Last night I hid in the kitchen to lick the brownie batter spatula. Not my most attractive moment but I didn't feel all that self conscious about it until I looked up through the window pane and locked eyes with a robin. The robin was standing in my yard, slurping up a worm like it was an overdone spaghetti noodle and not breaking eye contact with me. It made me feel embarrassed for the brownie batter situation. I froze there and thought of the story about the people who took care of the robots. I saw it on television (or maybe it was the internet) and it was like three years ago (or maybe six years ago)? The robots were set out onto the street with emotional messages and pleas for help tied around their necks with paper and string. The people who saw them read the messages and looked at their robot faces and treated them like people and tried to help them and had sympathy for them, and even though it didn't make sense, no one wanted to be the one telling the sad-paper-message robots no. This isn't even that related to me in the kitchen with the spatula, but it's still the first thing that I thought of when I projected the aggressive and judgmental thoughts onto that robin.
I know I already shared this on instagram and twitter and Facebook (ahem - sorry!) but our family was included in an article for USA Today (it ran yesterday, and the paper should be available through the weekend if you happen to see a copy and want to see for yourself) and our photo was used on the front page! The front page of USA Today! It was pretty exciting. (See us there, right under the word Newsline?)
I knew when I spoke with the reporter that the issue at hand (family size and choosing how many children to have) can be touchy and send people-- particularly the type of people who like to leave comments on newspaper websites-- into a fit of judgment and ugly assumptions. I know there are those out there who have unkind things to say about young mothers with three or more children. It is highly likely that those ugly things have been said in the comments section of this particular piece, so I am choosing not to read the comments. Okay, that's a lie. I read a few and closed the window. I am choosing not to read any more. I know that these people don't understand.
I am proud of Luke and proud of myself, doing what we are doing. We work really hard and we have made a nice cozy life. We make sure the car seats are installed correctly and we read the books and change the diapers and push the swings and kiss the ouchies. We pay the bills and we pay attention. Our children are smart and sweet and wonderful. We have a plan and we have a family and we are really happy. It can be done. You can be in your twenties and parent. It isn't, like, the right answer, but it is an answer. It really can be done.
It's perplexing how many vicious online arguments over this personal decision or that all come down to the stubborn belief that there is a right answer. There is no right answer! How many times do we forget this and have to relearn it? We are not a bunch of robots with messages tied around our necks. even though it may seem it at times. We can do lots of different things in lots of different ways, and it will all be okay. We can be different. Life isn't arithmatic, people. It's chemistry. It's biology. It's experience and personality stirred up with blood and risk and regret. It's an essay and a road trip and a glass of beer. Or whatever beverage you like. We'll toast anyway. I am so glad we are not robots. I am so glad we are all different.
Happy Mother's Day, moms.
You work really hard, finding your way and then doing things your way.
You are pretty amazing.
And happy Sunday, rest of you. CALL YOUR MOM.