Mixed Motherhood Messages

I forget that everyone who might read this might not also read A Practical Wedding.  I had a post go up a couple of weeks ago where I mused about how the cultural messages about babies fucked me up.

“The world has so much to say about motherhood, and it is all so hyperbolic. It is either the BEST THING EVER or the WORST THING EVER. I made the mistake of reading all the books and all the blogs and all the words and internalized far too many voices.”

There are some pretty great comments, too.  Some interesting discussions, and everyone was so very calm about things, which I think we all know is a rarity on the internets when the topics of kids comes up.

Old stories

I wrote about calling off my wedding a few years ago and the post just went up on APW. It was an odd one to write – it was like writing about another person, almost. Even the pictures don’t look like me, and that’s just weird.

It’s not surprisingly, though. X loved short hair and “jokingly forbade” me to grow out my hair. So the first thing I did when he went off to the Middle East was to grow out my hair. A small act of defiance that in hindsight shows that I was already figuring shit out. The picture of me at the Omani fort is the only one that kind of looks like me now – that was my second visit over there and my hair had grown out long enough to be forced in to a stubby ponytail. (Also, it was +40oc in the shade that day, and please admire my jeans and long sleeved shirt. The Middle East is so very very different than North America.) When I was going through my photo collection to find photos, it was like looking at the life of a stranger – a stranger with my face. It was hard to summon up some of the memories, until I started surfing through old emails and then it all came flooding back. Except for this time, I was looking at it as a woman with self-esteem, not as a panicky and lost girl child, which is how I felt at the time. Distance does heal, and it did allow me to write that post with far more grace than I would have been able to at any earlier point. 

But not that much grace, because I still managed to mention the prostitutes in the essay. Still not the worst thing that happened by any stretch, nor much of the story, but I still worked it in. Which suggests that some things linger a long time, and you know, that one is a logical one to still bug me. 

Leaving him was the best thing I could have done. Marrying David was the best thing I could do, and I still occasionally wander around amazed – stupefied – blissful – about how I won at life. Sure, things may not be perfect – it’s life after all – but damn things are good.

And, as it turns out, I have really great hair. Seriously. Mid back, rich brown with natural curly waves that require no upkeep to speak of. That was a nice littler perk to what started as an act of defiance.  Little silver linings everywhere.

While I was away…

I took a quick vacation to Seattle to hang out with my sister, who lives in Vancouver.  I’ve been to Vancouver many times, and never to Seattle, so I flew and she bussed and we met for a long weekend of eating, walking, and buying cheap maternity wear.  (Side note: why is Target the only place that sells maternity clothes any more?  Old Navy?  Only online.  Sears?  Nope. Walmart? Don’t know, don’t care, won’t shop there.  Sure, there’s that superexpensive store downtown, but I refuse to spend $100 on a shirt at the best of times, let alone one I’ll wear for a few months at most.  So trips to America to Target it is.  Sigh.)

ANYWAYS.  While I was off eating bbq pork buns and fresh pears and palmiers, a post I wrote about why we wed went up over at Happy Sighs.

The Wedding – links

2010 was a hell of a year.  My dad died of lung and brain cancer at the end of January.  David and I got married in March.  I wrote about it on A Practical Wedding. A few times, actually. The act of writing about such an awful time helped – helped to figure out what I need to say and needed to hear, and helped so much to hear that I was not alone.

So, in lieu of actual content, here some stuff I wrote in the last year. (Hey, I have to hurry up and go to a massage. Priorities, folks.)  Plus, pretty pictures!

13 January 2010: Wedding Planning In The Face Of Serious Illness And Even Death: The problem I’m facing is one I’m not finding a lot of information/help on the internet, probably because talking about death is hard at the best of times, let alone at a wedding. But I’m sure that I’m not alone in dealing with a loved one’s illness during wedding planning, and I’m wondering how anyone else got through it. The kindness and stories in the comments still make me cry.

20 May 2010: Morgan on Weddings in the Face of Death: Do I have any regrets about throwing the wedding, about the timing, about our choices?  Sure, everyone has regrets, but I can live with my choices.  Do I regret standing up in the room full of family and friends and declaring my love?  No, absolutely not.  Life is short and it can be cruel, we all know this, so any excuse to celebrate joy should be taken.

21 May 2010: Wedding Graduates: Morgan and David: Taking pictures and having an intimate family dinner before the ceremony didn’t reduce the impact of the aisle walk and the way David looked at me, the same way practicing the vows at the rehearsal was a completely different experience than saying them in the ceremony.  The first was sweet, and the second transcendent.  Same words, but emotional intensity was sky high – David’s voice was so choked with emotion he could barely speak.  This loveliness, this intensity, this palpable love?  That was the only thing I should have been aiming for.  I should have stopped second guessing myself about not serving dinner, or not decorating more, or any of that, and just focused on trying to allow in the most joy possible

29 October 2010: Ask Team Practical: Honoring Lost Loved Ones: Think about small personal things you can do – things that don’t need to be broadcast.  I wore my grandmother’s pearls and my father’s engagement ring. My engagement ring belonged to David’s beloved godmother, who died several years before we started dating.  After her cancer diagnosis, she gave the ring to him for his future bride. People weren’t told these details – their significance is personal.  Many may have recognized the heavy gold star sapphire ring, but it wasn’t important for me to tell everyone what it meant – I just wanted to have something of his close to me.

I spent a lot of time with this quote – even used it in the programs, to my mother’s horror.  “”Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, the loss of a job… And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another – that is surely the basic instinct… Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.” – Barbara Kingsolver, High Tide in Tucson