(Plus Mommyish loves listicles–even listicles about miscarriage despite the fact my husband thinks it’s creepy. Plus they appreciate my love of animated gifs. My piece even includes a gif from Jane the Virgin! AND LIZ LEMON IN A SNUGGIE.)
Needless to say I’m a little bit excited about this (ok a LOT!) because it is my first official byline. And nearly a paid one at that! (Alas, I wrote a previous version of the piece on this blog so they can’t pay me. But just the idea that I could have been paid makes me want to dance a little jig!)
Thanks for reading, as always. Have a great weekend!
This blog wouldn’t have happened. Healing would not have taken place. And the art that came after all the loss — well, that would not have flourished. Your love and encouragement is what propelled me forward on the darkest, hardest days. Thank you.
With sweaty palms and joy, I’m excited to announce that I’m finally launching my etsy shop! You are the first to know–not because I am trying to sell you anything (and I truly am not, and I also promise not to use this blog to promote the shop beyond sharing today’s news!)–but because this is as much yours to celebrate as mine. I firmly believe that nothing creative, healing, or heart-driven can be done in isolation. This community has been everything to me.
Thank you, dear readers, and people who click “like” and people who post notes of encouragement! Every single darn one of you is part of this becoming manifest.
P.s. If you *would* like to be in the loop about the Etsy store, text JOYFULART to 2393-03-4330. (You will get a special thank you and will be notified of other special promotions! But not more than twice a month, if that. Pinkie swear.) This has been a promotional message. This is the last of the promotional messages. Thank you for your cooperation as these will no longer interrupt your Mourning Dove Motherhood blog reading experience. 😀
As my four-year-old stated last night (at 4am): “I am a little bit tired and a little bit awake!” She was very excited because grandma and pop-pop arrive today and are staying at our house for several nights while the husband and I go to KEY WEST to celebrate ten years of marriage! So exciting! I look forward to the sleep that I get there.
p.s. I seem to be accumulating posts dedicated to middle-of-the-night conversatons with my daughter–I think it warrants its own category. Today, the category “4am kid convos” is born!
Child climbs into bed with me. Husband is blissfully asleep in guest bed “getting over a the stomach flu.” Please, you know he is psychic and predicted this event transpiring.
4 y.o.: “It is dark!”
Me: “Yes Z, it is the middle of the night.”
4yo: “I AM THE CHEESE MONSTER!”
Me: perplexed. Laughs.
4 y.o.: “I bet Jupiter is GLOWING!” (She is referring to a model kit of the planets that my husband bought her and is not-yet-assembled.)
me: “It doesn’t glow honey. You have to paint it to make it glow.” ( The kit comes with glow-in-the-dark paint you can put on the planets.)
4y.o.: “BUT DADDY SAID THEY ARE ALREADY PAINTED!”
Me: “Yes, they are painted, but not with glowing paint. You need to paint them with the glow paint.” Thinks to self, why am I having this conversation??!
4yo: “Will grandma and pop-pop be here soon?”
Me: “Not until you sleep!!”
4yo: “I found Jupiter!!! It isn’t glowing.” Holding a model of Jupiter. Definitely not glowing.
me: “You have to paint it.”
4yo: “But daddy said it is already painted!”
I give up.
4yo.Starts to slowly breathe in that “about-to-fall-asleep-nobody-make-a-damn-noise” way.
Smart dog: “Ouuurrr. Ourrrrrrrrrrrr. Ouuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” Standing by the lanai door. Wants out.
Me: mutters under breath. Takes dog outside. Beautiful night! Should be sleeping though! Dog pees. Return inside the house.
4yo: AWAKE AGAIN. Yes, predicted that.
4yo.:Twitching in that “about-to-go-to-sleepyland-nobody-move” phase.
Smart dog: “uuuurrrrrrr. Urrrrttt! Urrrrrrrrrrrt!” Standing by his empty water bowl.
Me:DAMNIT DOG! I fill the water bowl.
4yo: You guessed it: awake.
The-less-smart-dog: “Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! RrRRRRRRRR!!!!!” Standing by the bed. Too fat or old or duffus-ey to figure out how to jump onto bed. Need to purchase dog ramp. Not yet ready to remove his last shreds of dignity.
Me:Mentally muttering swear words. Lifts dog onto bed.
4yo: Laughs and laughs and laughs. Is this funny to you kid?!
7:00 a.m. (sharp!)
Alarm clock: “EEEP! EEP! EEP! EEP!”
Me: (Shaking fist into air) “Darn you husband!” (He forgot to take alarm clock with him to other room.)
Time to make the coffeeeee!!!
Did your cheese monster let you sleep last night? Feel free to share your own stories–but not until you make the coffee.
It seemed to come out of nowhere. But let’s be real, it had been building for weeks. (Precisely three weeks and five days…if you get my drift.)
Like all fine Americans, I got angry reading something on Facebook. But it wasn’t the orange one who set me off, or the skinny-tied-one or the gum-chewing-one or any of the other underlings.
Yes, it wasn’t Trump per se that had me fired up. It was the response to the crazy. People I knew to otherwise be kind, loving individuals–it was their defending of Trump that seemed to be the final straw.
Something in me snapped. Actually, no. Snapped to seems to imply a reckless breaking. This was a crack. A crack like an egg hatching. A crack of shifting tectonic plates.
I’ve been fuming so much that I’ve written three draft posts in three days because there was SO MUCH FIRE in me that, well, I needed to let it simmer down a tad before I could hit publish.
Wehave this man (orange) who is the archetype of a predatory male. The embodiment of patriarchy. The creepy dude from the office who forwards racist, sexist conspiracy theories and is the guy whom we generally can all agree is unhinged.
But wait, maybe we can’t all agree on that fact. And there is the rub.
Yes–this anger goes deep and is a fire breath I want to use to bring down the patriarchy! (Or something.)*
I understand that part of this anger is about my own deep wounds. My own story of harm by a mad man–and the perceived betrayal of the otherwise sane people who knew better than to believe a madman and ultimately align with a mad man.
This is also what I know about being wounded: there is no greater pain that not being seen. We don’t expect a mad man to see or understand our pain. He’s not capable of it. But the ones who we know are capable of empathy and love? We except better.
Yes, something cracked open in me the other day.
This anger feels deep.
Like the women of all the ages were standing as mountains within the earth, holding me up.
Who knows, maybe they are.
The question is, what to do with the fire-breath? We can’t keep it in–to do so will burn us from the inside out. No, this fire must be expelled. Unleashed. Art. Story. Dancing. Resisting with joy and humor and yes, righteous indignation too.Who knows? Maybe in the process we will burn down the patriarchy.
*(Huh, maybe my daughter does get some of her flair for the dramatic from me after all…)
Sometimes we need to dig into the closet. What is in there that scares us?
I’ve read that the Chinese New Year’s FIRE ROOSTER brings with it the energy of tidying up, letting go, and being fastidious.
Recently I fully embraced the rooster energy and decided to spontaneously empty and organize our walk-in closet. To the untrained eye the room was full of assorted piles of crap. Not so! I had fastidiously sorted each and every last content into items in need of repair (buttons sewn on, stains removed); items to donate–with sub-categories including the items to take to the domestic violence shelter thrift store (clothes mostly) and items to donate to a home for young mothers in foster care (for them, only the nicest household items, some children’s clothes and toys and don’t ask why those things were even in my closet in the first place.). And then was the pile of trash. The pile of random mementos that needed to put tucked away. The pile of clothes that no longer fit but maybe if I lose those last ten pounds? The pile of office supplies (why were they in there….?) You get the idea.
SO. MANY. PILES.
A week later and the project is complete, including the addition of a new plush rug inside the closet that my daughter and I gleefully rolled around on, all the while absorbing the beauty of the clean and orderly closet!
I thought my Fire Rooster energy had run its course. It turns out, no so fast.
Alas, it seems there were other dark spaces that had slow and steadily collected items out of view. Left in the dark but ready for light to be shined upon them.
You may have noticed I haven’t been posting as much recently. Mostly this is because I have been doing a lot of artwork, and also keeping busy with my little project #100daysofhope (mostly on instagram).
You could say I’ve been consumed by my art. Every spare moment I seem to be in front of the watercolors. I’ve been posting them on Instagram…and then something started to happen.
Within the span of days several people asked to purchase prints I had made. Did I have a store?
I think the best way to describe what happened next would be paralysis.
I know, it makes zero sense. This is awesome, people want to buy my artwork! How wonderful!
Yes, yes yes. But it meant getting my act together. It meant collecting and properly scanning and uploading and editing and printing and….and….all the excuses you can imagine. Know what it really meant?
It meant shining a light on my creative work. IT MEANT VULNERABILITY.
The universe was giving me so many nudges, it was ridiculous. And then my sister called. She urged me for the thousandth time to setup a damn online shop. And after I told her about the inquiries she jokingly and lovingly scolded me, WHAT? Sarah get your butt in gear!
I was a tad defensive. Do you know how busy I am? Blah blah blah. Well, in talking to her, I decided to cut work early yesterday and at least get started on the project.
So yesterday afternoon, dragging my feet still, I slowly assembled the artwork until every last piece was laying on my bed.
My jaw dropped. There was SO MUCH ARTWORK. I had created all this? All this time it had been tucked away in the dark, in need of fastidious sorting and cataloguing.
And it needed light.
At this point in the afternoon I realized I needed to make a call. I left a message for my sister and I told her she would not believe how much artwork it turns out that I had! (Oh, I think she knew.) I thanked her for the nudge. The loving nudge to push the baby bird out of the nest. The bird who was more than ready to fly.
I’m sorting, scanning and fastidiously editing and preparing to print the artwork. I will gleefully-and fearfully-share with you when they are posted online for sale. And if I drag my heals, you officially have permission to nudge this baby bird once again.
What about you? What is hiding in your closet, in the dark, in need of light and air? Are there things you need to let go of? Are there things that need to be seen? Who can hold you accountable and gently push you out of the nest? The fire rooster calls!
How is everyone? Are you surviving #alternativefactland? Or are you starting to lose your ish? I will confess: I read one too many think pieces yesterday and felt ACTUAL PANIC. Creeping authoritarianism FTW. But, I am getting through with tweets from Alt-POTUS 45. You know, the twitter feed from an alt-reality where Hillary is president:
DAY 14: Destroyed the last Horcrux (Trump’s spray tan bottle). Subscribed Ryan to @TeenVogue. Sent Bill to CVS for Lindt truffle chocolates.
I’m pretty sure I need to stop reading Twitter though. As one person joked, there is now enough news to actually fill the 24-7 news cycle. You could literally stare at the stream of horror all. day. long.
But, no more. I have decided I need a news fast. For self-care. For sanity!
Nobody wants to think they are burrowing and hiding from reality. . .but I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy for me to be feeling PANIC, either. My new strategy (it’s only been two weeks and I’ve tried a couple already, sigh) will be to watch the news ONCE A DAY. Just once. Maybe PBS news after dinner. Not right before bed, not the first thing I hear in the morning. I dunno.
Because it is a bit addictive isn’t it, seeing the stream of horrors? Nobody wants to admit they are the type of person to peak at car accidents, but we all do it. You know, just to see if everyone is ok even though we know OF COURSE THEY ARE NOT OKAY THEY JUST CALLED JAWS OF LIFE. WHO ARE YOU FOOLING?!
Panic. I need to not feed into it. What are you feeding?
I have been thinking a lot about how it feels like I am straddling two realities. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may believe that this is the case. Some of us have woken up and others have not but boy they are being jolted awake now, aren’t they?
I keep reminding myself that as old ways are being dismantled, I don’t need to watch every brick fall in horror. I don’t need to gawk in horror at every 3 a.m. POTUS tweet. (There will be many.)
Instead, I can stay present, stay focused, and I can help dream a new world into being.
The shadow side of our culture is now exposed on many levels – and this is being shown in all countries around the world. The shadow had to come up to be acknowledged and healed. We all know how dysfunctional family systems get when there are secrets that are hidden. The shadow is now showing itself in such a profound way that it cannot be ignored or buried.
Part of the shadow is how money is seen as more important than honoring life, all living beings, and the Earth.
When we focus on the work we ride a different wave then the dense collective. It does not mean that we do not grieve what we see going on in how life is being dishonored. But if we express and work through our emotions and focus our energies on working in the invisible realms to spin a new tapestry that will one day replace the tapestry that is being dismembered we do make a huge difference. As I repeat again and again we were born to dream a new dream into being.
But the new dream manifests when the dismemberment is complete. And none of us are privy to the knowledge on the timing.
Mary Tyler Moore holds a special place in my heart.
Not Mary in the Dick Van Dyke show (though we loved here there, too). I’m talking Mary in Minneapolis. Mary in the newsroom. Mary with Rhoda. Mary in her apartment serving drinks to Lou at a Very Bad Dinner Party.
Mary Richards seemed to be the seventies embodiment of my mother. Funny, kind to a fault, determined, sometimes naive–and always fashionable–Mary was like mom is so many ways. My mom before kids, working as a bank manager, rocking blonde hair and wide-leg pants, hosting cocktail parties with friends.
When I heard about Mary Tyler Moore’s passing I immediately thought of mom and my many memories of watching the Mary Tyler Moore show with her–which, I will admit is a little weird as a high school kid in the ’90s. It wasn’t like any of my peers were staying up late to watch Nick at Night reruns of a syndicated seventies sitcom with their moms.
My mom’s love for the show was contagious. I became a fan with her. In re-watching her favorite episodes (Chuckles the clown’s funeral comes to mind as one of our all-time favorites) I got a glimpse into my mom’s life as a working woman in a male-dominated workforce int he 1970s.
I‘ve long seen my mom in Mary, but it is only now that I realize my mom saw a bit of Mary in me, too. As I went off to college, graduated and moved to bigger cities in states far from home, got my first suit, my first apartment. As she watched me experiencing all the highs and lows that come with tossing your proverbial hat in the air as a single working woman. As she saw me live out some of the Mary Richards’ experiences she never had.
Those were the part’s of Mary’s story were foreign to my mom, who married my dad at the young age of nineteen, never attended college, or lived alone in her own apartment, or navigated the dating scene. This fact was lost on me much of the time, especially as I was living those experiences. I often resented what I perceived to be my mom’s desire to project her own dreams onto me as I made questionable choices about careers, men, hairstyles.
It’sonly now with the benefit of age, and becoming a parent myself, that I get it. My mom wanted me to get every ounce out of the Mary Richards experiences that she couldn’t have. She wanted me to get it just right, to savor these freedoms that were not in her reach.
My own daughter is only four, but I already think wistfully about how I hope things will be better for her–that though I am afforded more privileges that most of the world’s women, I still dream bigger. I hope my daughter doesn’t have to demand she gets paid the same as a man for doing the same exact job. I hope, should she decide to have children, that my daughter doesn’t have to navigate a workforce still trapped in the Mad Men era.
I can’t wait to someday introduce Mary Richards to my own daughter and tell her how much her grandmother loved the show. I’ll tell her the stories my mom told me about life in that era, where her only career encouragement was to go to typing school. How she ascended the career ladder in a male-dominated workplace, without a college degree, to become a manager in a bank. How she loved working full-time and letting the dishes pile up in the sink at home–a wild version of my mom that I caught glimpses of but never fully saw, as she lived out her life within the confines of motherhood and part-time work and breast cancer and the damn patriarchy.
Until then, I’ll stream some episodes of Mary Tyler Moore just like old times. I’ll make popcorn on the stove like my mom did. I’ll sit in the dark and laugh and cry as I watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show–this time just me, with mom and Mary in heaven.