Friday, October 11, 2013

The lens

Yesterday, my three year old napped.  Really napped.  I put her in her room, expecting singing and yelling and screaming for me, but after 5 minutes of chatting there was silence.

I peeked in, pushed her hair out of her sweet face, and kissed her on the forehead.

Then I went downstairs and did a little dance.  Then felt guilty about doing a little dance about being away from my charming little girl.  Then did another little dance.

While my mild mannered baby played by herself, I cleaned the kitchen.  Made a lasagna.  Tweeted a little.  Generally enjoyed the quiet.

Then I closed my computer and sat down on the floor.  The baby's tiny face lit up as she crawled onto me and nommed on my face a little.   She sat back on her knees and bounced three times, giggling, before reaching out and grabbing my arm.

She tugged on my arm and flipped my hand over, palm facing up.  She grabbed her Minnie Mouse doll and put it in my hand, grinning ear to ear.

"Thank you!" I cooed and signed, and she bounced up on her knees again, waiting for me to hand it back.


When I try to talk about it, it loses something.  The words don't capture the moment; there's no way to explain how joyful and sad and scary and important that tiny moment was.  It's impossible to write the palpability of the quiet, the way my older girl's absence was so tangible, the relief and guilt and longing that came with it.

I wonder how long I've been looking at my life through the lens of how to talk about it and finding it lacking.  My life feels boring, feels empty, feels devoid of meaning and purpose.

But it only feels that way *after.*

I wish I could save the world.  I want to do something important that matters.  I want to help people.  Sometimes when I hear about all the good things the people around me are doing, I feel jealous.  I feel sad.  I feel defensive and self conscious and embarrassed of my little life.

But my life right now isn't less for wanting those things.  I can be filled with longing and striving AND believe that I am doing what I'm supposed to do.  I can be filled with self doubt and want to do a better job at parenting AND know in my heart that I'm the perfect mom for my kids.  I can be smart and self aware and good at a lot of things AND be a total mess.  I can be brave and willing to keep putting myself out there AND be totally crushed and sulky about criticism (or worse about silence).

Both/And.  Always both/and.

But when I see my life through this lens of how to explain it to someone else, when I see it through trying to figure out what everyone else will think, it always loses something.  Loses layers.  By looking for the meaning, I lose truth.


This morning, I went to my doctor for my two month med check.  After the bro nurse weighed me in ("Don't worry, I'll take off three pounds for your shoes.  Trying to help you out.  I wrestled in high school."  ... What?)  and put notes on my chart ("So, is the Prozac helping you?  What I mean is, is it like making you less down?"  Ummm.  Sure.), I waited an hour in the quiet for my doctor to come in.  I waited without a phone or my laptop or even a book.  I waited while my husband was home with both kids and I didn't know what was happening, and I couldn't help or control or fix or take care of anything.  I waited.  And I laid back and stared at the ceiling.

Finally, she came in and we talked.  "I think if it's helping, but you aren't where you want to be, we should up the dose.  I know you don't want to.  But I think it will be okay."

And I know it will be okay.  And I know it's not okay.  And I know it's okay for it to not be okay.

There are always layers.  And even in my simple, boring life where there isn't much to say, there are always a lot of truths.  And I won't always get them all right.  And I don't need to defend or explain or apologize for or be congratulated for either of them.  It just is what is.

Sometimes I feel like I need to start over.  I need a new lens.


  1. Your definition of boring is seen through the eyes of someone you want to be....what you expect to
    Look at all of the things you do. Those tiny moments add up my friend. Yes it is hard to see those qualities in your life when you have that veil of depression pulled tightly and sealed with cement over your eyes...
    Do not sell yourself short. You are a mom...a good write...poetically and touch so many people who come to read your words...I could go on and on.
    Write down those tiny things and see how those add up to a fulfilling life. Definitions of a boring life are what you make of it. xoxo

  2. I feel like parenting is this push and pull. I want to do this and that. I feel like I am constantly splitting myself into pieces that I dole out to myself, my husband and my girls. Your life is beautiful and extraordinary. You capture those every day moments with a gift for words. xoxo