I am nearing the end of a two-week vacation. Although, we spent most of it at home, it may be one of the most restful I've ever had. As on every vacation I've ever experienced (since my earliest memories) the closing moments of rest and relaxation bring out the contemplative in me. (and what a glorious beast she is!) While I have not ever intended this blog to be a private diary, I'll warn you now that in my current state -- that being 1:56am and I've just opened a large bottle of champagne(we're out of merlot) and pulled up Chopin's Nocturnes-- this will most likely get a little personal.
With that confession spoken, I already feel paralyzed. And that, clearly, is part of the problem in Houston.
I spent the past several hours waiting up for my three oldest children to return home. (does it make us bad parents that the more of our children gone, the later we allow curfew?? no. there is no safer place for my children to be than within sight of each other's sight!) During those hours I indulged myself - without guilt - in a regular blog-surfing marathon.
(did you know that a word exists to allow us to be able to physically type fewer letters when I want to tell the world that I've been "blog surfing"? Blurfing. As in am blurfing, will blurf, have blurfed.)
Did you know that an event is taking place this very weekend in San Francisco for blogging women, BlogHer. I surfed at least half of those 38 million sites tonight. Another issue became clearer and clearer with each click. I feel completely inferior as a woman.
So many great sites featuring what women are writing, wearing, sewing, cooking, crafting, reading, selling, donating, persuading, cooking, baking, growing, gardening, photographing, painting, and parenting. I read books and watch movies and go to events and every once in awhile get in a great fight with Brian and talk about it. That's it.
Not only that but I'm 37 years old and I should fit right into this BlogHer craze with pictures of my kids in their adorable yellow rubber boots jumping in perfectly photographed mud puddles and the organic and locally-farmed vegetarian dinner I made tonight for the family and the ubiquitous self-portait photographs of me looking like I'm trying to look like a busy mom, but really coming across in the bathroom mirror as a freshly scrubbed and lipglossed and vintage jewelry-wearing beautiful female.
I missed this boat somewhere along the way. (I realize I've now jumped from a space ship metaphor to a nautical metaphor....sue me).
I'm 37 now and I'll bet not a whole heck of a lot older than the average BlogHer female. But I had my first kid when I was 20. I had been married for nine months (almost exactly to the day). I did not own a computer or a digital camera or a whole lot of baby supplies, for that matter. I know this makes me sound like a blotchy, wrinkled great-aunt at a family reunion, but it's true. I barely knew what birth control was, let alone baby-wearing or breast-pumping . I did not know that I should not drink caffeine or eat fish when I was pregnant. I did not know what an Old Navy was, let alone it's maternity department. I shopped for my maternity clothes in a Philadelphia Sales "plus-size" rack. (seriously, I remember coming home to Brian flush with excitement that I had found cheap clothes that fit my pregnant body!)
Remember, I was 20. My friends who could have made great maternity clothes swap partners were in their junior year of college, wearing pegged GAP jeans and oversized rugbies. (an oversized rugby might have worked, huh?)
Before I go further, I want to clarify that I am not complaining. I love that I am a 37-year-old mother of an almost 17 year old, a 14 year old, a 12 year old and a 10 year old. That, if we do our jobs close to right, Brian and I will be empty nesters before we turn 50.
Still, when I spend an evening peeking into this other world where the feminine and the domestic and the maternal is so celebrated and photographed and shared, I feel just a little bit wistful. I would have loved to be part of this universe. I guess I still could, but, honestly, a picture of my hairy, teenage son jumping in a mud puddle is just not the same! And, who am I kidding, no one wants a picture of our Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner.
[*UPDATE: must be the wine made me too sleepy to finish this post. Yesterday I had an interview with two counsellors in my church. I'm participating in a 15 week program this fall called Living Waters. I hope to tackle this gender issue that seems to border on misogyny. If you're at all interested, maybe I'll post some learnings here. *]