We’ve practiced this routine for years. Perhaps not exactly as performed, but we’ve spent years slowing building to this precipice. I know my partner is standing on the platform. I know my pole awaits. I am as prepared as I’ll ever be as I climb the steep set of narrow stairs one after another.
My feet dangle on the narrow step, my heels hanging off abrupt edges. If there was wind in the arena, I would feel it brushing the bottoms of my feet as I walk higher than air.
I dare not glance down. I dare not look up.
The lights dim and I take my place. My partner smiles on the other side of the wire, on his own platform. We lock eyes. It is time.
They hand me my pole, I steady myself as I’ve been taught. I find a balancing point, slide my foot forward and regroup. I re-balance. I hear a gasp from the audience as I waver, only a moment, only once. I am solid. I visualize all the times I made it across the tiny wire. I visualize my feet gripping to stabilize. I lock eyes with my partner as he is handed his own pole, his own weights, his own balance.
We begin to move together.
More weights are giving to us, one at a time, to one side and then another. We rebalance, we lock eyes, we smile. People are amazed, or I imagine them being so. We tune out the music, we tune out the lights. We focus, straining, to stay in tune. Balancing, wavering, steady.. steady…
It is at this point in the performance I reach my limit. I realize one more spec, one more twinge, one more slight breeze would knock me down. I dare not look down. I dare not think. Instead I repeat in a mantra, “I am grateful, I am steady, I am whole.” Forward I inch. Forward he moves. We near the middle and then…
One small expectation unmet, one tiny negative thought, the hug from a friend when my eyes began to mist. One tiny brush of wind and I’m down. I hear a collective gasp, I see the pole fall to the right as I tip to the left. It is only a moment but time slows and I fall, fall, out of my partners gaze out of my routine. I fool nobody as I grasp for my last location, reaching, scrambling, unable to go back.
The net, thank god for the net, bends under my weight magnified by gravity. It recoils twice and I’m back in a small bounce.
The show must go on.
I climb the narrow steps, my heels hanging off abrupt edges. If there was wind in the arena, I would feel it brushing the bottoms of my feet as I walk higher than air.
I dare not glance down. I dare not look up.
“WHY is Mommy wearing her scarf and coat and shoes? WHY?!” The question comes from my small man wrestling on the couch with his dad. It’s one of his favorite games to play. “Wrestle with me, Daddy!” He’s as joyful as he gets, rumbling around dictating points and I wins and no, that’s a tie. As happy as he gets so long as we’re all there, together, in the room. “Mommy is going to go finish up some work, Buddy.” The answer send him screaming to the kitchen. “NO! I WANNA GO WIFF YOU! NO! I WANNA GO, TOO!”
It’s been weeks now that I’ve kept this schedule, working while the children sleep, on weekends, after my other job. I’ve explained to the children that sometimes you have to work a lot. It’s OK. It’s not forever. Right now, we NEED Mommy to work. And I LIKE my work. I don’t mind diving in to code on a Saturday morning sipping coffee and watching cars whiz by the window as people do their own weekends. I’m OK with this.
My son, he is not.
I sneak in moments while he is home sick with me I take ten minutes to play race car. I use a break to sit and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with him. I rub his back while he goes down for a nap and I’m there as he opens his eyes three hours later oblivious to the tasks I’ve completed in that interval.
I emailed Amanda this question. “Just logging in [to work] as Buddy is having such a hard time with me not being around him. Do you think that’s normal?” We are so similar in our work. Hell, we work TOGETHER and I’m sending gratitude for these coding jobs and she’s sending gratitude for my working on them. It’s a wonderful system. I appreciate getting the work and she appreciates the work getting done. In between we share our struggles as working moms with little people, goals we know we’d have if we didn’t work and reassurances that we’re not alone. No, no, I just had a melt down yesterday. And oh, yes, good, go work out. Balance. Support. Yes.
I pondered the futility of blogging just this morning. Ironically, I contemplate not blogging nearly always around upcoming blog conferences. I begin to wonder what the point is, everyone is so determined to make money on their own words and voice and I do not. I start thinking there is not room for ONE MORE THING as I pull myself away from my clinging preschooler. And then I read Amanda.
Her entry, “Not this minute” unglued me. THIS. Yes. This. While formulating my reply, clarity as shiny as crystal formed. I do not favor my son. I have patience with his clinging that I did not have with my daughter. I do not mind being the only person who can kiss his booboo and the only one who he wants to lay him down in bed. I don’t mind that I am the center of his world, no. While my daughter was never a snuggler, so independent and pushing pushing to just go, walk, run, dance. She’s as lovely as flowers and generous with her affection but she is independent, now wanting her own space and offering to help her brother get his teeth brushed or grab a class of milk. I see how the change happened, in only a year or two from needing to being. It is because of this knowledge that I cling to my son’s dependance as much as he clings to me.
This will fade, change, mature. He will push me away one day and the thought wets my cheeks with salty tears almost immediately. My daughter will have kisses from boys and dance with other people and I barely know that reality. Nor do I want to.
These thoughts, swirling in a confusing pensive of work, bills, todo lists, unable to form actual words finally make sense as I read this. It’s not just the words but the yes, ohmygod yes, I understand, I know, I am. Suddenly blogging is not futile at all. It is what my life finds security in: Friendships, understanding, sometimes clarity and knowledge.
One day my children will not beg for my attention, for my immediate participation. On that day I will look at this entry, I will re-read Amanda, I will call her and we will laugh and cry simultaneously because yes, remember that? Yes.
“Actually, I don’t wear boobies right now because I’m a little kid. You wear boobies because you’re a mommy. When I grow up and are a Mommy I will wear boobies, too, right? And OH LOOK my race cars just crashed that was funny. Whoever gets to the side of the closet first wines. Are you still getting dressed? Oh, you’re wearing a red shirt like I am! Look I’m wearing red, too! Did you see? Now can you see? I’m wearing red, too! SEE? IT IS RED? DID YOU SEE IT? RED. RED. Oh, can we do pizza tonight. Now can you play race cars with me? Why are you still getting dressed. It takes FOR EVER TO GET DRESSED, hu. Why are you brushing your hair? I brush my hair, too. See? Now can we do race cars?”
“Um, do you have sage?” I ask at Whole Foods. It seems logical that if one would need something to cleanse spirits, Whole Foods would have it.
You know: Hippies and all that.
“You mean for burning?” I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about. I think you burn it. I’m not sure what I’m looking for but I’ve been told by at least four people to try a sage cleanse for our house so this year will be infinitely better than the last. Sage cleansing. I couldn’t even bother to look it up before I go marching in to Whole Foods to buy it.
“Here you go,” says the thin, purposefully unkempt girl working at the Yuppy-Hippie-Overpriced-Grocery-Store. She leaves and I’m faced with a decision; two small sage sticks or one large stick? “We need all the cleansing possible,” I mutter and grab the biggest sage stick I can find.
It sounds cheesy, and it is, I’m sure. Sage cleansing our house? As if I believed in spirits and karma and life forces and such. Bah.
Except, ..... what if?
Mr. Flinger and I decided to try our very own Mind Enema this year. After two coincidental clicks pointed us to The Secret, the documentary, we watched with small cynicism and large wonder. “Well isn’t THAT ridiculous,” Mr. Flinger says at the close. “But, what the hell, right?”
Right. This is how we embrace our future. “What the hell!”
What the hell indeed.
So going forward, decided to think only positive thoughts. “Think about what you WANT not what you DO NOT want.” This is my mantra.
“I will.. I am.. I shall… I have…” Not “I don’t.. I won’t… I refuse… I hope… I fear…”
It’s such a subtle adjustment, such a tiny switch. The answers come quickly and quietly.
“I miss Yoga. I will find a new Yoga studio,” I said during Kick Boxing a month ago. Two days ago a new friend informs me of the new Power Yoga studio down the street. It’s amazing. It’s perfect. My new friend and I hit it off on yet another level and I proudly add her to the list of people I’m thankful for.
The list is growing with my appreciation and joy.
“The Condo will close.” I say it with confidence. I do not jinx it. I am not afraid to say it with pride. The Condo Will Close. The home we have been selling for nearly a year is ready to go to new hands. The home we brought our baby boy home to is ready for a new family. The home we first knew here so far from our friends, became a place of familiarity, friendly playdates, many holidays. It now goes to a new set of memories and we let it go. Friday: The Condo Will Close.
The list goes on and on. We say things with confidence and power and love. We declare our lives as worthy and joyful. We tell our family they are loved and strong and beautiful. We work together, actively making goals reality.
“You’re working so much.” “You’re always working.” “It sucks you have to work so much.” I’ve heard this from no less than 18 people in the past month. I’m working, working a lot. I’m fulfilling my full time job and a part time freelancer job on top of being a mother and a woman who strives to work out and find harmony. Harmony in the midst of chaos and deadlines and bills. Harmony and Joy.
I *am* working too much but I am thankful for it. Working too much right now is the appropriate solution. It’s not forever, I tell my children. Mommy has to work a lot right now because we need it. Right now I am thankful to have venues to bring in money, to get our family in a new situation, to grow beyond the last year of turmoil. However much the world tries to get us down, I am thankful for the opportunity to prosper.
We are prospering. In spite of all the financial heart-ache, emotional frustrations, negative energy surrounding us: We. Are. Prospering.
I went for a run today. I looked up as the clouds parted for an entire twenty minutes. The sun spoke down to my skin with kisses and warmth. Joy. Happiness. Heaven.
How are we doing, you ask? We are fine. We are. Perfectly. Fine.
This time of year makes my skin itch. Mainly because the heat is always on and the air is so dry, but ALSO because the weblog awards come out about now and everyone gets all weird about it. Everyone says “those are SOOOO 2004.” But let me tell you, I was in them (ok, one) in 2004, and I’m not proud to admit that I buckle under the pressure of a pretend award like the zipper of my jeans do on Thanksgiving.
That doesn’t stop me from nominating you, though.
As “they” say, I hope it truly is just a joy to be nominated because you have been.
In no particular order, I will tell you who to nominate. Not only will you do so (waves hand as if using the force) but you will tell others to do so as well. (waves hand back)
Here, ladies and gentleman (one) is my predication for the final contestants of this year bloggies.
Clearly, Chookooloonks is a must. I’ve known Karen since 2004 when she first adopted her daughter, Alex. I love Karen’s spirit and joy and positive nature. I fly to her like a moth to light. Sometimes she even hugs me.
Rachel Divine is another amazing photo blog. She shares tips on how to be great and lets us follow her life in Australia in one blog. Truly worthy of a look for everyone.
Please, please, read and nominate Amanda Magee at The Wink. She’s profound, well spoken, and brings so much positive light to my day, I seek her out when I feel frustrated or down. She’s truly someone who reminds you, in amazing voice, to be thankful for your life. She’s funny as hell to boot.
You can’t think of writing without thinking about Megan at Velveteen Mind. She’s long winded in a poetic sort of sense. She won’t write daily, but when she does, you’ll sit down to read the entire.thing.
Do you remember those commercials, “If you love [over-priced well known fragrence], you’ll love [enter awesome but less expensive smell here]”? I feel like that with Blythe. She’s as funny as The Bloggess, as witty as Louis C K and more approachable than your best friend. She’s that awesome. Also? She’s my cyborg. (You’ll have to ask her to explain that.) Without a doubt, Blythe Jewell deserves the humor nomination as well as your undivided attention.
Someone who sort of just sprint in to the blogging scene with confidence and sparkle, for her writing and personality, is Jessica of Mamma’s Gone City. She’s adorable, her children are adorable, and she’s taking New York City by storm. Entertaining and Sassy, Jessica is living the opposite Pioneer Woman as she dives in to city living from her suburban home.
Hey Laura What started this year as well. It’s a wonderful resource for whole foodie types, hippies, family people, and smart people in general. Laura researches everything applicable to every question she receives giving advice on things from amber teething rings to making the best damn soup ever. Go ahead, research on her site, ask her anything you want, and be amazed at the wisdom that flies back at you. No, seriously.
Best Kept Secret
A best kept secret is here in Seattle. Sizzle is a blogger’s blogger. She’s entertaining and thoughtful and engaging. It’s almost like sitting at the coffee table with her. I swear she is talking DIRECTLY TO ME. Not you, no, well, maybe both of us. But her conversational style makes me think I talk to her every day. I wish I did.
The Spohrs are Multiplying is a fabulous journal about Heather and Mike and their new daughter Annabele. We watched in horror as their Maddie passed away and mourned with them as they leaned on the Internet for support. We loved them when they announced their pregnancy and we gave Annabele a high five in utero (ok, maybe that was just me.) Her writing draws us in but her family makes us stay. We love their humanism, we revel in their joy and we hope for their delight.
This category is easily the hardest one to narrow down so let me help you here. Lean close and listen carefully ‘cause I’m only gonna say this once. .... Today.
Busy Mom is a long standing blog of awesome. Consistently funny, smart and honest in a down-to-earth way, you can’t go wrong knowing Elizabeth. She’s a strong person with a great family going through the tweens and teens and defining herself as the person between them all. We’ve been there through her parents’ health troubles and watched her youngest grow from busy baby to busy school boy. You’ll love Elizabeth from day one and you’ll keep reading for five years. (If you’re anything like me, that is.)
Lea (ahem) embraced motherhood with more passion than most people I’ve read. We know her as Lea, the girl who is dating Simon, but her blog has grown along with her home. Watching her family take form is part of what makes her a friend. She shares her life of being a working mom and living in California. Her blog is as homey as her personality and I love going there. It’s like walking in to an old friend’s house where she already knows how you take your coffee.
Ok, look, everyone reads Amalah, right? I’m sure you do. But? If you don’t? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. Amy doesn’t really NEED any sort of pimping at all but the thing about Amy is that it’s been, Oh, I dunno, FOREVER, and she continues to be amazing. She’s sort of what mommy blogging was before it was MOMMY BLOGGING OMG. Also? She’s pregnant again and that makes me every sort of happy because she makes adorable babies and we’re done growing human beings in our house. I’ll just snuggle hers. No, that’s not weird or anything.
Honestly, there’s more. But my leg hair has grown about seven inches during the writing of this one post and my children are currently jumping off high things with sharp objects yelling “TARZAN” and I’m pretty sure I was just fired from work because I forgot to show up yesterday. Oh, wait, yesterday was Sunday? Great. I need that job.
Go forth and spread joy, people. Spread the joy, the nominations and if nothing else, recommend a few good reads. We can all use more distractions, if they’re quality ones.
I’ve written about The Red Tent before. I loved this book about womanly camaraderie based in fictional ancient biblical times. It’s the sort of book that makes a lady a feminist. You practically wanna shout to your random sisters-of-the-hood from across the street, “YOU GO HONEY! YOU CAN DO IT! WE FUCKING BLEED ONCE A MONTH AND STILL TACKLE THE WORLD!” Then you high five a million angels and she high fives them back. Lady angels, of course.
Or maybe that’s just me and possibly Liz Lemon.
Consider this the eloquent transition from The Red Tent and 30Rock to how my friends ended up in a kitchen with our underwear on.
Some good friends of mine decided to do a weight-loss challenge together. A few of us gained a few pounds (cough seven) over the holiday and wanted to get back to our sleek, healthy selves but with some good ol’ competition with money involved. Nothing strengthens friendship like placing money between it.
So we gathered together in the kitchen of my friend’s house with a scale, a camera, and a tape measure. We stripped down to our “summer” selves, bathing suits, small tanks, bare tummies. We measured and weighed and posed.
It was a scene our children watched in both fascination and utter horror. “Our moms have LOST IT,” I overheard one of the three year olds say. A six year old bent down, “You just figured this out?”
We laughed and jiggled and confessed. I noticed how often we would want to cut ourselves down while building the other ones up. Someone would disagree, “oh, no no, you’re fine! You can do it!” and we would write down our stats and continue on, not a single judgement on the face of those in the room.
It was cathartic. We not only shared our insecurities, we showed them to each other, and the other girls? Didn’t wince once.
The first step to healing is being open to your people about where you’re at.
Afterward a friend texted me, “That was fun! Like Acid Rain!” We laughed about it, how insane we were to stand there in the kitchen, six women in our skivvies measuring and jiggling. At the same time, we all agree, it was fun in a way. Healing. Refreshing. Accepting. There’s something about knowing you’re accepted by other people to begin allowing you to accept yourself.
I love those ladies like sisters in a Red Tent. Women who you call to when your life is tough, when you feel fat and frustrated, when you hit financial rock bottom. These are my village of women and we proved to each other this week that there is no place we won’t go together. Even in our underwear.
Blogrolls are IN. Blogrolls are contervesial! They’re outdated! YOU SUCK ‘cause I’M NOT LISTED.
List me and I’ll list you?
I took my blogroll down several versions of design ago. I knew it was outdated. I knew some of my blogger friends moved to facebook only or ditched the online world completely. But I have to confess, I often forget to click and read, even for a minute, without your shiny faces, avatars, logos, whatever, over there smiling at me.
And yes, it’s out of date. I took out a few links that were so old the internet declared them rusty. And I don’t have some of my favorite people on there like Not a girl, not yet a wino and Mr. Lady and Overflowing brain and Momma’s Gone City and Child’s Play X2 and Sesame Ellis and Blythe and Sizzle Says or The Spohrs are Multiplying. No, I’ll have to download some avatars and update that space with those URLs soon.
But I’m curious: In 2011, in the age of “THE BLOG IS OUT DATED”, are blogrolls even more dead? If blogs are “mostly dead”? Or, maybe, will the pendulum come swinging back around to the time of friends promoting great writers they’re privileged to bond with and share ideas with?
Or am I the only lazy bastard that needs a stepping point to launch myself in to the world that I love from my own space here and follow the path around the web that links from one great place to another?
37 guests here now.