Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Flying

Today, I was talking with a friend who has no children.

She told me, shyly, haltingly, that she wants kids, but she doesn't want kids. I think that kind of ambivalence is perfectly natural. But I didn't really know how to respond. Maybe she wanted some assurances; some cheery little platitudes or rosy hued rhetoric about what "blessings" they are.

But I couldn't give her that. The falsehoods simply refused to roll off my tongue.

Instead I told her the most honest thing I could think of.

"Having children is the most terrible thing and the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me."

She looked at me with something like horror.

But then she smiled.

"I should have known you'd give it to me straight."

I don't have to tell all of you what I mean. You know why it's terrible. You know why it's wonderful.

You know how the fear and insecurity and confusion and self-doubt. The weight of responsibility. The regret. The second guessing. And the tired. Dear God the exhuastion of body and soul. The ceaselessness of being someobody's whole world.

And you know the pride, the love, the pure unadulterated joy. You know the elation of watching your child fly on wings that you have helped them spread. You know the heart clenching love of such bigness it can scarcely be contained within your own body. And indeed it is not. It walks outside you, on legs steadied by your own hand.

But how to tell someone who doesn't know? How to explain that some days you look at your child and are filled with peace. I did this. I did a good job. I'm a good mother, you think to yourself.

Those days are satisfying in a way that defies description.

But then there are the days when you doubt everything. The peace and the satisfaction evaporate and the only voice you hear is your own shrewish conscience carping at you about how badly you are fucking this up.

And those days are bad in a way that defies description.

Soul darkening, those days can be; thinking that the biggest most important thing you have ever done, you have done dismally bad.

Sometimes it seems those days are the majority. But when the good days come...or even just the good moments...those tiny little slices of absolute clarity and perfection amidst the grinding's somehow enough. Enough to keep us all going and trying and doing our best to muddle through.

So knowing all do you tell someone?

You don't, I think. You can't, I believe.

They have to take a leap of faith like the rest of us.

Sometimes that leaping is a thrilling, weightless, soul soaring freedom. Sometimes it is a terrifying, sinking feeling as we hurtle towards disaster.

But either way, it teaches us something about the people we are. We are either people who find a way to stay afloat, or people who accept the inevitable and give in to gravity.

Honestly? I don't know which is true of me yet. Fourteen years of experience have not left me any more certain than I was the very first day.

But I'm still flying, which, I figure, has got to mean something.

Even if it is by the seat of my pants.


  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger Amie Adams said…

    I don't know if it's faith or just the knowledge that you can't experience the incredible joys without also enduring some grim times.

    And it is definitely both, but I have to say I had no idea my heart could ever grow so large until I had kids--even when they're driving me crazy.

  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger All Things BD said…

    One of my favorite lyrics:
    "How could I know the morning,
    If I knew not midnight?"

    I think I would not have appreciated any of the satisfying days if I hadn't gone through all those fucked up ones.

    Great post.

  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    A friend likes Brothers & Sisters the first season irritated me but I've decided to give it another shot. Without going into the deep background, last night's episode had the Rob Lowe character saying to the Calista Flockheart character..."if you're not ready to have your heart broken, then you're not ready to be a parent". So yeah..."joys and pain, sunshine & rain" certainly does apply.

    ~~forever, for life.

  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger sage said…

    It's like I could have written that myself..

    Thanks so much for posting it!

  • At 11:42 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I'm glad you were honest with your friend...
    You couldn't have hit the nail any harder on the head.

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger TZT said…

    Beautiful, and so true.

    I'd just like some of the same straight talk about the joys and disasters of having one vs. 2+.

  • At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, tzt, I always heard that you're not a REAL parent until you've had 2 or maybe 3 children. I always took that to mean that it's f*cking hard work!

    Anyway, back to the Antagonist, I'm glad you told the truth. Nothing irks me more than women who are always feeling disappointed and victimized because their chosen life hasn't turned out to be pure bliss. I don't think that having realistic expectations means that one is a negative
    person. If anything, I find that truly honest reflection (and honest dialogues with our friends) can make us appreciate life more.

    Yup, thanks for the post.

  • At 10:23 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    So true

    I am so glad the good makes the bad so worth it

  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I love this post, BA. And after the day I had yesterday, I really appreciate reading this.

  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger (In)Sanity Gal said…

    What a great post. I don't have kids, but I know that I want them, and I have imagined that it will be pretty much like what you so beautifully described. It terrifies me. And yet...I want it.

  • At 1:06 PM, Blogger said…

    Good post. Trying to explain to people who don't have kids what being a parent is like opens up so many metaphors.

    compare it to:

    taking an exotic vacation. There will be fabulous sites, unique experiences, new friends and joy. But there will also be rude flight attendants, lost passports, and food poisoning. Are those negatives enough to make you not travel? I certainly hope not...

  • At 10:56 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    You're right; that's it. And, you have to accept that you don't know how it'll all end either. You can be a great parent and have totally f-d up adult kids. The 'no guarantees' part is a hard pill to swallow.

  • At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah! I'm not the only one!
    I was feeling slightly disappointed with myself until I read this post. Now I know I'm completely normal. Truth is good; wish someone had given me some before I started my family. Thank goodness for the "good" days.


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