Sep 21st

I am sitting at Starbucks, sipping a grande salted caramel, half pump (and still too sweet!), mocha latte while mellow, hipster music plays. I feel like a blogger. One year and one week later. A serious, never miss a post, blogger.

It’s a busy Starbucks. A couple is refinancing their house on the couch in the corner. Another couple look as if they raise emu or met in the hand bell choir. A baby just threw up on his mother and I barely flinch. A little throw up does nothing to my gag reflex these days. It’s funny to watch all these new, young mothers hanging with other new, young mothers and feeling so removed from their world – even with Bea at home, hopefully sleeping soundly while Pop Pop watches MSNBC and cleans us out of goldfish crackers.

I love these young mothers. I was once like them to a very heightened degree. Babies are wearing coordinated bibs. Strollers are new and shiny. Toys are brain building. Snacks are organic. Lip gloss is applied. They talk about nap schedules and milestones and diaper lotion. They have launched an exciting new venture and it’s clearly all-consuming. And slightly uncomfortable.

This leads so nicely to my Cool item of the week! Yay-ah!

My “fall decorating” Pottery Barn catalog came yesterday and I paged through it casually. Suddenly it occurred to me that I didn’t care so much.

I hate when people make bold, yet vague, statements like, “I could finally be myself once I turned forty” or “It’s so freeing not to worry about what anyone else thinks!” What does that mean exactly?

Truth is, I still worry about being judged. Mostly by other mothers. It’s all part of the sport… and I chose to play.

But the super honest truth is, I don’t care nearly as much as I did a decade ago. And things like home decor, my brand of purse, coordinated bibs and fresh lip gloss have zero power. I am so over it.

I like my house. I love it, actually. I believe your home should be happy, uncluttered and welcoming. I like to decorate. Always have. For many years, the fall home catalogs killed me. I wanted it all. I wanted the leaf garland draped across my fireplace, the upscale and cerebral Halloween accents (cut-outs of Poe’s ravens), the rustic Thanksgiving earthenware with painted cornucopia. I longed to create a beautiful and warm environment as the weather cooled. But alas, I was too conscious of money (stop laughing, Jon) and never bought much. Just sulked and dreamed of holiday tables packed with dramatic, magazine-worthy style. Someday.

Well someday is here and what I’ve learned is the “more comfortable in your skin” thing is actually true. I desired that stuff when I couldn’t have it. Now I can, and it means zip. Instead, I’ve acquired a mish mosh of fall decor – an extensive collection of random items that includes a laminated apple tree drawing, a sparkly skeleton that leaves green glitter trails everywhere and a fat brown bag turkey, lovingly crafted by Edy. (That wobbly-headed bird could possibly be my favorite thing on the planet.) Not magazine-worthy. But me-worthy.

As a real blogger (see post intro), I tend to read other blogs a lot. There are many that I like. There are many that are terribly written and/or boring. And then there are some that are well written, interesting, and infuriating because they spew icky ideas. They will go as far as calling themselves righteous and judgmental because if it’s already out there, you can’t use it against them.

A very sweet and well-meaning young woman, who is also a blogger and very sweet (did I mention that?) reposted a blog entry concerning premarital sex. In it, a newly married man talks about “saving himself.” According to his (awkward) gushing, his wedding day and night were so incredibly perfect, it is beyond anything anyone else who doesn’t follow his way of thinking and doing could ever, ever understand. Ever. He’s kind of mean about it, too.

Hey, I’m real happy for this guy and his lovely chaste wife. It takes real chutzpah to claim total success a few steps into the journey. Marriage is tough. You say you have the ideal foundation because you did things the “right” way, but what if that sets you up for eventual disappointment.

You can’t know what works for everyone. You just can’t. There are plenty of happy, fulfilled people on the planet who aren’t like you. I don’t understand the need to preach. I truly don’t. I understand sharing your experience, explaining what works for you (if asked) but when someone is so sure of one path, it makes me think they aren’t so sure.

Dear male blogger, who’s to say your vision of perfect won’t eventually destroy you because it’s an impossible ideal? That you won’t be emotionally flattened by the monotony of everyday life, or by money problems, jealousy or rage? (You seem like someone with a tendency towards intolerance.) Or that your wife won’t reevaluate the choices she’s made after your baby throws up (on everything but his coordinated bib) in Starbucks.

Which is where I am still sitting, a little lighter after that mild rant. It sounds like The Big Chill soundtrack is playing as I sip my cup of hot confection. A retro soundtrack from a movie that is now retro. Feeling retro myself, but also very comfortable.

P.S. I acknowledge this is my second straight post dissing men. First the nutty, radical, red-faced rioters and now this blogger guy I never met. I really do love men. Just a coincidence. Next week I’ll write about crumbs in the cushions or the rabid skunk that attacked a neighbor.

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