Happy Memorial Day! Here are some of things I read this week that made me think. (These are just snippets – click on the title to read the whole thing).
“It took me awhile to figure out why, exactly, I insisted on making things harder than they are. I guess it’s because I observed that no one ever showers you with praise for “Things are fine.” Maybe if I didn’t make a big production out of motherhood, people would think I was just letting her loose in the backyard, hoping she’d eventually find a nice rodent to raise her for me. People would think I was bad at this unless balloons fell from the sky every time I completed a routine task. I want to be impressive and maternal and amazing and A+, so I want everyone to know how busy I am and how hard it is.”
“The summer scares me. It makes me nervous. I feel like I don't know how to entertain my children all the time. I can only do it in short bits and bites. And then what? They'll go off for a while and play on their own, but then it's back to Mama. Mama, watch this. Mama, do that. Mama, play this imaginary game with me. Mama, read this book to me. Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama.”
“Yesterday I felt pretty, in a blue dress and leggings. But in my car's side view mirror I caught a glimpse of myself and literally didn't even recognize her. And normally the car mirror is like, the most flattering of all. I note, in my head, thirty-four is the age I officially look and feel old. I look like that woman on Oprah, who drank Big Gulps of Diet Coke every day and Dr. Oz fixed her up and she looked young again. But I only drink water and unsweetened tea.”
“I kept reading. What I came to understand from that pile of papers was that my mother wanted my father to pay child support. My father objected by denying paternity. (As an adult, I would hear from a family friend that a judge saw a picture of me, looked at my dad, and laughed him out of court. This was of course in the days before Maury Povich adjudicated such matters). So I learned from those papers that my father had not wanted me. And I learned to be ashamed.”
“Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have decided to keep the gender of four-month-old Storm a secret — only they, their two older children, and a few others know the truth. In an email announcement to friends and family, Witterick and Stocker said, ‘We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place? ...)’.”
“I told them what I've told you, and each person who joined the conversation said 'do you think they were rude to you because you were white?' And I said I didn't know. Then I said that was what made it particularly hard - I had no idea whether the whole thing was about the colour of my skin or whether I had done or said something wrong, or whether the particularly rude woman just had a terrible hangover and didn't want to be at work at all that day. Then a I said how difficult I find it that my children are going to face this situation much more often than me, where they have no idea whether a difficult situation has happened because of their colour. Nothing too monumental there. For a moment I felt like I had been through an experience that would really help me to understand what my children's life would be like.”
“But it turns out that I’m holding on to some of it really tightly. I know this because every time something new happens, I go back to the bones of the same old disasters and gnaw on them until my teeth hurt. Bad idea generally, because then when life has it’s inevitable ups and downs, instead of being able to view them as part of the normal flow of life - as just temporary setbacks - I view them as ONE MORE THING. One more crappy thing that happened. As though my life were a see-saw with everything bad that’s ever happened to me piled up on one side, and absolutely NOTHING piled up on the other – as though all of the good things (like my wonderful kids, the great job I have, and, oh, I don’t know, BEING ALIVE RIGHT NOW) have no weight at all.”
“The lump ended up being nothing. So did another one. My freckles betrayed me, though, and a more thorough search began. The doctor immediately noted a spot on my back, nearly dead center, a zone which I frankly consider foul play in the Cancer Games. How in the hell am I supposed to spot something in the center of my back? Amidst a field of hundreds of other something's, needless to mention?”
“I know, I know. I’m supposed to hate it. As a woman, I’m supposed to feel objectified by the catcalls and horn honking. As a missionary, I’m supposed to feel embarrassed by my own sexuality and particularly horrified by the possibility that I may be causing my brother to stumble, or whatever. As a human being, I should feel degraded by being cajoled like an animal. But if I’m being really honest, and I am here, I have to tell you that -while I’m sort of uncomfortable with the aggressive nature of all these Latin boys – they….um…. …They make me feel pretty.
And I like that.”
“I like to think that I know best and that what I need to live abundantly is money, more money, and nice stuff. I like to think that I am in control and know what I need to do to take care of myself. I like to think that I understand how God works and when I do A he will do B and the result will be C. I like to think that I deserve an easy and safe life without troubles.
The problem is that none of that is true.”
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