Friday, January 20, 2006

Truly, Madly, Deeply

Ten years ago this week (Jan. 17, 1996), I met my husband Scott. I truly can't explain what happened. Nothing like it had ever happened to me before.

I answered an ad in Creative Loafing, a local weekly that includes classifieds for jobs, roommates, etc. And no, it wasn't a personal ad. Scott and his roommates were looking for a fourth person to share their house and I was looking for an escape from my psycho roommate, Kim. So, after responding to nine other ads and getting nowhere, I called the first ad that had caught my eye. It read something like this:

Three liberal males seek male or female to share four bedroom, three bath home with pool. Pets welcome.

It was the pool that won me over.

I called the number listed and when the hurried-sounding guy on the other end of the line said I could see the place if I was there in 15 minutes, I jumped in my car and rushed over, speeding through a school zone and getting yelled at by an angry mom in the process.

When I arrived, the guy who opened the door very nearly made me sink to my knees he was so cute. A wild mop of curly red hair, something mischievous in his eyes, and a sexy smile. Three hours later and I left with a promise that I'd hear about the room the next day.

At that point, I didn't care about the room. All I cared about was getting to know this incredible guy. But not like that. As cute as he was, all I could think about was being friends with this guy. So smart and funny and a music lover. More than that, a musician.

He called the next day and I didn't get the room. Thankfully. But I did get his heart. We went out the next night, and as they say, the rest is history. Ten years and more than a few adventures later, I'm married to my best friend. We have a beautiful son and a pretty great life.

To celebrate the anniversary of the day we met, Scott got me out of the house so that he could record a song for me. It's one of my favorites, a song my mom used to sing for me when I was a little girl. The title is my middle name.

He sent it to me in an e-mail with little fanfare, just a note that read, "You didn't think I'd forget, did you?"

It made me cry.

I feel like the luckiest woman alive.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why Do Women Blog?

Recently, I stumbled across excerpts from a New York Times piece that was critical of mommy blogs.

Originally published in January '05, the article offers up criticism of what the reporter, David Hochman, refers to as "baby blogs." Hochman talks about the self-absorption of the parents who chronicle the daily trials and tribulations of parenthood, saying that the blog is really a means for the parent to bitch about her own life.

Today's parents - older, more established and socialized to voicing their emotions - may be uniquely equipped to document their children's' lives, but what they seem most likely to complain and marvel about is their own. The baby blog in many cases is an online shrine to parental self-absorption.

Well, duh! With the exception of a very few political blogs, are there any on-line journals that aren't devoted to the self-absorption of the blogger? Don't we all just write about the things we feel most passionately about? If we're professional writers (as many bloggers are), aren't we just using the medium as either a means of expression or a tool to sharpen our skills or both?

I'm not all that critical of what Hochman actually wrote. I, personally, don't want to read a blog that chronicles every diaper change and bottle of someone else's child. That said, I do like the sense of knowing there are others out there like myself who love their children dearly, but hold on to the hope they can maintain some sense of their unique spirit, and not be swallowed up entirely by parenthood. I like knowing there are other people out there like myself, who aren't perfect, but who continue to strive. People who are willing to share their experiences in the hope of helping another mom or dad, just doing the best they can.

Of course, I have been thinking about why I write this blog since I created it. Why I wanted to do it in the first place. It actually took me a long time to commit to writing here even after I set up the account.

Oddly enough, today I came across this article that discusses how female bloggers are changing the face of the medium and affecting other types of media, as well. No real insights there, but the writer discusses some of the reasons women blog. Again, nothing really earth-shattering, but it did help me to admit to myself why I blog or to at least clarify the idea for me.

I am a writer. It's who I am, as much as it is what I do. I've wanted to write for a living since I was 14 years old. And I've been pursuing that aim for the entirety of my adult life. From college newspaper editor to PR flunkie to ad copywriter and Director of Marketing, I have pursued jobs that allowed me to use the one real talent I have.

Now that I stay at home with my son, I miss that. Part of who I am was made redundant, as the British like to say, when I became a mother. Oh, I have the occasional freelance job, but there's nothing like writing every day in the hope that someone will hear what you have to say and quite possibly be helped by something you've said.

Monday, January 16, 2006

In the Name of the Father...

When he was a newborn, I used to hold my son and marvel at the tiny miracle he was. It was hard to believe I had played a role in bringing something innocent and perfect and beautiful into the world. Whether it was hormonally-induced or not I don't know, but I would sometimes find myself so overcome with love for him and joy at his being that I could do nothing but hold him, stare at his beautiful blue eyes, and cry.

In those moments, I found myself praying, "Thank you, Lord, for this gift. Thank you for trusting me with this tiny, perfect soul. I pray that you will give me the strength, the wisdom, and the grace to be worthy of this child's love." Holding Brendan, I truly felt God's presence. Back then, in addition to these spontaneous prayers, I found I could indulge my spirit easily, writing when my son napped. Praying and practicing a few meditations before he woke in the mornings. Reading this or that book on parenting, or motherhood, or just a simple, good work of fiction when I got the chance. All of those contributed to my spiritual well-being.

Now that Brendan is older, it is, of course, harder. Daily life leads little time to express my thanksgiving, though, I do find myself constantly asking for help. Not something to be dismissed, but not an entirely joyful experience. In addition to my own spiritual longings, I find that I feel increasingly responsible for teaching him about God and I have a growing longing to see my son have a meaningful connection to God, be it through Nature, Art/Creation, or the Church, or as I have experienced God through all those things.

Thankfully, I do believe that God knows us and the longings of our hearts. Even though I may feel spiritually disconnected and sense the lack in my life, I know that when things do settle down as Brendan gets older, I will be able to once again indulge my spirit with the things that truly matter to my soul. Until then, I will go through the motions of mealtime blessings, holiday rituals, going to Church, praying in a truly, deeply meaningful way whenever I can, weeping at a perfect sunset, and freezing to death so I can glimpse the silvery moon on a crystal clear January night. Hopefully, Brendan will pick up on the fact that these things, as ordinary as they seem, do matter and are a way to bridge the gap between the seen and unseen, the mundane and the Divine.

And I will continue to seek God's divine presence in my son and in myself every time I look at his beautiful face.