice, like parenting, publishing has gotten a little easier. Time has introduced an amazing community with a wonderful support group with their arms outstretched, waiting to catch whatever I threw.
Unfortunately, like most things in my life, when one part gets easier, I find a way to make another part harder. The more accepting the blogging community was the more anxious I became. The more praise I received, the more I would spend the time between posting, panicking. What if my last idea, was the very last good idea I ever had? What if I never said anything funny ever again? What if I ran out of meaningful words? What if I ran out of value?
Luckily my family always stepped in. These brilliant amazing inspiring people that I have the privilege of raising were constantly providing writing material. Just the other day we decided to head down to the animal shelter to adopt a feline friend. The kids had been begging for a while, making solemn vows and offering to write up contracts that outlined their responsibilities and their commitments to them. Truth be told, I was definitely interested in inviting someone new into the house to love. A brand new baby for me to raise and cuddle? It wasn’t a hard sell. On the morning we decided to go, the Cractpot teenager was disgruntled that the plan was being implemented before noon. She also expressed concern over having to wear pants. It’s funny. I can remember as a toddler she went through a stage where we couldn’t keep clothes on her body and somehow we’ve ended up back in the same place. I worry sometimes that she’s going to become a hippie who runs off to join a nudist colony to spread peace, love and potentially sexually transmitted diseases until I remember how high her standards are …in people, and in hygiene (as demonstrated by her hour long showers). I rest a little easier even if I do spend just a moment longer worrying about our rising hydro bills. The point is, she decided not to come choose the newest member of our family and trusted us to find the perfect new Cractpot whom she promised to love unconditionally. A little perturbed, I rallied the rest of the crew to try to convince her to take part, but to no avail.
“So let me get this straight. You, who have spent weeks pleading for a kitten, promising to care for said kitten, and be responsible for said kitten, cannot even get herself out of bed to go choose said kitten? I’m very disappointed!”
“You’re disappointed?”, youngest Cractpot piped up, “I’m disappointed! How come I never get to help choose the name of our new pet and who came up with Sed?”
As usual, there were a few moments of confusion. I tried to explain that I had used the word Said, S_A_I_D, as in “she said”, which of course led to the question, “who said?” Before falling into an Abbott and Costello act of “Who’s on First” I explained that in that context, said was a synonym for aforementioned, or something mentioned before, which then evolved into a conversation about how many words our vocabulary provides for us to say what we mean, and yet how many times what we mean can still be misinterpreted.
As we lay on the bed giggling, I thought about how easy my kids make my job. The problem is, parenting is a long game of strategy and when you win, you realize you’re not even on the field. You’re a coach on the sidelines just trying your best to get your star athletes to recognize their potential. Hopefully, when my team goes on to accomplish amazing things, my posts will be like photographs reminding the world that I was there, where it all started. Or a play book that I can pass down to inspire other teams and future coaches as they try to figure out what works, and what doesn’t.
Still, most days I feel less like a parent and more like a tour guide just pointing out places of interest along this incredible path they’ve chosen and the fact is, we’ve almost reached the end of our itinerary. We’re getting to the stage when you send them out to explore on their own, and then what? What happens to the tour guide then?
Of course I will always be here if they have a question and they will always have this handy brochure I have created in the form of a blog that I can pass around if they’ve forgotten any of my words of wisdom, but that still leaves a whole lot of time on my hands.
Maybe a kitten is just what I need, but then again, they have a word for a woman who get’s too invested in her cats so maybe I need something else as well. All I know is that I still have this desire to leave the world a little brighter than I found it and while a cute kitten or two might be a good start, there has to be something more. So if anybody has any light to shed on the subject, I’ll be here, sipping tea, feeling philosophical, pondering the meaning of life and trying to think of a name that’s a little cuter than Sed. Until then, keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times…
and enjoy the ride…
On my fortieth birthday, rather than merely bore my friends by having anything as mundane as a midlife crisis I decided it might be more interesting to actually terrify them by going completely mad and declaring myself to be a magician~Alan Moore