Today I feel like an imposter.
I made digital AND paper Christmas cards (because I cannot leave it alone and just do anything simply- for the love of God) highlighting all the things we’ve done this year and showing off the kids in their cuteness. As one does. Several people responded with things like “you all look so happy!” and “you seem to be juggling everything really well!”
It’s true that we are, and it’s also true that we aren’t. Notice, I highlighted the things I damn well wanted to and strung them together to make it look like this fabulous movie of my fabulous life. Ugh. In my heavily edited version of our lives, we look like we’re killing it. Sometimes the internet lies.
What makes the card are the precious moments when the kids are being pleasant and do not have poop in their hands (in their hands!!! the horror! it happened last week! someone save me!) or their teeth on each other (it fucking happened again today! and now i’m drinking before 3pm!). What makes the cards are pics of Robb and I getting along, looking care-free on vacation, not neglecting and resenting each other in our own house every day. What makes the card is “Exciting! Robb’s new business venture! Yay! It’s going great!” not “How the fuck are we going to keep this up? Is this the right thing to do? I feel like I’m drowning. Are you drowning, too, or am I drowning alone?”
I think it’s important to be clear here, because I’ve been accused of having it all together before. I work like a dog to try to cover it all, but some goes uncovered. There is a lot of yelling and confusion and messes and fear and apologies and lessons and pain…and healing, too. We’re trying. We’re wounding each other, but we’re trying to also be the healers. We’re TRYING to be graceful. We’re trying.
It doesn’t help that the kids look like pink cherubs from fancy ceilings in Europe. You’d never know by them that Henry clings and pouts with the best of them or that Anna is an assassin. You just can’t tell by the film. It covers up so much.
Let me just say, honestly and faithfully, as I should have in that lovely little card: parenting is fucking hard. No one is doing it great. We’re all trying and failing, trying and squeaking by, trying and occasionally having a blast. It’s disgusting and worrisome and chaotic and threatening and uncertain and guilt-inducing…and then, like, heart- sploding goodness now and then (quick! take a pic! for the love of God!).
Not just parenting is hard, but marriage is fucking hard, too. Oh, Lord, your spouse is an extension of your own self but also a stranger. Marriage is so ridiculously demanding and weird and harsh and frightening and so, so much stretching to the point where you’re sure you’ll break, but then somehow a hand reaches out and supports the weak area and you go on. It’s so hard.
Personing is hard also. Just getting up and attempting to be brave and kind and accurate and on time and decent. It’s hard.
So. There you go. This is what my Christmas card should have said:
“2016 was hard. 2017 will be hard too. But we’re trying. You, too? Excellent. Call me and we’ll hold each other and drink wine.”