24 January 2012

mother dearest

I come back to the same topics time and again. Not too long ago I wrote a post on the topic of expectations for women, and I touched upon the subject of mothering. Recently I read an article in which a woman, and a mother, expressed her feeling on the heated debate between women over how to mother. (I like the word mother as a verb...) She expressed the guilt she felt as a mother, and a woman, both when she made the decision to stay at home with her daughter as well as when she chose to work outside of the home.

I won't explicate all of my thoughts on the subject... especially because I have done that before. But as a daughter, a friend, a sister, a woman and, perhaps someday, a mother, I would like to share a few parts of this article that I found particularly powerful:

"My daughter is watching me AND you to learn what it means to be a woman. And I'd like her to learn that a woman's value is determined less by her career choices and more by how she treats other women, in particular, women who are different than she is. I'd like her to learn that her strength is defined by her honesty and her ability to exist in grey areas without succumbing to masking her insecurities with generalizations or accusations. And I'd like her to learn that the only way to be both graceful and powerful is to dance among the endless definitions of the word woman... and to refuse to organize women into categories, to view ideas in black and white, or to choose sides and come out swinging. Because being a woman is not that easy, and it's not that hard. . . .

". . .when you yell about how much peace you have with your decisions, it just doesn't ring true. The thing is, if you're yelling, I don't believe that you've got it all figured out. I don't even believe that YOU believe you've got it all figured out. I think your problem might be that you're as internally conflicted as the rest of us about your choices. But instead of kicking your own ass, you've decided it'd be easier to kick ours.

Which is tempting, but also wrong.

So, maybe instead of tearing each other up, we could each admit that we're a bit torn up about our choices, or lack thereof. And we could offer each other a shoulder or a hand. And then maybe our girls would see what it really means to be a woman."

I think as a society, and especially as women, we need to do a better job of loving and supporting each other. We know how much pressure there is on us. We know how hard some decisions are to make. Lets love and support each other. Lets make decisions not because of pressures and expectations, but in an effort to do our best in our personal circumstances. And lets respect the decisions other women make, whether or not they make the same decisions we do.

15 January 2012

mlk jr.

Dear Dr. King,

You make me want to wake up.

14 January 2012

Welcome to the world

2 lb. 12 oz miracle!

Congratulations Jamie and Joel!! My heart is full of joy for you and your precious little boy! I love you all!!!

10 January 2012

The first day back to school was

actually not completely insufferable.

Granted, I did lean up against the blackboard during my first class only to realize an hour later that there was a a white chalk line running all the way across my derriƩre. And yes, two hours later I did hear a ripping sound as I stood up only to realize that I had left behind a chunk of red fabric from my dress that had somehow gotten caught on a screw in the chair. And yes, that does imply that I spent the rest of the day with a hole in the back of my skirt. (At least it was a rather small hole... and I was wearing leggings underneath.)

But, at the end of the day as I was walking towards the train station one of my students came running up to tell me that she wanted to study international development (I had mentioned it was my minor in class). She told me how she wanted to be an aid worker and how she could see herself in that life and that it would be fulfilling. She wanted to talk to me about what I had learned and what I thought and what I knew. And suddenly, it was worth the embarrassing moments and the destruction of my clothes just to talk to this darling, brilliant young woman about her beautiful dreams and maybe in some small way to share with her something that might be of importance as she strives to reach her goals. I can only hope.

Also, today I got invited to take a trip to Portugal at the end of the year with some 15 year olds. They're adorable.

And thus it begins. The horrors and the joys of teaching. Is it possible to have one without the other? I am beginning to doubt it.

06 January 2012

Real is better than perfect.

Today I saw someone put this quote up, as if it is good advice:
"Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are."
Steve Jobs
But I think it is terrible advice. I think this is exactly what is wrong with the world and all of us. I've made that mistake (many times) and I know it is nothing but pride and fear that makes us pretend.

I can't count the number of times when the smallness of humanity--our weakness, neediness, lack of understanding, ability, resources--has stunned and humbled me. Not because it is sad and terrifying, though at times it is that too, but because it is magnificent. Because it is incredible that, in all our silly, weak ways, we manage to make it through. We overcome and we survive.

It's a miracle. Life is a miracle. And when we pretend that we are "completely in control," that we have it all together, that we don't need each other and God and help every day and every moment, not only are we faking and lying and deceiving ourselves and each other, but we are diminishing the beauty of our successes. We belittle those pieces joy and love and perfection that pass through our lives to make them worth living, despite the fact that we don't have it together and we're not in control. None of us. We need help. We need each other. And I think there is nothing more beautiful in this world than recognizing our own littleness and loving it. Accepting help when we need it and offering to others what we have in abundance to give. We all lack something. But we all have gifts too. I think we've lost touch of that in the world--the fact that we need to exchange and share--that no one can have it all on his or her own, but that we benefit from others and that everyone has something important to give. The more we try to pretend that we're fine on our own, the more we lose out on sharing and receiving from one another. And that's a pity.

So I will tell you now, and always, I don't have it all figured out. I don't have everything completely under control. I don't understand so many things, so many more things than I do understand. I need help and love and blessings. And it is my greatest desire to offer some small benefit to another person; to lift, to aid, to touch, to bless another life. Because life is so much more beautiful when you're in it together with someone(s). For me, that's whole point.

03 January 2012


Today is January 3rd. For breakfast I ate chocolate. Then I did a few crunches and push-ups.

Can you guess what my New Years Resolution is? Yeah. Me neither.