Friday, April 20, 2007

For The Record

In response to a post that I recently read on a friend's blog, I wanted to make clear the fact that if my life were the only sample by which a foreign being were evaluating motherhood, it might easily be concluded that motherhood=hillbilly circus. For every shining moment in my life, there are about seven ugly ones. Take, for example, this morning. Ugly #1: I got a $333 phone bill in the mail yesterday. By the time I got around to opening the mail it was too late to call and dicker, so before I was even out of my pajama bottoms this morning, (which isn't saying much about the earlyness of the call because I have been known to stay in those pajama bottoms into the p.m. hours,) I put a call in to the billing department over at Verizon. As you might well imagine, I was fairly engrossed in the conversation and didn't notice Henry wander into the living room with his cup of yogurt. Ugly #2: In a move reminiscent of Jackson Pollock, he flung a glob of yogurt onto the carpet. Nate, who was rushing out the door to get to work, ever so graciously wiped up the spill. When I hung up, I proceeded with the daily a.m. house tidying effort. I left the kitchen, where Henry was studiously squiggling all over the Verizon bill, to return his "flips" to their proper place in his closet. When I returned, no more than twenty seconds later, he turned around, beaming, and announced, "Look mom, I color teeble!" Ugly #3: He had colored with black pen all over the chair. I fetched the Comet and went to work repairing the damages made by creativity added to ignorance. While I was scrubbing, Henry brought me the peanut butter jar and asked me to, "put it spoon," which is his way of requesting a little spoonful of peanut butter. I love this because it affirms the fact that he is indeed my biological offspring, so I happily scooped him out a small helping of PB, grateful for the scrubbing time the little nibble would afford me. When I finally got the stubborn ink to wipe clean, I walked back through the living room to return the Comet to its proper place in my bathroom cupboard and barely noticed some foreign matter on the carpet. At a quick glance it looked like cracker crumbs, so I just passed by, knowing that vacuuming was next on the to-do list. However. Upon closer inspection, I realized (Ugly # 4:) that the foriegn matter on the carpet was in fact peanut butter that Henry had slathered all over his feet and spread with every enthusiastic bound, into the fibers of the carpet. Many, many peanut-butter-covered-steps. And then I made noises that only rabid animals ought to make, noises which account for Uglies #5, #6, and #7.

How's that for picturesque mothering? How's that for a charmed life? Here's the thing, dear blogging friend, who seemed to think my life was "unduly" charmed: I am just like you. My armpits get smelly. My toilet gets a fuzzy ring around it because I'm a negligent bathroom cleaner. I lose my cool with my baby more than I'd like to admit because he is stubborn and I am compulsive. I have kind of pleasant handwriting and I can draw flowers and hearts and that is where my artistic abilities end. I have really weird issues about spending money. It knifes me to the core to do it. And then I outsource my issues, blaming my husband for "keeping such tight financial reigns" -- when we both know it's my own dumb fault. And some days I get grumpies that I cannot shake, for no apparent reason. I have issues with my body and my physical appearance like every other woman in this image-obsessed world. I have a gnarly black bruised toenail on my right big toe and I still don't paint my toenails (except for this weekend 'cause my husband painted them for me.) I have yet to make a successful baked good that contains yeast. I ruin homemade pizza every time because crust is not supposed to taste like a hockey puck. I cannot sew. Can't knit. Can't crochet or cross stitch.

But I can write. And I do it faithfully on a blog. If you'll allow for a bit of self-promotion, I think it is my gift. I do it mostly to preserve my own sanity. I do it because it is a learned way of coping with emotional anxiety and stress. I do it because it makes me live better. I think there's sort of a natural tendency to put one's best foot forward, so to speak, in Blogland, which makes life read a bit like frosting, but I hope there is still vast evidence of realness and humanness here because if there isn't then this is nothing more than clever deceit. I could devote a substantial chunk of cyber space to my "uglies," but frankly, when it comes time to reminisce and to write, I purposefully try to remember the shining moments because it helps me want to make more.

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