Growing up, I didn’t often get the feeling that other girls really “got me.” I was a smart kid, an adventurous kid, a kid who mostly hung out with the boys because (where and when I grew up) they somehow had more fun. They were always building something, putting something together, taking it apart, riding bikes over to the empty lot to test whether their invention would work. Most girls I knew were obsessed with hair, makeup, propriety, and exuding that aura of perfection so popular in the South at that time. I just didn’t get it, and they didn’t get me.
I wasn’t friendless, mind you! Far from it. I had my own little pack of girl-friends (“The Jennifers” … because 5 of the 7 of us who were friends that year were so named) in middle school, and I always had a best friend or two who I shared everything with. I also had all those boys, the boys who made me smile and laugh, and get my hands dirty right along with them.
But when I discovered the blogosphere last summer (I warned you — trendy I am not), I really found what I’d been looking for all those years. A real community of smart, educated, well-read and well-spoken women. There are so very many out there, and they are writing such amazing pieces about family, work, joys, fears, and what they really think about the future. I’m fascinated by their stories of their lives, by what they are willing to share of their bared souls, and by their answers to the question what makes up a life.
Every now and then I get distracted by the chores, the laundry, the dusting that needs to be done here, and I don’t turn on the computer and catch up with their latest posts during afternoon nap. I swear that I won’t spend so much time in front of the screen, so that I have better control over my house and my authority to deny my babies screen time. I encourage us all to play in the “real world” more often and escape less.
And then I read a post like this one. In this short vignette and commentary, Mrs. Chicken took MY heart and split it open too. She captured the overwhelming love and obsession and just deliciousness that we experience with our babies and toddlers, and took it a step further. She gathered us into her comfy couch-tale of a family, made us smile at the Poo’s wonderful words, had us nodding along in agreement at the pride and feelings of love, and then … and then … and then she tore my heart in pain, reminding me that not all is beauty and love and everyday joys. She reminded me that there are motherless children. Children in pain. Children who have been hurt, and who may even suffer alone. Children who are not ours, but could be.
She inspires me with her writing and her toughness in making a new life in a new part of the country. And she helps me feel not quite so alone on this mothering carousel. My first Perfect Post Award, given by the good moms at Suburban Turmoil and Petroville, goes to Chicken and Cheese for “And Then My Heart Split Open.” I only wish the award came with theme music and a live TV audience. (But not necessarily the fancy dresses and five inch heels.)