these articles and blog posts have been bookmarked in my tabs for a while. i wanted to dump them here so i can come back to them in the future. they’re thought-provoking, interesting, controversial, needed. i won’t add much. at least not right now. though there are a couple i’m tempted to revisit and add my two-cents. many of them speak to me as a mother, as a wife, as a christian whose faith looks extremely different than that from how i was raised.
let me know what you think.
- if i can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible. || how we should be putting our best selves forward for our significant others.
- truly, madly, guiltily || on loving our spouses more than our children.
- wendell berry expounds on gay marriage || if you don’t know the writings and lectures of this man, get on it.
- what you believe about homosexuality doesn’t matter || there are just so so many people in the church i want to have read this.
- the passion of parenting || just a solid piece from the NYT
- i didn’t have sex for a year, and i’m still married || she talks about the bad-assedness of married sex. a fresh view of couples working together through thick and thin.
- dear daughter, i hope you have awesome sex || let’s just say i will most likely be writing a blog post about this later. (while he doesn’t sufficiently address all issues his stance brings up, it was a breath of fresh air to read.)
life is going to change dramatically when little bug arrives. i can anticipate and foresee some of these changes but others are going to take jp and i (and ramona!) by storm. before life gets rocked and we’re juggling a toddler and a helpless newborn and patio season opening up at the populist (which makes for an increasingly busy hubby) jp and i set aside a long weekend to spend some time with just the two of us. our intention was to slow down, be a pair free of our daily commitments and distractions, and reconnect with each other. so off to a ranch in hye, texas (that’s hill country, y’all) owned by jp’s aunt and uncle.
we were blessed with great weather, free and spacious accommodations, beautiful sunsets, wonky wi-fi that forced us –even more– to be present with each other, and a golf cart that enabled me to explore the land freely (this belly doesn’t get me too far these days). i understand a baby moon is a luxury that many people can’t find the time or finances for and i do not take it for granted we were able to steal away for these handful of precious days.
jp is the most important person in my life. he is my lover, my rock, my best friend, my confidant, my reason, my chosen one. he is steadfast, kind, humble and pretty much your poster-child of patience. living and learning and loving with him has taught me much about being grounded, listening well, and constructively and respectfully agreeing to disagree. at the risk of sounding cheesy, being his partner has made me a much better person than before i met him. and he also loves and embraces all my quirks and who i am at my core!
i gush about all of this bc, while i LOVE LOVE LOVE being a mother and that will always be a part of who i am, my partnership with my husband is the most important relationship i will cultivate on this earth. we are a team. and i want to continue to work on our marriage and our union so that when ramona and little bug watch us, it will be so evident to them how we are able to love them so well: bc jp and i love each other as best and as selflessly as we humanly can. jp and i working on a strong, healthy, loving, respectful marriage is, perhaps, one of the most essential things we can give to our children (that and the freedom for them to be themselves… but that’s another post). my hope is that a strong marriage will set them up to love themselves and to expect and give good, honest, respectful love from and to their future significant others.
furthermore, if we do things right, ramona and little bug will be leaving the nest around the time they turn 18. and i shudder to think that jp and i will have not made the effort and taken the time to grow our love and connection with each other and, instead, feel like strangers bc we don’t know what the hell to do w the other now that we don’t have such an active role as parents.
parenthood, especially the early years, is hard. when ramona was first born i had awful thoughts about jp and our marriage. some of these were fueled by crazy hormonal changes going on in my body, and others were caused by the great shift that had happened in our family. in the beginning, with all this newness, we didn’t always adjust as well or as quickly as our emotions needed. and there are, of course, still days every so often where we completely miss each other. and having young (basically helpless) children compounds this. and it can be lonely and frustrating. but, i will tell you this: it is a season. and it too shall pass. especially if both you and your partner are on board w working your darndest to communicate honestly and respect the other (even if biting, nasty words get hissed in the heat of the moment) and are open to being humble and asking for forgiveness and giving it freely.
this post didn’t quite go the direction i had originally planned: but marriage is hard and i think struggles like how babies can totally knock your marriage on its head need to be talked about more openly so that others don’t feel they’re all alone. that, and how important it is to set aside the craziness of life and find time to connect with your lover. the payoff, when the chicks have flown the coop and it’s the two of you old birds wondering what to do with your empty nest, will be well worth it.
thought you’d be getting more of texas hill country? below is my list of suggested things to do (besides soaking up the open space, wide skies, and drinking on the porch) if you find yourself one hour west of austin, texas, in what people are calling the napa of texas (i know, 30 weeks pregnant is prime time to go wine tasting. ha!)
the nature of living and loving is the act of reciprocity. as women, we are told that to be the guest is to receive. we are told that to be the host is to give. but what it if it is the reverse? what if it is the guest who gives to the host and it is the host who receives from the guest each time she sets her table to welcome and feed those she loves? to be the guest and the host simultaneously is to imagine a mutual exchange of gifts predicated on respect and joy. if we could adopt this truth, perhaps we as women would be less likely to become martyrs.
what are we setting the table for? transformation.
||terry tempest williams, when women were birds, page 211||
it is not easily in my nature to receive so much from hosting — but this is something i earnestly and genuinely want to approach with a different, more generous heart. even so, i am so very much looking forward to welcoming dear friends into our home tonight for a christmas eve feast.
may this special eve and holy day tomorrow overwhelm you with joy and love (rather than stress and resentment as can often happen with holidays). may you be nourished by meaningful time with family and friends, whether you are breaking bread at their table or yours.
god jul and peace unto you.
my best friend growing up was jewish and lived right next door. one day, when we were about five, we were
playing fighting on the bottom of the stairs at my home. we were fighting over some ridiculous santa book i had checked out from the library. in my ever-so tactful cool, i turned to her and said: “it’s too bad you’re jewish because santa won’t even stop at your house!” and this little girl, not missing a beat, turned to me and said: “santa isn’t even real” (herself not really wanting to believe it). if memory (or storytelling) serves me correct, i ran into the living room where my parents were sitting –no doubt listening and waiting to see how this whole five-year-old cat fight would go down– and burst out crying, asking them if it was true.
it was true. santa is not real. though, they were probably a little confused at my intense emotions since they had never told me he was real. they had only ever said he was our imaginary friend that helps us celebrate jesus’ birth. i took what i wanted to believe and ran with it. and though i’m sure they were casting looks of death over my shoulder at my friend for spilling the beans in that way, i assume they were a bit relieved the cat was out of the bag and i applaud them for not trying to continuously pull the wool over my eyes and perpetuate the santa myth. because, it turned out, christmas — and even santa– became no less magical to me now that i was in on the truth of the existence of santa. for a handful of years afterward i still insisted we put out milk & cookies, and i still sat on my dad’s or uncle’s lap when they dressed up as santa on christmas eve to pay a visit to our extended family dinner, and i still wondered just how it could even be possible for one man, real or otherwise, to visit every single home of christmas-celebrating families. just like i continued as a child to put my tooth under my pillow and sure as hell expected a gift from the “tooth fairy” who i knew full well was not real but played along… not just to get a gift but because i liked the idea of there being a little woman with wings who came and rewarded me for being so brave.
kids are so creative and imaginative. and christmas, santa or not, is an incredibly magical and special holiday/holy day. and i have come to firmly believe that pushing the santa agenda and not giving our kids a little more credit when they start asking questions or slowly figuring it out on their own, does a complete disservice to what this holiday is about and all the other important traditions that go along with it. i’ve heard stories of kids as old as ten (or even a 13 year old!) still believing in santa. and, frankly, that’s ridiculous. i do not understand one bit why parents insist on doing that to their children.
over a baby-free dinner out one night, jp and i discussed why santa won’t have a part in our family traditions (to be clear, ramona knows who santa “is” and has taken his photo on his lap [the creepiest santa i've ever seen]. we’re not barring santa from our lives completely, we just are not encouraging the myth in our personal traditions). here’s what we came up with:
- strangers are bad. unless they’re bearded and have presents. then go ahead and sit on their lap and tell them your secret wishes. this mostly pertains to the kids who are undeniably scared for their life and screaming to not go near that man or to get down off his lap right away and we stand there and laugh and say “it’s ok. go ahead. smile for my photo!” basically going against everything we’re working on teaching them about stranger danger and creepy adults to avoid. i know, i know — most kids know the difference between santa and the hypothetical weird man at the park. but the idea of going against your child’s better judgment and anxiety (when they’re sitting there pleading with you not to go near santa) for shits and giggles seems entirely disrespectful of our little one’s decisions and personal space. remember: your child is not a doll. trust your child’s intuition. (ironically, this didn’t seem to pertain to ramona bc this girl practically dove into santa’s lap with her older cousin. she wants to be friends with everyone. we may have to work on that…).
- the santa myth generally teaches kids that they ‘deserve’ these gifts for being good (don’t even get me started on the silliness of this elf on the shelf business). we want to teach ramona to know gifts as something given out of love, not earned. we want to teach her to have real gratitude, and the santa myth grossly distorts that notion.
- jp and i don’t like the idea of misleading our little ones, especially when they will certainly find out that we did it intentionally. there will be plenty of situations while our children are growing up where i’m sure we’ll tell partial truths to protect them or their innocence, but we hope we keep these to an absolute minimum. we want to be honest and transparent with our little ones. so when ramona comes to us and asks: is santa real? there is no way i’m going to figure out an even bigger lie to make sure the santa myth keeps going. if she’s old enough or wise enough or privy enough or curious enough to ask the question, we will honor that with the truth.
- the common response to what i said in the previous bullet point is that the whole santa thing is no big deal –lighten up, emily!– and santa just accentuates the joy and magic of christmas. but everything about ramona already attests to the strength of her imagination and awe in christmas, as it is, without santa. she’s in complete wonder at the christmas lights hung around town and loves baking and decorating christmas cookies with her diri and looks forward to seeing what’s on the advent calendar docket for the day and i can’t stop her from spinning and dancing around to our christmas albums. and she’s about to be blown away this weekend at a performance of the nutcracker. and on a daily basis, ramona pretends/imagines/creates magic at everything she does anyway: cooking, dancing, playing house, being an airplane or a turtle or a kangaroo, talking with her dollies, pretending to eat my kisses. ramona doesn’t need santa to feel “magic.” she’s got enough of that of her own and that’s what we want to encourage.
- my main reason? christmas gifts are something that take a lot of thought, time, and money on our part as parents. why oh why, especially as someone whose love language is gifts, would i give the credit to an imaginary figure? if santa is going to be responsible for a gift, it’s going to be the christmas eve pajamas.
this place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.
wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move against the earth and sky, the Beloved has bowed there,
the Beloved has bowed there knowing you were coming.