Saturday, March 22, 2008

Can't Stop Blogging - Early Weekend Wrap-Up

I normally take Saturdays off, but lately...I just can't seem to stop blogging!

Kori has been bugging me for months now to read Operating Instructions. It's not that I don't trust her opinion - I do, implicitly. I'm just, to be honest, I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy reading about a newborn outside of my favorite bloggers. My kids are seven and ten; I'm well beyond the baby years! Well, I'm in her son's 3rd month, and am loving this book! (Yes, Kori, you can say "I told you so.")

I think my favorite line so far is, "I was never all that big on reality." Oh, yeah! For anyone who wonders why I read and watch TV and movies so much, that right there is the reason: a need to escape. Oh, sure, sometimes it hits home, too. Sometimes, there's something I read or hear that makes me think about my own life in another way.

Like the other day, this time it was listening to KPCC's The Story. Specifically, this story about a family who has been homeless for the last few years, most recently squatting in a foreclosed home. It started with an apartment that blew up due to electric wiring problems. Then they moved to a place that got devastated in a hurricane. Then, there was a problem with the water heater in another place. They ended up in their car. And from there, into this home where someone else's dream had been lost, but where they have to leave Monday, and will most likely be sleeping in a car again.

Earlier that day, I'd heard another story about a slumlord who could possibly be shut down - and leave 300 people homeless. Humbling reminders, to say the very least, that our condo situation may not be the end of the world after all.

I went home and watched "Make Me a Supermodel." Enough reality, thanks very much.

Back to the book (forgive, again, this somewhat stream of consciousness)...Lamott also is very open and honest about her struggle to integrate being a mother into the person that she was before giving birth. It's something I still think about.

I am not one of those women who dreamed of being a mom. I didn't diaper baby dolls, or talk about what I would name my children. I didn't even really dream about a wedding!

To my credit, I wasn't so shallow that all I dreamed of were Oscars and Tonys (although, sure, I did make up acceptance speeches). I just wanted to work. I just wanted to do what I thought I did best. I wanted to explore humanity through the arts.

Instead, I find myself immersed in humanity in a whole other way. I was never very good at improv, and yet that's what most of my life feels like now. I used to concentrate on being in touch with my emotions; now I don't just work to control my own, but those of these two little girls that are looking to me (me!) to guide them.

I was once asked when I believed I was a mom. It comes and goes.

I remember confiding to my husband that I really loved stepping over toys because it reminded me that I was a mom. Now I just try to control the scream. There's a Dora game that is heavy and big and out to get me.

I spend most of my waking hours thinking about these two little souls, but there are times when they're sleeping that I'm gripped with a sense of, "OMG! I'm ruining their lives! I didn't read to them today. I never answered Sylvia's question about how far the Earth is from the moon. I should've let Riley tell me that stupid, not funny joke one more time (after the first 4 times). I'm stifling her creativity." Okay, well usually, not all of those at once. But you get the idea.

Around Sylvia's 10th birthday, I started freaking out that I'm more than halfway done with her and there's still so much I haven't done with her yet. I see teenagers on the street, and most of them look so...unremarkable. That's not what I want for her. I don't want her to live the quiet desperation. And, given what she's been through with her father, I don't want any other man to break her heart ever again.

But I know they will. Maybe not so fervently, but she'll mourn a love of her life. We all do, right? But why should she have to?

And then I feel bad that I'm not worrying about Riley enough. She just seems to have such a good head on her shoulders. She's never lost that wisdom that so many babies seem to hold. She speaks her mind, she deals with her emotions in the most healthy way I've seen on any human being. She's so incredibly well-balanced that I don't believe she's actually mine. (I was under general anesthesia. It's possible.)

So I must be missing something with her. Why is it that she never seems fazed for more than 2 minutes? How is it that she knows exactly what she needs to do to feel better? She's just imperfect enough for me to know that is indeed human, but beyond that...what am I missing?

Is it any wonder, then, that sometimes I'd just rather watch "The Riches?" (Seriously, great show. It's got that cultish thing about it that I find fascinating - like "Big Love.")


LunaNik said...


And The Riches...GREAT show.

Seriously. Great.

Just like Big Love.

I do believe we should hang out and watch TV together sometime ;)

Anonymous said...

Dude, I love my TV and movies so very much. I wanted to be an actress for a very long time and finally gave up about a year before I had my son. (not that I ever put serious effort into it).

"I am not one of those women who dreamed of being a mom. I didn't diaper baby dolls, or talk about what I would name my children. I didn't even really dream about a wedding!"

Dude, I'm so with you there. When I was pregnant I was a little freaked out that I wouldn't know what to do with my son because I had ZERO experience.

I still feel that way, but we get along fine.

On most days.

And on most days I feel like I'm screwing him up and wonder if I had been a bit more proactive in the babysitting thing as a teenager, if I'd be a better parent now.

Jen said...

Operating Instructions is one of my favorite books of all time.

And like you, I never dreamed of the baby thing/marriage thing. I did, however, work with kids. But I wasn't sure I wanted my own.

And every day has been a blessing since my son brightened my life. And yes, some days are so much harder than others and some days I wonder if we can trade him in... or trade me in for a better mom.

Great post. I think you're in good company.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that interesting how different siblings can be? That's how my kids are and each one seems to need different things from me. But I stress about all of those little things, as well. I didn't look directly in her eyes when I answered the same question for the 15th time. She's going to end up on a therapist's couch in 20 years!

I try to believe that because I am conscious of it, it will make a difference when they are grown. They will know I tried and there will be areas where they believe I failed.

But I'll know I tried my best.

Anonymous said...

There is lots more in this post that would deserve a comment, but let me just say:

I adore Big Love. Love it. And I am thrilled that The Riches is back on. I'll admit it -- I love tv. Like you, it allows me to escape reality.

Kori said...

I am SO glad to come to work and read this post. I am sure you think I am insane (which, ok, we all know I am) but I actually obsessed a little bit over the weekend about whether or not you were going to love this book. I am so glad you do! :)