It’s been eventful.
Inside and Out.
On the Outside, our lives kicked up a notch on the activity scale.
You guys, our daughter has begun crawling.
This was cause for equal parts excitement and alarm. Joel and I gushed and we were proud. We spent more time than I’d like to admit getting the video camera out and cheering and I-can’t-believe-it-ing. We then looked around the house and realized with evaporating enthusiasm that we had to seriously rethink some things. We saw knives and extension cords and a lot of dirty gritty stuff on the floor which looked a lot like dried up cat food, so it was Extreme Home Makeover for us. Just like those TV shows except without the smiling faces and the groomed hair. You guys, there was SO MUCH DIRT and to top it all off, we found ourselves at Ikea, which we all know always ends in bags full of extra stuff one doesn’t really need. That’s the bittersweet Ikea charm, after all. I know you know how good Joel is at being domestic, so the whole experience wasn’t at all like trying push a really cranky, stubborn old bull up a hill. Not even a little bit.
Anyway, nobody wants to hear about socket-proofing, drawer-emptying, and what-the-hell-even-is-this-it’s-going-in-the-bin trashing. The point is, she’s mobile. This means that, for instance – and we are only speaking hypothetically here – if one wanted to write a blog, just say, one could not just plonk her down with some toys, leave her for half an hour and get on with it. Not that one has ever done that, of course. It’s just a for-instance, you guys.
In other news, and more importantly, something amazing happened last Thursday.
Sit down you guys. Hold onto something stable.
Last Thursday, I put on some make-up, dressed in nice clothes, got in the car and drove to a restaurant at night BY MYSELF to meet Renae, one of my most beautiful friends and one of your fellow Red Tent sisters. Renae is the kind of friend who makes you a Survival Kit when you are 9 months pregnant, larger than life itself, and not exactly happy about it. She is the kind of friend who comes over, opens it up, pulls out an array of different nail polishes, gets down on her knees, and paints your swollen, too-hard-to-reach-therefore-unwashed toes just because she knows it will make you feel better. She IS the Red Tent, that woman, and I was so happy to be with her without children hanging from our limbs that I could have cried. Oh wait, I did.
We dubbed that night The Sweet Escape, where no husbands and no children infiltrated our freedom. As I was sitting across the table from her, consumed by love and conversation, I realized that this was only the second time I had ever had a child-free girl’s night out since Ella was born. Nearly a year. I then thought to myself, Why in BLAZERS have I not done this more often? What in the heck is WRONG with me? What is it about motherhood, I thought, that keeps me hovering so close? What is it that makes me feel an insurmountable need to survey every meal, every sleep, every possible hiccup in our daily routine? Do I need to be in control? Is that it? Do I worry so much about her being okay that I don’t distance myself long enough to discover that she actually always is? Am I worried that if I leave I’ll miss something? It makes you all mixed up, becoming a parent. You mind turns loopy and you get love mixed up with attachment, and it turns you on your head and it shakes you up and down. Crazy-making is motherhood. I’ve always said that.
Anyway, from now on, I’m going out. And I’m not doing Joel’s washing. They’re my new rules.
It’s been busy on the Inside, too.
I’ve just finished this book
and friends, can I tell you, it has taken the place of countless years of therapy, dozens of books, and some of the greatest conversations I have ever had. I almost can’t even talk about it because I don’t want my words to fall short of the justice this book deserves. It’s a bit like love, really. When you start trying to describe it, all you really do is end up stripping it down into bite-sized pieces when in truth, it’s so very much more. Brene’ Brown, the author, is the speaker in one of the top ten most watched TED videos of all time and her words have dramatically changed the way I live and the way in which I think about myself. She talks about the different suits of armour we all have which keep us from being too engaged and too vulnerable. She talks about our “never enough” culture, where we believe we never have enough time or sleep or money; where we are never thin enough, successful enough, extraordinary enough or perfect enough and how this mind-set lies at the very heart of our arguments with life and our diminishing sense of self-worth. She talks about the innate need all humans have for connection, love and belonging and how a lack of these things equates to our suffering. She describes the behaviours we embark on in order to feel these things, and how they actually work against us, in the end.
This is one of my favourite paragraphs from her book:
“Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where scarcity and unworthiness dominate and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
I’m in love with this woman.
If you have the money and means, get yourself a copy. It’s just one of those books. If not, anyone who wants to borrow mine, just email me and I’ll post it out. I can’t promise that it’s readable, though. I can’t promise that any page be free from underlining and highlighters and an asterisk or twenty. And I certainly can’t promise that tears have not been sprayed all over it.
Happy Monday, sweet friends.