Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Could Have Written That

Do you ever get that feeling?  Like whoa, I could have written that?! 

Only, of course, not as eloquently.  Nor as unabashedly boldly.  I saw this article on a friend's post on facebook and it has left me thinking about it all week long.

Actually, interestingly, it was a facebook post from a dear friend of mine in highschool in Cincinnati.  She didn't go to my school, but we were in an extracurricular choir together which met every week and we sat next to each other and would whisper between song sets and hang out at the breaks.  She's the only Mormon (I think) I've ever known and I can remember in highschool being so very impressed with her dedication.  She got up before school 2?, 3?, 4? days a week and went to a small group bible class at her ward.  She had a great alto voice and her grasp of music theory was much stronger than mine.  She was quiet, but then so was I, and once we got to chatting, we then sat next to each other for every choir practice from there on out.  Probably about three years of once a week.  I learned we had similar life outlooks and I really liked her.  We "got" each other.  (To be fair, it's been a decade since I graduated from high school and last saw her.  I don't know if all of my details are correct, but I do know that my memory of her sweetness is true.) 

She went on to some large Mormon university out west and I went to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Her parents moved away from Cincinnati and my family moved back home to Virginia.  We're now facebook friends and perhaps only twice in the ten! years since I last saw her we've had a little "how are you doing?" facebook exchange.  She's married and has three adorable children.  I check on her blog every few months and sometimes leave comments and I have absolutely no reason to believe she'd even remember anything about me.  

So here's where the irony comes in.  She linked to this article with some sort of comment like "groan."  (I am paraphrasing and unable to find it to quote her accurately, but that was certainly her gist)  Which I find somewhat ironic because of course my reaction to the article was more like "Oh wow.  I'm not the only one."  Obviously, we're two intelligent girls women who were raised by somewhat similar families (at least socioeconomically and with similar emphasis on education) and who spent hours in high school agreeing on a great number of things.  What's more, she went to college, I went to college.  I then spent my first two years out of school working for a children's advocacy organization, while she was working for a women's advocacy organization.  I went to law school and just recently graduated last May.  Facebook tells me that she's in graduate school now.

Of course, there are also big differences.  I am still waiting on my Math Man, while she has been married for several years now.  She has three young children.  I only have my Mr. Mason.  And I award myself breaks out of my day to check on my favorite blogs and bask in their happiness, imagining that some day I too will return to photography so I can record gorgeous images of my someday littles as well.  

So I wonder if this is sort of a matter of the "grass always being greener...."  I personally have been spending quite a bit of time lately wondering how to better achieve balance in my own life and I am not ashamed to admit that I want a lot of things from my life that sometimes seem difficult to achieve all at once.  Someday, I want children, and a happy marriage, and a satisfying career, and yes, sometimes, perhaps-shallowly, I get stressed out when my little apartment isn't clean, when I don't work out, when I feel guilty for not spending enough time with Mr. Mason, when the last four meals have involved the microwave, and so oh goodness, it's normal for me to admire these women* that seem to do it all and so very joyfully too, right?  My goodness, and they even have time to make homemade halloween costumes, run a small etsy business, and beautifully photograph the entire process while they're at it. 

Of course, I know this bloggy world lets us always self-select to put our best foot forward.  I know because sometimes even the most beautiful of mommy-bloggers will admit to moments of frustration, slammed doors, and occasional curse words.  Perhaps that's what my friend was thinking of when she typed in her commentary of "groan."

But, sometimes I think too that for all the power that a fancy expensive degree on my wall does for me (and dear alma mata of mine, yes, I do bleed purple and I do appreciate all that I got from you), it can't compare in pure-joy-garnering to anything that those mommy-bloggers get to stop and reflect on every single day.  I feel such pride when I finally "figure out" a case, but would I not feel that same or greater pride watching my baby learn to walk or my toddler sharing a toy?

I understand (at least my brain does and it regularly relays this message to my heart) that now is not the time to start down that path of nesting and baby-raising.  There are loans to pay down and a Math Man to marry and a career that I've worked so hard to just now start that I want to pursue.  Plus there is the complication of not even living in one city all the time and just forever being in a state of "temporary."  And so, in the meantime, I check in on my favorites and read about their adventures out in bloggyland.  I file away the ideas and the inspiration and think that one day I'll have my own littles to play this game with or make that project with.  And, of course, I just soak up all the babies that I have in my life right now.  My two bestests' babies W and X. 

*See my earlier posts to know that my admiration doesn't confine itself just to the Mormon mommy blogs.  My obsession is pretty much with all the lifestyle and mommy blogs.  Particularly the beautiful ones.  The joyful ones.  The ones that gracefully handle adversity and relish the teaching of their little ones.  The ones that find joy even in making wholesome dinners when they know it will end up mostly on the floor or in hair.  The ones that find laughter in spit-up.  I have however noticed that there seems to be a large percentage of these blogs about Mormon families.  I don't know much about their faith, and I admit to being even put off by some of their church's stances on major social issues (ehem, equal access to marriage for all, I'm looking right at you), but I'm no longer surprised when I after perusing these public photos and stories of some very elegant, competent woman's life and her beautiful, happy children, I notice a reference to trunk o' treat or ward meetings or FHE.  I may not agree with them on everything, and our lives have probably taken different paths, but I sure do admire their outlook, their public face forward, their smiles, and their obvious love for their families.

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