Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dog food on the floor, I've been like this before

"Please do not tell me about the minutiae of your day. I promise I won’t tell you about mine."

Because I don't want to violate MD's first rule of blogging, I won't detail why work makes me forget about the horror, the horror of my blog posts. I'll sum up in two words: I'm busy.

Not only am I busy at work, I'm busy at home. Did I forget to mention the requisite dozen times in this post that I have a fully mobile seven-month old boy at home who has a fascination with tall bookshelves, power strips, strings, and his dog's water bowl? Yeah, I swear that I don't let him use the computer, much less read blogs, but he seems to have picked up the Peanut's fascination with dog bowls.

Hoping that it would satisfy 3B's curiosity, Mama washed out Barky's water bowl and let 3B splash around it in for awhile. Nice try, Mama. While he was splashing around, 3B must have placed a freakin' Dick Tracy homing beacon in the bowl that beams signals to the GPS device he has in his head, because wherever you set 3B down in our house, he sits up, turns his head once or twice to pick up the signal, and then races off on all fours for Barky's water dish.

But I digress . . . of course.

After much pondering, wondering, and floundering, and after reading and re-reading all of your helpful comments in the first two parts of this series on self-doubt, I see more clearly why I keep blogging. But it was Saturday's visit from my Aunt M from California that made clear to me why I continue to have questions about this blog as well as why I continue to write it. As I wrote earlier in this series, I started this blog for many reasons, one of which was to keep in touch with my family, primarily my mom.

Recently, I've been going through a difficult part of mourning my Mom. On the outside, I've been testy, sharp-tongued, and tired. On the inside I've been strung out, sad, and feeling like an orphan. Having been through my Dad's death and my mourning that followed, I wasn't expecting the sense of complete abandonment that followed my Mom's death. It wasn't until a coworker was talking with me about how I was feeling in comparison to her husband, who had just lost his second parent as well, asked, "Do you feel like you're an orphan now? Because my husband said that's how he feels."

Sometimes, it takes someone else describing me to myself for me to know what I'm feeling, and this was one of those times. I know that I have no idea what an orphaned child feels like, but somehow "orphan" is the word that seems to best express my feelings.

Everything that I have and do seems inextricably tied to Mom:
  • Mama and I had plans to move back to, or at least closer to, California someday, to spend time closer to Mom.
  • Mama's work has an international focus, but I could never bring myself to consider an overseas job because of the distance it would put between me and Mom.
  • Secretly, in my deepest of hearts, in everything I did, I was always trying to impress Mom, do something that she would be proud of.
And all of that is gone, leaving me feeling, at times, lost in an empty world, leading me to my questions about why I keep spinning these words out into the wasteland.

Fortunately, I have Mama and 3B to hang onto, and I have beautiful relatives like Aunt M, who reminds me of my Mom's spirit so much that I can almost smell home in Aunt M's hair when we embrace. As she was leaving, Aunt M stopped to tell me how much she enjoys reading the blog, which she does regularly--so I really should watch my mouth, eh?--and how it's helped her know me better and how it's helped her to see me express things that she couldn't necessarily put into words herself. As much a part of my life as my friendships with you, my other five loyal readers, have become, Aunt M's words meant the world to me, because my original motive still beats in my deepest of hearts--to connect with my family.

And that is the main reason why I keep writing--not only to connect with my far-flung family, but also to connect with my close at hand family, particularly 3B. He can't read yet--although he is turning pages now--but my hope is that someday this blog will help him understand me a little better. I'm also glad to hear that it's a connection to me and Mama and 3B for some in my family, like Aunt M. I knew when I started writing about 3B that, even if I could stay on topic and write only about 3B, I would reveal my character obliquely through my writing. Being as unable to avoid a digression as I am, I often reveal myself more directly than that.

At those times, I understand another of my great motivations for continuing this blog: the support of this ever-changing online community of family, friends, and strangers, who have helped me through the worst of times, often by simply being present, sharing their lives with me, and reminding me not to take life too seriously. It's only life, after all. Yeah. And to return the support that I've received, I continue to write, in the hopes that someone out there gets from me even a fraction of what I've gained from from others. Even a tiny sliver of what I've gotten from this community would last a lifetime.

There are other items that I've gotten since becoming a dad that haven't lasted a lifetime, or even until their first set of batteries died. And even some of those toys that don't have batteries or make boop-boop noises or buzz or vibrate or flash have gone the way of the dodo bird--provided, that is, that the dodo bird was dropped off at a Goodwill distribution center for sale in a thrift store--because they were of no use. However, far more items that we've received, either as gifts or by our own hands, have been indispensable to us as we raise 3B. As I deliberated about the purpose of this blog, I realized that I wanted to add my tiny voice to the chorus of those parents sharing with other families their feedback about the usefulness of various items for parents and kids. I've consciously avoided it until now because I didn't want to appear commercial. But who are we kidding--you know that I didn't get these things as schwag handouts from companies for promotional purposes.

I also plan to continue my sporadic review of public policy and policymakers, particularly as it affects kids and parents--but that doesn't mean that I won't ever review their performance on other issues as well. Politics has always mattered to me, and I doubt that the day will come that I still draw breath and can keep my mouth shut about it. Again, I've consciously avoided this topic here, mostly, but it's part of who I am, and if 3B or anyone else is to get to know me through this blog, I have to include it.

And with that, I'm leaving behind the pondering, wondering, and floundering and moving on with the writing of this blog, and it is through that process that I will truly and completely reveal my reasons for continuing with it. As always, thanks to all of you who helped me figure this out and who wrote kind words about this blog--and a particular thanks to Aunt M for her visit, which made me feel less lost and more found, in this blog and in my life.

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  1. Uh, yeah. Just 'cause Mom's not reading the blog anymore, don't quit writing it. You've got a lot more to share than just baby stories, and there are more of us out here besides Mom who treasure the exchange.

    If it weren't for the blog we'd have to actually talk on the phone or something. Um, ew?

  2. See, no matter how much you think you digress, or add your "tiny voice" to the congested morass of parenting blogs, there are still all those moments of laughter and tears I experience when I read your posts that keep me coming back. MD may not want to hear about daily minutiae or digestive details, but I like a little variety from politics and other weighty topics.

    Like that bit about wanting to impress your mom. Got a bit sniffly there.

    3B's water dish homing device? Laughing at your pain! Two words: pet gate. All animal-related items, which in our house includes the ever-popular litter box (Look Mama--treasures!), had to remain locked behind a pet gate until 1) our kids grew old enough to leave the stuff alone and 2) one of our cats became too old to hump it over the gate.

  3. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Excellent! Glad to hear you're going to continue adding your voice. As parents, especially us Dads, we need to vent, laugh, air our dirty laundry, and spread our ideas. That fact that you can write about it says more than all the people who are merely thinking about writing it all down. What is it? 90% of success is just showing up? Thanks for showing up.

  4. Anonymous10:32 PM

    Dude 2 things, we have a pet gate that has a doggy door in it that a dog like the Barmasters size could go through to get water, I dont think BBB could get through it. If you want I will measure it for you, heck I will measure it anyway and post back.

    2 Even the King gets a belly laff and teary eyed at your great writing. And if u feel sometime u need a break heck just take a break.

    TCB on clean water for 3B