I had the phrase in mind as I put together my submission to the SheWrites Passion Project. The phrase is not in my submission. I submitted the concept of hope being the reason; the only element of sanity, really, if you examine the facts of family from a cost/benefit perspective. We hope to create something better than our experience. Perhaps because a parent’s wants and needs by definition must fall second to keeping a child alive and thriving, often unsaid is the idea that in the attempt to create something better, we experience the joy of the attempt.
These thought arrived this AM, during a Feldenkrais session. I was working with my upper back and felt a long-in-coming truth about a connection between the belly muscles, upper back, and shoulder.
I didn’t think, “Back, shoulder, belly.” I thought, “Most truth comes quietly.”
Attention all KIRO 9-noon fans (That would be The Dave Ross Show; “spreading drive-by wisdom to the masses”): I listen to Dave most mornings; big fan. He is smart, funny and so genuine, and he dislikes a certain idiot politician as much as I do.
This morning, he read us a clip about a school motivation program that ran in four cities, and asked us to guess why it worked only in one (Dallas). The answer was simpler than anybody but a Montessori teacher would guess. I called in a got it WRONG. Nevertheless, Dave engaged me about my blog, and from there, my writing. (He asked if I was I was a parenting expert. Tee hee!)
For writers, one of the best things about traveling is that someone else does all the cooking. Writers are supposed to be creatures upon whom no detail is lost. With apologies to Henry James, I will proceed to take our vacation expenses off my taxes.
Observation #1: Girl (perhaps 3) screaming head off in wave pool.
Father: “You are not scared. You are not scared. C’mon. You are not scared.”
MC over in Freemont sums a question writing moms get a lot: How do you feel about writing stories that involve your kids? Is that territory you would avoid or embrace?
I’ll take “avoid” for five hundred. Parents exist to meet their child’s needs, not the other way around.
(And I would change my title here to “Parent-blog,” more accurately reflecting the growing number of dads getting into the biz. Except that far more people Google “mom blog” than “dad,” and I am trying to build constituents. Keep my crass exploitation methods in mind as I wax more-functional-than-thou.)
I do understand, personally and deeply, how childbirth and parenting change people at their core, and how writers need to express those feelings.
I also understand the force zeitgeist plays n scoring a book deal.
I bullet these points to underscore how clearly I get that blogging about my kids (who are cuter and funnier and more brilliant than yours; I’m sorry but that’s just the truth) would be personally and professional beneficial. But these are not things we’ve created.
These are our children.
Children do not have the maturity to understand what it means to be written about. I’m talking sheer brain development, here. Not to be ignored: they (rightfully) depend on parents for survival. Until they are significantly autonomous, it is ludicrous to think that we could ask them for permission and have them do anything except try to please us.
And that’s for the parents who think to ask. It is my experience the most parents still don’t understand that children are not around for parents to appropriate for their own benefit.
Let’s take the seminal in the field, Anne Lamont’s Operating Instructions. Well written without a doubt, great to read if you are a new parent—helping others! Good! Right?