Parenthood is an expansive and truly magical experience that forces you to focus. Where your periscope was formerly up and constantly looking outward you now are forced to pull it in and train it on your new responsibilities. It requires everything you have to give and leaves you largely happy to give it, if occasionally annoyed that there isn’t more of it so you might retain a tiny piece for your own entertainment. It requires these things of you because its the most expedient way of alerting you that the life you knew, so much of it, is now a thing to remember and the life you will have is one that you can’t half-ass in the way you now realize you’d been half-assing it your whole life. The transformations leaves you with a changed perspective. A much narrower but much deeper one. You now swim in a thousand foot deep puddle that others can hop over. You are required to swim deep, find all the hidden realities and defend this puddle like it’s your life, your whole world.
Now, combine these traits with the traits of a writer. A person that is determined to express themselves, to show themselves, to be seen and to show off while often, typically being ultra sensitive to the world around them. A person that has learned through trial and failure that readers prefer their tales told with assurdness. A person already possessing a level of self-obsessed over-analysis so great that they have chosen to converse with the world, inside their head, for years on end. The combination can result in stretches of life defined by a solipsistic worldview that is practically a necessity for them to push through to the other side.
We deep sea dive in our oceanic puddles and are able to see things others would pass without noting, this is our gift. We revel in shining a light on these variations and we are so close to them we have little perspective. We are often surprised by the ways in which our experiences are reflective of others and equally surprised by the times they are singular and unique. Occasionally we see the surface of another parents puddle and assume it to be lacking in all the depth and nuance ours is, or even worse we can pass judgment on the parent as being less capable or curious about exploring their new world. I do it all the time. It’s a problem.
But today I’m taking a break from my standard, ‘this is parenthood’ form of expression in order to take a dip in some new puddles. Puddles of similarly afflicted people to see what life is like in the ocean they inhabit. For a moment I’m going to consciously stop, look around and remember that I can never be so blind as to think that my ‘this is parenthood’ understanding is a complete understanding. I have to occasionally take in the work of others and remind myself, ‘that is parenthood’ as well.
Over at the Precious Princess’s Guide to Bananaland … This piece speaks to a feeling I’d have never had the ability to really see due to my still resilient guilt complex. Kids are amazing, a point she makes rather pointedly and effectively. What else other then these little charges could possibly be worth it! I envy her voice. It’s completely uninhibited, something I’m incapable of being. Her bold and direct style is often balanced with really smart and biting humor!
The Misfits of a Mountain Mama is breaking the first rule of toddler fight club in this hysterical and hysterically accurate depiction of life with a toddler boy. This is my current situation (X2!), so perhaps I’m a perfect audience, but wow. Sounds a lot like a kid I know and love completely, while occasionally having other feelings mixed in.
Then there’s this piece over at Chock Full of Au-some. It’s a frankly terrifying little slice of life we can all relate to in one way or another, told with both humor and sentiment. Our version of this one is a tale of our first who we had no idea he had severe food allergies until we got a giant scare at just over a year old. That singular event changed the trajectory of him, our family, my career and so much more. Great observations by a great writer.
Then there’s this piece from the Punk Rock Papa himself. He’s a great dad and a great writer. This piece speaks to the true cacophony of chaos that the ‘parent-life’ is. It’s both evocative and provocative and like so much of what he writes, so well executed. Provocative is not just a decorative word choice. I actually was provoked by it, moved to argue with it and took to the internets and did so about half way through reading it. Now that’s a piece a writer can be proud of! Also, he may not be seeking out attention, but if he keeps up with what he’s doing, its going to find him.
It’s important for me to remember that when the opportunity presents itself I have to take a break from ‘THIS parenthood’ and take a dip in the rejuvenating waters of ‘THAT Parenthood’ if only to feel instantly connected and understood, not to mention enlightened.