Friday, October 7, 2011

The Crow's View

Photo Credit
I think my stepsister was born with the extra strong shoulder blades that she would  need to carry the heavy load that life has handed her. I  know others look at her the same way I do, marveling at her loveliness and strength. Life is hard for everyone, but it's rare for a woman to lose her mother and then her infant daughter, like two bookends that can't help but put pressure on everything in between. These days she's wading through the first few weeks of mothering four children while her husband works a hundred hours a week. You know those years, clutching the newborn in one hand and shooing the other children and their backpacks into the car with the other. It's like the crow's view from the top of the telephone pole; a whole lot of the same in every direction you turn.

Over the past few weeks my stepsister has expressed how reading my blog made her feel better. "Keep writing for me," she recently wrote. I can't think of anyone I'd rather write for. Of course not every post is geared toward women and mothers, but I hope all of them offer some element of comfort. You can do this, I want to tell her. Keep feeling better! Listen to Billy Joel's song Lullabye:

The water's dark and deep 
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me. 

Keeping a blog is a lot like freestyle cooking. It's up to the chef's discretion to begin opening cupboards and sprinkling ingredients into the pot. A little of this, a little of that. But I think all writers (and chefs) need to ponder the question how do I want people to feel? Some days my posts creep toward the general silliness and whimsy that occupy much of the internet. But mostly I sit down to write thinking of people like my stepsister. I imagine all sorts of friends and family who punch their work card every morning and are doing their best to make a dent in the world. People who approach life by thinking I can do better and I can try harder because the mess of it all will eventually be worth it.

Some days I wonder if it's all a little too serious. Maybe we should rake a few leaves into a pile and then jump in. Maybe we need to eat ice cream for dinner and smear a dollop of whipped cream on the nose of whoever is sitting across from us. Maybe we need to do the dishes with the music cranked up, read to our kids because Skippy John Jones makes us laugh, or spend a Saturday hiking instead of cleaning out the garage. Some days it all is a little too serious.

But the gravity of everyday life can make the air we breath feel thick and heavy with responsibility. The bills must be paid and the first grader must stop confusing her number six with her number nine. The business of being a grown up is as solemn as we allow it to become. But today I feel like leaning over and whispering to my stepsister, Relax and feel good today because you are amazing. You are doing a really, really great job. Feel Better. 

I hope you feel better today too!


  1. You really are brilliant...and I too love to read your amazing thoughts. Everything you write is interesting and clever and I'm glad to know you.

  2. I agree with Jenni and your stepsister 100%!!

  3. Great post! I think it's easy to see how amazing everyone else is around us and sometimes it is so nice to realize that what we're all doing or trying to do does get noticed.


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