We’ve been a little busy around here, working on this new look. The credit goes to Cynthia at NW Designs who took the little smushed-up pile of ideas I handed her and turned them into exactly what I had hoped for. We’re still tidying up and tweaking a few things, buying a few throw pillows, that sort of thing, but it should be finished soon. If you’re considering a re-design of your blog, I absolutely recommend Cynthia. She’s been so pleasant to work with and she’s made the process so easy with her patience, graciousness, and good humor.
My only regret is that it didn’t occur to me, as it did to the lovely and forward-thinking Mrs. G, to include a picture of a shirtless Johnny Depp somewhere in the design. I have a lot to learn from her.
Also, I’m a bit behind on my reading, but I promise to catch up with everyone tomorrow (today).
I’ve noticed something interesting (and maybe predictable) that happens just after my life has intersected with my mother, at least in recent years. For a few days after, I find myself digging deeper in my interactions with my children, and I try harder to be patient and unruffled (most days, I wouldn’t come close to winning a prize for that). I eat more meals with them, and take more time for the slow, easy moments.
But here’s the thing, it’s a false promise I make to them on those days, and I know it, even as I sit longer with them reading a book or listening to one of their stories. In those moments, it feels like a lie, even as it feels like hope and redemption. It’s not fair to let them think that every day from now forward will feel like that, when I know it’s not likely. I know that this bare and generous devotion that I show them won’t last. After a few days, we return to the normal cadence of our days, and I struggle each day to be a good enough mother, and fail often enough at that, too.
The thing I know I’m trying to prove to them–and, god knows, to myself–is that they will have something better to look back on than my siblings and I do. But how can I prove that in just a few days? The idea of that is impossible and flawed. I can bring some of that effort forward into our regular days, but that kind of full-on attention might just exhaust all of us, even if I were capable of delivering it. And the fact is, when my children decide what they think of my parenting, they will stake their judgment on the cumulative, rather than the anecdotal.
Do you want to know the truth? Deep inside me, like a fossil encased in bedrock, lies the belief that I am not a good mother, and how could I be, without having grown up with a good example of what that means? Do I dig up that belief and and look at it, and turn it this way and that in the light? No, at least not often. There’s too much to do every day. But it’s there, and it’s hard to know some days if there’s anything deeper than that, if there’s anything stronger, holding up everything else. I can’t be the only mother who feels like this, I tell myself, and it helps. Still, I feel it shifting now, and making itself known.
Yesterday, I found myself a bit hyped up and coasting on adrenaline after the two new emails from my mother. They were both barren of any sort of apology, which (oddly) is a bit of a relief, because I would have had no idea what to do with words like that from her. Imagine, if they had been heavy with regret, and weighted with hope. In that circumstance, I would have had a confusing and perilous decision to make about how to proceed, knowing full well the risk of disappointment.
As it stands, there is nothing to be done, nothing to be said. No reason to linger, or even to look over one shoulder, backward. I’ve found over the years, that it’s easy to stumble, doing that. Better to look forward.
It’s as though my mother has taken on the nature of a little town built near a rail line, along a route that I am bound to take from time to time to get where I need to go. Though it’s old and looks a bit run down, it has historical significance and can look pleasant and inviting from time to time, in the right light . There’s a billboard or two, announcing the one or two things the town has to offer.
But I know all there is to know about that town. I’ve visited a few times before.
And there’s really nothing there to see.