Monday, March 19, 2012

Little House in the Big Woods

I write a bi-monthly column for our local paper, and I'll be posting a copy of new columns here on My Blog as well. (I have a blog.) Here is the latest column, written about a month ago.

Little House in the Big Woods

It’s a snow day today! The kids are home, and we’re having fun. It’s morning, so the snow is fresh and new, and the kids aren’t soaked and tired yet. I’m inside by the fire, cuddling in a sweater and nibbling a homemade cookie. Water for cocoa is warming on the stove. Two of our dogs are lying at my feet, and the puppy is outside with the kids. She’s about 70 pounds now, and isn’t cooperating with the kids’ plans for her to ride the sled down. She does enjoy chasing them, though.

Today I get to feel content. Doesn’t happen very often; there’s always something to worry about, a problem to work through, needs to be met, or some place to be. My kitchen floor is picked up and mopped for a few minutes, until the kids and their wet things come inside. I’ll just sit here and enjoy it, as I enjoy the happy noises I hear outside.

One day over Christmas I watched the classic 1945 movie “Christmas in Connecticut” (Barbara Stanwyck) twice in a row. Well, I didn’t really watch it; I’ve seen it so many times, all I have to do is listen to know what’s happening on the screen.

Have you seen the movie? It’s about Elizabeth Lane, a woman who writes a homemaking column, letting her readers think that she lives on a beautiful farm in Connecticut with her husband and family, where she cooks amazing meals, spins wool, and milks her cow, Methuselah. In reality, she’s single, lives in the city, and can’t cook.

I sometimes feel like Elizabeth Lane, just a little. I love writing about my family in our little house in the big woods – big snowy woods today. For the most part, my life is just what I would want it to be.

However, I get feeling a little guilty sometimes. Do I pick out the best parts of my life, and present it like it’s all that way? Kind of like those Christmas letters you sometimes get, telling all about perfect kids with perfect grades who are involved in every extracurricular activity possible; promotions at work, fabulous vacations, all that sort of stuff? I would hate to have someone read my column and think that my life must be …perfect. Better than theirs.

So here’s a little reality from my house, because I want you to feel good about yourself.

Right at this moment, my bathrooms are in serious need of deep cleaning. If you came to visit and asked to use the bathroom, I’d have to say no.

I have two closets that are such a mess, I can’t close the doors. This is inconvenient, as they are both in hallways, and we have to step around the open doors.

I’m out of vegetables, and I don’t care.

Also, I have a pile of laundry to fold that is taller than two of my children, and my youngest is 8. Yeah.

Fabulous vacations we have planned for the year: Did I mention the kids are outside playing in the snow?

The happy sounds of my children playing right now: This just tells me that no one has taken a snowball to the face so far.

And yet, I am content. Why not? If I waited until everything was perfect to feel happy, I’d never get there.

It’s quieter outside now. The kids got bored with our little hills and went to check out the neighbors’. (Aren’t you glad we’re not your neighbors?) The puppy is now lying exhausted at my feet, and our beer-fetching older dog is out gallivanting with the children.

Life is good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In which I make a beginning

Hello, and welcome! Come on in, I’ll give you the tour. Excuse the mess… still unpacking. Trying to figure out where everything’s going to go. The posting boxes feel so big and white. I’ll try to get something up fast, just so it doesn’t feel so empty.

I have a blog… I have a blog. I have a blog. I have a blog. This is going to take some getting used to. As did: I am a wife, I am a mother, I am never going to have a maid.

I have a blog.

So, I moved to this blog that henceforth when I have something to share that doesn’t fit in a Facebook status, I have a place to unload. Also, so that – once I have managed to unload the previously mentioned somethings – I might stop talking to myself when I’m alone in my car. And finally, so I have a place of my own as a writer.

And that’s the main thing. Because, just as “I have a blog” takes some getting used to, I’m still getting used to, “I am a writer.” I’ve been writing for years, but apparently without making it official.

I have a blog, I am a writer. Welcome.