Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The "getting real" post

It happens, every so often, that I read a flurry of articles and blog posts imploring mommy bloggers and fashion bloggers and farming bloggers and faith bloggers to just get real. (Political bloggers need not fuss with this stricture as there is no getting around the real ugly.)

In case you missed the memo(s): Others' Facebook happiness makes us depressed, Pinterest as a whole makes us dissatisfied with our mere human crafting/cooking/skydiving abilities, and the rosy lives pictured in weblogs are akin to Photoshopped models in fashion ads, creating a rarified air that none of us can really breathe. Focusing on the positive can smother a person, apparently.

 If y'all want ugly there's always mainstream media. And the cupboard to the left of the sink. And screen-time-limit meltdowns and arriving a month early (or a month late!) to the orthodontist-whose-bill-comes-anyway, or an aching shoulder and a little bit of arthritis in that hand that makes you inadvertently drop a pot full of stewed tomatoes. Talk about a hot mess. The satellite internet limit that is exceeded by streaming school classes two weeks into the month. And the neighbor who left cookies in your mailbox and then got upset when the mail lady thanked you for them when they were so obviously for your kids from the neighbor (Follow? Me neither!). Someone from your church facing divorce, someone in your family facing cancer.

I kinda got on a roll there just thinking about the "real" of this week. It's only Tuesday.

You know, these are the everyday and bigger uglinesses that just don't bear talking about.
 Let's encourage each other with thankfulness and prettiness and focus on that. Won't you? I am aware that on your blogs and facebook pages, most of you edit out the schmutz. And I'm good with that. Not because I don't want you to be real! I do! I am so achingly glad you a real human being on this journey with me, and I want to walk with you through whatever you want to share.

One of the ways I survive the ugly is to post the pretty.
Y'all know it's bad if you can't look around and find some beauty. 
There's my one-time farmhouse. It is so very pretty in each season. Finally sale pending and approaching closure, not that I want to jinx anything, after seven escrows. Seven. I haven't blogged adequately about the heart-wrenching decision to move to this new farm two years ago. I haven't shared in any small part how I feel about the quality of light at that house, about how I left behind community and struck out for something new and found myself not just alone in the wilderness but lonely here. It took more than a year to understand that the light filtering through forest is its own kind of golden green. There's a glow from the barn when the stars are the only other light, and when you drive past the spaces between the barn boards look twinkly. My garden is amazing -- and overwhelming! -- and friendships once easily maintained by a stroll down the lane and a cup of coffee remain, and that spending time with those loved ones on the once-dreaded phone and internet is a new kind of beauty.

My new farmhouse takes more careful framing to find the photo-worthy. So I focus carefully because otherwise I'd live in a puddle on the floor. Truly. I thank you for your positive, for your gratitude, for your rose-colored glasses where the world wide web is concerned. Because I think the more we zoom in on beauty, the more we find.

Yesterday I realized my husband's dog Jake died five years ago. And my dog Bonnie Belle died nearly three years ago. So we got Murphy and Molly two years ago and now Molly is gone. Guess what? I never blogged adequately about the vomit and the accidents and the geriatric care that each of those pets required in their final days. Do you know how I got on this subject? I happened upon an old photo of sweet Bonnie Belle on the forbidden couch, and then laughed as I scrolled through that album to see all of the dogs fully owning the couch at one time or another. I remembered that Jake's last trip around the property was in pursuit of sitting by Laura in the stroller, down by the barn where I was watching the big girls ride ponies. I remembered that Bonnie Belle would ever so genteelly accept treats at the coffee drive-through even though she would never, ever ingest them because she was above the crunchy bone-shaped weirdness and she knew enough to wait for homemade peanut-butter-filled jerky treats at home. Molly? Molly loved the children so much that she let them dress her in hats and scarves. She would paw around in the dress-up bin for a favorite wool (dog slobbery) beret. Which is more true? The embarrassing bodily functions of aging pets or the photographed and internet-shared memories that cast them in best light?

I'd rather watch for the prettiness on the internet and hold your hand in person when we're having a crisis, big or small. I want to be "real" with you, but not so much on the internet. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oh, my friends...

 We are deep into school now but my heart is a little bit back at summer.
 Recurring theme: I'm not ready.
For the facetime (?) and skype sessions (?!)
with homeroom teachers.
For the twelve-class-per-week dance year
to sweep us off our feet and onto our toes.
For doctors and dentists and library days.
Schedule schmedule.
 So I take some deep breaths and focus on now,
but not with the camera lens,
because it's hard to teach
United States government
and shoot at the same time.
 I can't recall having this particular angst before,
and believe me I thought I'd worried them all
to the bone, those worry-worthy subjects
of children who grow and change and,
you know,
get lives and governmental theories of their own.
 This week Madeleine and I met with her high school adviser.
I considered canceling but unfurling leaves keep reaching for sunshine.
This week Sarah started algebra.
I considered helping.
I offered to help.
But she let me know she is fine
as she went about solving for x,
that timeless question of an unnamed quantity.
This week Grace cracked herself up
while reading Alice in Wonderland
and Laura explained the difference between
a letter and a phonogram
to Salvador.

This week I lost my coffee cup approximately seven times per day.
Not everything is different from last year.
Just to be clear.
Some things remain known.
While I'm solving for x
when change remains constant.