First, I feel the need to thank you afresh, readers, for the outpouring of love and support we have received after my last post. I will never forget it – who knew we had built such a community?
As touched as I was by the support, I was equally… co-heartbroken? sympathy-griefstricken? secondhand mournful?…whatever the word is for feeling simultaneously saddened and surrounded by the chorus of “me too” that came pouring in from other moms and dads. I am not the first woman to have her hopes shattered in an instant. I am not the first mom to deliver a lifeless baby. I am not the first parent to bury a child. And that sucks and we all very well know it.
Oh, how well we know it.
And I feel the need to speak the truth, even though my voice in shaking and my grief is fresh and our journeys are all different. To all of the mamas and mourners who share this awful, unique space of loss with me, who have asked me to continue to speak for and with and to us, here is what I have so far: Read more…
One of my favorite parts about this strange blog space is the friendships I’ve formed because of it. One of my readers-turned-pals emailed me the other day and asked me how I think motherhood has changed me as a writer. She herself is a writer and we’ve often talked about the give-and-take involved in “the professional vale of soul making that a life in literature can become,” as Christian Wiman — one of our favorite authors would describe it. Writing is so influenced and yet influential.
I’m trying to embrace imperfection and sharing my response to that question is part of it. Typically, I’d try to turn my email into a blog post and it would sit, never-perfect, in my drafts folder for weeks. But I’m learning that an imperfect SOMETHING is usually better than the “work-in-progress” nothing. As Liz Gilbert says,
Done is better than good.
So here’s an imperfect but DONE email response to an excellent question. Thanks for asking and thanks for reading. Read more…
What a freaking whirlwind.
At this time, eight days ago, I was riding shotgun with my hair undone and a constipated toddler in the backseat. As Aidah was working hard on her own specific set of problems, I was furiously typing away on my smartphone, just trying to keep up with the insanity that has been our lives these past few months.
-We put our house on the market and after 40 days and 19 showings, we got an offer.
-We packed up all of our stuff and shipped it off to Tennessee.
-We had our offer accepted on an amazing Nashville house within eight hours of Facetime touring it.
-We piled into the trusty Kia and started our drive across the country.
We were somewhere between Cleveland and Louisville when I got the text from Brian, our Boston realtor.
Ok, big moment for me. Big enough for me to drop other equally important parenting tasks to teach Aidah how to say, “YEA GURL GET IT GURRRRLLLL” just to emphasize the moment. After some rigorous training, she finally spit out “gahgogehgooooo!”, complete with sassy snapping motions and I let her return to eating fridge magnets and prying the grout from between the kitchen tiles. (#strengthbuilding #educational)
I’m guest blogging over at French Pressed Fridays.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve seen me repost Todd’s wisdom multiple times. I love this blog – Todd is one of my favorite thinkers and writers — so when he asked me to guest post I almost cried. Like, in the way that preteens cry when they’re within spitting distance of One Direction.
Todd is Lindsay’s pastor and has been patiently reading drafts of my work for years. Once upon a time, Todd bet me that if I lost a game of mini-basketball to him, I had to call Bob Goff and force him to read my manuscript. Little did Todd know that I am freakishly good at miniball…I never had to make that call, but Todd’s continued to challenge me ever since.
Like with this offer to guest post on his site. I was all Wah, but I’m rusty and busy and not learned enough…And he was like boom, how about I write you this introduction to honor you and make you laughcry.
I tell you guys, the people God puts in my corner. I don’t deserve them but I sure am grateful.
So thank you to Todd for the opportunity and now you should all go over and read my post and also these french-pressed favorites:
Dissecting Prayer – Part 2 // 3 Prayers We Can Stop Praying, Pronto
How to Handle the Trump Card
An Emotional Advent 4: Picking Teams
The first time I went to church I got tied to a pole. Something like that kind of gets burned into a five-year-old’s mind, so I remember the details very clearly. I had been feeling ambivalent about this whole church thing ever since my mom had mentioned it. On the one hand, my brothers and I would miss out on our usual Sunday morning ritual of Animaniacs and apple slices. But then weighing it pretty heavily was the fact that I had heard Church was a place I could wear my new green dress with the big white ribbon that made me look like my Rebecca doll. It’s all very ironic, you see, because I had almost named Rebecca doll “Renee”, which turned out to be the name of the girl who tied me to the pole in the church basement, using that pretty white ribbon. Then Renee’s big brother David told my little brother Ryan that his beloved Peter Pan hat was for girls because it had a feather and I thought “that’s it…I’m going back to Animaniacs”. But the thing is, a five-year-old has zero control over her own life, so I was back at church the next week and every week after that.
Church is fun when you are little. You get to wear your prettiest dress while snacking and gluing things together in the basement. There is a 70 percent chance that an enthusiastic “God!” is the answer to the question being asked, so you look smart and pretty. The Donutman led you in sing-alongs about love and joy and then, just when you didn’t think it could get any more magical – they introduce Flannelgraph. Oh, the hours I spent in front of that red felt board, listening to the stories of Moses, Daniel and Joshua, (interchangeable) itching to arrange the pieces myself and be the one to give them life.
As my parents grew in their walk with God and knowledge of how the church expected them to act, we started shifting to be a Christian family. We prayed at mealtimes (even in restaurants! Out loud!), my parents got new friends and we learned a new language. I’ve heard it referred to as Christianese. It’s very subtle, but for example, we didn’t say “lucky” anymore, we said “blessed”. I scolded the kids on the bus who took God’s name in vain and we said weird things in secret Christian code that must baffle anyone not in the loop. Imagine walking by someone and hearing them say “Hallelujah! I’ve been washed in the blood!”
Once, during this transition to Christianese, my parents set up a fantastical scavenger hunt for my two brothers and me. It took us all over the yard from the “waterfall” (our bright blue slide) to the “diamond mountain” (our neighbor’s granite wall), even to the woods, where a snack was buried for us under a log. It kept us busy most of the afternoon and we couldn’t wait to get to the end where we would find “the greatest treasure you will ever possess”!!! We were sure it was gold or rubies or Sega Genesis. Inside a rotting log, we found a wooden box. I held my breath as Billy opened the lid.
It was a Bible.
Not even a colorful Psalty bible like Karise had- just a maroon leather Bible like the ones you found in a hotel. We looked at each other, crestfallen but also guilty that we didn’t think the Bible was even as cool as Sega Genesis. My mom made us sit on the log and have a lesson together and I remember being really annoyed and bitter. But it was all a part of this new life we were starting together.
(I’m going to add more to this section and discuss how Christianity becomes a culture within itself, with it’s own language, select people group, artifacts, etc. I just need to brush up on my sociological definitions….Trista!? Jason!? The point was to show how we had to change into almost a new “ethnicity” or something in order to fit in. It seems fine when you’re in it, but as a kid it was weird at first and rightfully so)