I keep coming back to this blog, to sit down to write a post, because I miss the writing and the outlet and the record of this little life I’m living, but whenever I do…nothing. Nothing comes out. Nothing new, anyway. And I think what my problem is…it’s not cute anymore. My life, the once-adorable puppy that chased its own tail and attacked our ankles, has grown into a big, hairy dog that sleeps in the most inconvenient spots in the house and goes outside to pee on command. It’s more manageable, yes. But definitely not as cute.
I’m no longer the overwhelmed mom of little babies and toddlers, terrified of the job I’m doing and stressed by the lack of sleep and constant nursing and fear that everything I’m doing is wrong. I mean, I’m still convinced that whatever parenting move I make is probably the wrong one–does that ever go away?–but when your kids are out of the baby stage, I feel like it’s gotten old. I’ve settled into my patterns. The kids have settled into theirs. Whee.
I could talk about money stuff, financial things, but no one wants to hear about my budgeting woes. It may have been cute back when Dave and I were both working two jobs and struggling to establish our roots in the world, but once you’re at a point where the student loans are paid off and you own a building that has an entirely separate room just to house your cars (you call it a garage, I call it a miracle), people aren’t quite as sympathetic.
I could talk about my marriage, but Mama taught me not to talk about my marriage. Besides, after eleven years together, we’ve worked out a lot of the kinks. Not all of them, of course–gotta keep things interesting, you know?–but enough that it’s not anything to talk about. We’re married. He’s a decent guy and I’m still happy I’m with him. Yawn.
Besides, I’m kind of over it. The complaining, I mean. Every time I open up Facebook (which is still way more often than is healthy), I see blog post after blog post joking, complaining about how much parenthood sucks, how monotonous staying at home is, how haaaaaard it is to juggle soccer and ballet and cooking actual meals and everything good in our lives. And I just haven’t wanted to contribute to the noise anymore. Or (almost worse), I see the sappy posts, the ones that talk about TREASURING EVERY SECOND, which just make me feel guilty for hollering at the kids to quit screaming so loud because Mommy is trying to check Twitter. I’d rather steer clear of those on the regular, too.
I have a book coming out and three absolutely precious children I get to call my own. These are good, good things, and frankly, I’m too grateful to have them to feel justified in telling you how overwhelmed I am trying to balance them. Yes, I want to whine about how David “gets” to disappear into his office for work, knowing I’ll be there to take care of the kids, or how I can’t set aside time to write because, again, I have the kids, but honestly? That’s just annoying. I have David. I choose–and get to–to be the one to pick up my girls from school each day. I have no right to whine. They’re all good things, and to ever complain about how good one has it is enough to make me start spitting nails. Which is probably why it’s a good thing I don’t read those blog posts anymore.
I’m having adjustment issues again, I will tell you. The girls had a delayed start at school this Monday, and after I dropped them off, I pulled into the drive-through at Starbucks. I was driving my minivan, with Cian in his car seat, and when I saw four other moms I know pull into the line, too–all in their minivans and SUVs, all coming back from school drop-off–I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My life has become one of those parody videos that goes viral. This is supposed to be a good thing: the peace of the suburbs, the guaranteed routine, the stores all within an easy, safe distance. But…oh my goodness. I even ordered a flat white.
And not that I’m complaining, per se (ahem), but I might also confide in you that the writing/kids/life thing is bringing back my old anxiety that I thought I’d beaten years ago. I recognize it in the twisted-stomach pains that have been popping up, in the tension that rides around on my shoulders. I’m tired. I get listless. Today I didn’t let another car merge ahead of me because I was worried about being latelatelate (I still feel badly about that. Sorry, other driver who looked at me like I’d slapped him). I’m not a very consistent friend. I often have to repeat a mantra in my head of “I love my children. I love my children. I love my children” to keep from losing my shit. That often fails, especially around dinnertime. I look around at my neighbors, all taking their kids to Disney during the cold weather months, and feel a twinge of jealousy I don’t want to acknowledge. And my family doesn’t even like Disney that much.
So I have no clue how this blog is about to evolve. I don’t want to be another voice shouting into the wild, but at the same time, my mundane, pretty good life is the one I have right now, and One Vignette is supposed to be a record of that life, in all its upswings, low points, and the weird limbo times in between. I’ve been very careful with what I write–I always remember that my kids may read it one day, so I never want to write something that will make them embarrassed or feel badly about themselves. I hardly ever swear here, probably because my mom and Aunt Michelle read it, and I don’t want them to know I curse as much as I do (hardeehar. No, really, my mom knows. Aunt Michelle, maybe not so much). But I realized something–yesterday, in fact–during this Music Together class I take with Cian and Quinlan. I was dancing with them, twirling Quinn around, holding Cian in my arms, and for once–and this isn’t the first time, just the first time I noticed–I didn’t care what I looked like. I didn’t care. I was having fun with my kids and I wasn’t self-conscious, and it’s taken me almost (but not quite. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves) forty years to get to this point.
I’m okay as I am. I try to get better at what I can change, but at what I can’t? The parts that are just me?
Here I am, you guys, for better or worse, but definitely for real. And these are my stories of our (suburban, money-budgeting, Catholic-schooling, Starbucks-drinking, organic food-cooking, minivan-driving, ZZ Ward/Springsteen/Smiths/A Tribe Called Quest-listening) lives.
I’m going to keep writing, because I have to keep writing, so what the hell (sorry, Michelle!). Let’s see what happens next.